We appear to be in the midst of a convergence of sorts. Never before have so many parts of the globe been studied within the framework of the early modern world. This approach, long cultivated by scholars working on European expansion overseas, has within the past two decades been adopted by a growing number of Sinologists, South Asianists, Persianists and Ottomanists. Their contributions, often innovative, certainly challenging, have forced historians to look anew at the world in this period and at the narratives which bind it to modern times.

That is the spirit in which I introduce the idea of ‘Islamicate Eurasia’. As I try to show in this essay, Islamicate Eurasia was a regional entity which formed part of the early modern world. The nature and potential value of the idea may be understood in two ways. For one, it offers...

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