Delighted to introduce you to Sovereigns Of The Sea by Seema Alavi. The ultimate account of the Sultans of Oman, their thrilling lives and political circumstances.
The book exemplifies a new kind of history writing tradition which shifts the gaze away from the Euro centric narrative of imperialism and capitalism and focuses instead on the Arab Sultans as agents of change. This is a refreshing change from the way historical books are usually written.
The book makes an exciting foray into the ‘micro history’ approach to narrate the story of the Ocean in more contingent ways. These micro histories put more emphasis on individual experience, materiality and nature of space and time, thus providing a more textured perspective.
Keeping a sensitive finger on the specific temporal and spatial moments in the maritime space, it explores their key role in shaping the politics of the Ocean and nurturing the Omani Sultanate.
This definitive book on the Sultans of Oman is a thrilling historical account of their action-packed battles, daring expeditions, epic triumphs and ingenious politics in the long nineteenth century. It puts the optic of ‘micro-history’ on their fascinating lives as they navigated the geopolitics of their time and propelled the politics of the Western Indian Ocean. It offers a comprehensive and in-depth examination of the ambitions of the Omani patriarch Sultan Sayyid Said and his four sons and shows how integral they were to the political culture of the region.
Keeping a sensitive finger on the specific temporal and spatial moments in the maritime space that they navigated, it explores their key role in shaping the politics of the Ocean and nurturing the Omani Sultanate on their terms. The groundbreaking narrative sheds light on the role of the Sultans as agents of change, challenging the Eurocentric narrative that views the Indian Ocean as framed in the history of western imperialism and capitalism alone.
In addition to its academic rigour, the book is easy to read and engaging, making it an ideal resource for students, scholars and anyone with an interest in the history of the Indian Ocean, the Middle East and South Asia. Its fresh perspective and insightful analysis make it an invaluable contribution to the fast-growing field of Indian Ocean Studies.
About the author
SEEMA ALAVI is a professor of history at Ashoka University, Sonipat, Haryana. She earned her PhD from Cambridge University, England, and has twice been a Fulbright Scholar and a Smuts Visiting Research Fellow at Cambridge. In 2010, she was at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard as the William Bentinck-Smith Fellow.
Dr Alavi specializes in early modern and modern South Asia, with an interest in the transformation of the region’s legacy from Indo-Persian to one heavily affected by British colonial rule. She has written books on the military, medical and religious histories of India. Her most recent book is the Albert Hourani Award (Honorable Mention) winner Muslim Cosmopolitanism in the Age of Empire from Harvard University Press, USA.
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