Department of History

Department of History
Department of History

Awet T. Weldemichaelweldemichael2.JPG

Associate Professor and Queen's National Scholar
African and World History


Phone:  613-533-6000, Ext: 74370
Office:  Watson Hall 233



Ph.D., History, University of California Los Angeles
M.A. African Studies, University of California Los Angeles
B.A., History, University of Asmara (Eritrea) and Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia)


My work touches on colonialism, decolonization, revolutions, nationalist movements, peace, conflict and security studies relevant to Africa and island Southeast Asia. More specifically, the areas of my research, teaching, mentoring and consulting interests are modern and contemporary Northeast Africa (or the Horn of Africa) and island Southeast Asia.

I have lately been working on the political economy of conflict in Northeast Africa and the adjoining waters. I am particularly looking at the root causes, dynamics and consequences of piracy off the coast of Somalia; and I have a forthcoming book on the topic.

Yes, I have interviewed many pirates.

No, I do not know Johnny Depp, Barkhad Abdi, or Tom Hanks.


Selected Publications

Changing Horizons of African History ed. with Anthony A. Lee and Edward A. Alpers (Africa World Press, forthcoming in 2016).

Maritime Terrorism and Piracy in the Indian Ocean Region, ed. with Patricia Schneider and Andrew C. Winner (London and New York: Routledge, 2015).

When Elephants Fight, the Grass Suffers: A report on the Local Consequences of Piracy in Puntland (Dalhousie Marine Piracy Project: Dalhousie University Marine Affairs Program Technical Report #12):

Third World Colonialism and Strategies of Liberation: Eritrea and East Timor Compared (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

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“From Hostage Taking to (Ab)use of Ransoms in 21st Century Northeast Africa: The Life Cycle of Piracy in Somalia,” in Ransoming, Captivity & Piracy in Africa and the Mediterranean, Jennifer Lofkrantz and Olatunji Ojo (eds.), (Africa World Press, 2016).

“Ransoming in Contemporary Northeast Africa: Piracy in Puntland,” African Economic History 42 (2014) (published in May 2015), 215-237.

"Formative Alliances of Northeast African Insurgents: the Eritrean Liberation Movement and the Ethiopian Armed Opposition between the 1970s and 1990s," Northeast African Studies, Vol. 14, No. 1 (2014), pp. 83-122.

"African Diplomacy of Liberation: the Case of Eritrea's Search for an 'African India'," Cahiers d'Études africaines, Vol. 4, No. 212 (2013/4), pp. 867-894.

"Maritime Corporate Terrorism and its Consequences in the Western Indian Ocean Region: Waste Dumping, Illegal Fishing and Piracy in 21st Century Somalia," Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, Vol. 8, No. 2 (December 2012), pp. 110-126.

"The Eritrean Long March: The Strategic Withdrawal of the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF), 1978-1979," The Journal of Military History, Vol. 73, No. 4 (October 2009), pp. 1231-1271.

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"Bringing Eritrea in from the cold: we need to un-break the US-Ethiopia-Eritrea triangle," African Arguments, 17 January 2014:

"Understanding Somali Piracy on Land and Sea," November 28, 2012; with Abdisalam Warsame Hassan:

"Threats, Prospects and Trends in Eritrean-Yemeni Waters," Strategic Insights: Global Maritime Security Analysis, No. 34, September 2011.