Book Review – ‘Trade, Circulation, and Flow in the Indian Ocean World’ by Markus Vink

By Markus Vink, published October 2020


Preceded by an introduction from the editor, and historian of Indian Ocean studies, Michael Pearson, the majority of the eight inter-disciplinary essays in this volume are revised versions of contributions to the conference ‘Dimensions of the Indian World Past’ held in Fremantle, Western Australia, in November 2012. We are promised unity in diversity: though ‘ostensibly diverse’, all of the chapters contribute to ‘the broader field of maritime history’ and make it ‘a coherent contribution’ to the theme of trade, circulation and flow in the Indian Ocean World (p. i).

In broad comparative strokes, Pearson’s introduction sketches some of the ‘overarching themes’ in the histories of other oceans and their possible application to the ‘Indian Ocean World’. Interestingly enough, the ‘large focus’ of the ‘common view’ of the Indian Ocean World presented here stretching ‘from Cape of Good Hope . . . to the easternmost end of Indonesia, and up into the South China Sea’ (p. 3) differs markedly from the ‘little Indian Ocean’ perspective depicted by Pearson himself some years ago in his ‘Indo-centric’ The Indian Ocean (2003) limited, by and large, to the seas and littoral societies west of the Straits of Malacca …

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Filed under: Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Logistics | Miscellaneous | Strategy & Diplomacy

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