An inked-rubbing of one of the Kollam plates showing the main text in Tamil (Vatteluttu) with, on the bottom line,
                 characters in an as yet undeciphered script.

A Persian Church in the Land of Pepper - Routes, Networks and Communities in the Medieval Indian Ocean is a research network which focuses on the history of Indian Ocean connections and exchanges before 1500 CE. The network was created in response to the pressing need for research into the Indian Ocean world before the entry of European powers in the late 15th century and acts on the growing recognition that the Indian Ocean world is studied most effectively through multidisciplinary and trans-regional collaborations. At the latest count, the network brings together over twenty international scholars, see Peoplefor the full list of participants

The research network is led by Dr. Elizabeth Lambourn (Principal Investigator) and Dr. Roberta Tomber (Co-Investigator) and is overseen by an Advisory Boardmade up of five senior scholars. The network has been funded thanks to a Research Network Grant from the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) whose support we gratefully acknowledge here. The network is based at Dr. Lambourn's home institution, De Montfort University in Leicester, where the second workshop will be held; the first workshop will be held at The British Museum.



  • "Proto-globalisation in the Indian Ocean world"
    CONFERENCE  7-10 November 2013, University of Oxford and the Sealinks Project, Oxford. One hundred scholars and students from around the world will gather for 3 days of presentations and discussions covering the latest multidisciplinary research on the early Indian Ocean. The gathering of scholars from a broad range of regions, disciplines and projects will enable discussion, debate and the exploration of synergies, as well as consideration of larger questions about the degree to which the Indian Ocean represented a globalised space in the pre-1000 CE period, the role of data from earlier periods in transforming Eurocentric notions of globalisation and the ways that studies of the past might inform our understanding of contemporary globalisation.

    A preliminary list of speakers and titles can be found on the Sealinks project website.

    Posted 24 Mar 2013, 09:59 by Elizabeth Lambourn
  • The Dimensions of the Indian Ocean World Past
    ARC/MCRI Conference on "The Dimensions of the Indian Ocean World Past: Sources and Opportunities for interdisciplinary work in Indian Ocean World History, 9th -19th Centuries."

    The Western Australian Maritime Museum, Victoria Quay, Fremantle,
    12-14 November 2012

    This conference provides a forum for a rare interdisciplinary discussion between archaeologists, historians, ethnographers and geographers about the materials, problems and opportunities for interdisciplinary work on the Indian Ocean World (IOW) from the 9TH—19TH centuries. Stretching from the coast of East Africa to the China Seas, the IOW had by the 13th century developed what economic historians have called the world’s ‘First Global Economy’, shaped by the distinct winds of the monsoons- a sophisticated durable system of long distance exchange of commodities, ideas, technology and people. Calling upon Archeology, History, Geography, and Ethnography, this conference will explore aspects of the growth and importance of the IOW trade between the 9th-19th centuries, as well as the interactions between the environment, commerce, and people. There is a compelling need to understand how people and communities in the IOW past responded to climatic and other environmental changes in a geopolitical area with a wide variety of trade and cultural relationships that included a broad arc stretching from the East African coast, through the Gulf States and South Asia, to East and Southeast Asia.

    For further details see http://wwwarc.murdoch.edu.au/research/iow_conf.html

    Posted 24 Mar 2013, 09:58 by Elizabeth Lambourn
  • New article on Christianity and trade
    Eivind H. Seland's new article "Trade and Christianity in the Indian Ocean during Late Antiquity" will be published shortly in the next issue of the Journal of Late Antiquity 5.1 (Spring 2012).
    Posted 4 Jun 2012, 01:14 by Elizabeth Lambourn
  • Buddhist, Islamic & Christian Networks
    Orders and Itineraries: Buddhist, Islamic, and Christian Networks in Southern Asia, c. 900-1900 (21 - 22 Feb 2013, Singapore).

    The presence and importance of orders, as corporate structures of ritual and interpretive religious specialists, has long been noted in
    the history of South and Southeast Asia. Most often, however, these discussions have been compartmentalized within fields of study focused on a single religious tradition. This workshop seeks to open new lines of conversation by bringing together scholars working on Buddhist monastic lineages, Sufi tariqas, and Christian orders in Southern Asia, to bring their own specialized research into conversation with recent developments in the broader field of trans-regional history. The workshop seeks to understand better the motivations for extending religious communities geographically in the southern Asian region, as well as conceptions of affiliation that have shaped the movement and localization of religious specialists. The workshop will also explore the ways in which the presence of religious orders shaped processes of recognition and competition within and across the expansionary religious traditions of Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity.

    Paper proposals should include a title, an abstract (250 words maximum) and a brief personal biography of 150 words using the Paper
    Proposal Submission Form. Please send your form to Ms Valerie Yeo at valerie.yeo@nus.edu.sg by 15 July 2012. Successful applicants will be notified by mid August 2012 and will be required to send in a completed draft paper (5,000 - 8,000 words) by 31 January 2013.


    Assoc Prof Michael Feener (arifm@nus.edu.sg) Cluster Leader, Religion and Globalisation in Asian Contexts, Asia Research Institute &
    Department of History, National University of Singapore

    Prof Anne M. Blackburn (amb242@cornell.edu) Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
    Professor, Department of Asian Studies, Cornell University, USA

    Ms Valerie Yeo
    Asia Research Institute
    National University of Singapore
    469A Tower Block, Level 10, Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259770
    Tel: (65) 6516 5279; Fax: (65) 6779 1428
    Email: valerie.yeo@nus.edu.sg
    Visit the website at
    Posted 13 Jun 2012, 08:02 by Elizabeth Lambourn
  • Discussion Forum and Calendar
    The Discussion Forum and Calendar are currently under construction so please bear with us while we work on this. We will let you know when they are ready to use.
    Posted 6 May 2012, 22:01 by Elizabeth Lambourn
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