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Full Access Revisiting Michael Pearson’s Indian Ocean Littoral

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Revisiting Michael Pearson’s Indian Ocean Littoral

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image of Asian Review of World Histories

This essay rethinks Pearson’s formulation of littoral society in two essays he wrote in 1985 and 2006. While the first made a case for coastal history, the second continued the theme into the littoral, the strip between land and sea. Pearson foregrounded the universality of a clearly discernible littoral culture on coastlines along and across the Indian Ocean. This translated consequently into a shared history and a common heritage across the ocean’s diverse shores. At a time when maritime historians were writing what were essentially land-based histories on ocean spaces, Pearson’s social history of the littoral over a longue duree was a significant intervention.

Affiliations: 1: University of Hyderabad


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