Introduction: The Ocean’s Many Cloth Pathways

  • Pedro Machado
  • Sarah Fee
Part of the Palgrave Series in Indian Ocean World Studies book series (IOWS)


Of the world’s great ocean basins, it was the Indian Ocean that most widely produced, exchanged and consumed cloth in the greatest variety and types of finish, and over the longest time. This introduction presents the volume’s thematic sections and the twelve chapters that follow, contextualizing them within current scholarship. It further provides an overview of the region, and the volume’s expansive view of the ocean as an ‘interaction-based arena’ that, while connected to other oceans and seas, had an internal dynamism and historical coherence created by widespread human relationships that were themselves undergirded in significant ways by the kinds of material exchanges and histories represented by the trades and consumption of textiles discussed in the book’s pages.

Supplementary material


  1. Barnes, Ruth. Indian Block-Printed Textiles in Egypt: the Newberry Collection in the Ashmolean Museum. Oxford. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997.Google Scholar
  2. Barnes, Ruth, and David Parkin eds. Textiles in Indian Ocean Societies. London: Routledge, 2005.Google Scholar
  3. Beckert, Sven. Empire of Cotton: A Global History. New York: Alfred P. Knopft, 2014.Google Scholar
  4. Bentley, Jerry. “Sea and Ocean Basins as Frameworks of Historical Analysis.” Geographical Review 89, no. 2 (1999): pp. 215–224.Google Scholar
  5. Berg, Maxine. “In Pursuit of Luxury: Global History and British Consumer Goods in the Eighteenth Century.” Past and Present 182, no. 1 (2004): pp. 85–142.Google Scholar
  6. Berg, Maxine. Luxury and Pleasure in Eighteenth-Century Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.Google Scholar
  7. Bremner, Lindsay. “Folded Ocean: The Spatial Transformation of the Indian Ocean.” Journal of the Indian Ocean Region 10, no. 1 (2013): pp. 18–45.Google Scholar
  8. Brewer, John, and Roy Porter eds. Consumption and the World of Goods. London: Routledge, 1994.Google Scholar
  9. Burton, Antoinette, Clare Anderson, Isabel Hofmeyr, Christopher J. Lee, Nile Green and Madhavi Kale. “Sea Tracks and Trails: Indian Ocean World as Method.” History Compass 11, no. 7 (2013): pp. 497–502.Google Scholar
  10. Chaudhuri, K.N. Asia before Europe: Economy and Civilisation in the Indian Ocean from the Rise of Islam to 1750. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990.Google Scholar
  11. Crill, Rosemary ed. Textiles from India: The Global Trade. Calcutta: Seagull Books, 2006.Google Scholar
  12. DuPlessis, Robert S. The Material Atlantic: Clothing, Commerce, and the Colonization of the Atlantic World, 1650–1800. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2016.Google Scholar
  13. Fee, Sarah, and Pedro Machado eds. “The Translocal Textile Trades of Eastern Africa.” Special Issue of Textile History (forthcoming, May 2017).Google Scholar
  14. Freitag, Ulrike, and Achim von Oppen. “Introduction.” In Translocality: The Study of Globalising Phenomena from a Southern Perspective, edited by Ulrike Freitag, and Achim von Oppen, pp. 1–25. Leiden: Brill, 2010.Google Scholar
  15. Gilbert, Erik. Dhows and the Colonial Economy of Zanzibar. Oxford, UK/Zanzibar/Athens, OH/Nairobi: James Currey/Gallery Publications/Ohio University Press/E.A.E.P, 2004.Google Scholar
  16. Gittinger, Matiebelle. Master Dyers to the World: Technique and Trade in Early Indian Dyed Cotton Textiles. Washington, D.C.: The Textile Museum, 1982.Google Scholar
  17. Green, Nile. “Rethinking the ‘Middle East’ after the Oceanic Turn.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 34, no. 3 (2014): pp. 556–564.Google Scholar
  18. Guy, John. Woven Cargoes: Indian Textiles in the East. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1998.Google Scholar
  19. Hofmeyr, Isabel. “South Africa’s Indian Ocean: Notes from Johannesburg.” History Compass 11, no. 7 (2013): pp. 508–512.Google Scholar
  20. Hofmeyr, Isabel. “Universalizing the Indian Ocean.” PMLA 125, vol. 3 (2010): pp. 721–729.Google Scholar
  21. Lemire, Beverly. Fashion’s Favourite: The Cotton Trade and Consumer in Britain, 1600–1800. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.Google Scholar
  22. Lemire, Beverly. Cotton. Oxford & New York: Berg, 2011.Google Scholar
  23. Machado, Pedro. Ocean of Trade: South Asian Merchants, Africa and the Indian Ocean, c. 1750–1850. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014.Google Scholar
  24. Martinsen, Hanna. The Chemistry of Fashion: Eighteenth Century French Textile Printing. PhD diss., University of Toronto, 2015.Google Scholar
  25. Maxwell, Robyn J. Textiles of Southeast Asia: Tradition, Trade, and Transformation. Melbourne: Australian National Gallery, 1990.Google Scholar
  26. Perdue, Peter, Helen F. Siu and Eric Tagliocozzo. “Introduction: Structuring Moments in Asian Connections.” In Asia Inside Out: Changing Times, eds. Peter Perdue, Helen F. Siu and Eric Tagliocozzo. Cambridge, MA & London: Harvard University Press, 2015.Google Scholar
  27. Prestholdt, Jeremy. Domesticating the World: African Consumerism and the Genealogies of Globalization. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.Google Scholar
  28. Prestholdt, Jeremy. “Locating the Indian Ocean: Notes on the postcolonial reconstitution of space.” Journal of Eastern African Studies 9, no. 3 (2015).Google Scholar
  29. Riello, Giorgio, and Tirthankar Roy. “Introduction: The World of South Asian Textiles, 1500–1850.” In How India Clothed the World: The World of South Asian Textiles, 1500–1850, edited by Giorgio Riello, and Tirthankar Roy, pp. 1–28. Leiden: Brill, 2009.Google Scholar
  30. Riello, Giorgio, and Prasannan Parthasarathi eds. The Spinning World: A Global History of Cotton Textiles, 1200–1850. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.Google Scholar
  31. Riello, Giorgio. Cotton: The Fabric that Made the Modern World. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.Google Scholar
  32. Weiner, Annette, and Jane Schneider eds. Cloth and Human Experience. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pedro Machado
    • 1
  • Sarah Fee
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of HistoryIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of World CulturesRoyal Ontario MuseumTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations