2018 Summer School | The Indian Ocean World and Eurasian Connections

Venue: Room 1505, 1555 Century Avenue, NYU Shanghai
Date: July 30, 2018 to August 12, 2018

Funded by the VolkswagenStiftung

– Overview

The landmass extending from the Mongolian grasslands to the Black Sea is usually portrayed as the conduit for Eurasian interactions and exchanges. However, even more of the links across Eurasia were initiated by sea. The Summer Schools concentrate on demonstrating that the Indian Ocean has been an integral and essential aspect of trans-Eurasian connections from the early historical period to contemporary times. These innovative and collaborative Summer Schools bring together leading scholars from various parts of the world, with multiple disciplinary backgrounds, to impart knowledge on and promote exploration in the commercial, diplomatic, religious, technological, and migratory exchanges across the Indian Ocean world that linked the far eastern regions of Asia with the heartland of Europe and many areas in between. Specific themes examined include the movement of products such as porcelain, spices, tea, and incense; the transmission of ideas, including those associated with Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity; archaeological evidence for sea travel; the contestations over and interior working of maritime hubs; the creation of and contestations over cultural heritage sites; and the use of history for contemporary geopolitical agendas. Organized as a collaborative project between the Center for Interdisciplinary Area Studies at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, and the Center for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai, two of these Summer Schools took place in Halle (July 2016 and July 2017) and the third is held in Shanghai (August 2018). These Schools will involve participants from Germany as well as from the NYU Global Network University who will learn about the dynamics of the Indian Ocean world through rigorous analysis of texts, archaeological evidence, secondary sources, and ethnographic data. The overall aim of these Summer Schools is to stimulate an understanding of the importance of Indian Ocean “connectivities” and Eurasian exchanges in global history.

2016   Networks of Connectivities: Routes, Commodities, and the Politics of the Indian Ocean (in Halle, Germany)

2017   Connectivity in Motion: People, Ideas, and Animals across the Indian Ocean (in Halle, Germany)

2018   Archaeology, Cultural Heritage, and Contemporary Connectivities of Indian Ocean History (in Shanghai, China)

After two successful Summer Schools in July 2016 and 2017, the third Summer School in 2018 will take place in Shanghai from July 30 to August 12, 2018. It will focus on the sub‐theme of “Archaeology, Cultural Heritage, and Contemporary Connectivities of Indian Ocean History.” This year’s Summer School will comprise one week of lectures and one week of fieldwork in China. The lectures will examine archaeological evidence for Indian Ocean interactions, especially the shipwrecks, the importance of archival materials for the study of Indian Ocean exchanges during the colonial period, the significance of cultural heritage and museum building for decolonized states around the Indian Ocean, and the use of Indian Ocean history as part of the contemporary geopolitical agenda. During the second week, participants will undertake fieldwork at important sites in China intimately connected to Indian Ocean history: in Shanghai, Nanjing, and Quanzhou. In Shanghai, they will visit the China Maritime Museum to explore issues pertaining to the production of Chinese ceramics, the reconstruction of cultural heritage, and analyze the recent 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative undertaken by the People’s Republic of China. In Nanjing, they will explore the shipyard, inscriptions, and other artifacts associated with the expeditions of the Ming‐dynasty admiral Zheng He between 1405 and 1433. In Quanzhou, participants will analyze a wide variety of archaeological sources, including the remains of a 13th‐century Chinese ship, religious monuments associated with Muslims, Hindus, Nestorians, as well as Chinese traders, the displays at the Quanzhou Maritime Museum, and interview some of the descendants of foreign traders still living in the city.

– Program (PDF)

– Lecturers

Duane Corpis | Associate Professor, Center for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai

Leksa Lee | Assistant Professor, Global China Studies, NYU Shanghai

Burkhard Schnepel | Professor, Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology and Center for Interdisciplinary Area Studies (ZIRS), Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

Tansen Sen | Professor, Center for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai

Geoffrey Philip Wade | Senior Researcher, Australian National University

– Participants

Kathleen Michelle Burke | Humboldt University, Germany & King’s College London, UK

Hui Fang | NYU / NYU Shanghai

Federica Guccini | The University of Western Ontario, Canada

Peter Friedrich Alfons Kneitz | The Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, and at the Department of History, University Antananarivo, Madagascar

Natalie Martha Kontny | University of Hamburg, Germany

Anu Krishna | Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany

Elizabeth Lee | NYU

Di Luo | NYU Shanghai

Johann Nils Nicolai | Berlin Institute for Comparative State Church Research, Germany

Anil Domenic Paralkar | Ruprecht – Karls – University Heidelberg (Heidelberg University), Germany

Mohamed Sebiane | School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, France

Melanie Janet Sindelar | University of Art and Industrial Design Linz, Austria

Joshua Allen Sooter | NYU

Arran Robert Walshe | NYU

Meng Wei | NYU

Boris Wille | Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

Kunbing Xiao | NYU Shanghai

Fan Zhang | NYU


*Alphabetically by last name

*Not open to the public



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