Event — Online Symposium

Indian Ocean and Epigraphy II

This (online) symposium explores the common ground between epigraphy and Indian Ocean studies, focusing on South and Southeast Asia. As the second part in a series, it invites specialists of the diverse epigraphic traditions of the Indian Ocean to reflect on the potential to exchange ideas and share methods across regional and disciplinary boundaries.

This symposium will be held online via Zoom.
Time: 14:30 - 17:30 p.m. Amsterdam Time (CET) / 8:30 - 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) 

The Symposium

Epigraphic sources offer unique and otherwise unattainable insights that inform our understanding of the Indian Ocean's past. At the same time, comparing different regions, traditions, and languages, as an Indian Ocean framework encourages its scholars to do, affords broader understandings of this region’s interconnected land- and seascapes. The characteristics of port cities, trade and religious dynamics, the competitors for political power, the role and origins of merchant communities, and the presence of overseas residents can all be approached through epigraphic sources. A comparison between regions historically in contact – such as Java and Bengal, or Sumatra and the Coromandel Coast – adds exciting details to these often partly forgotten histories.

As a follow-up on our previous symposium on epigraphy and Indian Ocean Studies in December 2021, which focused on the contacts in the first millennium CE, we now call attention to the continuities and ruptures in the following centuries. The Leiden Centre for Indian Ocean Studies again invites scholars whose work has illuminated the connections between multiple Indian Ocean regions by incorporating epigraphic material into multidisciplinary approaches. What can we learn from approaching these sources from an Indian Ocean vantage point? How did different groups, religions, and cultures interact with each other? How are these connections incorporated into – or ignored by – colonial and national historiographies?

The Speakers

Daud Ali, University of Pennsylvania

Elizabeth Lambourn, De Montfort University

Wayan Jarrah Sastrawan, École française d'Extrême-Orient

Meera Visvanathan, Shiv Nadar University


This symposium is organised by the Leiden Centre for Indian Ocean Studies (Leiden University, KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies and IIAS).


Please email a.a.hoekstra@iias.nl if you would like to attend.

Kollam copper plates