On Thursday, April 21, 2016, CCAS was pleased to host the 2016 Oberoi Distinguished Roundtable, titled “The Indian Ocean in Global Perspective: Mobility, Exchange, and Transformations.” The Oberoi Distinguished Roundtable, sponsored by a generous gift from the Oberoi Family Foundation, convenes eminent scholars whose works have engaged with the networks of exchange in the overland and maritime regions known collectively as the Silk Roads.
The panelists pre-circulated papers prior to the event, where they discussed their unique research goals and analytical approaches to the historical movement of people, commodities, ideas, and capital across the Indian Ocean. The event sought to explore how these exchanges may inform our contemporary understandings of world history and emerging globalization. Roundtable scholars included Gaurav Desai, Professor of English, Tulane University; Nile Green, Professor of History, UCLA; and Anand Yang, Professor and Chair, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Washington. The discussion was moderated by Paula Newberg, Clinical Professor and Fellow of the Charles Wilson Chair in Pakistan Studies, UT Austin.
CCAS plans to publish the Oberoi Distinguished Roundtable Proceedings in the coming weeks.
Gaurav Desai is Professor of English in the Program of African and African Diaspora Studies at Tulane University. He is the author of Subject to Colonialism: African Self-fashioning and the Colonial Library and of a number of articles in journals and edited collections, including PMLA, Genders, Representations, Boundary2, Interventions, Research in African Literatures, African Studies Review and Cultural Critique. He is the editor of Teaching the African Novel and several volumes of essays. Postcolonialisms: An Anthology of Cultural Theory and Criticism (Rutgers University Press, 2005), which he co-edited with Supriya Nair, has become a standard reference and classroom text since its publication. Dr. Desai was the recipient of a National Humanities Center Fellowship in 2001 and has been granted a Rockefeller Foundation award for a residency at the Bellagio Center in Italy. In 2004, Desai was made a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University. His latest book on narratives of Indian Ocean connections between Africa and India, Commerce with the Universe: Africa, India and the Afrasian Imagination, was published in 2013 by Columbia University Press.
Professor Nile Green, primarily a historian of the Muslim communities of South Asia (India, Pakistan) from the eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries, also specializes in the wider ‘Persianate’ world, including Afghanistan, Iran, and the Indian Ocean region. A historian of religion by training, he has worked extensively on the history of Sufism and other traditional modes of Islamic learning and organization. His work has ranged from the forms of Islam which evolved among the tribal societies of early modern Afghans to the intersection of religion and colonial service among the Muslim soldiers of the British Empire. His more recent work has expanded into nineteenth century intellectual interchange between Asia and Europe, Muslim travelers in Britain, Indian Ocean studies, and the history of the ‘Islamic’ book. Dr. Green also works as a historian of Muslim societies more generally. Given the fact that South Asia is home to the world’s largest Muslim population, his work seeks to position the region within a global and comparative perspective. To this end, Professor Green directs the UCLA Program on Central Asia and serves on the Association of Asian Studies’ South Asia Council and the Executive Committee of the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies.
Anand A. Yang is Professor of International Studies and History at the University of Washington, Seattle. Between 2002 and 2010, he was Director of the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies and the Golub Chair of International Studies. Prior to joining the University of Washington in 2002, Yang taught at Sweet Briar College and the University of Utah, where he was chair of the History Department and, subsequently, Director of its Asian Studies Program. Dr. Yang received his BA from Swarthmore College and his PhD in History from the University of Virginia. His publications include The Limited Raj: Agrarian Relations in Colonial India and Bazaar India: Peasants, Traders, Markets and the Colonial State in Gangetic Bihar; as well as the edited volume Crime and Criminality in British India and numerous articles in journals of Asian studies, history, and the social sciences. Currently, he is working on book projects exploring coerced Indian labor in Southeast Asia and Chinese and South Asian labor migrations across the globe in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Paula Newberg teaches politics, public policy and Asian studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is Clinical Professor and Fellow of the Wilson Chair in Pakistan Studies. Her work focuses on the intersections between human rights, democratic governance and foreign policy in crisis and transition states and regions. A scholar and practitioner with wide-ranging experience in multilateral and nongovernmental organizations, Dr. Newberg served as Special Advisor to the United Nations in Asia, Europe and Africa. She was a Senior Associate the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she co-founded its Democracy Project, and was a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution. Prior to moving to Austin, she was the Director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University. Dr. Newberg has written extensively on constitutional development, jurisprudence, rights and governance in south and central Asia, as well as on the politics of assistance in and to conflict and post-conflict states. Her books include monographs on courts and politics in Pakistan, insurgency in Kashmir, and complex emergency in Afghanistan, as well as edited volumes on telecommunications policy and human rights. A former contributing columnist for the Los Angeles Times and The Globe and Mail, she writes for Yale Global Online, and is an advisor to a number of nonprofit organizations working in the rights and democracy fields.