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Guest Lecture of Prof. Dr. Sebastian R. Prange (University of British Columbia, Canada)

February 01, 2023 at 6 p.m. (s.t.)
Room: GW II - H 27

Prof. Dr. Sebastian R. Prange

Study of Religion kindly invites you to the following guest lecture:

"Legends of the Convert King: Faith and Trade in the medieval Indian Ocean World"

The medieval Indian Ocean was a closely interconnected commercial world that linked economies and cultures from the coasts of East Africa and Arabia to the South China Sea. The exchange of material goods along the maritime trade routes was accompanies by an intensive contact (and competition) between ideas, ideologies, and beliefs. The most momentous of these exchanges was the expansion of Islam across the trading world of the Indian Ocean. This paper explores and probes the dynamics of this process through a focus on South India and more specifically the figure of the Cheraman Perumal, a legendary Malayali king who converted to Islam. It will examine epigraphic and literary evidence and tropes to show that the Cheraman Perumal legend reveals to us the processes by which the introduction of new religious practices and beliefs came to be negotiated and integrated into new societies invoking a mythical past. It will further trace the continued resonances and functions of this legend during India’s colonial period and into our own time.

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