CSSH is thrilled to announce this year’s Jack Goody Prize winner, Jatin Dua! Dua is recognized for his outstanding essay “Hijacked: Piracy and Economies of Protection in the Western Indian Ocean” (61-3, 2019).
In an adventurous, innovative, and usefully provocative approach, he offers a comparison of two very different regimes intended to protect both lives and investments. These regimes, which became fatefully entangled with each other in the surge of piracy off the coast of Somalia between 2007 and 2012, are, respectively, the diya, an extended kinship network, and the formal maritime insurance agencies (such as Lloyd’s of London). The article is ethnographically rich on both fronts, and Dua’s theoretical contribution is especially to explode the standard categories of formal or controlled comparison and thereby to show us how historical conjunctures can be fruitfully exploited as an occasion for comparative analysis. This is comparativism at its transgressively most fruitful. In particular, the conjunction of legal and illegal worlds in a shared analytic frame is a productive way of focusing analysis on wide-ranging but reciprocally linked concepts and practices of protection. Indeed, Dua has offered us, in this single article, the groundwork for what might usefully be described as an anthropology of protection regimes.
The panel of judges was also impressed by Marvin Chochotte’s “Making Peasants Chèf: The Tonton Makout Militia and the Moral Politics of Terror in the Haitian Countryside during the Dictatorship of François Duvalier, 1957–1971” (CSSH 61-4, 2019), and have awarded it an Honorable Mention. They write:
“This article is an ethnographically rich study of great originality and notable insight and sheds new light on a surprisingly understudied phenomenon.”
About the Authors
Jatin Dua is an assistant professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. His research explores processes and projects of law and economy along the East African coast and the wider Indian Ocean region. His book, Captured at Sea: Piracy and Protection in the Indian Ocean (2019), is a multi-sited ethnographic and archival engagement with contestations over legitimate and illegitimate commerce and exchange. Focusing on the ransom economy of Somali piracy, the book places protection as central to global mobility to see how a variety of actors from pirates and diya kinship groups in Somalia, to naval ships and Indian dhow captains at sea as well as insurance agents and security consultants in London create and regulate order and disorder within economies of piracy and counter-piracy. In addition, Dua has published a number of articles on maritime anthropology, seafaring, insurance, ransom economies, and property at sea. His current research projects continue this emphasis on maritime worlds and their entanglements with law, sovereignty, economy, and sociality in the Indian Ocean and beyond through a focus on chokepoints and port-making in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean and African mobility and its relationship to global shipping and maritime capitalism.
Marvin Chochotte is a historian who studies black African descendants in the Americas and their historical experience with political repression and participation in popular revolutions. He is currently working on a book that comprehensively explores the national history of the world’s first black republic, “The Black Agrarian Democracy: A History of Haiti from the Haitian Revolution to the Fall of the Duvalier Dictatorship, 1804–1986” (under contract with Yale University Press).
Chochotte was previously a postdoctoral fellow in the Rutgers Advanced Institute for Critical Caribbean Studies. He was also a 2018–2019 Mellon Faculty Fellow at Dartmouth College. He was recently awarded the 2019–2020 postdoctoral fellowship in the Program of Agrarian Studies at Yale University. In the fall of 2020 Chochotte will return to Dartmouth College to complete the second term of the Mellon Faculty Fellowship, and in the fall of 2021, he will assume an Assistant Professor appointment in Dartmouth’s Program of African and African American Studies.
Chochotte’s publications include “The Twilight of Popular Revolutions: The Suppression of Peasant Armed Struggles and Freedom in Rural Haiti during the US Occupation, 1915–1934” (The Journal of African American History 103, 3 (2018): 277–308), which won the Andrés Ramos Mattei-Neville Prize in recognition of excellence in the field of Caribbean history.
Congratulations to Jatin Dua and Marvin Chochotte!