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Engseng Ho – Dubai and Singapore: Asian Diasporics, Global Logistics, Company Rule

February 23, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm  |  Virtual Event


Dubai and Singapore are emblematic of the contemporary global moment, embodying dizzying success, frenetic excess, spectacular crash. Are they global cities or port-states? Are they Asian nations or corporations descended from the East India Companies that became colonial governments? Their iconic status today as global cities is not simply a function of globalization, but can be understood in terms of dynamic currents that shape and reshape places in the Indian Ocean, the original Asian venue of an international economy. Dubai and Singapore are two tiny places that have seen success because they have understood those currents, and acted in accordance with changes in their dynamics. What are these dynamics – their constants over the long term, and their recent shifts?


Engseng Ho is a professor of Anthropology and History at Duke University. He is also the Muhammad Alagil Distinguished Visiting Professor of Arabia Asia Studies at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. He is a leading scholar of transnational anthropology, history and Muslim societies, Arab diasporas, and the Indian Ocean. His research expertise is in Arabia, coastal South Asia and maritime Southeast Asia, and he maintains active collaborations with scholars in these regions. He is co-editor of the Asian Connections book series at Cambridge University Press, and serves on the editorial boards of journals such as American Anthropologist, Comparative Studies in Society and History, History and Anthropology. He has previously worked as Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University; Senior Scholar, Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies; Country and Profile Writer, the Economist Group; International Economist, Government of Singapore Investment Corporation/Monetary Authority of Singapore; Director, Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore. He was educated at the Penang Free School, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago.

This event is co-sponsored by SEACoast (Center for Southeast Asian Coastal Interactions)

The Center for Cultural Studies hosts a weekly Wednesday colloquium featuring work by faculty and visitors. We gather at 12:00 PM, with presentations beginning at 12:15 PM.

To attend remotely via zoom, please RSVP in advance, and you will receive a zoom link on the morning of the colloquium. In most cases, speakers will appear remotely so that they will not have to present wearing a mask. To RSVP for the full Winter colloquium series, please use this form. If you have any questions about the colloquium, please contact Piper Milton (

Please note: this event will be fully remote, with no in-person attendance.

Staff assistance is provided by The Humanities Institute.


February 23, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm