Indian Ocean Research and Action Network

A fishing boat carrying Sri Lankan Tamil asylum-seekers heads to
Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. Deccan Chronicle, 6 April 2013.

The Indian Ocean Research and Action Network (IORAN) connects scholars, artists and community organisations working to increase co-operation and understanding across the unevenly globalising region encompassed by the Indian Ocean. An initiative of early career researchers at The University of Melbourne, the network fosters engagements between innovative projects focusing on societies along the Indian Ocean rim, highlighting connections and rethinking the role of Australia in the region. Forging partnerships between university-based researchers and the broader community, the IORAN hosts seminars, graduate workshops and public events.


Shakira Hussein is a Honorary Fellow at the Asia Institute at The University of Melbourne working on the issues of gender and Islam, spanning Pakistan and Australia. Her writing and research examines how women negotiate gendered violence and racialised political discourse, placing Muslim women's experience of Australian multiculturalism within the larger geopolitical context of foreign policy across the Indian Ocean world. Shakira completed her PhD in 2009 at the Australian National University and is currently engaged in research project on women leaders in Jamati Islami, a political Islamic organisation in contemporary Pakistan. Shakira's interdisciplinary research crosses the fields of Islamic Studies, Cultural Studies, Government and Politics. In addition to scholarly outputs, Shakira is a leading voice in Australian public debates about Islam and gender and her writings have appeared in major Australian newspapers, magazines and literary journals.

Samia Khatun is a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow in the History program at The University of Melbourne and is collaborating with workers rights activists in Bangladesh to produce a 400-year history of textile workers from Mughal Bengal to contemporary Bangladesh. Taking a slices-through-time approach, Samia is investigating how workers have memorialised five key moments in the history of textile production through song and poetry beginning with Mughal Bengal and ending with the Rana Plaza collapse in contemporary Bangladesh. Samia completed her PhD in 2012 at the University of Sydney, where her research examined connections between South Asia and Australia using Aboriginal and South Asian language materials. Since then she has held postdoctoral fellowships at Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin and The Centre for Research on Colonial Culture, Dunedin as well as a writing fellowship at the Asian-American Writers Workshop, New York. Samia has also made documentaries on Australian race relations that have screened on SBS and ABC TV.

Coel Kirkby is a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Melbourne Law School at The University of Melbourne. Before that he was an Endeavour Fellow at the University of New South Wales. In 2013 he completed his PhD thesis at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Professor Paul McHugh. Coel has published on comparative constitutional law, legal theory and British imperial history. He has two current projects. The first project is a book entitled The Birth of the Native: The Politics and Practice of Late British Imperialism. It is a comparative history that draws new connections between the imperial ideologies of 'native' rule of the settler and dependent colonies, including Australian and India, in the late nineteenth century. The second is his McKenzie project, a comparative study of the colonial legacies shaping indigenous self-government in the modern constitutions of Australia and Canada compared with India and South Africa. Coel has also assisted in constitution-making processes for Fiji and the Democratic Republic of Congo as a constitutional law advisor.

For more information please email Samia Khatun.