Indian Ocean Worlds, c. 700‑1700

Offers a transnational perspective on the history of the Indian subcontinent, exploring its maritime connections with the rest of the world using a long term perspective.

The purpose of the course is to give students a view of the Indian subcontinent from a longue durée, non-national, oceanic perspective. It also gives them a glimpse of the degree to which the pre-modern maritime space was both globalised and cosmopolitan, features we typically associate with societies of the modern period. The course will build on students’ engagement with the sources and methods of History, in addition to introducing them to the chronology and logic underlying historiographical shifts in the field of Indian Ocean Studies and Maritime history. Organised both chronologically and thematically, the course will give students a) an awareness of the long history of India’s maritime links with the various countries that today constitute the Indian Ocean littoral (and beyond); b) an appreciation of the historical significance of maritime commerce to both inland polities and coastal societies; c) greater understanding of the networks of goods, people, technologies, and ideas that animated these maritime routes; and d) knowledge of the political contestations and cooperation entailed in keeping the commerce safe and profitable.