Indian Ocean Port Cities and their Hinterlands

Venue: Room 1504, 1555 Century Avenue, NYU Shanghai
Date: September 26, 2019 to September 27,2019


During the past decade there has been a considerable increase in literature documenting the growth of Indian Ocean port cities. Famously described as the Brides of Sea, port cities such as Cape Town, Shanghai, Karachi, Bombay (Mumbai), Madras (Chennai), Calcutta, Rangoon, Singapore, and Jakarta were considered the bridgeheads for the establishment of European dominance. This workshop has three significant aims. Firstly it will focus on the mobile and multifaceted connections, networks and routes of exchange that constitute the life worlds of port cities and beyond them, into their immediate hinterlands or even more distant localities. Secondly it will not only highlight the interconnected oceanic histories, networks and flows but also examine the uneasy relationships between port cities and the coast, the boundaries between land and sea, the relationship between the port and hinterland and how they were shaped by labour, infrastructure and property. Thirdly the workshop will also explore the legal, regulatory and political structures put in place to govern the port cities. This includes both the institutions and technologies of rule, policing and racial segregation of populations, as well as the different levels of political mediation, legal manoeuvring and petitioning undertaken by a cross section of society.



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