Coastal Histories: Society and Ecology in Pre-modern India

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Yogesh Sharma
Primus Books, 2010 - History - 215 pages
The subject of maritime and oceanic history comprises a large corpus and includes related thematic engagements such as the history of overseas exploration and expansion, navalmilitary history, shipping, port cities, the role of migrations and cross-cultural processes. This extensive field of enquiry also focuses upon the study of littoral societies or the coastal regions, in understanding the influence of the ocean upon these lands. The interface between the land and the sea, with its several ecological and topographical variations, has played an important role in determining human activity, the settlement patterns and material culture in the coastal regions, which taken together constitute huge masses of territories in all continents. The general pattern of existence and the rhythm of life in all these dissociated regions, however, had considerable commonality, due to the overwhelming impact of the two dominant elements-water and land-in shaping the destinies of its inhabitants. Coastal societies have their own particular notion of identity and ambience, which differentiates them from the extensive continental zones. It is in this context, that coastal territories and their histories constitute an interesting theme of enquiry. The present volume examines a number of themes pertaining to different coastal regions of India: coastal ecology, commercial crops, transmission of diseases, fortifications, port hierarchy, new port towns, vessels and boats, fishing communities, social life of women, etc. It should be of interest to students and scholars of maritime history of India.

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About the author (2010)

Dr Yogesh Sharma, Ph.D. from l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Historical Studies, JNU. His field of research includes the European traders and Indian commercial and maritime history. Dr Sharma has co-edited Portuguese Presence in India during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (2008) and Biography as History, Indian Perspectives (2009).

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