Prof. Dr. Frank Perlin

University of Bonn
Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies
Niebuhrstraße 5
D-53113 Bonn 


Frank Perlin's research looks at the entanglements of social, political and economic history, monetary history and the commodification in Early Modern South Asia (India).


  • 1979–2004              Lecturer Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • 1983                          PhD, Leiden University, The Netherlands
  • 1972                          MA, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, United Kingdom/li>

Academic Positions

  • 2008–present          Professor of Southeast Asian Studies, Institute of Oriental and Asian Studies, University of Bonn, Germany
  • 1996                          Professor for Cultural Anthropology and Director of Institute, University of Trier, Germany
  • 1990–1995              Research Associate, Institute of Cultural Anthropology, University of Cologne, Germany; two years as Managing Assistant

Selected Publications

  • City Intelligible: A Philosophical and Historical Anthropology of Global Commoditisation Before Industrialisation. Brill (Series: Studies in Global Social History, 1874–6705. Volume 38), 2020.
  • Unbroken Landscape: Commodity, Category, Sign and Iidentity: Their Production as Myth and Knowledge from 1500. Aldershot [etc.]: Variorum (Collected Studies Series CS447), XIV, 1994. 357 p.
  • The Invisible City: Monetary, Administrative and Popular Infrastructures in Asia and Europe, 1500–1900. Aldershot [etc.]: Variorum (Collected Studies series CS387), XII, 1983. 366 p.
  • The Problem of the Eighteenth Century. In: P.J. Marshall (ed.): The Eighteenth Century in Indian History: Evolution or Revolution? New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2003, 53–61.
  • Disarticulation of the World: Writing India's Economic History. In: Comparative Studies in Society and History 30(2), 1988, 379–387.
  • Money-use in Late Pre-colonial India and the International Trade in Currency Media. In: John F. Richards (ed.): The Imperial Monetary System of Mughal India, Delhi. Oxford UP, 1987, 232–373.
  • State Formation Reconsidered: Part Two. In: Modern Asian Studies 19(3). (Special Issue: Papers Presented at the Conference on Indian Economic and Social History, Cambridge University, April 1984). 1985, 415–480.
  • Concepts of Order and Comparison, With a Diversion on Counter Ideologies and Corporate Institutions in Late Pre‐colonial India. In: Journal of Peasant Studies 12(2–3), 1985, 87–165.
  • Growth of Money Economy and Some Questions of Transition in Late Pre-colonial India. In: Journal of Peasant Studies 11(3), 1984, 96.
  • Protoindustrialization and Pre-colonial South Asia. In: Past and Present 98(1), 1978, 30–95.
  • Of White Whale and Countrymen in the Eighteenth-century Maratha Deccan: Extended Class Relations, Rights and the Problem of Rural Autonomy Under the Old Regime. In: Journal of Peasant Studies 5(2), 1978, 172.
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