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New Books in the Indian Ocean World
40 minutes | 6 days ago
J. E. Peterson, "The Emergence of the Gulf States: Studies in Modern History" (Bloomsbury, 2016)
The Emergence of the Gulf States: Studies in Modern History (Bloomsbury, 2016) offers an overview of the history of Saudi Arabia and the five Persian/Arabian Gulf states that emerged from British rule between 1961 and 1971--including Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.The book synthesized the works of many academics, all experts in their field to bring forward a book that is as comprehensive as possible about the history of the region. It has 11 chapter and all but one chapter are organized into two sections. The first section provides a narrative of the the topic and the second a bibliographic overview.The scope of the book is vast but predominantly focus on the the history of the gulf from the 1800s to roughly the 1970s and in some cases the 80s. A general theme that the book centers around is that historically speaking, the gulf was interconnected within itself, as Arabs and Persians and other respective ethnic groups, intermixed, traded, fought and married within themselves. Hence the creation of the nation states politically, economically, socially and academically disconnected the region, changing the way people interacted with each other and the outside world as well as shaping the way in which academics studies them.J. E. Peterson is affiliated with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona, USA. He has been a Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (Philadelphia) and the Middle East Institute (Washington, D.C.), and an Adjunct Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (Washington, D.C.). Until 1999, he served as the Historian of the Sultan's Armed Forces in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for Security and Defence in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, and spent 2000-2001 at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.Yasmine Al Bastaki is a Masters Student at the Emirates Diplomatic Academy studying International Affairs and Diplomacy. She has a general interest in M.E.N.A studies and issues of Identity. She can be reached at email@example.com. Listener’s feedback, questions and book suggestions are most welcome.
95 minutes | 13 days ago
Nurfadzilah Yahaya, "Fluid Jurisdictions: Colonial Law and Arabs in Southeast Asia" (Cornell UP, 2020)
Fluid Jurisdictions: Colonial Law and Arabs in Southeast Asia (Cornell University Press, 2020) by Prof. Nurfadzilah Yahaya is a wide-ranging, geographically ambitious book that tells the story of the Arab diaspora within the context of British and Dutch colonialism, unpacking the community's ambiguous embrace of European colonial authority in Southeast Asia. Here, Yahaya looks at colonial legal infrastructure – discussing how it impacted, and was impacted by, Islam and ethnicity. But more importantly, she follows the actors who used this framework to advance their particular interests. Yahaya explains why Arab minorities in the region helped to fuel the entrenchment of European colonial legalities: their itinerant lives made institutional records necessary. Securely stored in centralized repositories, such records could be presented as evidence in legal disputes. In order to ensure accountability down the line, Arab merchants valued notarial attestation land deeds, inheritance papers, and marriage certificates by recognized state officials. Colonial subjects continually played one jurisdiction against another, sometimes preferring that colonial legal authorities administer Islamic law—even against fellow Muslims. Fluid Jurisdictions draws on lively material from multiple international archives to demonstrate the interplay between colonial projections of order and their realities, Arab navigation of legally plural systems in Southeast Asia and beyond, and the fraught and deeply human struggles that played themselves out between family, religious, contract, and commercial legal orders.Nurfadzilah Yahaya is a legal historian of the Indian Ocean. She is currently Assistant Professor at the History Department, National University of Singapore (NUS). She was a Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute until June 2016, NUS. She is the Editor of the World Legal History Blog on Humanities and Social Sciences Online (H-net). She received her PhD in History from Princeton University in 2012, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Islamic Studies in Washington University in St. Louis until June 2015. She has published journal articles in Law and History Review, Indonesia and the Malay World, and The Muslim World.Kelvin Ng hosted the episode. He is a Ph.D. student at Yale University, History Department. His research interests broadly lie in the history of imperialism and anti-imperialism in the early-twentieth-century Indian Ocean circuit.Janna Aladdin is a recent MA graduate of NYU’s Near Eastern studies program.
66 minutes | 17 days ago
Anne Gerritsen, "The City of Blue and White: Chinese Porcelain and the Early Modern World" (Cambridge UP, 2020)
We think of blue and white porcelain as the ultimate global commodity: throughout East and Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean including the African coasts, the Americas and Europe, consumers desired Chinese porcelains. Many of these were made in the kilns in and surrounding Jingdezhen. Found in almost every part of the world, Jingdezhen's porcelains had a far-reaching impact on global consumption, which in turn shaped the local manufacturing processes. The imperial kilns of Jingdezhen produced ceramics for the court, while nearby private kilns manufactured for the global market. In The City of Blue and White: Chinese Porcelain and the Early Modern World (Cambridge UP, 2020), Anne Gerritsen asks how this kiln complex could manufacture such quality, quantity and variety. She explores how objects tell the story of the past, connecting texts with objects, objects with natural resources, and skilled hands with the shapes and designs they produced. Through the manufacture and consumption of Jingdezhen's porcelains, she argues, China participated in the early modern world.
73 minutes | 17 days ago
Sujit Sivasundaram, "Waves Across the South: A New History of Revolution and Empire" (William Collins, 2020)
In Waves Across the South: A New History of Revolution and Empire (William Collins, 2020), Sujit Sivasundaram brings together far-flung archives across the world and the best new academic research. Too often, history is told from the northern hemisphere, with modernity, knowledge, selfhood and politics moving from Europe to influence the rest of the world. This book traces the origins of our times from the perspective of indigenous and non-European people in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. From Aboriginal Australians to Parsis and from Mauritians to Malays, people asserted their place and their future as the British empire drove unexpected change. The tragedy of colonisation was that it reversed the immense possibilities for liberty, humanity and equality in this period. Waves Across the South insists on the significance of the environment; the waves of the Bay of Bengal or the Tasman Sea were the context for this story. Sivasundaram tells how revolution, empire and counter-revolt crashed in the global South. Naval war, imperial rivalry and oceanic trade had their parts to play, but so did hope, false promise, rebellion, knowledge and the pursuit of being modern.Sujit Sivasundaram is Professor of World History at the University of Cambridge and Fellow in History at Gonville and Caius College.Kelvin Ng hosted the episode. He is a Ph.D. student at Yale University, History Department. His research interests broadly lie in the history of imperialism and anti-imperialism in the early-twentieth-century Indian Ocean circuit.
74 minutes | 20 days ago
Pedro Machado, "Pearls, People, and Power: Pearling and Indian Ocean Worlds" (Ohio UP, 2020)
Pearls, People, and Power: Pearling and Indian Ocean Worlds (Ohio University Press, 2020), co-edited by Pedro Machado, Joseph Christensen, Steve Mullins) is the first book to examine the trade, distribution, production, and consumption of pearls and mother-of-pearl in the global Indian Ocean over more than five centuries. While scholars have long recognized the importance of pearling to the social, cultural, and economic practices of both coastal and inland areas, the overwhelming majority have confined themselves to highly localized or at best regional studies of the pearl trade. By contrast, this book stresses how pearling and the exchange in pearl shell were interconnected processes that brought the ports, islands, and coasts into close relation with one another, creating dense networks of connectivity that were not necessarily circumscribed by local, regional, or indeed national frames. By encompassing the geographical, cultural, and thematic diversity of Indian Ocean pearling, Pearls, People, and Power deepens our appreciation of the underlying historical dynamics of the many worlds of the Indian Ocean.Pedro Machado is a global and Indian Ocean historian with interests in commodity histories, labor and migratory movements, and the social, cultural, environmental, and commercial trajectories of objects. He is based at Indiana University, Bloomington.
62 minutes | 24 days ago
Ian Foster, "Conscripts of Migration: Neoliberal Globalization, Nationalism, and the Literature of New African Diasporas" (UP of Mississippi, 2019)
In Conscripts of Migration: Neoliberal Globalization, Nationalism, and the Literature of New African Diasporas (UP of Mississippi, 2019) author Christopher Ian Foster analyzes increasingly urgent questions regarding crises of global immigration by redefining migration in terms of conscription and by studying contemporary literature. Reporting on immigration, whether liberal or conservative, popular or scholarly, leaves out the history in which the Global North helped create outward migration in the Global South. From histories of racial capitalism, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and imperialism to contemporary neoliberal globalization and the resurgence of xenophobic nationalism, countries in the Global North continue to devastate and destabilize the Global South. Britain, France, Italy, and the United States, in different ways, police the effects of their own global policies at their borders.Foster provides a substantial study of a new body of contemporary African diasporic literature called migritude literature. Migritude indicates the work and ideas of a disparate yet distinct group of younger African authors born after independence in the 1960s. Most often migritude authors have lived both in and outside Africa and narrate the experiences of migration under the pressures of globalization. They also emphasize that immigration itself and stereotypes of the immigrant are entangled with the history of colonialism. Authors like Fatou Diome, Shailja Patel, Abdourahman Waberi, Cristina Ali Farah, and others confront critical issues of migrancy, diaspora, departure, return, racism, identity, gender, sexuality, and postcoloniality.Christopher Ian Foster teaches in the International Studies program at Colorado State University.
55 minutes | a month ago
Sarah Longair, "Cracks in the Dome: Fractured Histories of Empire in the Zanzibar Museum, 1897-1964" (Routledge, 2015)
As one of the most monumental and recognisable landmarks from Zanzibar’s years as a British Protectorate, the distinctive domed building of the Zanzibar Museum (also known as the Beit al-Amani or Peace Memorial Museum) is widely known and familiar to Zanzibaris and visitors alike. Yet the complicated and compelling history behind its construction and collection has been overlooked by historians until now. Drawing on a rich and wide range of hitherto unexplored archival, photographic, architectural and material evidence, this book is the first serious investigation of this remarkable institution.Although the museum was not opened until 1925, Cracks in the Dome: Fractured Histories of Empire in the Zanzibar Museum, 1897-1964 (Routledge, 2015) traces the longer history of colonial display which culminated in the establishment of the Zanzibar Museum. It reveals the complexity of colonial knowledge production in the changing political context of the twentieth century British Empire and explores the broad spectrum of people from diverse communities who shaped its existence as staff, informants, collectors and teachers. Through vivid narratives involving people, objects and exhibits, this book exposes the fractures, contradictions and tensions in creating and maintaining a colonial museum, and casts light on the conflicted character of the ’colonial mission’ in eastern Africa.Sarah Longair a Senior Lecturer at the School of History and Heritage at the University of Lincoln.Ali Bennett is a recent PhD graduate from UCL and postdoctoral fellow from the Paul Mellon Centre in London. Her research focuses on the material and visual histories of British colonialism in eastern Africa. She also has interests in global and colonial art and architecture, and the histories of collecting and museums. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @alibeenet.
48 minutes | a month ago
Eve M. Troutt Powell, "Tell This in my Memory: Stories of Enslavement from Egypt, Sudan, and the Ottoman Empire" (Stanford UP, 2013)
Tell This in my Memory : Stories of Enslavement from Egypt, Sudan, and the Ottoman Empire (Stanford University Press) is a study of slavery, liberation, and remembrance between the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries. Examines the mechanisms of enslavement and emancipation through narratives told by captive and their descendants as well as European missionaries.The power of the narrative Eve Troutt-Powell puts forward is further strengthened by the fact that she looks at slavery through a global lense integrating histories of Europe and the Atlantic with African, Egyptian, Circassian, and Ottoman history by not imposing upon it geographical limits imposed by a specific field of study, The author brings forth a fresh and integrated perspective on the slave trade.The framework of racial identity constructed through these stories proves instrumental in explaining how countries in a post 19th century middle east confronted or didn’t the legacy of the slave trade. Today, these imprinted memories of slavery live on for contemporary refugees whose forced migrations often replicate the journeys and stigmas faced by slaves in the nineteenth century.The book presents an interesting easy read, where key ideas are not lost in academic jargon.It speaks to an audience beyond those studying middle east history and culture . The author asks probing questions about the lives and stories of slaves through perceptive readings of chronicles, memoirs, photographs, and other sources.It explores the geographic, spiritual and personal stories of enslaved people.Furthermore the book, acts as living memory as it not only explores the stories of slaves but also the memories of people who owned or were slaves. By exploring these narratives as such Troutt-Powell has chosen to show readers the choices her subjects made, the lives they were forced to lead, and the ways in which they came to accept their fate.The book aims to humanize the experiences of silenced people and stories that would not have otherwise been heard and these narrative are only brought alive by not limiting the narrative to the enslaved but also using the voices of those who enslaved. In doing so she offers valuable insights into how slaves interpret foreigners and how foreigners understand or misunderstand them.Troutt- Powell uses several other “fragments of autobiography” to illustrate the point that narratives, where they do exist, are subject to the filters and prejudices of the translator, the interviewer, or the intended reader. Often they do not help and, on occasion, they can even degrade the person telling the story.Eve M. Troutt Powell is associate professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a contributor to Race and Slavery in the Middle East: Histories of Trans-Saharan Africans in Nineteenth-Century Egypt, Sudan, and the Ottoman MediterraneanYasmine Al Bastaki is a Masters Student at the Emirates Diplomatic Academy studying International Affairs and Diplomacy. She has a general interest in M.E.N.A studies and issues of Identity. She can be reached at email@example.com. Listener’s feedback, questions and book suggestions are most welcome.
49 minutes | a month ago
S. Wynne-Jones and A. LaViolette, "The Swahili World" (Routledge, 2017)
The Swahili World (Routledge, 2017) presents the fascinating story of a major world civilization, exploring the archaeology, history, linguistics, and anthropology of the eastern coast of Africa. It covers a 1,500-year sweep of history, from the first settlement of the coast to the complex urban and rural spaces found there today. This is the first volume to explore the Swahili coast in chronological perspective. Each chapter offers a unique wealth of detail on an aspect of the region’s past, written by leading scholars on the subject. The result is a book that allows both specialist and non-specialist readers to explore the diversity of coastal East African traditions, how Swahili society has changed over time, and how our understandings of the region have shifted since Swahili studies first began in the nineteenth.Scholars of the African continent will find the most nuanced and detailed consideration of Swahili culture, language, and history ever produced. For readers unfamiliar with the region or the people involved, the chapters here provide an ideal introduction to a new and wonderful geography, at the interface of Africa and the Indian Ocean world.Stephanie Wynne-Jones is deputy head and senior lecturer in the department of archaeology at the University of YorkAdria LaViolette is professor and director of undergraduate studies in the department of anthropology at the University of Virginia Jenny Peruski is a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University, Department of History of Art and Architecture. Her research focuses on ornamentation and bodily adornment in coastal eastern Africa. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
32 minutes | a month ago
Ravi Palat, "The Making of an Indian Ocean World-Economy, 1250–1650" (Palgrave, 2015)
Ravi Palat’s The Making of an Indian Ocean World-Economy, 1250–1650: Princes, Paddy fields, and Bazaars (Palgrave, 2015) counters eurocentric notions of long-term historical change by drawing upon the histories of societies based on wet-rice cultivation to chart an alternate pattern of social evolution and state formation. It traces inter-state linkages and the growth of commercialization without capitalism in the Indian Ocean World.Dr. Ravi Palat is professor of sociology at SUNY Binghamton. His research interests include world-systems analysis, historical sociology, political economy, and the sociology of food. Currently working on cuisine as an element of state formation and the cultivation of a national culture; on the Americas in the making of early modern world-economies in Asia; on the parallel transformations of China and India since the mid-1800s; and on a critique of contemporary area studies. Earlier work centered on the political economy of east and southeast Asia in the context of contemporary transformations of the capitalist world-economy; and on the making of an Indian Ocean world-economy.Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law and the environment across the Western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome.
94 minutes | a month ago
Wilson Chacko Jacob, "For God or Empire: Sayyid Fadl and the Indian Ocean World" (Stanford UP, 2019)
Sayyid Fadl, a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, led a unique life—one that spanned much of the nineteenth century and connected India, Arabia, and the Ottoman Empire. For God or Empire: Sayyid Fadl and the Indian Ocean World (Stanford University Press) tells his story, part biography and part global history, as his life and legacy afford a singular view on historical shifts of power and sovereignty, religion and politics.Wilson Chacko Jacob recasts the genealogy of modern sovereignty through the encounter between Islam and empire-states in the Indian Ocean world. Fadl's travels in worlds seen and unseen made for a life that was both unsettled and unsettling. And through his life at least two forms of sovereignty—God and empire—become apparent in intersecting global contexts of religion and modern state formation.While these changes are typically explained in terms of secularization of the state and the birth of rational modern man, the life and afterlives of Sayyid Fadl—which take us from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Indian Ocean worlds to twenty-first century cyberspace—offer a more open-ended global history of sovereignty and a more capacious conception of life.Wilson Chacko Jacob is an Associate Professor of History at Concordia University in Montréal, where he has been teaching since 2006. He is the author of the well-received monograph Working Out Egypt: Effendi Masculinity and Subject Formation in Colonial Modernity, 1870-1940 (Duke University Press, 2011).Kelvin Ng hosted the episode. He is a Ph.D. student at Yale University, History Department. His research interests broadly lie in the history of imperialism and anti-imperialism in the early-twentieth-century Indian Ocean circuit.Saumyashree Ghosh co-hosted the episode. She is a PhD candidate in History at Princeton University. She works on South Asia and the Indian Ocean world and her research involves business and legal histories, histories of religious and political institutions in Islam and histories of empire and slave trade.
46 minutes | 2 months ago
Alexis Wick, "The Red Sea In Search of Lost Space" (U California Press, 2016)
The Red Sea has, from time immemorial, been one of the world’s most navigated spaces, in the pursuit of trade, pilgrimage and conquest. Yet this multidimensional history remains largely unrevealed by its successive protagonists.Intrigued by the absence of a holistic portrayal of this body of water and inspired by Fernand Braudel’s famous work on the Mediterranean, this book brings alive a dynamic Red Sea world across time, revealing the particular features of a unique historical actor. In capturing this heretofore lost space, it also presents a critical, conceptual history of the sea, leading the reader into the heart of Eurocentrism. The Sea, it is shown, is a vital element of the modern philosophy of history.Alexis Wick is not satisfied with this inclusion of the Red Sea into history and attendant critique of Eurocentrism. Contrapuntally, in The Red Sea In Search of Lost Space (University of California Press, 2016) he explores how the world and the sea were imagined differently before imperial European hegemony. Searching for the lost space of Ottoman visions of the sea, The Red Sea makes a deeper argument about the discipline of history and the historian’s craft.Alexis Wick is Associate Professor of History at the American University of Beirut.Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law and the environment across the Western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome.
65 minutes | 2 months ago
Matthew S. Hopper, "Slaves of One Master: Globalization and Slavery in Arabia in the Age of Empire” (Yale UP, 2015)
In this wide-ranging history of the African diaspora and slavery in Arabia in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Matthew S. Hopper examines the interconnected themes of enslavement, globalization, and empire and challenges previously held conventions regarding Middle Eastern slavery and British imperialism. Whereas conventional historiography regards the Indian Ocean slave trade as fundamentally different from its Atlantic counterpart, Slaves of One Master: Globalization and Slavery in Arabia in the Age of Empire (Yale UP, 2015) argues that both systems were influenced by global economic forces. The author goes on to dispute the triumphalist antislavery narrative that attributes the end of the slave trade between East Africa and the Persian Gulf to the efforts of the British Royal Navy, arguing instead that Great Britain allowed the inhuman practice to continue because it was vital to the Gulf economy and therefore vital to British interests in the region.Hopper’s book links the personal stories of enslaved Africans to the impersonal global commodity chains their labor enabled, demonstrating how the growing demand for workers created by a global demand for Persian Gulf products compelled the enslavement of these people and their transportation to eastern Arabia. His provocative and deeply researched history fills a salient gap in the literature on the African diaspora.Dr. Matthew S. Hopper is a Professor of History at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. His book, Slaves of One Master: Globalization and Slavery in Arabia in the Age of Empire (Yale University Press, 2015), was a finalist for the 2016 Frederick Douglass Book Prize. In recent years, he has been conducting archival work in Mauritius, Cape Town and the Seychelles for a new book project on the history of liberated Africans in the Indian Ocean world.Robyn Morse is a History Ph.D. student at the University of Virginia. Her research focus includes archival memory, slavery, and socio-economic history in the Middle East and Indian Ocean World. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.
86 minutes | 2 months ago
Prita Meier, "Swahili Port Cities: The Architecture of Elsewhere" (Indiana UP, 2016)
On the Swahili coast of East Africa, monumental stone houses, tombs, and mosques mark the border zone between the interior of the African continent and the Indian Ocean. In Swahili Port Cities: The Architecture of Elsewhere (Indiana University Press), Prita Meier explores this coastal environment and shows how an African mercantile society created a place of cosmopolitan longing.Meier understands architecture as more than a way to remake local space. Rather, the architecture of this liminal zone was an expression of the desire of coastal inhabitants to belong to places beyond their homeports. Here architecture embodies modern ideas and social identities engendered by the encounter of Africans with others in the Indian Ocean world.Prita Meier is Associate Professor of Art History, Department of Art History, and the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU. She co-edited with Allyson Purpura World on the Horizon: Swahili Arts across the Indian Ocean (Krannert Art Museum, 2017).Co-hosted with Jenny Peruski a Ph.D. student at Harvard University, Department of History of Art and Architecture. Her research focuses on ornamentation and bodily adornment in coastal Eastern Africa. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law and the environment across the Western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome.
81 minutes | 2 months ago
E. A. Alpers and C. Goswami, "Transregional Trade and Traders" (Oxford UP, 2019)
Blessed with numerous safe harbors, accessible ports, and a rich hinterland, Gujarat has been central to the history of Indian Ocean maritime exchange that involved not only goods, but also people and ideas. Transregional Trade and Traders: Situating Gujarat in the Indian Ocean from Early Times to 1900 (Oxford University Press) maps the trajectory of the extra-continental interactions of Gujarat and how it shaped the history of the Indian Ocean.Chronologically, the volume spans two millennia, and geographically, it ranges from the Red Sea to Southeast Asia. The book focuses on specific groups of Gujarati traders and their accessibility and trading activities with maritime merchants from Africa, Arabia, Southeast Asia, China, and Europe.It not only analyses the complex process of commodity circulation, involving a host of players, huge investments, and numerous commercial operations, but also engages with questions of migration and diaspora. Paying close attention to current historiographical debates, the contributors make serious efforts to challenge the neat regional boundaries that are often drawn around the trading history of Gujarat.Edward A. Alpers is a research professor of history at UCLA. Professor Alpers’ research and writing focus on the political economy of international trade in precolonial eastern Africa, including the manifold cultural dimensions of this exchange system, with special attention to the wider world of the Indian Ocean.Chhaya Goswami is the head of the Department of History, S.K. Somaiya College, Mumbai, India. She specializes in the maritime history of South Asia and the western Indian Ocean. She has authored the award-winning book The Call of the Sea, Kachchhi Traders in Muscat and Zanzibar c.1800–1880 (Orient Blackswan, 2011). Her current research project focuses on maritime trade and piracy in the Gulfs of Kachchh and Persia between 1650 and 1820.Kelvin Ng, co-hosted the episode. He is a Ph.D. student at Yale University, History Department. His research interests broadly lie in the history of imperialism and anti-imperialism in the early-twentieth-century Indian Ocean circuit.
91 minutes | 2 months ago
Ronit Ricci, "Banishment and Belonging: Exile and Diaspora in Sarandib, Lanka and Ceylon" (Cambridge UP, 2020)
Lanka, Ceylon, Sarandib: merely three disparate names for a single island? Perhaps. Yet the three diverge in the historical echoes, literary cultures, maps and memories they evoke. Names that have intersected and overlapped - in a treatise, a poem, a document - only to go their own ways. But despite different trajectories, all three are tied to narratives of banishment and exile.In Banishment and Belonging: Exile and Diaspora in Sarandib, Lanka and Ceylon (Cambridge University Press, 2020), Ronit Ricci suggests that the island served as a concrete exilic site as well as a metaphor for imagining exile across religions, languages, space and time: Sarandib, where Adam was banished from Paradise; Lanka, where Sita languished in captivity; and Ceylon, faraway island of exile for Indonesian royalty under colonialism.Using Malay manuscripts and documents from Sri Lanka, Javanese chronicles, and Dutch and British sources, Ricci explores histories and imaginings of displacement related to the island through a study of the Sri Lankan Malays and their connections to an exilic past.Ronit Ricci is the Sternberg-Tamir Chair in Comparative Cultures and Associate Professor in the departments of Asian Studies and Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University, Near Eastern Studies Department. His research focuses on the intersection of law and the environment across the western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome.Kelvin Ng, co-hosted the episode. He is a Ph.D. student at Yale University, History Department. His research interests broadly lie in the history of imperialism and anti-imperialism in the early-twentieth-century Indian Ocean circuit.
61 minutes | 2 months ago
Chhaya Goswami, "Globalization Before Its Time: The Gujarati Merchants from Kachchh" (PRH India, 2016)
Chhaya Goswami’s Globalization Before Its Time: The Gujarati Merchants from Kachchh (Penguin Random House India) asks: How did the Kachchhi traders build on the Gujarat Advantage?In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, during the dying days of the Mughal empire, merchants from Kachchh established a flourishing overseas trade. Building on a rich legacy of free trade in pre-modern times between the many ports of Gujarat and the Middle East, the Kachchhis dealt in pearls, dates, spices and ivory with the faraway lands of Muscat and Zanzibar.The Kachchhi merchants behaved much like today’s venture capitalists. They knew how to grow capital, seek new markets, and create them where they didn’t exist. They also had a phenomenal risk appetite. What they were able to practice was nothing less than the traits of globalization before its time. This new book in The Story of Indian Business series tells their fascinating story.Chhaya Goswami is the head of the History Department, S. K. Somaiya College, Mumbai, India. She specializes in the maritime history of South Asia and the western Indian Ocean. She has authored the award winning book by the Indian History Congress, The Call of the Sea, Kachchhi Traders in Muscat and Zanzibar c.1800–1880 (Orient Blackswan, 2011). Her current research project focuses on ‘Maritime Trade and Piracy in the Gulfs of Kachchh and Persia 1650–1820.’Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law and the environment across the Western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome.
63 minutes | 2 months ago
Debjani Bhattacharyya, "Empire and Ecology in the Bengal Delta: The Making of Calcutta" (Cambridge UP, 2019)
Debjani Bhattacharyya’s Empire and Ecology in the Bengal Delta: The Making of Calcutta (Cambridge University Press) asks: What happens when a distant colonial power tries to tame an unfamiliar terrain in the world's largest tidal delta?This history of dramatic ecological changes in the Bengal Delta from 1760 to 1920 involves land, water and humans, tracing the stories and struggles that link them together. Pushing beyond narratives of environmental decline, Bhattacharyya argues that 'property-thinking', a governing tool critical in making land and water discrete categories of bureaucratic and legal management, was at the heart of colonial urbanization and the technologies behind the draining of Calcutta.The story of ecological change is narrated alongside emergent practices of land speculation and transformation in colonial law. Bhattacharyya demonstrates how this history continues to shape our built environments with devastating consequences, as shown in the Bay of Bengal's receding coastline.Debjani Bhattacharyya is Assistant Professor of History at Drexel University, Philadelphia. She was a Junior Fellow of the American Institute of India Studies, and a former Research Fellow at the International Institute of Asian Studies, Leiden. Currently, she is a visiting Fellow at the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies, Princeton UniversityAhmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law and the environment across the western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome.
35 minutes | 2 months ago
Omar H. Ali, "Malik Ambar: Power and Slavery across the Indian Ocean" (Oxford UP, 2016)
Omar H. Ali’s Malik Ambar: Power and Slavery across the Indian Ocean (Oxford University Press, 2016), provides insight into the life of slave soldier Malik Ambar.It offers a rare look at an individual who began in obscurity in the Horn of Africa and reached the highest levels of South Asian political and military affairs in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Ambar's rise from slavery in the Horn of Africa to rulership in South Asia sheds light on the diverse mix of people, products, and practices that shaped the Indian Ocean world during the early modern period.Originally from Ethiopia--historically called Abyssinia--Ambar is best known for having defended the Deccan from being occupied by the Mughals during the first quarter of the seventeenth century. His ingenuity as a military leader, his diplomatic skills, and his land-reform policies contributed to his success in keeping the Deccan free of Mughal imperial rule.Omar H. Ali is Dean of Lloyd International Honors College and Professor of Comparative African Diaspora History at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Through archival and ethnographic research he explores issues of power and culture across the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds from the early modern period through the present. He is the author of several books, including Islam in the Indian Ocean World: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2016).Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law and the environment across the Western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome.
47 minutes | 2 months ago
Thomas R. Metcalf, "Imperial Connections: India in the Indian Ocean Arena, 1860-1920" (U California Press, 2008)
Thomas R. Metcalf’s Imperial Connections: India in the Indian Ocean Arena, 1860-1920 (University of California Press) is an innovative remapping of empire.Imperial Connections offers a broad-ranging view of the workings of the British Empire in the period when the India of the Raj stood at the center of a newly globalized system of trade, investment, and migration. Thomas R. Metcalf argues that India itself became a nexus of imperial power that made possible British conquest, control, and governance across a wide arc of territory stretching from Africa to eastern Asia.His book, offering a new perspective on how imperialism operates, emphasizes transcolonial interactions and webs of influence that advanced the interests of colonial India and Britain alike. Metcalf examines such topics as law codes and administrative forms as they were shaped by Indian precedents; the Indian Army's role in securing Malaya, Africa, and Mesopotamia for the empire; the employment of Indians, especially Sikhs, in colonial policing; and the transformation of East Africa into what was almost a province of India through the construction of the Uganda railway.He concludes with a look at the decline of this Indian Ocean system after 1920 and considers how far India's participation in it opened opportunities for Indians to be a colonizing as well as a colonized people.Thomas R. Metcalf is Professor of History Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law and the environment across the western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome.
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