A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, November 22, 2010

Good Review of SQCC Indian Ocean Site

My colleagues at the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center, which is affiliated with MEI, maintain a great website on The Indian Ocean in History. If I haven't pointed you there before, I now have an incentive for doing so.

They've just received a very complimentary review of their Indian Ocean site — calling it "easily the most comprehensive website for studying and teaching Indian Ocean history currently available" — from the World History Sources site of the George Mason University Center for History and New Media. The review, by Kristin Lehner of Johns Hopkins University, opens with the following:

The Indian Ocean has been a zone of human interaction for several millennia, boasting a 1,500-year history of active high-seas trade before the arrival of Europeans in 1498. This website seeks to enhance the profile of Indian Ocean history, long neglected relative to the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean in both academic study and world history courses. To do so, it provides more than 800 primary sources, as well as ample contextual information and lesson plans, as a teaching tool for Indian Ocean history in upper elementary, middle, and high school classrooms. It is easily the most comprehensive website for studying and teaching Indian Ocean history currently available.

Primary sources, including maps, objects, and excerpts from travelers’ accounts and official documents, are accessible through seven chronological maps ranging from the Prehistoric Era (90,000 BCE to 7000 BCE) to the present. These primary sources, along with contextual information on commodities, peoples and cultures, trade and migratory routes, and the environment, are embedded into the maps through eight icon classes: documents, technologies, places, goods, geography, routes, travelers, and objects. These icons, numbering more than 50 for each map, are distributed in relevant geographic locations. Clicking on an icon calls up a short primary source excerpt and/or between one and three images, as well as some contextual information.

Read the entire review, and by all means visit the website itself.

1 comment:

David Mack said...

I can attest to the value of this map, which I have used off and on for a couple of years. It is a really fun way to learn about the Indian Ocean as an economic region and an area of cultural exchange throughout history.