Current Research 

My research interests center on the social and economic history of slavery in Northwest Africa and the Mediterranean Islamic world in the 18th and 19th centuries. My first book, The Abolition of Slavery in Ottoman Tunisia, (University Press of Florida, 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, the development of culture and citizenship in the western Mediterranean from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries.

Major Publications


  • The Abolition of Slavery in Ottoman Tunisia, (University Press of Florida, 2013).
  • [With] Paul Lovejoy and Behnaz Mirzai Asl, ed., Islam, Slavery and Diaspora, New Jersey: Africa World Press, 2009.

Articles and Chapters

  • “The Forgotten Sudanic Palace Guards of Ali Bey I: Their Genesis, Functions, and Legacy in Ottoman Tunisia.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 38, no. 2 (2018): 296-309.
  • “European capitalism and the effects of agricultural commercialization on slave labor in Tunisia, 1780s–1880s.” Labor History. Vol. 58. 2, 2017, 201-214.
  • Evolution and Transformations of West Africans’ Households (Diyar) in Tunis, 1738-1880s: A Preliminary Assessment,” In Scott Youngstedt and Tara Deubel (eds.), Saharan Crossroads: Historical, Cultural and Artistic Linkages between North and West Africa. London: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014.
  • “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 

I teach a wide range of courses including slavery and emancipation, The African Diaspora, Islam and Colonialism in Africa, Northwest Africa and the Mediterranean as well as pre-colonial and modern African history.

Courses Taught

  • 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 Mediterranean
  • HIST 710-760: Graduate Research Seminar: Slavery and Emancipation

Interdisciplinary Affiliations

  • African Studies Association
  • Canadian Association of African Studies
  • West Africa Research Association
  • American Institute for Maghrib Studies


Ismael Montana

Ismael Montana
Associate Professor
Zulauf 616


Ph.D., York University (Canada), 2007

Office Hours

By appointment