Islam, Trade and Politics Across the Indian Ocean is a research project which was funded by the British Academy over the period 2009–2012 and administered by the Association of South-East Asian Studies in the United Kingdom (ASEASUK) and the British Institute at Ankara (BIAA). The project was directed by Dr Andrew Peacock (BIAA and St. Andrews University) and Dr Annabel Gallop (ASEASUK and British Library).
The aim of the project was to investigate links between the lands of the Ottoman Empire and early Republican Turkey on the one hand and the Muslim peoples of South East Asia on the other over the sixteenth to twentieth centuries. The project was interested in all forms of interaction between these two regions, political, religious, literary, commercial and cultural, including exchanges and mutual influences in material culture. The project conducted research on evidence for these links, and offered small grants to researchers of all nationalities working on relevant themes.
At the conclusion of the project, an International Workshop From Anatolia to Aceh: Ottomans, Turks and Southeast Asia was held in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, 11–12 January 2012, in association with the International Centre for Aceh and Indian Ocean Studies (ICAIOS) and the State Islamic Institute (IAIN) Ar-Raniry. The results of the project and workshop were presented in a travelling photographic exhibition, launched in London in 2012 in association with the British Library, which travelled to venues throughout the UK during 2012–2013. Two books will be published: an edited collection of papers from the International Workshop, and a volume of selected documents in Ottoman Turkish, Arabic and Southeast Asian languages.
Header image: Qur’an manuscript in the Sultans' Mosque in Penyengat, Riau, written by a scribe from Lingga named Abdurrahman Stambul, who had travelled to Egypt to study Ottoman calligraphy (detail). Photo Annabel Gallop
Süleyman the Magnificent (r. 1520 – 1566). It was in his reign that direct contact was established between Aceh and the Ottoman empire. British Library, Add.7880, f.53v.