Select Page

Click here to watch a recording of the presentation.

Join Global Studies Outreach at Harvard for an online discussion of Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh led by Professor Sunil Amrith of the Departments of History and South Asian Studies at Harvard University.

Please note that given the length of the novel we will structure the discussion based on the assumption that not everyone will have finished it by the day of the webinar. In fact, we welcome participation from those that are simply considering beginning.

Sea of Poppies is the first book of the Ibis Trilogy by Amitav Ghosh (the third installment, Flood of Fire, was released in 2015). At the heart of this vibrant saga is a vast ship, the Ibis. Her destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean shortly before the outbreak of the Opium Wars in China. In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a diverse cast of Indians and Westerners on board, from a bankrupt raja to a widowed tribeswoman, from a mulatto American freedman to a free-spirited French orphan. As their old family ties are washed away, they, like their historical counterparts, come to view themselves as jahaj-bhais, or ship-brothers. The vast sweep of this historical adventure spans the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, and the exotic backstreets of Canton.

Background from

Professor Sunil Amrith’s research is on the trans-regional movement of people, ideas, and institutions. Areas of particular interest include the history of public health and poverty, the history of migration, and environmental history. His most recent work has been on the Bay of Bengal as a region connecting South and Southeast Asia. He has a PhD in History (2005) from the University of Cambridge, where he was also a Research Fellow of Trinity College (2004-6).

Registration is now open at:

The first 10 registrants will receive a complimentary copy of the book.

Cosponsored with the Asia Center.