Nicholas W. S. Smith, "Colonial Chaos in the Southern Red Sea" (Cambridge UP, 2021)


Today, the countries bordering the Red Sea are riven with instability. Why are the region's contemporary problems so persistent and interlinked? Through the stories of three compelling characters, Colonial Chaos in the Southern Red Sea (Cambridge UP, 2021) sheds light on the unfurling of anarchy and violence during the colonial era. A noble Somali sultan, a cunning Yemeni militia leader, and a Machiavellian French merchant ran amok in the southern Red Sea in the nineteenth and twentieth century. In response to colonial hostility and gunboat diplomacy, they attacked shipwrecks, launched piratical attacks, and traded arms, slaves, and drugs. Their actions contributed to the transformation of the region's international relations, redrew the political map, upended its diplomatic culture, and remodelled its traditions of maritime law, sowing the seeds of future unrest. Colonisation created chaos in the southern Red Sea. Colonial Chaos offers an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the relationship between the region's colonial past and its contemporary instability.

Drora Arussy, EdD, MA, MJS, is the Senior Director of the ASF Institute of Jewish Experience.

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Drora Arussy

Drora Arussy, EdD, MA, MJS, is the Executive Director of Unity Through Diversity Institute. She has produced eight online courses and organized international academic conferences in NY, across Israel, Cambridge (UK),and Rabat (Morocco). Drora hosts the Reclaiming Identity podcast. She is the co-editor of the Jews and Muslims in Morocco: Their Intersecting Worlds (Lexington Press, 2021) and author of Leah Nassi of Lisbon, a historical novel (Amazon, 2022). Her passion for pride in one’s identity is at the core of her endeavors.

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