Sussex Asia Centre

Dr Syed Mohammed Faisal

Dr Syed Mohammed Faisal is an anthropologist specialising in the study of exchange. He explored the commercial culture on the Coast of Karnataka, India and its historical roots in the Indian Ocean region. By looking at credit practices, marriage exchanges, economic significance of religious institutions the thesis argues that sources of belonging generated through kinship mutualities, religious networks, and the state are essential to ensure trust in bazaar and market exchanges. He is now engaged in developing a research project to understand the theological antecedents of the modern economic practices that looks at the role of religious ideas like prohibition of usury, institutions like the medieval era church based small-credit societies, the middle-eastern sunduq and invention of double-entry book-keeping in the making of modern ethic of welfare, charity, economy and accounting practices. He is interested in locating the role of transnational trade networks in the spread and felicitation of these practices. In parallel to this he is comparing the critique of colonialism and capitalism generated by the discipline of anthropology to Indo-Persian literature’s political-economic criticism of the Sultanate evident in the Akhlaq literature, Urdu poetry and mythology to conceptualise a probable alternative ethic of exchange.