Low’s essay introduces the five essays in this roundtable in volume 34, number 3, which explore theoretical and practical connections between the fields of Middle Eastern and Indian Ocean studies. At least part of the exercise suggested by this forum, Low writes, involves a slight decentering of India in order to contemplate a rebalanced Indian Ocean as narrated from the peninsular Middle East outward. As a result, the points of departure and return suggested here move along a more heterogeneous set of oceanic axes running from Mecca to Calcutta, Singapore to Jidda, Hadhramawt to Java, Zanzibar to Oman, Awadh to Karbala and Najaf, and the Zanj to Shiraz.

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