Chakraborty , Rukmini: Travel Grant - 2017-2018


Rukmini Chakraborty

College of Arts and Sciences
Project Title: 
“Salt, Blood and Bullion”: Studying the activities of Arab traders in late eighteenth century Eastern Indian Ocean (c.1780-1815)
Project Abstract: 
This project attempts  to reconstruct the activities of ‘Arab’ merchants from East Africa and the Persian Gulf region in late eighteenth-early nineteenth century eastern Indian Ocean and Straits of Malacca. In comparison to a plethora of sophisticated historical and anthropological studies on the western Indian Ocean, activities of ‘Arab’ merchants in the ‘Eastern Seas’ have not been adequately explored. This summer research seeks to analyse their activities as ‘law- abiding’ merchants, as well as probe into the ‘forbidden’ economy of ‘Arab’ mercenaries, smugglers and slavers. In an age of expanding European Empires, this project aims to unravel the presence of dynamic transgressive flows and sites of Asian resilience in late eighteenth century Indian Ocean.