Note to Institute: This is my original Silk Road Class, which was

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Note to Institute: This is my original Silk Road Class, which was Powered By Docstoc
					Note to Institute: This is my original Silk Road Class, which was taught in Fall of 2009. I have
amended it (deletions with strike through, additions in red) to show how I have been influenced by
what we have learned here. I hope this will be useful to the group--MJP


                                      EMORY UNIVERSITY




                  The Silk Road & Inner Asia, 1750 BCE-1750 CE
                                        History 285-001




Fall 2009                                                  Professor Payne
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:15PM                                       119 Bowden Hall
Bowden 116                                                 Ph. 727-4466
                                                           Office Hrs: Thurs. 11:00-12:00 p.m.
                                                           email: mpayn01@emory.edu
                                      Course Purpose




This course will introduce students to the central nexus of commercial, cultural and political
exchange in Eurasia over the course of nearly three millennia. From the Bronze Age to the fall of
the Timurids the route that later was associated with its most precious commodity, silk, sent the
horse and Buddhism to China, silk and the Black Death to Europe, Islam and waves of conquerors
into South Asia. From the great world Empires of Chingis Khan and Alexander to the mercantile
city states of Sogdia and Sinkiang, the lands of the Silk Road shaped human history profoundly.
The story of the region will be told by ancient mummies and Chinese monks, Greek adventurers
and Arab philosophers, Venetian merchants and warrior princes. And in their story, students will
understand the tale of the world’s first globalization and see, it is hoped, a mirror of their own
world. This class will meet the General Education Requirement in History, Society and Culture
(HSC); it is not intended to be a preparation course for later Eurasian history courses nor does it
presume that students have knowledge of the topic. It is hoped, however, that the students having
completed the course will be able to critically read historical primary sources, analyze them in
context, and express this analysis cogently using the historical method. For this reason, reading,
discussion and presentation is emphasized in this class.
                                 Available at Emory Bookstore:




                                 Available at Emory Bookstore:
Christopher I. Beckwith, Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze
       Age to the Present.
Nicola Di Cosmo, Ancient China and Its Enemies: The Rise of Nomadic Power in East Asian
       History.
J. P. Mallory and Victor Mair, The Tarim Mummies; Ancient China and the Mystery of the
       Earliest Peoples from the West.
Richard C. Foltz, Religions of the Silk Road; Overland Trade and Cultural Exchange from
       Antiquity to the Fifteenth Century.
Luce Boulnois, Silk Road: Monks, Warriors and Merchants.
Susan Whitfield, Life Along the Silk Road.
Francis Wood, The Silk Road: Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia.
                                       REQUIREMENTS
              This course requires the fulfillment of all class assignments, attendance of class,
       and participation in class activities. Class assignments will include weekly learnlink
       discussion questions, exams on class readings and quizzes.

Grading:
   The grading is broken down as follows:
       Quizzes, attendance and participation:                        10%
       Weekly discussion question responses:                         25%
       Mid-term in class exam:                                       30%
       Final take-home exam:                                         35%

    Grading is not done on a curve but based on individual mastery of the concepts and skills
highlighted in the course. These are a combination of understanding historical methodology,
ability to engage in sustained critical reading, proficiency in historical analysis and skill with
written exposition. Both content and style are graded. I will discuss in class and provide a
handout that details my grading policy.

Assignments:
       Quizzes will normally be very short identifications to test knowledge of each; week’s
         general readings.
       Weekly learnlink discussion questions will be required to be posted by 9:00 a.m. each
         Thursday. Each week students will chose one from several questions (usually focused
         on the principal reading) to discuss in two to three well-crafted paragraphs. Successful
         answers will provide specific information garnered from the texts we have read (not
         the textbook!). The discussion questions will be given two points for a well-argued,
         well supported answer; one point for an answer deficient in either of these areas and a
         zero for deficiencies in both. Answers posted late will receive an automatic zero.
       The mid-term exam will be an in-class written exam involving identifications and
         short essays. It will be given on Tuesday, October 20.
       The final exam will be a take-home essay exam due on the day of our final exam,
         December 16th, by 4:00 pm (see schedule).

As in all Emory classes, the strictures of the honor code apply. Infractions of the honor code,
        especially cheating or plagiarism, will be handled with the greatest possible severity.
        All work in the class should be your own and plagiarism from the web (including
        cutting and pasting of other’s text, but also use of others material or arguments
        without citation), use of others’ papers, etc, will lead to an honor council referral.
        Class attendance is mandatory and unexcused absences will be detrimental to the class
        participation grade (five unexcused absences will lead to automatic failure in the
        classroom participation grade).
                                          COURSE POLICIES
Absences and Make-Up Policy: Class attendance is mandatory and unexcused absences will be
      detrimental to the class participation grade (five unexcused absences will lead to automatic failure
      in the classroom participation grade, while each unexcused absence will lead to a loss of a grade
      on it). Moreover, missed assignments may not made up without permission of the instructor.
      Excused absences include emergencies and illness and permitted absences (sports commitments,
      interviews, religious holidays). The policy for notifying the instructor differ for each.
   Emergences and Illness: Medical and other emergencies require either a communication before class
      (email, phone call, etc) or an explanation after the fact. However, to receive permission to make-
      up a missed exam, you need to obtain an excuse from the Dean’s office. To receive permission
      to hand in a late assignment because of such you may reach me via either voice mail (my office
      phone) or email. To not be penalized on an exam because of such an emergency, College policy is
      to require such an excuse from the Dean’s office, not the instructor. If you have an emergency or
      are very sick, please contact me by voice mail (727-4466) or email. “Emergency” is a grave
      matter, such as an illness of a family member or your car suddenly breaking down. An emergency
      is not an inconvenience such as “I can’t print out my assignment” or “my alarm clock did not go
      off.”
   Excused absences: Important life events such as pre-scheduled sporting events (as a participant, not
      spectator), job interviews or religious holidays will be excused, provided the student notify me
      well in advance (think one week) and not abuse the privilege (scheduling one internship interview
      during class may be unavoidable; scheduling multiple interviews sequentially is not). Education is
      like parenting, you got to show up. So show up!
   Missed Assignments: Missed assignments may only be made up with permission of the instructor due
      to unforeseen emergency or pre-arranged alternate commitment (see above). Otherwise, late
      assignments will be penalized one grade per day.

General Email policy: Prof. Payne review email daily during the work week but not necessarily more
   than once daily. Please be patient, especially with learn-link communications. I’m not Google!

Extra Credit: This class encourages outside the classroom learning. Emory offers a treasury of riches, in
       the form of outside speakers, internal seminars, exhibits, etc. Those talks, etc., deemed of interest
       to class will be publicized in class and on our learn-link conference. Modest credit will be granted
       to your final grade for attendance of these events and short write-ups required. It is your
       responsibility to fit such opportunities you’re your schedule, not the instructor’s to work around 40
       individuals’ hectic schedules.

Other Resources: The Writing Center provides individualized mentoring on exposition provided by a
       gifted cadre of mentors. Their sessions are rewarding and beneficial even to accomplished writers.
       For more information and to schedule an appointment see: http://www.emory.edu/ENGLISH/WC/

Note on College Writing Requirements: This course does not fulfill the College post-freshman writing
       requirement.

Emory University Honor Code.
As in all Emory classes, the strictures of the honor code apply. Infractions of the honor code,
         especially cheating and plagiarism, will be handled with the greatest possible severity. All
         work in the class should be your own and plagiarism from the web (including cutting and
         pasting of other’s text, but also use of others material or arguments without citation), use of
         others’ papers, etc, will lead to an honor council referral. The code is located at:
         http://www.emory.edu/COLLEGE/students/honor.html.
                           Week 1: CLASS INTRODUCTION
Thursday, 8/27: Introduction




                   Week 2: The Centrality of Central Eurasia [25+11+26=52]
Tuesday, 9/1:
       Lecture: What is the Silk Road?
       Readings:
               Secondary:
                        Andre Gunder Frank, “The Centrality of Central Asia,” Bulletin of
                               Concerned Asian Scholars 24/2 (1992): 50-74. (reserve)
                        David Christian, “Silk Roads or Steppe Roads? The Silk Roads in World
                               History,” Journal of World History 11 (2000):
Thursday, 9/3:
       Readings:
               Secondary:
                        Francis Wood, The Silk Road, chs. 1-2, “A Ceaselessly Flowing Steam of
                               Life,” & “Coiled Dragon and Filmy Fleeces,” pp. 9-35.
               Primary:
                        Aurel Stein, Ruins of Desert Cathay, ch. lii, “To the ‘Caves of the
                               Thousand Buddhas’,” pp. 20-31. (on reserve)
Discussion Questions:
   1. Why, according to Gunder Frank, is Central Asia, well, central? Why is it so hard to
       define exactly where and what this thing is or even what to name it (Central Asia, Inner
       Asia, Inner Eurasia, Central Eurasia)?
   2. How are migrations and cycles so important to understand Inner Asia? Why, according to
       Gunder Frank, is territoriality much less important than for “nation-states” or even the
       settled empires of Eurasia? And, finally, what is the role of trade and the region’s political
       economy in defining it as a nexus of world civilization?
   3. Aurel Stein reaction to finding the “Caves of the Thousand Buddhas” is a mixture of
       wonder for the artistic and spiritual achievements of ancient Central Asians and contempt
       for their latter day descendents? Do you think Stein, who was one of the models for
       Indiana Jones, approached the “ruins of desert Cathay” in the spirit of an archeologist or
       the cunning of a looter?
      Week 3: THE HORSERIDERS OF THE STEPPE [29+ 11+28+45+45+11=169]
Tuesday, 9/8:
       Lecture: The Rise of the Steppe and the Creation of a Eurasian
               Diffusion Zone
       Readings:
               Secondary:
                       Christopher I. Beckwith, Empires of the Silk Road: A
                                History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age
                                to the Present, “Prologue: The Hero and His
                                Friends, 1-28.
               Primary:
                       Lines 6580-6980 of The Kyrgyz Epic Manas (Manas’
                                First Heroic Deeds). Selections translated,
                                introduced and annotated Elmira Köçümkulkïzï1
                                (University of Washington).
Thursday, 9/10:
       Readings:
               Secondary:
                       Christopher I. Beckwith, Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central
                           Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present, Ch. 1, “The Chariot
                           Warriors,” 29-57.
                       Pita Kelekna, The Horse in Human History, ch. 2 “Equus Caballus: Horse
                           Domestication and Agro-Pastoralism Across the Eurasian Steppes,” pp.
                           21-66 and ch. 3, “Nomadic Horse Culture of the Steppes,” pp. 67-91.
                           (on reserve)
                       Nicola Di Cosmo, Ancient China and Its Enemies, introduction & ch. 1,
                                “The Steppe Highway; The Rise of the Pastoral Nomadism as a
                                Eurasian Phenomenon,” pp. 1-44.
               Primary:
                       “The Horse Sacrifice,” in The Rig Veda: An Anthology of One Hundred
                           Eight Hymns, Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty, ed., pp. 85-95. (on reserve)
               Recommended (for those with a further interest):
                       David W. Anthony and Dorcas R. Brown, “Harnessing Horsepower,”
                       (http://users.hartwick.edu/anthonyd/harnessing%20horsepower.html)
Discussion Questions:
   1. What is the “First Story” of the Central Eurasians according to Beckwith? Why is the
       comitatus, the band of warriors who followed their leader even in death, such a crucial
       part of what Beckwith calls the Central Eurasian cultural complex? The need of trading or
       raiding to support such a band should be addressed. How does Manas epitomize the hero
       of Central Eurasia?
   2. Where and when was the horse domesticated according to Kelenka? What was the global
       impact of this event and the transformation of the steppe from desert to a reservoir of
       nomads, from a barrier to a highway connecting the breadth of Eurasia? How did a unique
       nomadic culture arise in this ecological zone?
   3. What role did the horse play as a sacred animal, a symbol of speed and power and even a
       beloved companion in Vedic culture? What do the chants and prayers of the Rig Veda tell
       us of the Central Eurasians? Do you believe they were conquerors, as is still argued, or, as
       Beckwith argues, highly specialized horse handlers who gradually assimilated to or
       dominated sedentary cultures?
      Week 4: LOST WORLDS—THE RISE OF OASIS CULTURE [103+102=277]
Tuesday, 9/15:
       Lecture: Sinkiang and the Ancient Link between East and West The Peopling of the
               Oases
       Readings:
               Secondary:
                     J. P. Mallory and Victor Mair, The Tarim Mummies; Ancient China and the
                                      Mystery of the Earliest Peoples from the West, introduction,
                                      chs. 1-4, 7-175.
                     Elizabeth Barber, The Mummies of Urumchi, preface, chs.1, 4-6, 8 pp. 1-23,
                                      71-131, 149-168.
               Recommended:
                       China’s Tocharian Mummies; Silent Witnesses of a Forgotten Past (Nova)
Thursday, 9/17:
       Readings:
               Secondary:
                     J. P. Mallory and Victor Mair, The Tarim Mummies; Ancient China and the
                                       Mystery of the Earliest Peoples from the West, chs. 8-11,
                                       230-332 (chapter five and six recommended).
                     Philip Kohl, The Making of Bronze Age Eurasia, ch. 5, “Entering a Sown
                                       World of Irrigation Agriculture—From the Steppes to
                                       Central Asia and Beyond,” pp. 182-225.
Discussion Questions:
   1. How did the discovery of red-haired, tartan-wearing, bearded mummies in Tarim basin
       revolutionize our understanding of Eurasia?
   2. What interdisciplinary tools does Barber use to analyze the mummies and their presence in
       such an unexpected place? How do linguistics, archeology, textile analysis and history
       solve the riddle of who the mummies were?
   3. Why was the emergence of the late Bronze age “Bactrian-Margiana Archeological
       Complex” so important for joining together the later “silk road”? And how was its cycles
       intimately linked with trade to the Near East?
                         Week 5: Iran/Turan [20+83+17+36+11+1=168]




Tuesday, 9/22:
       Lecture: Iran/Turan, Religious Change and the Eurasian World.
       Readings:
                Secondary:
                        Christopher I. Beckwith, Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central
                                Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present, ch. 2, “The Royal
                                Scythians,” 58-77.
                        Ann Farkas, “Filippovka and the Art of the Stepes,” in The Golden Deer of
                                Eurasia, 3-18. (on reserve)
                        Nicola Di Cosmo, Ancient China and Its Enemies, ch. 2-4, “Bronze, Iron
                                and Gold, “Beasts and Birds,” “Walls and Horses,” pp. 45-127.
                Primary:
                        Herodotus, The Landmark Herodotus, Bk 4, pp. 322-338. (on reserve)
Thursday, 9/24:
       Readings:
                Secondary:
                        Richard C. Foltz, Religions of the Silk Road; Overland Trade and Cultural
                                Exchange from Antiquity to the Fifteenth Century, chs. 1-2, pp. 1-36
                Primary:
                        Firdawsi “The Seven Trials of Rostam,” Shahnama, The Persian Book of
                                Kings, trans. Dick Davis, 152-162. (on reserve)
                        Yasna 30 of The Gathas.
Discussion Questions:
   1. The Scythian and Saka nomads (as well as the Hsiung-nu) of the iron-age Eurasian steppe
       emerged as powerful foes of the great agrarian empires to the south of them such as the
       Persian Empire and the Chin Dynasty in China. How does Herodotus explain their way of
       life and martial spirit? What did their art “mean”? Were they simply uncouth barbarians
       (as Ovid complained) or deeply involved in the commercial and intellectual enterprises of
       the ancient world as Beckwith argues?
   2. Iran, the land of Ahura Mazda, was forever opposed to Turan, the land of nomads in the
       teachings of Zoroaster. How did the ancient Gathas (orally transmitted prayers) articulate
       the dualist religion of Iran as a contest between the spirit of right and the spirit of the lie?
       How did this religion influence other faiths, such as
       Judaism?
   3. Rostam, as depicted by Firdows in many ways
       represents an antithesis of the steppe warrior and the
       first incarnation of medieval chivalry. How did
       Rostam’s piety and loyalty lead to his victories over
       any trial? How is Rostam the first knight?
           Week 6: “Barbarians” and Empire [14+42+45+15+25+18+24+8=191]
Tuesday, 9/29:
      Lecture: The Civilized and the “Barbarians”
      Readings:
             Secondary:
                    Christopher I. Beckwith, Empires of the Silk
                            Road: A History of Central Eurasia from
                            the Bronze Age to the Present, ch. 3, 78-
                            92; “Epilogue: The Barbarians,” 320-362.
                    Nicola Di Cosmo, Ancient China and Its Enemies,
                            ch. 5, 8, “Those Who Draw the Bow,”
                            “Taming the North,” conclusion, pp. 161-
                            205, 294-319. [recommended: “From
                            Peace to War,” “In Search of Grass and
                            Water,” pp. 206-293]
             Primary:
                    Records of the Grand Historian of China: Translated from the Shih Chi of
                            Ssu-ma Ch’ien. Book 123, “Ta-yuan,” Burton Watson, trans., pp.
                            264-289. (on reserve)
                    Selections from the Han Narratives, pt. I “Beginning of Relations with the
                            Hsiung-nu,” & pt VI “A Chinese Memorial arguing Against
                            Campaigns Deep into Hsiung-nu Territory” (Seattle Silk Road).

Thursday, 10/1:
       Readings:
              Secondary:
                       Christopher I. Beckwith, Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central
                               Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present, ch. 4, 93-111.
                       Francis Wood, The Silk Road, ch. 3-4,”From Greece and Rome to China—
                               and Back again,” & “A People Abandoned by Heaven,” pp. 36-60.
              Primary:
                       “Priscus at the Court of Attila,” in Internet Medieval Sourcebook.
Discussion Questions:
   1. Why does Beckwith reject the term “barbarian” as at best anachronistic and at worst an
       ideological justification for aggressive imperialism? Why is the idea of the “needy
       nomad” simply damning nomads for what settled empires did as a matter of course? Does
       Ssu-ma Ch’ien’s description of the Chinese expedition to conquer Ta-yaun for its horses
       support or undermine this contention?
   2. How did the military expansion of Rome and the diplomatic activity of China (Zhang
       Qian0, as well as the emergence of their stable intermediary, Parthia, encourage the
       opening of the Silk Road? Why did Roman lust for silk the Han quest for “heavenly
                    horses” in their geo-strategic duel with the Hsiung-nu knit together the ends of
                    Eurasia?
               3. Beckwith argues that the Hunnic hegemony at the end of the Roman Empire
                    “re-central eurasianized” Western Europe in the era of the great migrations.
                    Given the description of Attila’s camp by the Roman aristocrat Priscus, and
                    his surprising discovery of a Greek who preferred the “barbarian” lifestyle,
                    why do you think citizens of the Empire and “barbarian” tribes alike would
                    prefer the Huns to the Romans?
             Week 7: Merchants and Missionaries [27+27+1+50+24+18=147]
Tuesday, 10/6:
      Lecture: Merchants and Monks (Sogdians and Buddhists)
             Buddhism along the Silk Roads
      Readings:
             Secondary:
                    Christopher I. Beckwith, Empires of the Silk Road:
                            A History of Central Eurasia from the
                            Bronze Age to the Present, ch. 5, 112-139.
                    Susan Whitfield, Life Along the Silk Road, “The
                            Merchant’s Tale,” 27-54.
             Primary:
                    Prof. Nicholas Sims-Williams, The Sogdian
                            Ancient Letters, 1, 2, 3 and 5. (Silk Road
                            Seattle).
Thursday, 10/8:
      Readings:
             Secondary:
                    Richard C. Foltz, Religions of the Silk Road;
                            Overland Trade and Cultural Exchange
                            from Antiquity to the Fifteenth Century,
                            chs. 3-4, pp. 37-87.
                    Susan Whitfield, Life Along the Silk Road, “The
                            Monk’s Tale,” 113-137.
                    Sally Wiggins, The Silk Road Journey with Xuanzang, ch. 12, “The Legacy
                            of Xuanzang,” pp. 211-229. (on reserve)
                    Francis Wood, The Silk Road, ch. 7, “The Cave of the Thousand Buddhas;
                            Buddhism on the Silk Road,” pp. 88-110.
             Primary:
                    Xuanzang, Si-Yu-Ki: Buddhist Records of the Western World, “Nalanda,”
                            pp. 19-24, 80-82 (Nalanda). (on reserve)
                    The Caves of Dunhuang Slideshow (NY Times)
             Discussion Questions:
                1. How did the fact that the post-classical/early medieval world saw a number
                    of competing states dealing with each other change the dynamic of the Silk
                    Road? Turk and Tibetan, Tang and Muslim found themselves acutely
                    aware of each other and the strategic importance of controlling the Silk
                    Road trade—why could none achieve the sort of stable hegemony that Han
                    China, Rome and pre-Islamic Iran had managed?
                2. Describe how Buddhism, prior to the rise of Islam, was the religion par
                    excellence of the Silk Road. How did Buddhist liturgical practice and its
                    “seven treasures” greatly expand trade? How did its pilgrims seeking
                    knowledge, such as Xuanzang, also create a lasting myth of the Silk Road
                    cultures being a land of wonders and myth?
                3. How did the persecuted religious traditions of the Nestorians and
                    Manicheans find refuge along the Silk Road? Why was the patronage of its
                    merchants crucial not only to supporting these faiths but also in
                    propagating them? Why are the Sogdians the central figures in the cultural
                    exchange?
                  Week 8: Life Along the Silk Road [17+36+70+12=135]
Tuesday, 10/13: Fall Break




Thursday, 10/15:
       Lecture: The Cosmopolitan Empire of Tang China and the Silk Roads
       Readings:
              Secondary:
                       Luce Boulnois, Silk Road: Monks, Warriors and Merchants, ch. 9, 179-
                                190.
                       Susan Whitfield, Life Along the Silk Road, “The Princess’ Tale,” “The
                                Courtesan’s Tale,” The Nun’s Tale,” “The Official’s Tale,” “The
                                Artist’s Tale,” 95-112, 138-174, 189-223.
                       Francis Wood, The Silk Road, ch. 6, “The Fashion for All things Central
                                Asian,” pp. 75-87.
Discussion Questions:
   1. Chose one of the biographie Whitfield sketches out from the materials at Dunhuang.
       Discuss their life in relation to your expectations of medieval Eurasians. Were they
       “simple people” or do you find their personalities and struggles as complex as modern
       peoples. Remember, chose one and give a detailed response.
  Week 8: The Coming of Islam and the Collapse of Chinese Hegemony [22+40+40=102]
Tuesday, 10/20:

       In Class Mid-term (identifications and essay)

Thursday, 10/22:
      Lecture: 751 and All that.
      Readings:
             Secondary:
                    Christopher I. Beckwith, Empires of the Silk
                           Road: A History of Central Eurasia
                           from the Bronze Age to the Present,
                           ch. 6, 140-162.
                    Luce Boulnois, Silk Road: Monks, Warriors and Merchants, ch. 13, 255-
                           278.
                    Hugh Kennedy, The Great Arab Conquests, ch. 8, “The Road to
                           Samarkand,” pp. 255-295.
                    Susan Whitfield, Life Along the Silk Road, “The Soldier’s Tale,” “The
                           Horseman’s Tale,” 55-94.
             Primary:
                    “Tabari: Another Look at the Arab Conquests,” in Levi and Sela, eds.,
                           Islamic Central Asia: An Anthology of Historical Sources, pp. 16-
                           21.
             Recommended:
                    Robert Hoyland, Seeing Islam as Others Saw It, “the Chinese Sources,” pp.
                           243-257.

Discussion Questions:
   1. Compare Kennedy’s account of the conquest of Sogdia with Tabari’s description. How
       did the Sogdian’s themselves act as effective agents of their own conquest? Why was
       personal loyalty to individual Arab commanders more important than Islam? How did the
       conquerors describe the native Persian warriors? How would you describe the aims of the
       Arabs—religious, secular or both?
   2. How did the defeat of the Chinese in the Battle of Talas presage the end of their hegemony
       in Central Eurasia for nearly a millenium? Why did the battle speed the diffusion of
       Chinese technology such as paper-making while encouraging nomadic peoples such as the
       Khazars and Uigurs to convert to religions, such as Manicheanism and Judiasm, decidedly
       not Muslim? Why does Beckwith see the Battle of Talas as less a decisive dual for control
       of the Silk Road than a last gasp before the dissolution of the early medieval world order
       in the face of revolution and internal rebellion?
   3. What was the life of a soldier and cavalryman like on the Silk Road as the great powers
       contested for control and fought themselves to exhaustion? How was the Tibetan heavy
       infantryman’s life different from the Uighur troopers? Which system of military
       mobilization was more flexible?
              Week 10: The Islamic Accomplishment [19+17+31+21+7+6=101]
Tuesday, 10/27:
       Lecture: Islam, Uighurs and Vikings
               Islamic Cultural Flowering on the Silk Road in the Age of
                      Conversions
       Readings:
               Secondary:
                      Christopher I. Beckwith, Empires of the Silk Road: A
                              History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age
                              to the Present, ch. 7, 163-182.
               Primary:
                      James E. Montgomery, “Ibn Fadlan and the Rusiyyah,”
                              5-22.
Thursday, 10/29:
       Readings:
               Secondary:
                      Luce Boulnois, Silk Road: Monks, Warriors and
                              Merchants, chs. 14, 279-310.
                      Richard C. Foltz, Religions of the Silk Road, ch. 5, 89-
                              110.
               Primary:
                      “al-Biruni: On the Importance of the Sciences,” in Levi
                              and Sela, eds., Islamic Central Asia: An
                              Anthology of Historical Sources, pp. 39-46.
                      Jelaluddin Rumi, Love’s Ripening; Rumi on the Heart’s
                              Journey, “Get Ready, the Drunkards are
                              Coming,” “The Face of That Beauty,” “Ancient
                              Wine,” pp. 101-107.
Discussion Questions:
   1. The Arab ambassado, Ibn Fadlan, provides the most detailed description of a Viking
       funeral known in the sources. Were these “Varangians”—who ultimately went on to form
       the Rus’ state—an alien presence in Central Eurasia or were their customs and power
       dynamics amenable to the assimilation of Central Eurasian political and economic
       practices? What does Ibn Fadlan’s description tell you about not only Viking culture but
       Islam’s engagement with Inner Eurasian peoples?
   2. How did Islam’s conversion of Turkic nomads lead to the Islamization of Central Eurasia?
       Central Asia was not a periphery but the intellectual heart of medieval Islam. Why? How
                               did trade, especially in human flesh, help create a synthesis of
                               Turko-Persian Islam?
                          3. The common view of Islam is of a very rule-driven, puritanic
                               religion that hewed closely to orthodoxy. However, especially in
                               Central Asia, a mystical, emotive brand of esoteric Islam, Sufi’ism
                               was greatly responsible for mass conversions of, especially, Turkic
                               nomads. How do Rumi’s poems reflect a complex, joyous embrace
                               of life? (remember, Rumi was not a heretic or libertine—his poetry
                               and theology was instrumental in creating the Mawlawiyah Sufi
                               Order, better known in the West as the order of the Twirling
                               Dervishes). How does al-Biruni defend the study of non-revealed
                               sciences?
              Week 11: The Mongol World Empire [14+18+30+24+15+5=106]

Tuesday, 11/3:
       Lecture: The Mongol Conquest of Eurasia
       Readings:
               Secondary:
                       Christopher I. Beckwith, Empires of the
                              Silk Road: A History of Central
                              Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the
                              Present, ch. 8, 183-196.
               Primary:
                       The Secret History of the Mongols, Kahn,
                              ed., Cleaves, transl., “The Heritage
                              and Youth of Genghis Khan,” pp.
                              14-43. (reserve)
Thursday, 11/5:
       Readings:
               Secondary:
                       Richard C. Foltz, Religions of the Silk Road; Overland Trade and Cultural
                              Exchange from Antiquity to the Fifteenth Century, ch. 6, 111-134.
               Primary:
                       William of Rubruck, Account of Travels, parts XV.
                       Chang Chun, A Daoist Monk in Central Asia,” in Levi and Sela, eds.,
                              Islamic Central Asia: An Anthology of Historical Sources, pp. 130-
                              134.
                       “The Travels of Ibn Batuta,” Medieval Sourcebook, from Caffa to
                              Constantinople (Golden Horde).
               Recommended:
                       Mongol [DVD 11452]
Discussion Questions:
1. How did Genghis Khan’s brutal treatment as a child harden him into one of the world’s great
   conquerors? What does the fact that many of his early exploits and rise as a warlord involved
   redeeming his pledge of marriage to his betrothed Borte tell you?
2. How did the Mongols conquer the better part of Eurasia? How did Genghis Khan consolidate
   power in Mongolia and found himself at war with his neighbors? (Hint: trade is crucial in
   understanding the dynamic of Mongol expansionism).
3. How did the Mongol’s ecumenicism encourage toleration along the Silk Road? Given Foltz’s
   account of the religious competition between faiths in the Mongol courts but also William of
   Rubrick’s tawdry tale of scheming priests, who was the great enemy to various faiths—the
   dread savage Mongol Khan or other clergy? What was Chang Chun’s view of Mongol
   religious practices? Did Ibn-Batuta view Khan Uzbek of the Golden Horde a good Muslim?
                 Week 10: Marco Polo and The Black Death [18+8+10+46=82]
Tuesday, 11/10:
       Lecture: Marco Polo and the Discovery of the East
       Readings:
               Secondary:
                       Luce Boulnois, Silk Road: Monks, Warriors and Merchants, chs. 15-16,
                               311-361.
                       Francis Wood, The Silk Road, ch, 8, “Tanguts, Mongols, Nestorians and
                               Marco Polo,” pp. 111-129.
                       Thomas T. Allsen, “The Cultural Worlds of Marco Polo,” The Journal of
                               Interdisciplinary History 31/3 (Winter 2001): 375-383.
               Primary:
                       Medieval Sourcebook, “Marco Polo: The Glories of Kinsay [Hangchow]
                               (c. 1300).”
Thursday, 11/12:
       Readings:
               Secondary:
                       William McNeill, Plagues and People, ch. 4, “The Impact of the Mongol
                               Empire on Shifting Disease Balances,” pp. 161-207.
Discussion Questions:
   1. Given Polo’s description of Kinsay, do you believe he actually travelled to the East?
       Wood is clearly sceptical while Allsen is not. Remember, Marco Polo was not a courtier,
       a priest or a scholar but a merchant (telling his tale to a writer of romances). Does his
       account square with the sort of attention a Venetian merchant would likely direct to
       describing his experiences?
   2. According to McNeill, it was the very success of the Mongol world empire that doomed it.
       He argues that by linking the Western and Eastern parts of Eurasia in a new way, the
       Mongol conquests undermined the disease balances of the Old World and unleashed the
       devestating Black Death on the continent. What ramifications did this catastrophe have
       not only for the decline of Central Eurasia but the rise of the West?
    Week 11: Two Superpowers (Timurids and Ming) and the Zenith of the Silk Road
                                      [12+6+18+34+11=81]
Tuesday, 11/17:
      Lecture: Samarkand, Center of the Earth
      Readings:
             Secondary:
                      Louis Levethes, When China Ruled the Seas; The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon
                              Throne, ch. 11, “The Sultan’s Bride,” pp. 183-194.
                      Christopher I. Beckwith, Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central
                             Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present, ch. 8, 197-203.
                      Francis Wood, The Silk Road, ch, 9, “A Parterre of Roses; Travellers to
                             Ming China and Samarkand,” pp. 130-147.
Thursday, 11/19:
       Readings:
                Secondary:
                        Justine Marozzi, Tamerlane, Sword of Islam, ch. 6, “Samarkand, The Pearl
                                of the East,” 201-235. (on reserve)
                Primary:
                        Guy Le Strange, Clavijo. Embassy to Tamerlane 1403-1406 (New York
                                and London: Harper, 1928), chs. 16-22.
                        Morris Rossabi, “A Translation of Ch’en Ch’eng’s Hsi-you fan kue chih,”
                                Ming Studies 17 (Fall 1983): 49-59.
Discussion Questions:
   1. Describe Clavijo’s description of Timur’s kingdom and court. Does he show a sense of
       cultural condescension towards the East or, rather, does he have an appreciation for
       Timur’s power? As a noble ambassador visiting another warrior prince, how does his
       account of the East differ from Polo’s or Rubrick’s? How does Ch’en Ch’eng’s account
       differ in tone from Clavijo’s and why?
   2. Marozzi focuses in on Samarkand as one of the great cities of the late medieval period.
       What was Timur’s style of rule and why was the beauty of Samarkand crucial to his
       legitimacy? What sort of building projects adorned the city and how, in the post-bubonic
       plague world, did Timur assure himself of enough craftsmen and merchants to populate
       his city?
   3. Why and how does Beckwith consider the Timurid state to be the apogee, the climax of
       Central Eurasia as the central political and cultural power in the Old World?
          Week 12: The Collapse of the Silk Road World System [28+67+11=106]
Tuesday, 11/24:
       Lecture: The Shift Away from Central Asia
       Readings:
               Secondary:
                       Christopher I. Beckwith, Empires of the Silk
                               Road: A History of Central Eurasia
                               from the Bronze Age to the Present,
                               ch. 9, 204-231.
                       Luce Boulnois, Silk Road: Monks, Warriors
                               and Merchants, chs. 17, 363-379.
                       Stephen Frederic Dale, The Garden of Eight
                               Paradises: Babur and the Culture of
                               Empire in Central Asia, Afganistan
                               and India (1483-1530, ch. 2, “The
                               Timurid Denoument in
                               Mawarannahr,” pp. 67-134.
               Primary:
                       Babur, The Baburnama, “Events of the Year
                               912 [1506-07],” pp. 229-239. (on
                               reserve)
Discussion Questions:
   1. How does Babur describe the sophisticated and cosmopolitan
       court of his cousins in Herat? Why does he, a hardened
       general in the wars against the Uzbeks, take time to play tourist in Herat? How does the
       decadence of this court worry Babur (after all, one of the great generals in world history)?
   2. How did the emergence of European trading systems on the Eurasian litoral, as well as
       newly centralized Empires such as the Mughals, Ottomans, and Manchus weaken the Silk
       Road as a nexus of world trade?
   3. How did the Timurids own steppe traditions undercut their power in terms of fractious
       succession crisis, aristocratic privilege and religious toleration?



Tuesday, 11/26: THANKSGIVING BREAK
                       Week 13: The Road is Closed [31+6+30+10=77]
Tuesday, 12/1:
       Lecture: Partition of the Steppe
       Readings:
               Secondary:
                       Christopher I. Beckwith, Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central
                               Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present, ch. 10, 232-262.
                       Peter Perdue, China Marches West, “The Death Knell of the Zungar State,”
                               270-299. (on reserve)
               Primary:
                       “A Kalmyk-Muscovite Diplomatic Confrontation, 1650; A Translation,” in
                               Michael Khodarkovsky, Where Two Worlds Met: The Russian State
                               ant the Kalmyk Nomads, 1600-1771, pp. 245-250. (on reserve)
Thursday, 12/3:
       Readings:
               Secondary:
                       Richard C. Foltz, Religions of the Silk Road; Overland Trade and Cultural
                               Exchange from Antiquity to the Fifteenth Century, ch. 7, 135-144.
Discussion Questions:
   1. As Russian and China divided the steppe between them, native peoples such as the
       Kalmyks found themselves attempting to negotiate, as they always had, interstate relations
       with these expanding empires? How did the Russian envoys treat the independent
       Kalmyks and why did their attempts to be considered equals rather than vassals of the
       Russians fail?
   2. The Kalmyks’ relatives in the East, the Zungars, found their state under the aggressive
       attack of the Qing in the late 17th century. Why did the Chinese attack the Zungars and
       why did the Qing Emperor order a brutal and genocidal campaign against the nomads?
       Why, despite the fact that nomadic states never exterminated a settled state are they
       considered the “barbarians” but the Qing and the Russians regarded as “civilized”?
   3. How did the tradition of religious diversity and innovation on the Silk Road stagnate into
       rigid and intolerant orthodoxies after the decline of region as a trade nexus?
                               Week 14: Conclusion
Tuesday, 12/8: Conclusion—The Once and Future Silk Road?

Thursday, 12/10: Review




WEDS., 12/16: FINAL TAKE-HOME EXAM DUE IN BOWDEN 119 BY
   4:00 PM!

				
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