1st Edition

Small Island, Large Ocean Mauritius and the Indian Ocean World

By Burkhard Schnepel Copyright 2023

    This book is about a ‘Small Island’, namely Mauritius in the southwestern Indian Ocean. It is also about a ‘Large Ocean’, the Indian Ocean world—its peoples, histories and cultures. It casts light on the life of an island through what is known not only about the island itself, but also through what is known about the wider Indian Ocean world. It is also about the Indian Ocean world in that it focuses on an island, which, in many senses and dimensions, is not only a model of, but in some respects also a model for wider developments and features of relevance to the Indian Ocean world as a whole.

    1. Small Island, Large Ocean: An Introduction

    2. ‘Islandness’: The World of Indian Ocean Islands

    3. ‘Not the Greatest Villains’: Piracy in the Southwestern Indian Ocean (c. 1680-1750)

    4. Infections on the Move: Epidemic Diseases in the History of Mauritius and Beyond

    5. ‘Little India’ or ‘Creole Society’? Demography, Contested Identities and Heritage Politics in Contemporary Mauritius

    6. Dead as a Dodo? Mauritius’s Path as Hub from Port of Call to Cyber Island

    7. Paradise Island? Tourism and Life on Mauritian Beaches

    8. ‘Something New in the Present’: The Politics of Cultural Heritage in Postcolonial Mauritius


    Burkhard Schnepel is a Professor Emeritus of Social Anthropology at the Martin Luther University, Halle, Germany. His main theoretical and thematic interests are political rituals in India, especially in Orissa, and the history of the Indian Ocean world, especially Mauritius. Among his more recent books include, Connectivity in Motion: Small Islands in the Indian Ocean World (Palgrave 2018, co-edited with E.A. Alpers); Travelling Pasts: The Politics of Cultural Heritage in the Indian Ocean World (Brill 2019, co-edited with Tansen Sen); and The King’s Three Bodies: Essays on Kingship and Ritual (Manohar 2021).