Summer School - 2018

Call for Applications

The Indian Ocean World and Eurasian Connections

Summer School, July 30-August 12, 2018, Center for Global Asia, New York University Shanghai, China

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

After two successful Summer Schools in July 2016 and 2017, applications are now invited for the third Summer School in 2018, which will take place in Shanghai, July 30-August 12, 2018. It will focus on the sub-theme of “Archaeology, Cultural Heritage, and Contemporary Connectivities of Indian Ocean History.”

The third and final summer school will comprise one week of lectures and one week of fieldwork in China. The lectures will examine archaeological evidence for Indian Ocean interactions, especially the shipwrecks, the distribution of luxury goods, and the circulation of religious artifacts. They will also explain the importance of archival materials for the study of Indian Ocean exchanges during the colonial period, the significance of cultural heritage and museum building for decolonized states around the Indian Ocean, and the use of Indian Ocean history as part of the contemporary geopolitical agenda. During the second week, students will undertake fieldwork at important sites in China intimately connected to Indian Ocean history: in Shanghai, Nanjing, and Quanzhou. In Shanghai, they will visit the China Maritime Museum to explore issues pertaining to the production of Chinese ceramics, the reconstruction of cultural heritage, and analyze the recent 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative undertaken by the People’s Republic of China. In Nanjing, they will explore the shipyard, inscriptions, and other artifacts associated with the expeditions of the Ming-dynasty admiral Zheng He between 1405 and 1433. In Quanzhou, participants will analyze a wide variety of archaeological sources, including the remains of a 13th-century Chinese ship, religious monuments associated with Muslims, Hindus, Nestorians, as well as Chinese traders, the displays at the Quanzhou Maritime Museum, and interview some of the descendants of foreign traders still living in the city.

The Summer School invites qualified participants to meet with leading scholars from various parts of the world, who will direct our shared exploration of the connectivities across the Indian Ocean world as manifested in archaeological evidence, museum collection, and contemporary cross-regional initiatives.

Eligible Participants

The Summer School will invite a total of 20 participants, affiliated with either the NYU Global Network or with any German university or research institution.

Applicants from the NYU Global Network should meet one of these requirements*:

  • Graduate students enrolled at NYU, who are currently doing a PhD in anthropology, history, human geography, political and economic sciences, archaeology, or related fields; or
  • Postdoctoral researchers or junior scholars in the above fields with an affiliation at any of the campuses in the NYU Global Network.

The Summer School will be held in English. Travel, accommodation, and meals for the participants will be covered.

Participant Responsibility

Summer School participants are asked to read selected materials distributed in advance of the Summer School. They will also be asked to prepare a short response note on a topic related to the theme of the Summer School.


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 January 15, 2018. Successful participants will be informed by February 15, 2018.


For any further questions please contact Professor Tansen Sen (  For more information on the Center for Global Asia at NYU, Shanghai, visit:


*   The Center for Interdisciplinary Area Studies (ZIRS) will post a similar call separately.  If you are affiliated with a German university or research institute and are interested in applying to attend the 2018 Summer School, please contact Dr. Hanne Schönig (