The Journal of Indian Ocean World Studies (JIOWS) is the creation of the Indian Ocean World Centre (IOWC) at McGill University. Aimed for an interdisciplinary, academic audience, it publishes original peer reviewed articles by established and emerging scholars in the social sciences, humanities, and related disciplines that contribute to an understanding of the Indian Ocean World (IOW) and its constituent parts, from early times to the present day.

The JIOWS recognises the urgent need to re-assess Eurocentric spatial, temporal and thematic paradigms that have conventionally dominated academic perceptions of extra-European regions and societies. It also recognises the significance of environmental factors in human life, and of human-environment interaction, rather than human action alone, as the major catalyst of historical change.

In spatial terms, the IOW comprises both maritime and terrestrial zones. These include all maritime areas affected by the Asian monsoon system, and significant ancillary systems of winds and currents, such as the southeastern trade wind system. Broadly speaking, the IOW monsoon zones are, from east to west, the Sea of Japan, the South and the East China seas, the Philippine Sea, the Indonesian seas, the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf, and the Red Sea.

The IOW also includes all terrestrial zones affected by the monsoon and associated climatic systems, and those possessing significant durable linkages to the IOW maritime zones. These comprise regions littoral to the IOW maritime zones and the deep hinterland. The IOW includes, for example, the regions in Asia bordering the ancient overland Silk Road, and continental Africa approximately east of the Cape to Cairo line.

In this context, we invite re-examinations of conventional spatial paradigms, such as nation states, and embrace opportunities for both micro-regional and trans-regional studies. Similarly, in the light of human-environment interaction, we invite challenges to conventional temporal paradigms, such as the “early modern” and its focus on European agency. Such shifts in paradigm inevitably place a focus upon human factors of IOW origin, of different gender,  ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, and of the interaction of these human factors with changing environmental and climatic forces.

While we accept studies with single disciplinary focus, we recognise that the study of IOW history, environments, and cultures is a multidisciplinary effort, and we encourage submissions not only from standard humanities and social science disciplines, but also those addressing a broadly diverse audience that embrace tangent disciplines, such as earth sciences and genetics.