Commodities, Culture, and Maritime Technology: Connecting the Indian Ocean World

Talk

WHEN September 17, 2014
6:30-8pm WHERE NYUAD Campus, Conference Center WHO NYU Abu Dhabi Institute Open to the Public

Fishermen, sailors, and merchants travelled the Indian Ocean as early as the third millennium BCE, linking the world’s earliest civilizations from Africa to East Asia in a complex web of relationships. The commodities exchanged and transported through voyages and sold at markets or bazaars along the Indian Ocean littoral included aromatics, medicines, dyes, spices, grain, wood, textiles, gems, stones, ornaments, metals, and plant and animal products. While trade might have underpinned many of these relationships, the Ocean was also a highway for the exchange of religious cultures and specialized technologies. The expansion of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity helped define the boundaries of this Indian Ocean ‘world’, creating networks of religious travel and pilgrimage. This lecture presents an overview of the forces that united the societies of the Indian Ocean world before the 14th century. 

Simultaneous Arabic interpretation will be provided.

Image: Schematic map of the western Indian Ocean by the tenth-century Persian geographer al-Istakhri

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