The Hidden Face of Surat: Exploring the History of a Cosmopolitan Centre, 1540-1750
Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Distinguished Professor and Irving & Jean Stone Chair in Social Sciences, UCLA
The Second JESHO Lecture on Asian History, organised by Brill Academic Publishers and Institute of Iranian Studies (Austrian Academy of Sciences)
Aula at the Campus (court 1.11), University of Vienna
Spitalgasse 2, 1090 Wien
The great port of Surat in western India dominated accounts of Indian Ocean trade between the late sixteenth and mid eighteenth century. Consolidated first by an Ottoman notable, it became the Mughal Empire’s western window into the worlds of the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. In this lecture, I explore Surat’s other, less visible, aspect: namely as an intellectual centre, that brought together diverse and sometimes competing traditions. In turn, we shall see how this vibrant intellectual life was tied up both to certain structures of politics, and to commercial exchange at various scales.
Sanjay Subrahmanyam is Professor and Irving and Jean Stone Endowed Chair in Social Sciences at UCLA. He taught at Paris from 1995 to 2002 as Directeur d’études in the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, holding a position on the economic and social history of early modern India and the Indian Ocean world. In 2002, Subrahmanyam was appointed as the first holder of the newly created Chair in Indian History and Culture at the University of Oxford, a position he held for two years before moving to a chair in UCLA. From July 2005 to June 2011, he served as founding Director of UCLA’s Center for India and South Asia. In 2013, Sanjay Subrahmanyam was elected to a Chair in Early Modern Global History at the Collège de France in Paris. He is the author of The Career and Legend of Vasco de Gama (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); Three Ways to be Alien: Travails and Encounters in Modern Eurasia (Waltham, Mass.: Brandeis University Press, 2011; Courtly Encounters: Translating Courtliness and Violence in Early Modern Eurasia (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2012).
Paolo Sartori, Institute of Iranian Studies, Editor–in-Chief of JESHO
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