Klara Boyer-Rossol
© Dr. Klara Boyer-Rossol

Dr. Klara Boyer-Rossol

Dr. Klara Boyer-Rossol
Postdoctoral Fellow
Centre de Recherches sur les Esclavages et les Post-Esclavages (CIRESC)
8 Cours des Humanités
93300 Aubervilliers, France

Phone: +34 695456238

Academic Position

2018-2019 Post-doctoral student at the Laboratory for Research Excellence (History and anthropology of knowledge, techniques and beliefs), École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), Paris, France. Affiliated to the Institut des Mondes Africains (IMAF). Research Project: "Production et transmission de savoirs par des captifs déportés, au cours du XIXe siècle, de l’Afrique orientale à Madagascar et aux Mascareignes."


Slaveries, Dependencies and Circulation of Knowledge in the South West Indian Ocean during the long 19th century

  • Slavery, Dependencies and Knowledge in the 19th century South-WestIndianOcean
  • Slaveries, Dominations and natural history collections on East Africa, Madagascar and the Mascarenes (from the end of the 18th century to the beginning of the 20th century).
  • The "Mozambiques" or "Makoa" : forced migrants in the 19th century South-West Indian Ocean

Research Project

I am an historian of Africa specialized on slave trades and slavery in 19th century South West Indian Ocean. My doctoral thesis (2015) focused on the Makua in Western Madagascar, a group formed by descendants of captives who were imported from East Africa (in particular from present-day Mozambique) to Madagascar during the 19th century. I analyzed the processes of deportation, enslavement and the identity transformation of East African captives who became “Makua” in Madagascar. In the 19th century South West Indian Ocean, the East African forced migrants categorized as “Makua” or “Mozambiques” experienced varied legal status and social conditions. However, slaves, "engagés" or "liberated" Africans were almost all captives deported from the continent to the South West Indian Ocean islands. By approaching the global history of the “Mozambiques” or “Makua” diasporas through the trajectories of individuals or groups and by analyzing their dynamics in a local scale, I offer a social history of slavery and dependency in the 19th century South-West Indian Ocean.

Over the several last years, I have been interested in linking the history of slavery and dependencies with the circulation of knowledge in the South-West Indian Ocean during the long 19th century. During their forced crossing, the captives have elaborated and disseminated very diverse knowledge (geographical, linguistical, botanical etc). A part of this knowledge has been collected by European naturalist travelers and transferred in Europe, through publications or museum collections, without the role of informants in the constitution of this knowledge being raised. I aim to trace the knowledge production chain back to these informants. I focus on a particular case study : the ethnographic survey conducted by Eugène de Froberville. Between 1845 and 1847, Froberville interviewed more than 300 East Africans deported as slaves, indentured workers or “liberated” in the islands of Reunion and Mauritius. Froberville collected from these forced migrants a large amount of knowledge (linguistical, geographical, musical etc) on East Africa. In the light of Froberville's notebooks (unpublished), I propose to analyze the production and circulation of knowledge by African captives who were deported in South-West Indian Ocean islands during the 19th century. My aim is to highlight the role of dependents as producers of knowledge.


  • 2006–2015              Ph.D., in African History, University Paris 7 Diderot, France
  • 2006                          M.A. in South Societies History, University Paris 7 Diderot, France
  • 2005                          M.A. in African History, University Paris 1 Sorbonne, France

Scientific Affiliations

  • 2018                          Researcher affiliated to the Unité de Recherche Migrations et Société (URMIS), Universités Paris Diderot et Nice
                                       Sophia Antipolis                              
  • 2018–2019              Postdoc, Researcher affiliated to the Institut des Mondes Africains (IMAF), CNRS.  
  • 2017                          Researcher affiliated to the Chaire d’études africaines comparées of the University Mohammed VI
                                       Polytechnique, Rabat, Marocco          
  • 2006–2016              Researcher affiliated to the Centre d’études en sciences sociales sur les mondes africains, américains et
                                       asiatiques (CESSMA), University Paris 7 Diderot

Fellowships and Awards

  • 2015                          Thesis Prize "Suzanne Césaire" of the National Committee for the Memory and History of Slavery (CNMHE),
                                       France. (7.000 euros)
  • 2007–2009              Doctoral mobility support grant from the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), France/Madagascar

Grants for Research Mission

  • 2017                          Mission to the National Archives of Mozambique, Maputo. (with the financial support of the French Institute of
                                       South Africa, IFAS).
  • 2011                          Mission to the National Archives of Great-Britain, London. (CESSMA/SEDET)
  • 2008                          Mission in National Archives of Madagascar, Antananarivo, and fieldwork in the West (AUF)
  • 2007                          Mission to the Ultramarine Historical Archives of Portugal, Lisbonne. (CESSMA/SEDET)
  • 2006                          Mission to the Missionary Archives of Stavanger, Norway. (CESSMA/SEDET)

Additional Academic Activities and Memberships

  • 2020–2024              Associate Researcher at the International Research Network (IRN) 
  • 2019–present          Member of the board of the International Research Centre on Slavery and Post-Slavery2 (CIRESC)
  • 2018–present          Research Fellow at the Centre for Research on Slavery and Indenture3 (CRSI), University of Mauritius, Mauritius
  • 2018–present          Research Member of the Africa-Europe Group for Interdisciplinary Studies (AEGIS)
  • 2017–2020              Participation in various scientific events organised in the framework of the European research programme
                                       SLAFNET Slavery in Africa4

Selected Publications

  • Histoire et Mémoires des Makoa à l’Ouest de Madagascar. Du XIXe siècle aux années 2000. Work in progress (Book manuscript in preparation to be submitted to Karthala Editions, collection Esclavages in 2021).
  • Co-director and co-editor with Marie-Pierre Ballarin (IRD) of the book Les esclavages en Afrique. Passé et présent. Manuscript submitted (Karthala Editions, collection Esclavages
     Les « Masombika » ou « Makoa » à Madagascar »". In Histoire Générale de l’Afrique, Unesco, volume Les diasporas dans le monde (to be published in 2021).
  • Makua Life Histories: Testimonies on Slavery and the Slave Trade in the 19th century in Madagascar. In A. Bellagamba, S. E. Greene, and M. Klein, African Voices on Slavery and the Slave Trade, Volume 1 : The Sources, Cambridge 2013, 466480.
  • From the Great Island to the African continent through the western world, itineraries of a “return to the origins” through hip-hop music in Madagascar (2000–2011). In: S. Meylon-Reinette (ed.), Marronnage and Arts : Revolts in Bodies and Voices, Cambridge 2012, 161–177.
  • La stigmatisation des Makoa ou Masombika : les séquelles de l’esclavage à Madagascar (XIXe -XXe siècles). In: L. Medea, Kaf, Zarlor Editions 2009, 31–38.
    Réinvestir le sacré. Musiques, paroles et rites chez les anciens captifs déportés de l'Afrique orientale à Madagascar. XIXe-XXe siècles. In: Françoise Vergès (dir), Les Armes miraculeuses, Africultures, n°98, L'Harmattan, 2014, 186–195.
  •  [in process of publication] with Marie-Pierre Ballarin  « Introduction ». In: Marie-Pierre Ballarin et Klara Boyer-Rossol (dir et eds), Les esclavages en Afrique. Passé et présent, Paris, Karthala, collection Esclavages.
  • Nos ancêtres sont venus d’au-delà les mers » : l’histoire des Makoa à Madagascar, un pont mémoriel entre la Grande Île, les Mascareignes et le continent africain ». In: V. J. Teelock et T. Vernet (dir), Traites, Esclavage et transition vers l’Engagisme. Perspectives nouvelles sur les Mascareignes et le sud-ouest de l’océan Indien 1715-1848, Center for research on Slavery and Indenture, Université de Maurice, 2015, pp. 58-63.
  • Les Makoa en pays sakalava : Une ancestralité entre deux rives, Ouest de Madagascar, XIXe-XXe siècles ». In M. Cottias, E. Cunin, A. de Almeida Mendes, Les traites et les esclavages. Perspectives historiques et contemporaines, Paris, Karthala, collection Esclavages, 2010, pp.189-199.
  • De Morima à Morondava : itinéraires d’ancêtres venus « de l’au-delà des mers ». Contribution à l’étude de la formation du groupe makoa (côte ouest de Madagascar au XIXe siècle) ». In: D. Nativel, F. Rajaonah, Madagascar et l'Afrique, Paris, Karthala, 2007, pp.183-217.
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