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1957 E St NW, Washington DC 20052

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The talk puts the spotlight on the Asian elites who became integral to the functioning of the Indian Ocean in the age of Empire. It weaves the story of a family of Indian Ocean Sultans into the broader tapestry of world history.  Putting the micro-optic on the Omani Sultans and their century long saga it retells the story of the Ocean carved as a political space where Asian and European aspirations competed. It shows how the Sultans made the most of Europeans who made a bee line to the Western Indian Ocean hungry for slaves, cloves, and ivory.  They leveraged themselves to European economic concerns and politics, remained heeled in their own cultural tradition, and articulated their political ambitions. The talk forefronts these Asian imperial ambitions in the Ocean with important implications for the writing of global histories.

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