Prof Gijsbert Oonk

Gijsbert Oonk (1966) is Head of the Department of History at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) Rotterdam, Netherlands. He is Associate Professor of African and South Asian History at ESHCC. He also serves as the ‘South Asian area/history’ editor of the Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient (JESHO) as well as editor of Geschiedenis Magazine (History Magazine, published in Dutch). In 2011-2012 he was the Alfred D. Chandler Jr. International Visiting Fellow in Business History at the Harvard Business School (Boston).


He specializes in business, migration and economic history. He is particular interested in the role of South Asian (Indian) migrants and settlers in East Africa. Presently he is finalizing his research project: Settled Strangers: Asian Business Elites in East Africa 1800-2000, Sage Publication, 2013).  This research has been funded by the Dutch Foundation of Tropical research (WOTRO/NWO). He also edited the book Global Indian Diasporas. Exploring Trajectories of Migration and Theory (Amsterdam University Press, 2007). In this volume the contributors critically review the concept of diaspora. This volume is free available as an open access publication:


His research and teaching activities are in the field of World History, especially African and Indian History.