HDS 3175: Indian Ocean Islam

Instructors: Teren Sevea and Ali Asani

Does thinking oceanically influence the study of Islam? Can we remember a people’s history of the Indian Ocean world? This course considers these questions and others as it focuses on religious worlds within port cities and the networks of Indian Ocean Islam. The course examines how religion in port cities and islands was centered upon a plethora of saints, missionaries, divinities and other agents of Islam, who have been marginalized in academic literature on the Indian Ocean. It simultaneously examines how oceanic religion was intimately connected to economic, political and technological developments. Students will be introduced to scholarship on oceanic Islam and monsoon Islam, before they are introduced to a variety of sources on transregional Islamic networks and agents of Islam, including biographies, hagiographies, travelogues, novels, poems and ethnographic accounts. Students will, moreover, be encouraged to consider ways in which approaches to studying Islam could be enhanced by a focus on religious economies and networks, as well as the lives of ‘subalterns’ who crossed the porous borders of the Indian Ocean world and shaped its religious worlds. Jointly offered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as