From Littoral to Ozone: On Mike Pearson’s Contributions to Indian Ocean History

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Edward A. Alpers


In this article I examine two of Michael Pearson’s most important contributions to our understanding of Indian Ocean history: the concept of the littoral, which he first articulated in his seminal article on “Littoral society: the case for the coast” in The Great Circle 7, no. 1 (1985): 1-8, and his comment in The Indian Ocean (London and New York: Routledge, 2003, p. 9) that “I want it to have a whiff of ozone.” Accordingly, I review Pearson’s publications to see how he has written about these two notions and how they have influenced historical scholarship about the Indian Ocean.

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