Indian Oceanologies

Indian Oceanologies

When: May 09, 2019 07:00 PM to May 12, 2019 01:00 PM
Where: 102 Weaver Building

View the Indian Oceanologies conference website!

Indian Ocean studies’ (re)emergence since the 1980s has offered approaches for going beyond the nation-state, dismantling boundaries between area studies, and a way of thinking about global, pre-colonial, and colonial worlds as connected histories. The study of the contemporary Indian Ocean has just begun to play a part in this scholarship, which until recently had been dominated by work focused on the early modern period. Apart from chronology, the Ocean has been conceptualized as constituted by overlapping networks through which the movement of people, commodities, and ideas were structured and as a multipolar space made up of individual places and their plural relationality.

Indian Oceanologies situates itself in relationship to this scholarship but also underscores the intellectual and political urgency of thinking about the ocean within the context, for example, of the rise of nationalisms, religious fundamentalisms and territorialisms in today’s world; struggles around race and racialization; fragile environments in the context of global capitalism; and what has been discussed as “the Anthropocene.” Through a series of monthly “Jam Sessions,” the Indian Oceanologies collective seeks to move beyond linear, colonial, or national conceptions of space,  time, identities, and lifeworlds, and the separation of the Indian Ocean from other oceans. In seeking to do so, we are guided by the hope that negotiating the fluxible realms of this dynamic oceanic space through roundtables focused on specific themes will generate new vocabularies and concepts for thinking about spatiality, creolization, forms of inhabitation, speculative histories, extractive economics, aesthetics and ethics, or ecologies and forms of life. The objective is to dismantle binary constructs and compartmentalizations (littoral and hinterlands, history and memory, mobility and anchorage, center and periphery, to name a few), think about material and conceptual crossovers and vectors/vortices of social, cultural, and economic exchange, and open up the ocean as a site of profound epistemological inquiry.