Ken Hall presented a University lecture on “Commodity Flows and Diaspora Networking in the Eastern Indian Ocean Region, c. 800-1500” at the University of Michigan Sept. 12. His presentation represented his current research on early Indian Ocean networking among the Ocean’s regional (Middle East, East Coast Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and China, Japan, and Korea) sectors and diverse communities that exchanged commodities and ideas prior to Western entry in the post-1500 era.
Over the past summer Ken Hall has done research and made presentations in Korea and Singapore, based in new “borderless society” historiography that places emphasis on wider interactive regional space rather than one bounded competitive political domains. In Singapore, he had “hands on” opportunity to view the remains of a 9th-century Indian Ocean shipwreck that was recovered off the Java coastline (and advised on how to best display these remains in the Singapore National Museum), as this factors into his study of contemporary inscriptional evidence from south India ports-of-trade that were transit points on the Middle East to China maritime network, and other regional archeological evidence.
In addition, Ken Hall worked with the museum staff at the Field Museum in Chicago to identify artifacts and develop their presentation of a 13th-century Indian Ocean shipwreck cargo that the Field Museum recently acquired. During July and early August he reviewed international studies grant proposals (focal on South and Southeast Asia) in Washington, D.C. for the United States Department of Education and Fulbright Research programs.