The Indian Ocean in Antiquity

The Course

The Indian Ocean in Antiquity

The Indian Ocean lies at the crux of the ancient Afro-Asian world. Navigable seaways and monsoon winds channeled people, ideas, and commodities across this vast space over three millennia. Expeditions from New Kingdom Egypt foretell of later Persian, Chinese, Swahili, Portuguese, Dutch, Ottoman, Mughal, and Omani duels of political ambition. Elites and religious pilgrims from the Arabian Peninsula to Southeast Asia sought ideological converts while merchants traded in pepper, pearls, and ivory. Ethiopians and Indians, agents in such contests, led their own states or toiled as slaves or indentured workers in Iraq or Mauritius. All the while, musical, architectural, and philosophical ideas diffused across the region, creating countless variations on aspects of shared heritages. This course introduces the vibrant societies, cosmopolitan cultures, and rich pasts of the Indian Ocean.

About Jonathan Walz

Jonathan R. Walz is an historical archaeologist whose work focuses on East Africa and the Indian Ocean. His articles and commentary on African historical experience, archaeology, heritage, and critical theory have appeared in American Anthropologist, American Antiquity, Historical Archaeology, The African Archaeological Review, and The Journal of Indian Ocean Archaeology, among other publications. He holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Florida and a B.A. with highest honors in Anthropology and African Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a graduate fellow, he studied African history and Swahili language at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor at Rollins College and a Research Associate at The Field Museum in Chicago.