Nancy Um


On her book The Merchant Houses of Mocha: Trade and Architecture in an Indian Ocean Port

Cover Interview of November 19, 2009

Editor’s note

Originally, this interview ran on the Rorotoko cover page under the headline

“Reconstructing the late 17th and early 18th centuries of a now-ruined city.”

We highlighted two quotes.

On the first page:

“The cultural effects of the wider Mocha trade network stretched into the mountains of the Arabian Peninsula and across the Indian Ocean to South Asia, often becoming visible through built nodes—houses, mosques, cisterns, and charitable structures—which were constructed in Mocha, but also in the highlands of Yemen and the port city of Surat in Gujarat.”

On the second:

“The goal was not just to present a counter model to long-standing ideas of a uniform and standard Arab city, but also to provide new avenues to analyze the shaping impulses behind the construction, use, and meaning of urban form in Arab and Islamic cities.”