Matthew S. Hopper is a Professor of History at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. His research focuses on slavery and abolition in the Indian Ocean world.
His book, Slaves of One Master: Globalization and Slavery in Arabia in the Age of Empire (Yale University Press, 2015), which focuses on the history of the African diaspora in Arabia and the Gulf, was a finalist for the Frederick Douglass Book Prize in 2016. He received a Ph.D. in History from UCLA, a M.A. in African Studies from UCLA and a M.A. in History from Temple University. He has held postdoctoral and visiting fellowships at the Gilder Lehrman Center at Yale University, the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, the University of Cambridge, and King’s College London. His work has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, Fulbright-Hays, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the British Academy; and his writing has been published in Annales, Itinerario, and the Journal of African Development.
During his time at the Africa Institute, he will be working on a book on the history of liberated Africans in the Indian Ocean world. This follow-up project to his first book explores the lives of enslaved Africans who were captured aboard slave ships by the British Royal Navy in the Indian Ocean between 1808 and 1897. Called “liberated Africans” by British officials, these recaptives were resettled in places such as Cape Town, Mauritius, Zanzibar, Mombasa, Aden, Bombay and the Seychelles, where they were indentured for periods of 14 years and often made to perform manual agricultural and domestic labor that resembled slavery. The book explores the paradoxes of antislavery and abolition in the nineteenth-century Indian Ocean.