Faculty Directory

Ismael Montana

Associate Professor

Fields of Study: African History, Colonial Empires, Global, Religion

E-mail: montana@niu.edu
Phone: 815-753-8420
Office: Zulauf 616

Education:  Ph.D., York University (Canada), 2007

Current Research:

My research interests include the social and economic history of slavery in Northwest Africa and the Mediterranean Islamic world in the 18th and 19th centuries. My forthcoming book, entitled:  The Abolition of Slavery in Ottoman Tunisia, (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, Summer 2013),  examines the trans-Saharan slave trade in a broader historical and regional contexts by exploring how European capitalism, political pressure and evolving social dynamics throughout the western Mediterranean region shaped debates over abolition of slavery in Tunisia.

My current research projects draw on comparative studies of slavery, cultural transplantation and creolization in the Americas and examine their parallel trajectories within the broad sphere of Muslim West Africa, North Africa and the Mediterranean rim. I am presently working on a new project on African slavery, displacement, and the development of culture, and citizenship in the western Mediterranean from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries.

Major/Recent Publications: 


  • The Abolition of Slavery in Ottoman Tunisia, (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, Summer 2013).


  • [With] Paul Lovejoy and Behnaz Mirzai Asl, ed., Islam, Slavery and Diaspora, New Jersey: Africa World Press, 2009.


  • “Bori practice among enslaved West Africans of Ottoman Tunis: Unbelief (Kufr) or another dimension of the African diaspora?,” History of the Family: An International  Quarterly 16 (2011) 152–159.
  • “The Trans-Saharan Slave Trade of Ottoman Tunisia, 1574 to 1782,” The Maghreb Review, Vol. 33, 2, 2008, 132-150.
  • “The Ordeal of Slave Flights in Tunis,” In Alice Bellagamba, Sandra Greene, Carolyn Brown and Martin Klein (eds.), African Slavery/African Voices (New York: Cambridge University Press, [Forthcoming, Spring 2013).
  •  “The Stambali of Tunis: Its Origins and Transculturation from a Secret-Possession Cult to Ethno-Religious and National Culture in Husaynid Tunisia” In Ehud R. Toledano (ed.), African Communities in Asia and the Mediterranean: Identities Between Integration and Conflict, Halle and New Jersey: Max Plank Institute and Africa World Press, 2011.
  • “Bori Colonies in Tunis,” In Ismael M. Montana, Paul E. Lovejoy and Behnaz Mirzai Asl (eds.), Islam, Slavery and Diaspora, Trenton NJ: Africa World Press, 2009.
  • “Ahmad Ibn al-Qadi al-Timbuktawi on the Bori Ceremonies of Sudan-Tunis,” in Paul E. Lovejoy (ed.), Slavery on the Frontiers of Islam (New Jersey: Marcus Weiner Publishers, 2004), pp. 173-198. 

Teaching Interests:

My teaching portfolio include: (General): Modern Africa; (Specific): West African Slave Trades; African Diaspora; European Expansion in Africa, Islamic Responses to Colonial Rule in Africa, Islam and Islamic Civilization.

Courses taught recently:

  • HIST 170 World History to 1500
  • HIST 348 African History to 1600
  • HIST 349 African History since 1600
  • HIST 398-1 Slavery and the Slave Trade in West Africa
  • HIST 440 Islam and Colonialism in Africa
  • HIST 441 African Diaspora
  • HIST 630-680 Graduate Reading Seminar: Northwest African, the Maghrib and the Meditterranean

Interdisciplinary Affiliations:

  • African Studies Association
  • Canadian Association of African Studies
  • West Africa Research Association