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Joel Blecher
George Washington University (Washington, DC 20052-0001)
Islam and the Spice Trade from Venice to India in the 13th to 16th Centuries

Research culminating in a book-length study of Islamic involvement in the spice trade, in the 13th through the 16th centuries.

An NEH Grant will support a year of research and writing for my second book, Profit and Prophecy: Islam and the Spice Trade from Venice to India. The book will illuminate how medieval Islamic religious authorities debated, regulated, and invested in commercial life along a spice route that arguably sparked the birth of modern industry in Europe. In doing so, Profit and Prophecy will re-write our understanding of the role of Islam in the making of global capitalism, and shine a new light on a perennial question for the humanities and the reading public: how do the moral commitments of religious traditions accommodate or constrain economic development?

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Economic History; History of Religion; Near and Middle Eastern History


Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2019 – 5/31/2020