Thomas F. McDow

Thomas F. McDow is an assistant professor of history at Ohio State University. He teaches courses on the history of Africa, the Indian Ocean, and the world.

Listed in: African Studies · Legal History · African History · Social History

Buying Time · Debt and Mobility in the Western Indian Ocean
By Thomas F. McDow

In Buying Time, Thomas F. McDow synthesizes Indian Ocean, Middle Eastern, and East African studies as well as economic and social history to explain how, in the nineteenth century, credit, mobility, and kinship knit together a vast interconnected Indian Ocean region. That vibrant and enormously influential swath extended from the desert fringes of Arabia to Zanzibar and the Swahili coast and on to the Congo River watershed.

“In Buying Time, McDow argues for a transnational western Indian Ocean network of credit and debt that linked both coastal and interior Oman to Zanzibar and the continental African interior in the long nineteenth century. With remarkable, previously ignored Arabic legal documents its heart, McDow’s analysis is notably innovative in the way it links environmental factors, debt, and mobility.”

Edward A. Alpers, author of The Indian Ocean in World History