John F. Richards Lecture in Comparative World History

The Lecture in Comparative World History, founded in memory of Professor John F. Richards, is intended to build upon Professor Richards’ belief that knowledge should be shared far and wide and that the opportunity for education should be afforded to as wide an audience as possible, while communicating the distinct and subtle cultural nuances when providing those educational opportunities.

2013 John F. Richards Lecture in Comparative World History

Professor Nile GreenIron, Ink and Islam: The Frontiers of Empire and the Birth of Muslim Printing
Friday, April 5, 2013 at 3:00pm
Location: Room 217, Perkins Library
Professor Nile Green, University of California, Los Angeles

Muslim communities passed through early modernity without adopting the printing press that transformed religious and intellectual life in Europe. But between 1810 and 1830 Muslims began printing in a series of distant but connected cities from Calcutta, Cairo, Valetta and Lucknow to Tabriz, Kazan, Saint Petersburg and Singapore. Surveying the first presses, printers and books in each of these places, the lecture reconstructs the global interactions that gave birth to Muslim printing as European industrial products crossed cultural and political frontiers through closer contact with Indian, Iranian, Tatar, Malay and Arab middlemen. From its nursing by Christian missionaries and their trans-cultural journeymen, we follow the infancy of Muslim printing through responses to European industrialization on the distant frontiers of empire.

Past Lectures

  • 2011-2012 – Amitav Ghosh: “China and the Making of Modern India: A Story of Fantasy, Abuse and Recovered Memory”
  • 2010-2011 – Kenneth Pomeranz: “What are World and Comparative History For?”