Secondary Cities and Urban Networking in the Indian Ocean Realm, c. 1400-1800

Contributions by Charles Argo, John Chaffee, Stewart Gordon, Alexandra Green, James Heitzman, Elizabeth Lambourn, Stephen Morillo, Jay Spaulding, Kenneth M. Swope, Charles Wheeler, John K. Whitmore Edited by Kenneth R. Hall

Publication date:

28 August 2008

Length of book:

370 pages


Lexington Books

ISBN-13: 9780739128343

With the closure of the overland Silk Road in the fourteenth century following the collapse of the Mongol empire, the Indian Ocean provided the remaining vital link for wider cultural, political, and societal integrations prior to the Western colonial presence. Collectively, these studies explore the history of non-metropolitan urban settings c. 1400-1800 in the Indian Ocean realm, from the Ottoman Empire and the African coastline at the mouth of the Red Sea in the west to China in the east. This was an age of heightened international commercial exchange that pre-dated the European arrival, which in the Indian Ocean paired Islamic expansionism and political authority, and, alternately, in the case of mainland Southeast Asia, partnered Buddhism with new centralizing monarchies.

While grounded in multi-disciplinary urban studies literature, the twelve studies in this collection explore secondary center networking, as this networking distinguishes secondary cities from metropolitan centers, which have traditionally received the most scholarly attention. The book features the research of international scholars, whose work addresses the representative history of small cities and urban networking in various parts of the Indian Ocean world in an era of change, allowing them the opportunity to compare approaches, methods, and sources in the hopes of discovering common features as well as notable differences.

This volume is the result of a 2007 conference on "The Small City in Global Context," hosted by the Center for Middletown Studies at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, intended to expand the field of urban studies by encouraging scholars of diverse global interests and specializations to explore the history of non-metropolitan urban settings.
A very useful and provocative collection of twelve essays on a variety of themes and societies, stretching from China to Sudan. Will be of interest to historians of Asian cities, the Indian Ocean realm's economic and cultural networks, and the Early Modern world generally.