Sebastian Prange

Assistant Professor
Department of History

Dr. Sebastian Prange is Assistant Professor of South Asian history at the Department of History. He studies the trading world of the medieval and early-modern Indian Ocean, with a special focus on the commercial networks, political alliances, and religious connections that linked India to Arabia and Southeast Asia. His work argues for the importance of studying South Asia as part of the wider Indian Ocean world by exploring the trans-oceanic networks that integrated the region into circulatory exchanges of goods, texts, ideas, individuals and allegiances. He currently works on a history of piracy in the Indian Ocean.

Primary Recipient Awards

Wall Scholars, Sebastian Prange, 2017

Sebastian Prange
Wall Scholars

As a Wall Scholar, Sebastian Prange is advancing his project on the development of Islam within the trading world of monsoon Asia. This development was shaped by merchants and itinerant mystics rather than by sultans and scholars and spread through commercial interaction rather than by conquest. The central question that animates his project is how Muslim trading communities evolved as minority groups within non-Muslim societies. Living among “infidels” prompted questions and quandaries about political status, religious authority, and everyday social interaction that were not addressed in the standard texts of Islamic law or covered by agreed-upon convention. Their creative answers to these issues tells the story of how ordinary Muslim merchants used and reshaped Islamic precepts to address the specific challenges, opportunities, and settings they found themselves confronted by in their pursuit of profits.

Early Career Scholar Start-Up Research Grant, Sebastian Prange, 2014

Sebastian Prange