Indian Ocean Studies: How did we get here and where are we going? A Historian's Perspective

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Edward A. Alpers


In this article I present a survey of Indian Ocean Studies that focuses primarily on the development of its historiography after World War II from imperial history and its emergence as a distinct scholarly enterprise from the 1980s to the present day. In particular, I discuss some of the seminal monographs that have been published over the past two decades, suggesting the characteristics and challenges of modern historiography as reflected in these works. The article concludes by raising a number of lingering questions about definition and conceptualization, as well as suggesting ways ahead for future scholarship.

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State of the Field Essay