Indian Ocean Studies: How Did We Get Here and Where Are We Going?
A Historian’s Perspective

Speaker: Edward A. Alpers
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2021-3-26 | 21:00-22:30 (Shanghai)
2021-3-26 | 9:00-10:30 (New York)
2021-3-26 | 17:00-18:30 (Abu Dhabi)
2021-3-26 | 14:00-15:30 (Berlin)

Co-organizer: Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology, Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

This talk offers a survey of Indian Ocean Studies, focusing primarily on the development of its historiography after World War II and its emergence as a distinct scholarly enterprise from the 1980s to the present day. In particular, it examines some of the seminal monographs that have been published over the past two decades, suggesting the characteristics and challenges of modern historiography as reflected in these works. The talk concludes by raising a number of lingering questions and suggesting ways ahead for future scholarship.

Edward A. Alpers is Research Professor (Emeritus) in the UCLA Department of History. He studied African History at Harvard College and received his Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Before joining UCLA in 1968 he taught for two years at the University of Dar es Salaam; in 1980 he taught at the Somali National University as a Fulbright Senior Scholar. In 1994 he served as President of the African Studies Association (USA) (1994). His research and writing focus on international trade in Indian Ocean Africa. His major publications include Ivory and Slaves in East Central Africa (1975), East Africa and the Indian Ocean (2009), and The Indian Ocean in World History (2014); he has also co-edited Cross-Currents and Community Networks: The History of the Indian Ocean World (2007), Connectivity in Motion: Island Hubs in the Indian Ocean World (2018), and Transregional Trade and Traders: Situating Gujarat in the Indian Ocean from early times to c.1900 (2019).

Introduction by Tansen Sen, Professor of History Director of the Center for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai.

Burkhard Schnepel, Professor of Social Anthropology Acting Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Area Studies Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg.

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