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Conference ‘Sailing the waves of convergence. Cultural links and continuities across the Bay of Bengal’

03/12/2014 @ 10:00 - 16:00

South and Southeast Asia have been in close contact for over 2000 years. As the annual cycle of the monsoon enabled maritime navigation across the Bay of Bengal from time immemorial, the histories of the regions grew inextricably intertwined. Some of the world’s major religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, were propagated eastwards aboard ocean-faring vessels, while spices, luxury goods and pilgrims travelled in the opposite direction.

The interethnic networks that emerged in this maritime interaction sphere open questions pertaining to history, language, literature, religion and heritage, but especially a combination of these fields. To understand the full range of activities connecting the shores, habours and riversides of this area, we can no longer treat South and Southeast Asia as separate entities. This conference, hence, provides an opportunity for scholars straddling the boundaries of the Indian Ocean World to present their ongoing work in an informal setting.


009:30-10:00: Coffee

10:00-10:30: Tom Hoogervorst (KITLV), ‘Introducing language contact at the interface of South and Southeast Asia’

10:30-11:00: Munzir Hitami and Siti Aisyah (UIN SUSKA Riau), ‘Uncovering the messages of the oldest known Qur’anic exegesis of the Malay world’

11:00-11:30: Sraman Mukherjee (Nalanda University), ‘At the frontiers of empire: Buddhist relics in the colony’

11:30-12:00: Maria Packman (UC Berkeley), ‘Trust God, but get it in writing: Fatima’s Mahr in two and a half languages’

12:00-13:00: Lunch break

13:00-13:30: Natalie Ong (National University of Singapore), ‘Personal adornment, cosmopolitan inspiration and social hierarchy: A comparative study of Javanese temple iconography’

13:30-14:00: Abdur Rahoof Ottathingal (Leiden University), ‘Arabi-Malayalam and the making of vernacular Islam in Malabar: 17th to 20th century’

14:00-14:30: Siti Aisyah (UIN SUSKA Riau), ‘Religious and commercial networks lexicalized: Interpreting a unique quadrilingual manuscript’

14:30-14:45: Coffee break

14:45-15:15: Mahmood Kooria (Leiden University), ‘The myth of Shāfi’ī school of law: Pre-modern South and Southeast Asia’s intermixed legal landscape’

15:15-15:45: Marieke Bloembergen (KITLV), ‘Indonesia “in the light of Asia”: Sites, knowledge networks and moral geographies of Greater India’

15:45-16:30: Discussion

Seats are limited. If you wish to attend please register with Yayah Siegers: [email protected] / 071-527 2295


10:00 - 16:00


View Organizer Website


KITLV, room 138
Reuvensplaats 2
Leiden, Netherlands
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