ARC/MCRI Conference on "The Dimensions of the Indian Ocean World Past: Sources and Opportunities for interdisciplinary work in Indian Ocean World History, 9th -19th Centuries"

Conference Update - July 2012

* Conference Programme: Nearly 70 papers have been accepted for presentation at the conference. A draft programme will be available in September, after the travel plans of delegates are finalised. There will be a full programme over the three days of the conference, Monday 12th to Wednesday 14th November 2012. * Keynote Speakers: The keynote speakers are Professor Gwyn Campbell (Canada Research Chair, Indian Ocean World History, McGill University) and Jeremy Green (Head, Department of Maritime Archaeology, Western Australian Museum). The Discussants for each of the three conference themes are: Professor Paul Lane (achievements and opportunities in the archaeology of the IOW); Emeritus Professor Michael Pearson (circulation and flow in the IOW); and Professor Greg Bankoff (climatic impacts in the IOW). * Submission of Papers: The deadline for submitting copies of conference papers has been extended to 1 September 2012. Papers are being requested in advance for the consideration of conference discussants. All delegates are strongly encouraged to forward their papers by this date. Information on format, style and length is available on the conference website * Publication: The conference proceedings will publish only abstracts, rather than full conference papers. A publication plan is under development, involving a series of volumes based on selected conference papers and corresponding to the conference themes. More information on these plans will be available closer to the conference. Final selections of papers will be made shortly after the conference, and delegates who are not invited to contribute to the planned volumes will be free to publish their papers at their own discretion. For more information, please contact the conference organisers at * Registration: The deadline for early bird registration has also been moved to 1 September 2012. Registration can be paid by completing the form available on the conference website. Invoices for registration can be requested via email to (please ignore this if you have already registered). * Travel and Accommodation: The conference website has been updated with information on travel and accommodation in Perth, including a discounted rate being offered to conference delegates by the Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle, and information on other accommodation options including extended stay and budget accommodation options. Any other questions can be dealt with by emailing

Call for Papers

Jointly convened by the Asia Research Centre, Australia Research Council Linkage Grant, Murdoch University, and the Indian Ocean World Centre, Major Collaborative Research Initiative, McGill University. The Western Australian Maritime Museum, Victoria Quay, Fremantle 12-14 November 2012.

This conference provides a forum for a rare interdisciplinary discussion between archaeologists, historians, ethnographers and geographers about the materials, problems and opportunities for interdisciplinary work on the Indian Ocean World (IOW) from the 9TH—19TH centuries. Stretching from the coast of East Africa to the China Seas, the IOW had by the 13th century developed what economic historians have called the world’s ‘First Global Economy’, shaped by the distinct winds of the monsoons- a sophisticated durable system of long distance exchange of commodities, ideas, technology and people. Calling upon Archeology, History, Geography, and Ethnography, this conference will explore aspects of the growth and importance of the IOW trade between the 9th-19th centuries, as well as the interactions between the environment, commerce, and people. There is a compelling need to understand how people and communities in the IOW past responded to climatic and other environmental changes in a geopolitical area with a wide variety of trade and cultural relationships that included a broad arc stretching from the East African coast, through the Gulf States and South Asia, to East and Southeast Asia.

The papers and interdisciplinary discussions will focus upon three main research thrusts: archeological, economic and environmental. Participants will explore the emergence of aspects of the IOW economy from archeological and historical records. Historians, geographers and ethnographers will examine and measure fluctuations and impacts in human-environmental interaction over time. Together, participants will also assess the impacts of certain imperatives of the cultures of consumption of the first global economy as commodities were sold and traded in a variety of social and cultural settings within the IOW.

This ARC/MCRI conference will examine the aspects of the socially regulated processes of circulation, human–environment interactions, and responses to environmental change, in the First Global Economy. As a joint Murdoch-McGill initiative, the conference represents a crucial Australian step of the global project ‘The Indian Ocean World: the Making of the First Global Economy in the Context of Human-Environment Interaction’ led by Professor Gwyn Campbell, McGill University.


Papers might address any range of issues from diverse geographic perspectives but prospective participants are asked to give special consideration to the following themes: 1. ACHIEVEMENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES IN ARCHAEOLOGY

A. The role of trade and commercial networks (local, regional, and long-distance trade) in the creation, maintenance and demise of the IOW commercial systems and networks.

B. The specialized contribution of maritime archaeological research into Indian Ocean maritime activities between the 9th and 19th centuries.

C. The historical development of shipbuilding technologies, and shipwrecks and castaways, in the IOW.

D. Materials and methods for the study of trade between people of different cultures in the IOW. 2. CIRCULATION AND FLOW IN THE INDIAN OCEAN WORLD

A. Maritime trade and the exchange of commodities and peoples in the IOW between the 9th-19th centuries: salt, pearls, ivory, spices, precious metals, gems, textiles, marine and jungle produce, and slaves.

B. Mediators of IOW trade and social relations: the history of piracy and slaving in the Indian Ocean/Eastern seas areas, and historical materials for the study of the condition of pirates and slaves lives in the IOW.

C. Settlements patterns and diasporic flows in the IOW: movements of people through trade, slavery, and climate change. 3. CLIMATIC IMPACTS IN THE INDIAN OCEAN WORLD

A. Social and environmental impacts of natural hazards on the IOW between the 9th -19th centuries: seas, storms, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and droughts.

B. Materials and methods for the study of climate related and other natural hazards on the economy, society and history of the IOW from the 9th -19th centuries.

C. Changing social and environmental conditions in the IOW that have fostered the spread of Infectious diseases between the 9th-19th centuries.


Papers should be in English. Each paper will be grouped according to theme. Individual authors will have a certain amount of time to present their papers, to be followed by a summary presentation by a discussant during sessions devoted to each theme, followed by general discussion.

Deadline for submission of abstracts is 31 December 2011. A response will be distributed no later than 31 January 2012.

Deadlines for submission of accepted papers in English is 30 June 2012.

Abstracts should be submitted to the following address:

Participants will be required to pay their own travel, lodgings, and conference registration fee. Some funds will be available to assist students and early career researchers, with more information to be made available on the conference website. The website will also provide information on travel and lodging in Fremantle/Perth.

A registration fee of AUS$200 is payable by 30 June 2012. The late registration fee (after 30 June 2012) is AUS$250.

Facilities for payment of registration and submission of papers will be available on the conference website.

For more information, please contact conference organiser Dr Joseph Christensen on