Undergraduate Catalog 2015-2016
HST 325 The Silk Road
4 hours; 4 credits
An exploration of the rise, flourishing, and fading of the Silk Road, the series of long-range trade routes which linked Eastern, Western, and Southern Asia with Europe and Africa, from the first to the fifteenth centuries C.E. Beyond facilitating the transfer of luxury goods, such as Chinese silk, Indian gems and spices, Roman glass, and Central Asian jade throughout the Eastern Hemisphere, the establishment of these trade routes led to technological, artistic, and religious exchanges which profoundly changed the Afro-Eurasian world. This course examines topics such as the relationship between nomadic peoples and sedentary empires, elite desires for exotic goods, the diffusion of Hellenistic art to South and Central Asia, and the spread of Buddhism and Islam. The experiences of individual Silk Road travelers, including women, merchants, warriors, monks, and slaves are also considered. Contemporary issues addressed may include the re-discovery of the Silk Road, the sometimes-controversial role played by early-twentieth century archeologists in unearthing Silk Road treasures, and current threats to Silk Road cultural heritage. For History majors and minors, this is designated as a world history or pre-1700 course.
Prerequisites: Any 200-level history course and ENG 151
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