Indian Ocean Histories : The Many Worlds of Michael Naylor Pearson book cover
1st Edition

Indian Ocean Histories
The Many Worlds of Michael Naylor Pearson

ISBN 9780367784591
Published March 31, 2021 by Routledge India
288 Pages

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Book Description

This book offers a global history of the Indian Ocean and focuses on a holistic perspective of the worlds of water. It builds on maritime historian Michael Naylor Pearson’s works, his unorthodox approach and strong influence on the study of the Indian Ocean in viewing the oceanic space as replete with human experiences and not as an artefact of empire or as the theatre of European commercial and imperial transits focused only on trade.

This interdisciplinary volume presents several ways of writing the history of the Indian Ocean. The chapters explore the changing nature of Indian Ocean history through diverse themes, including state and capital, regional identities, maritime networking, South Asian immigrants, Bay of Bengal linkages, the East India Company, Indian seamen, formal and informal collaboration in imperial networking, scientific transfers, pearling, the issues of colonial copyright, customs, excise and port cities.

The volume will be useful to scholars and researchers of global history, modern history, maritime history, medieval history, Indian history, colonial history and world history.

Table of Contents

List of figures. List of tables. List of contributors. Preface.
Introduction: Indian Ocean histories.

Part I: Historiographies, methodologies and scale in the Indian Ocean
1. The Indian Ocean: global nexus (1500–1800). 2. The sodden archive: Africa, the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean.

Part II: Case studies
3. The Kakatiyas, Motupalli and the Southern Bay of Bengal linkages. 4. Regional identities, maritime networking and Islamic conversions in fifteenth-century Java. 5. Brokers and go-betweens within the Portuguese State of India (1500–1700). 6. South Asian settlers at Batavia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 7. Physicians, surgeons, merchants and healers: production, circulation and reconfiguration of knowledge in eighteenth-century Portuguese India. 8. Indian seamen (lascars), shipboard labor regime and the East India Company in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Part III: New histories
9. Hazards and history on the Western Australian coast: the ‘Pearling Fleet Disaster’ of 1887. 10. Landscape, Rajah and wax prints: contemporary archaeologies of India in Mozambique. 11. Littoral shell tracks: tracing Burma’s transregional pearl histories.

Part IV: Reminiscences
12. Michael Naylor Pearson: the discipline of history, the sea and the man. 13. Afterword.


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Rila Mukherjee is a professor, Department of History, University of Hyderabad, India. She works on spatial categories in the eastern Indian Ocean, especially in the northern Bay of Bengal, comprising the coasts of northern Odisha and West Bengal in India, littoral Bangladesh and Arakan. Her most recent publications are the co-edited Subversive Sovereigns Across the Sea: Indian Ocean Ports-of-Trade from Early Historic Times to Late Colonialism (2017); the book chapter ‘Silver-Links! Bagan-Bengal and Shadowy Metal Corridors: 9th to 13th Centuries’ in Yian, Miksic and Aung-Thwin (eds), Bagan and the World: Early Myanmar and its Global Connections (2018); and articles in Topoi, the International Journal of Maritime History, and Asian Review of World Histories.

Radhika Seshan is a professor and the head of the Department of History, Savitribai Phule Pune University, India where she has worked since 1996. She is the author of Trade and Politics on the Coromandel Coast (2012) and Ideas and Institutions in Medieval India (2013). Her most recent publications are the edited volumes Narratives, Routes and Intersections in the Pre-Modern Asian World (2016) and Re-searching Transition in Indian History (co-edited with Shraddha Kumbhojkar, 2018).