History | Indian Ocean as the Cradle of Globalization
J400 | 13468 | P. Machado


J400: P-HIST-J 300.  Above class open to undergraduate majors only.

Topic: Cradle of Globalization? History, Economy, Society and
Diaspora in Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean encompasses a vast area (one-third of all the
countries of the world, and one-third of the world’s population are
located around its shores) linking a diversity of societies to its
west, north, and south. These are scattered from Australia, to
Southeast Asia, to South Asia, to the Arabian Peninsula, to the East
African coast. The aim of the course is to explore some of the
history of the people and societies who have ‘made’ the world of the
Indian Ocean over more than 5,000 years. Emphasis is placed on the
western Indian Ocean, in particular India, ‘West Asia’ and East
Africa. The Indian Ocean has a unique history of intensive
indigenous shipping and commerce before the arrival of the
Europeans, and in the coexistence of European and indigenous trade
during the so-called modern era. Despite its tremendous global
importance, the Indian Ocean has been neglected by scholars and
students alike as a unit of historical inquiry. This is changing,
however, as scholars increasingly direct attention to this vitally
important ‘global’ oceanic space. We will pay particular attention
in this course to the interactions between regions and powers, on
trade, exchange and the movement of peoples around the Ocean from
ancient to modern times. Some of the themes which we will consider,
therefore, are the nature of littoral or coastal societies, factors
of unity and disunity (is there such a thing as an Indian
Ocean ‘world’?), and the effect of colonialism on zones of
intercommunication.