Summer 2019 - HIST 368W D100

Selected Topics in the History of the Wider World (4)

Indian Rim Since Antiquity

Class Number: 4359

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    BLU 10021, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 16, 2019
    8:30 AM – 11:30 AM
    AQ 5016, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six units of lower division history.



A writing-intensive examination of selected topics in the history of Asia, Africa and/or the Middle East. The content will vary from offering to offering. See department for further information. HIST 368W may be repeated for credit only when a different topic is taught. Students may not take selected topics within HIST 368W for further credit if duplicating content of another history course and vice versa. Writing.


Sinbad's World: History of the Indian Rim

We associate the stories of Sindbad the Sailor with the Tales of a Thousand and One Arabian Nights, the body of Arabian and Persian folklore collected in Baghdad, the capitol of the Abassid Caliphate in the Early and High Middle Ages. But, unlike stories like those of Aladdin, the Sindbad tales spoke not just to folklore traditions but to an immediate historical reality in the ninth- and tenth-century century Middle East: a new eastward and southern orientation. Starting in the eighth century, the centre of the Muslin and Christian worlds moved away from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean, where they joined other vibrant, transnational cosmopolitan Buddhist and Hindu societies thanks to the Chinese maritime innovation, the dhow, a small ship[ permitting windward sailing. The dhow navigated a triangular world of trade and exchange, stretching west to present-day Spain and Morocco via the Red and Mediterranean Seas, south down the African Coast to the Zambezi River and east to present-day Indonesia. It is the history of this set of interconnected places, peoples and cultures that this course track from 600 BCE up to the present day. This third-year course history course seeks to acquaint students with the practice of hemispheric, oceanic and world history at an upper-division level through an exploration of the Indian Rim world and with the specifics of the history of the African and Asian states bordering on the Indian Ocean. The course spans the duration of Indian Ocean trade, beginning in Antiquity and continuing up to the present day. In order to better acquaint students the practices of pre-modern document analysis, lesser emphasis will be placed on the post-Enlightenment period. This course seeks to prepare upper-division history students for conducting historical work that transcends regional specialization and focuses on the close reading of primary documents and on improving students’ writing process and skills. Students will be introduced to drafting and proposal processes to more closely hone their skills at producing upper-division work. Each weekly seminar will begin with prepared remarks by the instructor providing students with a general narrative and context within which the assigned readings will be situated. Following a break, a seminar discussion will take place. Each student will be expected to assist with discussion leadership on one week of the course, on which they will also make a brief presentation on one or more course readings. Students will be expected to engage with discrepancies between the arguments advanced in lecture and those advanced in assigned readings, selected to showcase alternative positions and approaches.


  • Attendance and Informed Participation 20%
  • Proposal Draft 5%
  • Final Proposal 10%
  • Essay Draft 15%
  • Final Essay 30%
  • Take-home exam 20%



Michael Pearson, The Indian Ocean (New York: Routledge, 2003)

Abdul Sheriff, Dhow Cultures of the Indian Ocean: Cosmopolitanism, Commerce and Islam (London: Hurst and Company, 2010)  

Registrar Notes:

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