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UNIT 10: Connections Across Water

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READINGS

Reading 1

Candice Goucher, Charles LeGuin, and Linda Walton, In the Balance: Themes in Global History (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998). Selections from chapter 6, "Trade, Transport, Temples, and Tribute: The Economics of Power," pp. 216–29.

Abstract: This essay explores the development of riverine and island empires in Southeast Asia as a way of demonstrating how the physical and cultural environment of the region shaped the political orders that emerged there before 1500. In particular, water is a constant, defining feature in this region of islands and deltas, whether from rivers, seas, or monsoon rains. As a result of all this water, Southeast Asia was perfectly positioned for becoming a meeting-place of cultures from West Asia, Africa, and East Asia.

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Reading 2

Candice Goucher, Charles LeGuin, and Linda Walton, In the Balance: Themes in Global History (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998). "The invisible exchanges in the Ancient World," pp.254–5

Abstract: This short piece discusses the diseases that inevitably traveled from place to place along with merchants and traders since ancient times. Whether those diseases were spread by rat fleas, poisoned grain, insects, or from person to person, the spread of disease along trade routes is as old as trade itself. Frequently, disease had dire consequences for the human populations in its path.

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Reading 3

R. J. Barendse, "Trade and State in the Arabian Seas: A Survey from the Fifteenth to the Eighteenth Century," Journal of World History

Abstract: This article surveys developments in the western Indian Ocean during the early modern period. It argues that developments in the trade of the Arabian seas were characterized by continuity rather than by any radical break in the fifteenth century. "Europe" did not rise while "Asia" declined: developments in the Arabian seas had a powerful impact on developments in Europe, and vice versa. A case is made for a framework of study focusing on shifts in the middle to long term and linking trade with the state and agriculture. There are many and more important links, but these are more complex than is often recognized, and consequently they necessitate more subtle economic theory focusing on what links Europe and Asia rather than on dichotomies.

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