Thursday, November 15, 2018 at 4:30pm
In the 1930s, the notion of “monsoon Asia” was widespread in the fields of geography and anthropology. Its adherents saw climate, and particularly the seasonally reversing monsoon winds, as central to understanding the commonalities among India, Southeast Asia, and southern China.
Monsoon Asia had largely disappeared as a geographical category by the 1980s, but now it is back, says historian and MacArthur Fellow Sunil Amrith. Its return has been especially notable in climate science, where new research is investigating the impact of human activity on monsoon patterns. But it has also reappeared in the humanities as a way to conceive of transregional connections.
In his talk, Amrith will explore the material and intellectual history of the monsoon Asia idea, as well as its potential and limitations in writing interAsian histories.
Sunil S. Amrith is the Mehra Family Professor and chair of the department of South Asian studies at Harvard University. His research is on the transregional movement of people, ideas, and institutions. Areas of particular interest include the history of public health and poverty, the history of migration, and environmental history. His most recent work has been on the Bay of Bengal as a region connecting South and Southeast Asia. He has a PhD in History (2005) from the University of Cambridge, where he was also a Research Fellow of Trinity College (2004-06).