‘Cosmopolitan Cultures and Oceanic Thought: Thinking through History Across the Waters’

Nishat Zaidi's picture
November 23, 2020 to November 25, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Intellectual History, Literature, South Asian History / Studies


Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia

in collaboration with

Centre for Indian Studies in Africa, University of Witwatersrand


A Three-Day International Conference (Online)

[ Ministry of Education, Government of India-SPARC Supported]


Cosmopolitan Cultures and Oceanic Thought: Thinking through History Across the Waters


23-25 November 2020

 New Delhi

12th century Map of the Indian Ocean, Muhammad al-Idrisi (1099-1166)


Registration Link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/17o6v_K-JxR6FFYNo-8jywo5Z55wkU4yLx8VcY8ekNmE/edit?usp=drivesdk




Day One



10.30-11.00 AM : Inaugural Session

SESSION 1: 11 AM-1.15 PM

  1. Isabel Hofmeyr, Global Distinguished Professor, NYU, Professor of African Literature, University of the Witwatersrand, “Hydrocoloniality” (7.30 AM SA- 9.45 AM SA)
  2. Lakshmi Subramaniam, Professor of History, BITS Pilani Goa and Membre Associe IEA, Nantes, “Towards a Cosmopolitan History of the Indian Ocean: Revisiting Historiography”
  3. Fahad Bishara, University of Virginia, “Re-inscribing the Bazaar: Reflections on Circulation and Capitalism in the Indian Ocean World” (12.30 AM- 2.45 AM EST)


SESSION 2: 3PM-5PM IST (9.30 to 11.30 GMT)

  1. Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literature in English, University of Oxford, “Fellowship and Aversion in the South: The Challenges of South-South Collaboration”
  2. Ananya Jahanara Kabir, Professor of English, King’s College, London,Creole Indias and their Archipelagic Connections?” 


Day Two



    1. Padmavati of the Oceans: Syed Alaol’s Migrant Epic

Swati Moitra, Gurudas College, University of Calcutta

    1. ‘Ulamā’ Networks across the Seas: Understanding the Trajectory of Islam in Medieval Malabar

Mohammed Shameem K. K., Jawaharlal Nehru University

    1. A Theologian as Public Intellectual: ‘Abd al-Haqq Muhaddis Dehlawi in Sixteenth Century India

Sushmita Banerjee, Miranda House, University of Delhi

4. Mapping Syncretic Grammar of Coastal Cities & Architecture through Ibn Battuta’s    Water Journeys in the Indian Ocean (1342-1347)

      Iqtedar Alam, Jamia Millia Islamia      


1. Tracing Cosmopolitan Geographies of Christian ‘Margam’ in Malabar: A Study of Select Southist Christian Folk Traditions 

Ann Susan Aleyas, Jamia Millia Islamia 


2. Crossing the Oceans: Kalapani Proscription versus Hindu Sea Voyage Movement in Bengal in the 19th and the early 20th centuries

Sukanya Sarkar Sasmal, SN College for Women, Kolkata and Indranil Chattopadhyay, BKC College, Kolkata


3. “As Long as the sun and moon lasts”: Exploring the Indian Influence on Dutch Treaties in South East Asia

Meenu Rabecca Mathai, Sree Sankaracharya University



Session 3:  6.30 PM -7.30 PM (9.30 AM EST-10.30 AM EST)

  1. Geeta Patel, University of Virginia, “Found in Prison: The Poetics of Oceanic Histories"
  2. Kelsey McFaul, University of California, Santa Cruz “The wind sketches landscapes of words”: Oceanic poetics in the Horn of Africa and western Indian Ocean”



Day Three



SESSION 1: 10AM-11.30AM

  1. Beyond ‘Orient’ and ‘Occident’: Ubiquitous Influence of Buddhist Political Thought

Swasti Sharma, University of Delhi

  1. Ocean Imaginaries in Meena Alexander's Literary Works

Shuby Abidi, Jamia Millia Islamia

  1. Amitav Ghosh’s Ibis Trilogy: A Literary Mapping of the Indian Ocean

Nidhi, Ambedkar University Delhi

SESSION 2: 11.30PM-1PM

  1. The Tales of Parrot and the Sea of Desire: Tracing Similarities in Sanskrit and Arabic   Literature on Women’s Sexuality from the Medieval Era

Samana Madhuri, Chandrakona Vidyasagar Mahavidyalaya, Vidyasagar University

  1. Rainbow Waters: Towards a Queer Coalition between India and Botswana

Kashish Dua, Jamia Millia Islamia.

  1. Middle Passage to Middle Non-Passage: Christianity, Conversion and Caste: Reflections of Christian Malayalam Writings in Post-Colonial India

Steven S. George, Jamia Millia Islamia 

SESSION 3: 3.30 PM-5PM

              1. Heritage ecologies in Indian Ocean archipelagos 

               Pedro Pombo, Goa University

2. Lyrics as Travelogue beyond Boundaries: An Anthology of Punjab’s Mystical   Wanderings 

             Sanjay Dansalia, Jamia Millia Islamia

3. Senses Translated: The Sīra- Maghāzī Literatures, Padapāttus, and Texts and Sounds across the Indian Ocean Arabic Cosmopolis 

             Ihsan Ul Ihthisam, Jawaharlal Nehru University


Plenary : 6.30 PM-7.30 PM IST (9.30 AM to 10.30 AM EST) 

1.Nidhi Mahajan, University of California, Santa Cruz, "Moorings: The Dhow Trade and  Mobility in the Western Indian Ocean."

2. Jatin Dua, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, “Chokepoints: Temporalities of           navigation in the Western Indian Ocean”



CONFERENCE CHAIRS: Professor Nishat Zaidi (JMI), Professor Dilip Menon (CISA)

CONFERENCE CO-CHAIRS: Professor Simi Malhotra (JMI), Dr Saarah Jappie 

Contact Info: 

Professor Nishat Zaidi

Head, Department of English

Jamia Millia Islamia

New Delhi-110025