How did Muslims encounter and interpret other cultures before the modern era of globalization? To answer this question, we turn to the testimony of one of the great genres of Muslim literature: the travelogue. In this podcast, we’ll rove around the Bay of Bengal, where the Persian lingua franca promoted by the Mughal then British empires became the intermediary language between Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists finally Christian Britons. Poring through unpublished manuscripts, we’ll ask what these Indo-Persian – and ‘Anglo-Persian’ – travelogues can tell us about the ways in which Muslims have understood and interacted with other cultures. Nile Green talks to Arash Khazeni, the author of The City and the Wilderness: Indo-Persian Encounters in Southeast Asia (University of California Press, 2020).

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