Between Shanghai and Rotterdam: The Global Logistics Challenge to Indian Ocean Port-Cities

Speaker: Engseng Ho
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2021-4-17 | 9:00-10:30 (Shanghai)
2021-4-16 | 21:00-22:30 (New York)
2021-4-17 | 5:00-6:30 (Abu Dhabi)

In this keynote, Professor Engseng Ho explains how port-cities come to dominate rivals in the Indian Ocean, and become icons of globalization. Located between China and Europe, these cities have jockeyed with one another for half a millennium to capture the traffic of world trade. Singapore and Dubai have become such successes in recent decades, positioning themselves as hubs in air-sea multimodal logistics and new global supply-chain networks. Others such as Jedda, Aden, Mocha, Djibouti; Surat, Calicut, Bombay; Malacca, Aceh, Riau, were dominant in previous centuries as maritime ports, and some are repositioning themselves as contenders today and into the future. They keep on their toes: none of them take success or failure for granted. What are the dynamic currents that shape and reshape such places in the Indian Ocean – their constants over the long term, and their recent shifts?

Engseng Ho is the Muhammad Alagil Distinguished Visiting Professor of Arabia Asia Studies at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. At Duke University in the USA, he is Professor of Anthropology and Professor of History. He is a leading scholar of transnational anthropology, history and Muslim societies, Arab diasporas, and the Indian Ocean. His research expertise is in Arabia, coastal South Asia and maritime Southeast Asia, and he maintains active collaborations with scholars in these regions. He is co-editor of the Asian Connections book series at Cambridge University Press, and serves on the editorial boards of journals such as American Anthropologist, Comparative Studies in Society and History, History and Anthropology. He has previously held positions as Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University; Senior Scholar, Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies; Director, Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore; International Economist, Government of Singapore Investment Corporation/Monetary Authority of Singapore; Country and Profile Writer, the Economist Group. He was educated at the Penang Free School, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago.

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