Summer School

Call for Applications

The Indian Ocean World and Eurasian Connections
Networks of Connectivities: Routes, Commodities, and the Politics of the Indian Ocean

Summer School, July 25-30, 2016, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

The Center for Global Asia at NYU Shanghai, China, and the Center for Interdisciplinary Area Studies (ZIRS) at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, will collaboratively offer a summer school on the topic of “The Indian Ocean World and Eurasian Connections,” the first in a series of three funded through a grant from the Volkswagen Foundation, Germany.

This year’s summer school will take place in Halle (Saale), from July 25th to 30th, 2016 and will focus on “Networks of Connectivities: Routes, Commodities, and the Politics of the Indian Ocean.”  The landmass extending from the Mongolian grasslands to the Black Sea is usually portrayed as the conduit for Eurasian interactions and exchanges. However, even more of the links across Eurasia were initiated by sea. The summer school foregrounds these links, demonstrating that the Indian Ocean has been an integral and essential aspect of trans-Eurasian connections from the early historical period to contemporary times.

The summer school invites qualified participants from NYU’s Global Network to meet with leading scholars from various parts of the world, who will direct our shared exploration of the commercial, diplomatic, religious, technological, and migratory exchanges across the Indian Ocean world that link the far eastern regions of Asia with the heartland of Europe and many areas in between. Specific themes to be examined include

-    the movement of products such as porcelain, spices, tea, and incense
-    the transmission of ideas, including those associated with Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity
-    archaeological evidence for sea travel
-    contestations over and interior working of maritime hubs
-    creation of and scrutinizing of cultural heritage sites
-    use of history for contemporary geopolitical agendas

Participants will learn about and discuss the dynamics of the Indian Ocean world through rigorous analysis of texts, archaeological evidence, secondary sources, and ethnographic data. The overall aim of the summer school is to stimulate an understanding of the importance of Indian Ocean “connectivities” and Eurasian exchanges in global history.

Eligible Participants

The summer school will invite a total of 30 participants (20 from Germany, and 10 from the NYU Global Network universities in New York, Shanghai and Abu Dhabi).  Applicants from the NYU Global Network should meet one of these requirements:
•    Graduate students with the status of ABD, who are currently enrolled in a doctoral program within the NYU system;
•    Postdoctoral fellows or junior faculty members affiliated with NYU in New York, Shanghai, or Abu Dhabi, who have completed the PhD within the last three years.

The summer school will be held in English. Travel, accommodation and meals of the participants will be covered by the organizers.

Participant Responsibility

For each day of the summer school participants will be required to submit a short response note (no longer than two pages) on the readings and lectures. Before completing the summer school, participants will use these response notes to write a 2000-word paper on a topic related to the summer school’s theme. After the summer school participants may be given an opportunity to expand their work for joint publication in an edited volume.


Please send your application, consisting of a CV, a letter of intent (one page maximum) explaining why you would like to participate in the summer school and what knowledge you have on the subject, and a short writing sample based on your current research interests. 

Please submit the application as one pdf-file to

Deadline for all applications is June 15, 2016.

Selection Process

All applications received will be examined by a selection panel headed by Prof. Tansen Sen (NYU Shanghai), Prof. Duane Corpis (NYU Shanghai) and Prof. Burkhard Schnepel (Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg), who will seek a balanced and dynamic composition of participants according to gender, seniority, and academic discipline. Successful participants will be informed by June 30, 2016.


For any further questions please contact Prof. Tansen Sen (