Islamic Law and Commerce in the Indian Ocean | Fahad Bishara

E383 | The history of capitalism and the world economy, while increasingly global in its perspectives, remains a Eurocentric story, and one struggles to find the place of non-European modes of exchange and legal frameworks such as Islamic law within the big picture. In this episode, we talk to Fahad Ahmad Bishara about his book A Sea of Debt: Law and Economic Life in the Western Indian Ocean, 1780-1950 (Cambridge University Press), which argues that concepts and legal frameworks arising from Islamic societies deserve an important place in this narrative. As we discuss, merchants, cultivators, and financiers in the Indian Ocean world were linked in a shared understanding of commerce that employed Islamic legal frameworks. Throughout our conversation, we seek to understand what a picture of the emergence of capitalism in the Western Indian Ocean looks like when local actors are placed at its center. More at Fahad Ahmad Bishara is an assistant professor of history at the University of Virginia. He specializes in the legal and economic history of the Indian Ocean and Islamic world, and is now spends his time thinking about dhows, the sea, and world history. Chris Gratien is Assistant Professor of History at University of Virginia, where he teaches classes on global environmental history and the Middle East. He is currently preparing a monograph about the environmental history of the Cilicia region of the former Ottoman Empire from the 1850s until the 1950s. CREDITS Episode No. 383 Release Date: 5 October 2018 Recording Location: Charlottesville, VA Audio editing by Chris Gratien Music: Bandista - Gavur İmam İsyanı; Lili Labassi - Mazal Haye Mazal; Istanbul'dan Ayva Gelir Nar Gelir - Azize Tozem and Sari Recep Special thanks to karagüneş for permission to use the composition "Istanbul" Bibliography and images courtesy of Fahad Bishara available at

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