New Books Network

Gaurav Desai, “Commerce with the Universe: Africa, India, and the Afrasian Imagination” (Columbia UP, 2013)
Gaurav Desai’s Commerce with the Universe: Africa, India, and the Afrasian Imagination (Columbia University Press, 2013), offers an alternative history of East Africa in the Indian Ocean world. Reading the life narratives and literary texts of South Asians writing in and about East Africa, Gaurav Desai highlights many complexities in... Read More
Lakshmi Subramanian, “The Sovereign and the Pirate: Ordering Maritime Subjects in India’s Western Littoral” (Oxford UP, 2016)
Lakshmi Subramanian’s The Sovereign and the Pirate: Ordering Maritime Subjects in India’s Western Littoral (Oxford University Press, 2016) offers an amphibious history written around the juncture of the nineteenth century, when the northwestern littoral of India—largely comprising of Gujarat, Kathiawad, Cutch, and Sind—was battered by piratical raids. These attacks disrupted... Read More
Laurie M. Wood, “Archipelago of Justice: Law in France’s Early Modern Empire” (Yale UP, 2020)
Historians have long treated the Atlantic and Indian Ocean routes of early modern French empire separately. But, early modern people understood France as a bi-oceanic empire, connected by vast but strong pathways of commercial, intellectual, and legal exchange. Laurie M. Wood’s Archipelago of Justice: Law in France’s Early Modern Empire... Read More
Edward Alpers, “The Indian Ocean in World History” (Oxford UP, 2014)
Edward Alpers’s The Indian Ocean in World History (Oxford University Press, 2014) is a concise yet an immensely informative introduction to the Indian Ocean world, which remains the least studied of the world’s geographic regions. Yet there have been major cultural exchanges across its waters and around its shores from... Read More
Jatin Dua, “Captured at Sea: Piracy and Protection in the Indian Ocean” (U California Press, 2019)
Captured at Sea: Piracy and Protection in the Indian Ocean (University of California Press, 2019) is a pirate story of a different kind. Based on years of ethnographic fieldwork in Somalia, the UK and other parts of Africa and the Middle East, Jatin Dua describes a tale that is not... Read More
Scott S. Reese, “Imperial Muslims: Islam, Community and Authority in the Indian Ocean, 1839-1937” (Edinburgh UP, 2017)
Religion and empire are often intertwined. Regarding Muslims there are well known dynasties like the Umayyad, the Abbasid, the Fatimid, the Ottoman, and many others. But the empire governing the largest Muslim population was, of course, the British. In Imperial Muslims: Islam, Community and Authority in the Indian Ocean, 1839-1937 (Edinburgh University... Read More
Patrick Eisenlohr, “Sounding Islam: Voice, Media, and Sonic Atmospheres in an Indian Ocean World” (U California Press, 2018)
Sounding Islam: Voice, Media, and Sonic Atmospheres in an Indian Ocean World (University of California Press, 2018) by Patrick Eisenlohr is an exciting ethnographic study of Mauritian Muslims’ soundscapes. Through the exploration of na‘t, or devotional poetic recitations that honor the prophet Muhammad, Eisenlohr captures the sensory dimension of Islam,... Read More
Fahad Bishara, “A Sea of Debt: Law and Economic Life in the Western Indian Ocean, 1780-1950” (Cambridge UP, 2017)
Today I talked to Fahad Bishara about his book A Sea of Debt: Law and Economic Life in the Western Indian Ocean, 1780-1950 (Cambridge University Press, 2017). Dr. Bishara is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He specializes in the economic and legal history of the Indian... Read More
Pedro Machado, “Ocean of Trade: South Asian Merchants, Africa, and the Indian Ocean, c.1750-1850” (Cambridge UP, 2014)
Pedro Machado‘s Ocean of Trade:South Asian Merchants, Africa and the Indian Ocean, c.1750-1850 (Cambridge University Press, 2014) is a richly detailed and engaging account of Gujarati merchants and their role in the trade of textiles, ivory and slaves across the Indian Ocean. The book not only enhances our understanding of... Read More