Stretching from China to Europe, the Silk Road looms large in contemporary imagination, as visions of caravans, monks, and scholars still animate the deeper reaches of our minds. But what was the Silk Road, and how did it turn from a "road" that connected diverse cultures and civilizations to one that is dominated by geopolitical and national interests? This course investigates the foundations of political and religious identities across Central Eurasia from the Taliban's rise in Afghanistan to the internment camps in Xinjiang, to self-immolation protests in Tibet. Through a diverse array of religious texts, literary works, museum pieces, and state documents, this course invites students to examine the historical roots of present-day conflicts by rethinking the Silk Road. Throughout the course, we will explore how environmental conditions have shaped the rise and fall of civilizations, how technologies, people, and diseases have traveled across Eurasia, and how imperialism, capitalism, and globalization fundamentally transformed the historical landscape of the region. Ultimately, we will discuss whether the "Silk Road" may still offer us a critical framework to understand global connectivity in our current day when borders are becoming more rigid than ever. This course is restricted to first-year students in the Global Citizenship Program.
Course Attributes: EN H; AS HUM; AS LCD; AMP; FA HUM; AR HUM