Trade in Animals and Animal Products in the Indian Ocean World from early times to c.1900

Call for Papers

Indian Ocean World Centre (IOWC)
McGill University, Montreal, Canada

23-24 October 2014

Organiser: Omri Bassewitch Frenkel (IOWC, McGill University)

An interdisciplinary conference on “Trade in Animals and Animal Products in the Indian Ocean World from early times to c.1900″ will be held at the Indian Ocean World Centre, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, from 23-24 October 2014.

Recently, much public attention has focussed on the lucrative yet often illegal trade in the Indian Ocean world (IOW) of animal parts, including elephant tusks, rhinoceros horns, and tiger skins.
However, the trade in exotic animals and animal parts in the IOW, from Africa to China, is not a modern phenomenon. Its roots can be traced back centuries and is reflected in the traditions, folklore, medicinal practices and religious beliefs of many different societies across the IOW. It has also impacted on the environment.

By exploring the long-distance trade in animals and animal products as economic, cultural, and ecological phenomenon, this conference will seek to interrogate the concept of the Indian Ocean as a “world.”

The conference will consider the trade in all land and sea animals as well as birds.

A wide range of relevant issues will be given consideration, but prospective participants are asked to give special consideration to the following themes:

  • Trade in exotic animals
  • Trade in animal parts
  • Trade in animal products
  • Impact of the trade on the environment of the source regions
  • Finance and structure of the trade
  • Prices and profits
  • Demand and consumption patterns
  • Legal and religious prescriptions governing the hunting/collection and consumption of animals and animal parts

Papers should be in English or French.

Deadline for submission of abstracts (title and 1-2 paragraphs) is 1 May 2014. The review process will be completed by 1 June 2014.

Papers should be a maximum of 9,000 words (including footnotes). We anticipate that selected papers will be published in a volume to appear in Palgrave Macmillan’s Indian Ocean World Studies series.

A registration fee of $200 USD ($60 USD for students) is payable by 1 September 2014. The late registration fee (after 1 September 2014) is $250 USD and $100 USD for students. Registration is payable by cash, personal cheque or money order. Credit card payments are not accepted.

All those interested in participating should complete the conference registration form and return it by email to the IOWC ( All queries should be sent to the conference organizer, Omri Bassewitch (


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