The Indian Ocean: Cradle of Globalization
Cover Letter | Application (.pdf file)| Schedule (.pdf file) | Housing (.pdf file) | Resources | Course Modules | Discuss Indian Ocean
NEH 2002 Summer Institute at the University of Pennsylvania


Dear Colleague,
Thank you for your interest in our 2002 NEH Summer Institute on “The Indian Ocean: Cradle of Globalization.”  This letter is to introduce you to some of the themes and topics we plan to cover and to provide you with some logistical information.  We have also enclosed our Institute’s Summer Schedule and the list of proposed Speakers and Topics, along with a copy of the four-page NEH “Application Information and Instructions” (which includes the Participant Application Cover Sheet).  Should you choose to apply, your application materials are due no later than March 22, 2002.   If you have questions about any of the procedures or would like more information about the Institute, please do not hesitate to call or e-mail one of the co-directors.


From July 8 to August 2, 2002, our Institute will introduce participants to the historical and cultural dynamism of the Indian Ocean and to the place of its littoral populations in world history.  Though perhaps not as familiar to American students and educators as the Atlantic or Mediterranean worlds, the Indian Ocean has been one of the most important arenas of commercial and cultural interaction from ancient times to the present.   For the many peoples living around its shores, the Ocean provided not only livelihood and a challenge for sailors and seafarers, but also a busy corridor channeling crops, people, and ideas between Asia and the Near East, and Africa.  The Indian Ocean’s pearl-divers, pirates, and religious pilgrims provided a rich source of folklore for the oral and written literatures of Arabia, East Africa, and South Asia.  Kings and princes from three continents sought to exploit its wealth; imperial expeditions from China, India, and Portugal in early modern times gave way to Dutch, British, and French empire builders in the modern era.  And all the while, musical, architectural, and philosophical ideas continued to diffuse throughout the Indian Ocean world, creating countless variations on a shared cultural heritage.
 For four weeks, we will be studying these and other themes with the help of specialists in disciplines ranging from geography and anthropology to religious studies and ethnomusicology.  In addition to hearing from established specialists like Andrew Watson (professsor emeritus of Economics at the University of Toronto) and Edward Alpers (professor of History and African Studies at UCLA), we will be joined by innovative young scholars who have been developing new ideas and approaches to the study of world history, currently becoming a staple of college and university curricula throughout the country.   The Institute’s co-directors, historian Lee Cassanelli (specialist in Somalia and the Horn of Africa) and anthropologist Brian Spooner (specialist in South Asian and Iranian studies) will serve as guides throughout the summer, providing commentary and continuity.  Both have extensive experience working with high school and college teachers in global studies, and together they have team taught a freshman course on “Globalization” for the University of Pennsylvania’s new pilot curriculum.   The co-directors will be assisted by co-ordinator Robert Nichols, professor of South Asian and Indian Ocean Studies at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, who recently introduced a new Indian Ocean history course at his institution.   Finally, participating fellows will themselves have a leading role to play in developing classroom lectures and modules for their students.


The format of the Institute will consist of linked, weekly sequences of lectures, discussion groups, workshops, and participant presentations that explore key issues of Indian Ocean geography, economics, culture, and politics.  Most days will consist of  morning lectures or round tables by local scholars and invited experts, followed by question and answer periods.  Each afternoon, small group workshops will discuss selected readings or classroom materials, and participants will have the opportunity to work with Institute faculty to prepare classroom-oriented presentations or small research projects around selected themes or topics.  Each Friday morning, these small-group projects will be shared with the assembled fellows to generate discussion and critical feedback.  Friday afternoon library sessions will introduce participants to the latest research technology and methods.  Specialists from our library and outreach staffs will discuss computer aided instruction and website development for classroom use.  In addition, some weekday evenings will be devoted to screening and discussing documentary or feature films that have proven useful as teaching tools, and fellows will have the opportunity to join Institute staff at some of Philadelphia’s outstanding (and generally inexpensive) Asian, Africa, and Middle Eastern restaurants.   Fellows are free to use the weekends for their own explorations of Philadelphia (including museums, historic sites, and sporting events), and we may arrange a related field trip or two if there is interest.
The Institute is designed to be an experience in scholarship with a focus on the use of scholarship for teaching.  Fellows selected for the Institute are expected to participate fully in all sessions throughout the four weeks.  This includes attending lectures and workshops,, contributing to and occasionally leading small-group sessions, and preparing weekly group or individual projects to be designed in consultation with the co-directors.  Time for individual conferences–to help you pursue your own special interests–will be built into each week’s activities. 
Accommodations for the four-week period of the Institute will be available for Fellows at International House (approximately $750 for a single, $950 for doubles if available) or in Graduate Towers  (rates will be similar to those of I-House, and there may be a few larger apartments to accommodate spouses and children at slightly higher rates).  Both are on campus and will contribute to Fellows’ sense of community.   Fellows are asked to make their own arrangements, and to mention that they are with the Indian Ocean Summer Institute at Penn.  We will be happy to answer any questions we can about typical costs of other nearby accommodations and can put you in touch with local realtors or the University housing office.
Each fellow will receive a stipend of $2800 towards their expenses for travel to and from Philadelphia, and for accommodations and incidental expenses for the duration of the Institute.  The first installment will be available to Fellows on arrival,  and they will be expected to pay for their housing in advance from that amount.   The second installment will be paid on July 20th.   Fellows will be designated as “visiting scholars” while attending the Institute, which will entitle them to library priveleges and access to University computer facilities.


Application information is included with this letter.  A list of selection criteria can be found in the NEH material.   We particularly encourage applications from teachers with interests in cross-cultural processes or whose institutions are experimenting with or planning new courses in global studies or world history. Our review committee will give special attention to the essay that must be submitted as part of the application.  This essay should include the reasons for your interest in our Institute; any educational or personal experience that you believe will contribute to the Institute’s work; and what you hope to accomplish by participation, especially in relation to your professional and educational goals. Your completed application should be postmarked no later than March 22, 2002, and should be addressed to Lynette Loose, African Studies Center, 647 Williams Hall, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA 19104-6305, or fax to: (215) 573-7379
Thank you again for your interest in the “Indian Ocean: Cradle of Globalization” Institute.  We look forward to seeing applications from many of you!



Dr. Lee Cassanelli,                   Dr. Brian Spooner                    Dr. Robert Nichols
African Studies Center             Dept of Anthropology               Department of History
649 Williams Hall                     508 Museum                             P.O. Box 195
University of Pennsylvania       University of Pennsylvania         The Richard Stockton College
Philadelphia, PA 19104           Philadelphia, PA 19104                 of New Jersey
Phone: (215) 898-6971            Phone: (215) 898-5207          Pomona, NJ 08240        Phone: (609) 748-6036