Arabian Seas: Islam, Trade and Empire in the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean


The course is designed to introduce the Arabian Sea as a region linking the Middle East, East Africa, South and Southeast Asia. With a focus on both continuities and rupture, we study select cultures and societies brought into contact through trade, migration. and travel across the Indian Ocean over a broad arc of history. We explore how nobles, merchants, soldiers, statesmen, sailors, laborers, scholars, and slaves engaged in different types of mobility, and how their actions led to the forging of a shared world, from the early period until the present. By building a world-historical narrative that connects Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, we will be able to historicize many of the phenomena that we associate with “globalization” in the world today, while taking seriously the idea of seas as arenas of history.

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904


(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
Department Contacts