Asian Studies in Africa

Eyes Across the Water - Navigating the Indian Ocean

Pamila Gupta, Isabel Hofmeyr & Michael Pearson (eds).
Unisa Press
US$36.59, GB£21.20, €28.25

As we head for a post-American world, attention is increasingly turning towards the Indian Ocean as the coming strategic arena of the 21st century.

Audacious Somali pirates astound international media audiences. The new economic super-powers, India and China exert palpable global influence. The two Asian powers squabble for control of shipping lanes and oil supplies and for dominance of African markets and minerals. Al-Qaida continues to operate around the Indian Ocean littoral in Tanzania, Kenya, Comoros, Indonesia and Yemen. As an arena in which these developments intersect, the Indian Ocean offers a privileged vantage point from which to track a changing world order.

This book captures the complexities of these emerging Indian Ocean realities. With a foreword by world-renowned novelist Amitav Ghosh, many of whose novels address the Indian Ocean, this collection of essays asks what the Indian Ocean means now. What are the links, circuits and exchanges that both unite and divide different regions? Is there an idea of the Indian Ocean?

Building on older traditions of studying the Indian Ocean, this book offers new departures. Much Indian Ocean scholarship focuses on South Asia or the Middle East. How does one factor Africa into this Ocean world? Several essays answer this question by examining interactions between Africa and India. Another theme focuses on islands in the Indian Ocean as a way of understanding key themes in Indian Ocean history.

This collection includes prominent scholars of the Indian Ocean and offers rich interdisciplinary perspectives that draw in film, literature, media, tourism, religion and music.