Beyond Bedouin and Bania: Arabia-South Asia Relations

Sharon Ong Announcement
Subject Fields
Middle East History / Studies, South Asian History / Studies, Asian History / Studies, Islamic History / Studies, Maritime History / Studies


The Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore invites papers for the conference Beyond Bedouin and Bania: Arabia-South Asia Relations. This is the 4th Muhammad Alagil Arabia Asia Conference.

By dint of proximity and other reasons, Arabia and South Asia are neighbouring regions which have been involved in each other's affairs for centuries. While their relations are not always the most visible, peoples from the two regions enjoy a degree of familiarity and mutual knowledge that defies conventional notions of cultural and religious difference. 

This conference will explore and map the range of relations between Arabia and South Asia in the present and the past through a number of topics such as those below. Proposals are welcome for these topics as well as others. Joint proposals for panels of 3-4 presenters are welcome as well; please provide panel title, respective paper titles and abstracts.

In this conference, we seek to gain a better understanding of the following themes:   

  • Cities and Networks
  • Maritime Polities
  • Creole Scripts and Songs
  • Performing Arts
  • Migrant Labour
  • Mercenaries and Militaries
  • Trade Diasporas
  • Religious Networks
  • Consumption
  • Textiles
  • Food
  • Smuggling
  • Currencies
  • Legal Platforms (e.g. Islamic, English)
  • Princely States/Monarchies/Indirect Rule
  • Empire in the Gulf
  • Post-Imperial Legacies

Submissions should include a title, an abstract of no more than 300 words and a brief biography including current affiliation, research interests, and publications. Please note that only previously unpublished papers or those not already committed elsewhere can be accepted. The organisers plan to publish a special issue with selected papers presented in this conference. By participating in the conference, you agree to participate in the future publication plans (special issue/journal) of the organisers.

Please submit your proposal, using the provided proposal template to Dr Nisha Mathew at and Sharon at by 20 September 2017. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by early/mid October 2017.

Conference Convenors

Dr Nisha Mathew
Asia Research Institute, and Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore
E |;

Prof Engseng Ho
Asia Research Institute, and Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore

Contact Information

Miss Sharon Ong
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

Contact Email