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Asia's Blue-Water Highway: History, Environment, and Connection in Sino-Southeast Asia, 600-1600 CE

Date and Time: 
Thursday, November 14, 2019. 01:00 PM - 02:30 PM
Meeting Location: 
Building 50, Room 51A
Workshop: 
Worlds of Work and the Work of Networks
Meeting Description: 

This presentation takes a look at how diasporas, trade, and networks of interaction developed in the “adolescence” of Sino-Southeast Asian contact, in the time period roughly covered by the thousand years between 600 and 1600 CE.  We know very little about the “infancy” of these dealings, in the years before the T’ang. But by that dynasty, patterns of contact slowly began to develop on a more systemic basis, particularly with some of the coastal landscapes of Monsoon Asia, into and including the Indian Ocean. Eric Tagliacozzo examines the growth and eventual flourishing of these interactions, especially through the power of commercial networks focused on certain specific commodities, and tries to situate them in the larger milieu of what is often called the “maritime silk road."  By focusing on export ceramics heading south, and marine biota heading north, we can learn much about how networks actually "worked" on the oceanic pathways of Asia.

Eric Tagliacozzo is a professor of history at Cornell University.  He is the author of Secret Trades, Porous Borders: Smuggling and States along a Southeast Asian Frontier (Yale, 2005), which won the Harry Benda Prize from the Association of Asian Studies, and more recently of The Longest Journey: Southeast Asians and the Pilgrimage to Mecca (Oxford, 2013). He is also the editor or co-editor of ten other books, including the Asia Inside Out trilogy, from Harvard University Press. He is the Director of the Comparative Muslim Societies Program (CMS), as well as Cornell’s Modern Indonesia Project (CMIP), and serves as editor of the journal INDONESIA.

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