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Title: History writing and global encounters in sixteenth-century Kerala
Author: Abraham, Renu Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0005 0287 3881
Awarding Body: University of Kent and University of Porto
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis studies history-writing practices and global encounters in sixteenth-century Kerala. Specifically, it explores the encounters between the Zamorins of Kozhikode, the Mappila Muslims, and the Portuguese traders in Kerala through a parallel reading of Malayalam, Arabic and Portuguese records. Modes of vernacular history writing in India have posed a problem for historians trained in Western historiographical modes due to particularities in the way that facts, myths, and legends are recorded and sometimes combined. Some historians have detected a 'silence' on the Portuguese in these records, which reveals the negligible impact that the Portuguese had on Indians. Rather than dismissing their relevance as non-historical, this thesis takes these vernacular stories as legitimate sites of enquiry. Based on these stories, this thesis develops a territorial model of Kerala against which the aspirations of and conflicts between maritime groups – such as the Muslims and the Portuguese – can be compared. It focuses on the way in which origin stories about founder-heroes were appropriated and transformed by various socio-political groups over centuries, to legitimize their claim to the region and to resolve tensions with other groups. This process, it is argued, constituted the land of Kerala. An examination of the focus on land in the Malayalam records reveals that maritime groups like the Muslims and the Portuguese played the role of bridging the gap between the land and the sea. I conclude that, looking at these processes in the context of the Indian Ocean world reveals a land-sea division in Malayalam and Arabic history writing, and consequently, in the way in which the Zamorins and the Mappilas responded to the arrival of the Portuguese.
Supervisor: Klein, Bernhard ; Polónia, Amélia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available