Tawfiq Alhamedi is a second-year PhD student in the University of California, Irivine's Department of Anthropology. His research is based in East Africa and the western Indian Ocean, engaging themes of belonging, citizenship, and memory along the Swahili coast. Crossing the boundaries of African and Middle East Studies frameworks, his dissertation project intends to employ an Indian Ocean lens to provide an ethnographic account of how Tanzanian communities of Hadhrami-descent (living in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar island) engage, contest, and seek to rewrite state and local narratives of Arabness and community in East Africa. Beyond his dissertation project, he also is interested in Islam, ethnicity, and political and historical anthropologies of the western Indian Ocean.
My research explores competing articulations of national identity, belonging, and community along the Swahili coast. Engaging both Hadhrami diasporic communities as well as Zanzibari nationalists at the margins of Tanzanian politics, my work aims to examine how these minoritized groups contest and negotiate history, heritage, and memory in light of contemporary geopolitical and neoliberal transformations in East Africa.