Department of History

Department of History
Department of History

Awet T. Weldemichael

Portrait of Awet Weldemichael.

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)


I am a former refugee goatherd in a remote refugee camp in Sudan. My academic work touches on colonialism, decolonization, revolutions, nationalist movements, peace, conflict and security studies relevant to Africa and Southeast Asia. More specifically, the areas of my research, teaching, mentoring and consulting interests are modern and contemporary Horn of Africa and island Southeast Asia.

I have lately been working on the political economy of conflict in the Horn of Africa and its adjoining waters. My forthcoming book has particularly looked at the root causes, dynamics and consequences of piracy off the coast of Somalia.

Yes, I have interviewed many pirates.

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

Selected Publications

Piracy in Somalia: International Causes and Domestic Consequences (completed monograph under review).

African Liberation Theology: Intergenerational Conversations on Eritrea’s Possible Futures co-authored with Ghirmai Negash (Red Sea Press, forthcoming in 2017).

Changing Horizons of African History ed. with Anthony A. Lee and Edward A. Alpers (Africa World Press, 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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“The Horn of Africa from the Cold War to the War on Terror” in Charles Ambler,William Worger and Nwando Achebe and (eds.), A Companion to African History (Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming)

“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), 83-122.

“African Diplomacy of Liberation: the Case of Eritrea’s Search for an ‘African India’,”Cahiers d'Étudesafricaines, Vol. 4, No. 212 (2013/4), 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), 110-126.

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

“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), 1231-1271.

Awet Weldemichael.