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[South Asia in the South China Sea] In Pursuit of Royal Blue: Geographies of Relatedness in the Indian Ocean

January 18 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

South Asia in the South China Sea

          In Pursuit of Royal Blue: Geographies of Relatedness in the Indian Ocean

         January 18, 2024 | 6 pm IST- 7:30 pm IST | ZOOM

Speaker:  Ping-hsiu Alice Lin, Sociocultural Anthropologist, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Anthropology Harvard University

 
Abstract: In two coastal towns across Sri Lanka and Thailand, Beruwala and Chanthaburi, traders from across the world congregate to engage in the daily chatter and risky pursuit of sapphire. Sapphires come from a wide range of deposits and localities the world over, as multinational as the dealers who visit the markets in pursuit of profit. Focusing on the ties between Pakistani, Afghan, Sri Lankan and Chinese dealers of precious stones, I show ethnographically how the nexus of kinship, materiality, and commerce propels networks of trade to new geographies of relatedness beyond national, religious, and ethnic bounds in ways that build on and depart from earlier oceanic histories. I argue that these regional worlds might be better understood through the materiality of sapphires, in which certain qualities prized in certain places drives the market and the making of kinship across sites in the postcolonial South. Undergirding the trade of gems are also legal regimes and geopolitical strife in South Asia that both halt and facilitate the flows of commodity and capital. My broader research brings attention to the importance of networks produced through the commerce of precious commodities in mediating Pakistan’s connection with other parts of Asia over the twentieth century. In two coastal towns across Sri Lanka and Thailand, Beruwala and Chanthaburi, traders from across the world congregate to engage in the daily chatter and risky pursuit of sapphire. Sapphires come from a wide range of deposits and localities the world over, as multinational as the dealers who visit the markets in pursuit of profit. Focusing on the
ties between Pakistani, Afghan, Sri Lankan and Chinese dealers of precious stones, I show ethnographically how the nexus of kinship, materiality, and commerce propels networks of trade to new geographies of relatedness beyond national, religious, and ethnic bounds in ways that build on and depart from earlier oceanic histories. I argue that these regional worlds might be better understood through the materiality of
sapphires, in which certain qualities prized in certain places drives the market and the making of kinship across sites in the postcolonial South. Undergirding the trade of gems are also legal regimes and geopolitical strife in South Asia that both halt and facilitate the flows of commodity and capital. My broader research brings attention to the importance of networks produced through the commerce of precious commodities in mediating Pakistan’s connection with other parts of Asia over the twentieth century.Contact us at: ciar@ahduni.edu.in

Details

Date:
January 18
Time:
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:

Venue

Online Event