Photo credits:
Mikael Wallerstedt

Elizabeth A. Lambourn

Fellow, SCAS.
Professor of Material Histories, De Montfort University, Leicester

Elizabeth Lambourn is a historian of the Indian Ocean world and committed to the interdisciplinary
and cross-cultural study of medieval history. Lambourn received her PhD in Islamic Art and Archi-
tecture from the School of Oriental and African Studies University of London, but over the last two
decades she has travelled far from her foundations in art history. She now spends a lot of time reading,
and talking to archaeologists, anthropologists, historians and textual scholars of many hues. Her work
engages equally with texts and ‘things,’ and with texts as material ‘things’. Lambourn has held fellow-
ships at Harvard and Stanford universities and during 2011–13 was the recipient of a Leverhulme Major
Research Fellowship. She is a founding board member of the journal The Medieval Globe, sits on the
advisory boards of the journals postmedieval and Medieval Worlds and advises for the series Approaching
Medieval Sources
(Routledge) and Medieval Worlds (Bloomsbury). 

Lambourn has published widely on varied aspects of the circulation of artefacts, animals, people, and
ideas around the Indian Ocean area. She is the author of the research monograph Abraham’s Luggage.
A Social Life of Things in the Medieval Indian Ocean World
(Cambridge University Press, 2018) and
editor of the volumes Legal Encounters on the Medieval Globe (ARC Humanities Press 2017) and A
Cultural History of the Sea in the Medieval Age
(Bloomsbury Academic 2021).

At SCAS Lambourn will be working on a new history of Islam in the Indian Ocean region during the
very first Islamic centuries. Her project aims to challenge and enrich early Islamic historical study by
integrating an “eastern maritime frontier” – the Indian Ocean – too often overlooked in existing terra-
centric frameworks.

This information is accurate as of the academic year 2022-23.