Thursday, 03. November 2016, 18:00

Sanjay Subrahmanyam: 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)

Abstract 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.