Instructor: Professor Chinnaiah Jangam

Course Description:

The Indian Ocean, as one of the oldest maritime highways in the history of humanity, connected diverse cultures, regions, religions, languages and facilitated the exchange of goods and commodities. As an epicentre of global economy in the pre-modern world, it gave rise to trading networks and political empires. While questioning the conventional Eurocentric notions of the non-Western world, this course retraces the pre-modern history of the Indian Ocean as an unparalleled, vibrant, cultural and economic zone in which Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians (Parsis) lived and thrived together. The aim of the course is to familiarize students with the non-Western antecedents of modern global history and critically evaluate the current phase of globalization. It relies on a variety of sources and texts to add depth and explore the nuances of lives in the pre-modern Indian Ocean world. Jewish and Arab merchants, Muslim travellers and emperors, and African soldiers and slaves come alive in the accounts we shall read and engage with in this course.

Required Texts:

  1. N. Pearson, The Indian Ocean (Seas in History), Routledge, 2003. ISBN-13: 978-0415445382
  1. Tim Mackintosh-Smith, The Travels of Ibn Battutah, PAN Macmillan, 2003. ISBN-13: 978-0330418799
  1. Stewart Gordon, When Asia Was the World: Traveling Merchants, Scholars, Warriors and Monks Who created the “Riches of the East”, Da Capo Press, 2009. ISBN-13: 978-0306817397.

Class Format: Each week students will be expected to attend a three-hour lecture in which there will be discussion about the course readings and opportunities to prepare for the course assignments.

Assessment:  Students will be assessed on their written work, in class presentation, and their participation in class.  Each term, there will be at least two written assignments.