Sebastian Prange

Associate Professor

Research Classification

History of Major Eras, Great Civilisations or Geographical Corpuses
Religious Systems
Life and Economic Production
Social Organization and Political Systems

Research Interests

History of Capitalism
Economic History
Trade and Trade Diasporas
Islam
South Asia
Indian Ocean

Relevant Degree Programs

 

Recruitment

Complete these steps before you reach out to a faculty member!

Check requirements
  • Familiarize yourself with program requirements. You want to learn as much as possible from the information available to you before you reach out to a faculty member. Be sure to visit the graduate degree program listing and program-specific websites.
  • Check whether the program requires you to seek commitment from a supervisor prior to submitting an application. For some programs this is an essential step while others match successful applicants with faculty members within the first year of study. This is either indicated in the program profile under "Requirements" or on the program website.
Focus your search
  • Identify specific faculty members who are conducting research in your specific area of interest.
  • Establish that your research interests align with the faculty member’s research interests.
    • Read up on the faculty members in the program and the research being conducted in the department.
    • Familiarize yourself with their work, read their recent publications and past theses/dissertations that they supervised. Be certain that their research is indeed what you are hoping to study.
Make a good impression
  • Compose an error-free and grammatically correct email addressed to your specifically targeted faculty member, and remember to use their correct titles.
    • Do not send non-specific, mass emails to everyone in the department hoping for a match.
    • Address the faculty members by name. Your contact should be genuine rather than generic.
  • Include a brief outline of your academic background, why you are interested in working with the faculty member, and what experience you could bring to the department. The supervision enquiry form guides you with targeted questions. Ensure to craft compelling answers to these questions.
  • Highlight your achievements and why you are a top student. Faculty members receive dozens of requests from prospective students and you may have less than 30 seconds to peek someone’s interest.
  • Demonstrate that you are familiar with their research:
    • Convey the specific ways you are a good fit for the program.
    • Convey the specific ways the program/lab/faculty member is a good fit for the research you are interested in/already conducting.
  • Be enthusiastic, but don’t overdo it.
Attend an information session

G+PS regularly provides virtual sessions that focus on admission requirements and procedures and tips how to improve your application.

 

Master's students
Doctoral students
Postdoctoral Fellows
2020

History of the Indian Ocean world (medieval and early modern)

Graduate Student Supervision

Master's Student Supervision (2010-2017)
How to dissect an elephant : surgeons, clergymen, local informants and the production of knowledge at Fort St George, 1690-1730 (2014)

Fort St George, Madras, on the Coromandel Coast of India, served as a key site for European natural philosophical knowledge production in the period 1690-1730. As a colonial port city at the centre of cosmopolitan networks of trade under the English East India Company, Fort St George can be considered a “contact zone.” In this space, interactions between European surgeons and clergymen stationed at the Fort, and local Tamil, Telugu and Malawanlu informants had particular implications for the natural philosophical, natural historical, geographic and ethnographic knowledge produced there. While questions around local informants and the hybridisation of knowledge in colonial contexts are becoming a priority in the scholarship of science and empire, the mechanisms operating in these interactions remain underexplored. This paper works to address this by reconstructing cross-cultural knowledge-making interactions between Europeans and Indians at Fort St George, highlighting the way that Europeans treated information from local informants in a dual sense, seeing it as containing potentially useful practical information embedded in flawed religious or cultural explanations. This attitude guided the way Europeans selected and recorded local knowledge, but was only ever applied imperfectly. Indeed, this paper argues that there was an ongoing tension between the ways Europeans intentionally appropriated local information, and the unintended infiltration of Indian cultural knowledge into European natural philosophical accounts. Exploring the particular dynamic of knowledge production that emerged in the contact zone at Fort St George reminds us why we must consider local contexts more closely if we are to properly understand the European natural philosophical project of cataloguing the globe and its imperial implications at the turn of the eighteenth century.

View record

Publications

  • MONSOON ISLAM: Trade and Faith on the Medieval Malabar Coast (2018)
    Cambridge University Press,
  • The Pagan King Replies: An Indian Perspective on the Portuguese Arrival in India (2017)
    Itinerario,
  • The Contested Sea: Regimes of Maritime Violence in the Pre-Modern Indian Ocean (2013)
    Journal of Early Modern History,
  • A Trade of No Dishonor: Piracy, Commerce, and Community in the Western Indian Ocean, Twelfth to Sixteenth Century (2011)
    American Historical Review,
  • Measuring by the bushel: Reweighing the Indian Ocean Pepper Trade (2011)
  • Like Banners on the Sea: Muslim Trade Networks and Islamization in Malabar and maritime Southeast Asia (2009)
  • Scholars and the Sea: A Historiography of the Indian Ocean (2008)
  • Trust in God - but tie your camel first. The economic organization of the trans-Saharan slave trade between the fourteenth and nineteenth centuries (2006)
 
 

If this is your researcher profile you can log in to the Faculty & Staff portal to update your details and provide recruitment preferences.