An Ocean of Paper: Writing the Social History of Oman’s Indian Ocean World
Date(s) - 10/12/2017
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center
Free, RSVP online USD
Interest in the history of the Omani Empire in the Indian Ocean has surged in recent years. Most accounts, however, have focused on the nimble diplomatic maneuverings of Omani sultans in the making (and unmaking) of the empire. In this lecture, Dr. Bishara highlights a different vector of movement in the Omani Indian Ocean, highlighting the mobility of Omani, Indian, and Swahili merchants, planters, moneylenders, jurists, scribes, and other lesser-known actors. To tell this social history of the Omani Empire, Dr. Bishara draws on a far-flung archive of promissory notes, debt deeds, and other contracts left in repositories around Oman and East Africa. What emerges from the material is an intertwined world of money, property, law, and mobility that created durable bonds between Oman and East Africa — bonds that outlasted wars, the vicissitudes of empire, and the booms and busts of the world economy.