Fall 2021

The Indian Ocean World

Listed in: Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-472  |  History, as HIST-472

Moodle site: Course


Mekhola S. Gomes (Section 01)


(Offered as HIST 472 [AS/TC/TE/TR/P] and ASLC 472 [SA]) This research seminar will explore connections across South and Southeast Asia as part of the Indian Ocean world. In this seminar we explore how our understanding of South Asia and Southeast Asia is transformed when studied as part of the Indian Ocean world rather than as discrete nation-state histories. To do this, we will analyze primary sources including pottery shards, Old Javanese texts, seals, Sanskrit inscriptions, sculptural reliefs, poetry, and paintings. Together with primary sources, we will also critically read the works of scholars who have used different approaches to understand interactions across the Indian Ocean. These approaches include questions of language choice, architectural traditions, networks of exchange, technologies of navigation, and kinship relations. Throughout the module, we will pay attention to the ways in which pilgrims, traders, rulers, and scholars traveled and interacted across the Indian Ocean. We will seek to understand the histories of South and Southeast Asia both in their convergences as well as in their historical specificities as connected by ocean space. Ultimately, we will see how placing the histories of South and Southeast Asia in conversation within the Indian Ocean world deepens and widens our understanding of the world at large until 1800 CE. One meeting per week.

Limited to 18 students. Fall semester. Professor Gomes.

If Overenrolled: priority to HIST and ASLC majors


Attention to Issues of Class, Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Issues of Race, Attention to Research, Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing, Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021