On and Around the “India Book”
Abraham’s Luggage. A Social Life of Things in the Medieval Indian Ocean World. Asian Connections Series. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Publication in 2017.
A study of mobility and identity in the interconnected worlds of the twelfth century Mediterranean and Indian Ocean based on the “India Book” documents from the Cairo Geniza. Contracted to Cambridge University Press, Asian Connections Series (Series editors: Engseng Ho (Duke University), Sunil Amrith (Harvard University), Tim Harper (University of Cambridge).
“Chinese porcelain and the material taxonomies of medieval Rabbinic law: encounters with disruptive substances in twelfth century Yemen.” The Medieval Globe2, no. 2 (2016): 199-238. (Co-authored with Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman).
This article presents the earliest dated and localised query about the status of Chinese vessels with respect to the Jewish law of vessels used for food consumption. Our analysis of this query suggests that their phrasing and timing can be linked to the contemporaneous appearance in the Yemen of a new type of Chinese ceramic ware, qingbai, which confounded and destabilised the material taxonomies underpinning rabbinic Judaism.
“Borrowed Words in an Ocean of Objects: Geniza sources and new cultural histories of the Indian Ocean.” In Irreverent History: Essays for M.G.S. Narayanan, edited by Kesavan Veluthat and Donald Davis Jr. New Delhi: Primus Books, 2014: 363-414.
This chapter explores the way that the analysis of Indian loanwords in “India Book” documents can contribute to bigger questions of material and linguistic circulation in the medieval Indian Ocean.
Exploring Equine Cultures
“Ali Akbar’s red horse – collecting Arab horses in the early modern culture of Empire.” In Early Modern Merchants as Collectors, edited by Christina M. Anderson. Proceedings of a conference held at The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 15-16 June 2012, 199-219. London: Routlege.
My chapter contributes to this nascent bibliography on collecting, collectors and collections in the Islamicate world with a study of the relationships between merchant brokers and court collectors in seventeenth century India, as they emerge through the case study of ‘Ali Akbar Isfahani and his provision of ‘jewels and horses’ to the Mughal emperor of India, Shah Jahan. This chapter discusses what is known, and not known, about the role of merchants as patrons and brokers, providing in the process a survey of the existing literature. The second part of this chapter addresses is the place of the horse in collections as an animate ‘collectable.’ The study of a particular ‘red’ horse supplied by ‘Ali Akbar to Shah Jahan queries and disrupts some of Asian art’s more established taxonomies and argues for a less object-centric, more holistic view of what was collected, by whom, how and why, in early modern Eurasia.
“Towards a connected history of equine cultures in South Asia – bahrī (sea) horses and ‘horsemania’ in thirteenth century South India.” The Medieval Globe 2, no. 1 (2016): 57-100.
Explores the translation of the concept of equine cultures, developed thus far principally in European and/or early modern and colonial contexts, to premodern South Asia. As a first contribution to a history of equine matters in South Asia, it focuses on the maritime circulation of horses from the Middle East to Peninsular India in the thirteenth century, examining the different ways that this phenomenon is recorded in textual and material sources and exploring their potential for writing a new, more connected history of South Asia and the Indian Ocean world.
“Describing a lost camel – Clues for West Asian mercantile networks in South Asian maritime trade (Tenth–Twelfth centuries CE).” In Ports of the Ancient Indian Ocean. Proceedings of the Kolkata Colloquium 2011 (Median Project), edited by M.-F. Boussac, J.-F. Salles and J.-.B. Yon, 351-407. Delhi: Primus Books, 2016.
“Khutba and Muslim Networks in the Indian Ocean (Part II) – Timurid and Ottoman Engagements.” In The Growth of Non-Western Cities: Primary and Secondary Urban Networking, C. 900-1900, edited by Kenneth Hall. Lanham MD, Lexington Books, 2011: 131-158.
“India from Aden – Khutba and Muslim Urban Networks in Late Thirteenth-Century India.” In Secondary Cities and Urban Networking in the Indian Ocean Realm, c. 1400-1800, edited by Kenneth Hall. Lanham MD, Lexington Books, 2008: 55-97.
Text and / as ‘Things’
(Co-edited with Kesavan Veluthat (University of Hyderabad) and Roberta Tomber (The British Museum)). The Kollam Plates in the World of the Ninth Century Indian Ocean (An Experiment in Large Micro-History). Delhi: Primus Books. Forthcoming.
This volume gathers the papers from the AHRC International Research Network workshops Routes, Networks and Communities in the Early Medieval Indian Ocean held at The British Museum and De Montfort University in 2012 and 2013. (Contracted to Primus Books, Delhi, for publication in 2018).
Elizabeth Lambourn ed. Legal Encounters on the Medieval Globe. Kalamazoo, MI: ARC Humanities Press, 2017.
Law has been a primary locus and vehicle of contact across human history—as a system of ideas embodied in people and enacted on bodies; and also as a material, textual, and sensory “thing.” This volume analyzes a variety of legal encounters ranging from South Asia to South and Central America, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. The seven essays also explore various material expressions of law that reveal the complexity and intensity of cross-cultural contact in this pivotal era.
“Tombstones, texts and typologies – seeing sources for the early history of Islam in Southeast Asia.” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 51, no. 2 (2008): 252-86.
“Carving and communities: marble carving for Muslim communities at Khambhat and around the Indian Ocean rim (late 13th–mid-15th centuries CE).” Ars Orientalis 34 (2004): 101-35.
“The formation of the batu Aceh tradition in fifteenth century Samudera-Pasai.” In Islam and Sumatra in the Pre-Modern Period, edited by E. Lambourn, special issue of Indonesia and the Malay World 32, no. 93 (2004): 211-48.
“From Cambay to Samudera-Pasai and Gresik – the export of Gujarati Grave memorials to Sumatra and Java in the fifteenth century CE.” Indonesia and the Malay World, 31, no. 90 (2003): 221-89.
“Carving and recarving: three Rasulid gravestones revisited.” New Arabian Studies 6 (2003): 10-29.
“La production de marbre sculpté à Cambaye au Gujarat et son exportation dans l’Océan Indien (XIIIè-XVè siècles Ap. J. C.).” In Mirabilia Asiatica. Produtos raros no comércio marítimo. Produits rares dans le commerce maritime. Seltene Waren im Seehandel, edited by J. M. dos Santos Alves, C. Guillot and R. Ptak, 209-52. Wiesbaden and Lisbon: Harrassowitz Verlag and Fundação Oriente, 2003.
“O legado islâmico de Cambaia.” Oriente. Revista Quadrimestal da Fundação Oriente 2 (2002): 100-110. (In Portuguese with English translation).