The revival of interest in the Indian Ocean is taking it into the interdisciplinary direction of Cultural Studies. Today, this new scholarship is faced with two major challenges. Firstly, the re-emergence of the economic strength of East and South Asia means new cultural and commercial developments, and secondly there is the challenge to map Indian Ocean cultural identities in the complex of cultural exchanges between global and local. The pre-colonial Indian Ocean hosted the first global economy and today that history is repeated in the new markets that have developed in the new post-colonial and globalised era from spices to television. In narrating the cultures of exchange in the Indian Ocean, the contributors to this volume show how culture adds value to commodities and how cultures of trade created the complex of religions, ethnicities and ways of living in and by the sea that is the Indian Ocean today.