Migration, mobilities, diaspora; identity ; age systems and ritual marriage
Comoros, Tanzania (including Zanzibar), Kenya, Hadramawt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
Iain Walker has an MA in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Sydney.
Following his master's research on the Chagossians in Mauritius, he moved northwards to carry out doctoral work on mimesis, custom and belonging on the Comorian island of Ngazidja; since then he has worked on movements of people between the Comoros, Zanzibar and Hadramawt. His work on identity among mobile communities of Arab origin in East Africa, and on the Comorian and Hadrami diasporas, has been funded by an ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship (2005-2007) and an ESRC Mid-Career Fellowship (2009-2011). From 2011 to 2015 he was part of the Leverhulme-funded Oxford Diasporas Programme; his project, 'Converging cultures: the Hadrami diaspora in the Indian Ocean', was concerned with social networks among Hadramis in Eastern Africa and the Arabian peninsula.
His research interests have remained focused on identity and ethnicity, expanding to include migration, globalisation and notions of home and belonging, as well as age systems.
He has held positions at the University of New South Wales, Macquarie University, SOAS and the University of Oxford. In 2015-2016 he was a research fellow within the Max Planck Fellow Group Connectivity in Motion here in Halle. He then led the Comoros Origins project at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena before returning to Halle to take up a position at Martin Luther University leading a three-year DFG funded research project entitled “Remembering, forgetting, imagining: identity strategies in Mayotte”.
In 2020 he returned to the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology and continues to work both on identities in the Comoro Islands, and on the Hadrami diaspora in the Indian Ocean.