New Books Network

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... Read More
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,... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
Alison Games, “Inventing the English Massacre: Amboyna in History and Memory” (Oxford UP, 2020
My Lai, Wounded Knee, Sandy Hook: the place names evoke grief and horror, each the site of a massacre. Massacres-the mass slaughter of people-might seem as old as time, but the word itself is not. It worked its way into the English language in the late sixteenth century, and ultimately... Read More
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... Read More