Organized Panel Session
In recent years the emerging scholarship on the material culture and textual traditions of the Indian Ocean world has been shaped by new studies that highlight the complex ways in which costal communities drew on a variety of maritime and pan-regional cultural repertoires. In creating material artifacts, texts, and performative genres artists and authors situated a littoral perspective in practices that were both locally grounded but which also engaged with multiple cultural perspectives. The papers in this panel explore four different examples from Cera-period Kerala, Early Modern Madurai, Colonial Gujarat, and Travancore. The presenters examine the role played by institutional authorities, both sacred and secular, in shaping the ways in which such transcultural exchange was articulated. In each case, using new field research each presenter will examine the complex ways in which agents embedded in costal communities used aesthetic, textual, and performative techniques to engage the multiple, overlapping audiences of these complex, littoral worlds.