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Mercantile connections between India and Central Asia in the early modern era

A CISA and Central Asia Initiative Seminar

Monday, March 09, 2009
12:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

In the historiography of early modern Asian trade, few have challenged the received wisdom that, as European merchants grew dominant in the Indian Ocean, Central Asia’s overland ‘Silk Road’ caravan trade gradually deteriorated into sand and dust.  Especially, from the seventeenth century, Central Asia is portrayed as having been pushed to the margins of the emerging world economy where it remained, isolated from its neighbors, including India, until the nineteenth-century Russian conquest.  In recent years a number of scholars have begun to peel back the thin veneer of this received wisdom to explore the vibrant commercial relationship that connected the peoples of India and Central Asia during the early modern era.  This talk will explore this scholarly trend, paying special attention to the many thousands of Indian merchants who occupied dozens of semi-permanent diaspora communities dispersed across early modern Central Asia.

About the speaker

Scott Levi (Ph.D. in History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2000) is Assistant Professor of Central Asian History at Ohio State University. Dr. Levi's work focuses on the social and economic history of early modern Central Asia in the broader context of the eastern Islamic world. He is the author of The Indian Diaspora in Central Asia and its Trade, 1550–1900 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2002), the editor of India and Central Asia: Commerce and Culture, 1500–1800 (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2007), and co-editor (with Ron Sela) of Islamic Central Asia: An Anthology of Sources (forthcoming with Indiana University Press).


Sponsor(s): Asia Institute, Center for India and South Asia, Program on Central Asia

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