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Spirits and Ships: Cultural Transfers in Early Monsoon Asia

Andrea Acri,
Roger Blench, and
Aexandra Landmann

978 981 47 6275 5
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Publication date:
15 November 2017

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This volume seeks to foreground a borderless history and geography of South, Southeast, and East Asian littoral zones that would be maritime-focused, and thereby explore the ancient connections and dynamics of interaction that favoured the encounters among the cultures found throughout the region stretching from the Indian Ocean littorals to the Western Pacific, from the early historical period to the present. Transcending the artificial boundaries of macro-regions and nation-states, and trying to bridge the arbitrary divide between (inherently cosmopolitan) high cultures (e.g. Sanskritic, Sinitic, or Islamicate) and local or indigenous cultures, this multidisciplinary volume explores the metaphor of Monsoon Asia as a vast geo-environmental area inhabited by speakers of numerous language phyla, which for millennia has formed an integrated system of littorals where crops, goods, ideas, cosmologies, and ritual practices circulated on the sea-routes governed by the seasonal monsoon winds. The collective body of work presented in the volume describes Monsoon Asia as an ideal theatre for circulatory dynamics of cultural transfer, interaction, acceptance, selection, and avoidance, and argues that, despite the rich ethnic, linguistic and sociocultural diversity, a shared pattern of values, norms, and cultural models is discernible throughout the region.


Andrea Acri was trained at Leiden University (PhD 2011, MA 2006) and at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” (Laurea degree, 2005). He is Maître de Conférences in Tantric Studies at the École pratique des hautes études in Paris since Fall 2016.

Roger Blench is Visiting Fellow at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, and International Research Officer at the Department of History, University of Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria.

Alexandra Landmann was a Research Fellow at Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, 2009–11, and Visiting Fellow at Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre (Singapore) in 2013. She lectured at the Indonesian Hindu University from 2011–15 and is currently ICGSE and IB Teacher for Environmental Management at GMIS Bali.



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