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BHUM 12A00 - Silk road: Motions and Emotions

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn and Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 48

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

The so-called Silk Road was for centuries a bridge between two worlds, a link between East and West, mixing different feelings and emotions originated by the many dangers and discoveries along the road(s). The process of travelling the Silk Roads began in Antiquity, developed through the Middle Ages, and continued until as late as the 19th century. It has been recently recreated for tourist purposes and still attracts many people. This seminar aims at reading accounts and narratives (mainly travelers', but not only) from Antiquity to nowadays. Special attention will be paid to the nature and the expression of emotions throughout the long lasting history of the roads. The conference should provide the opportunity to compare cultural sensibilities, and to wonder about socially constructed aspects of emotions. It will not only focus on the emotions that could be felt along the Silk Roads throughout ages - from danger and unknown at the very beginning to scientific enthusiasm for instance-, but should help questioning the expression of emotions (related to literary genres) and to what extent we can get access to times past. At the end of the course, the student is expected to : 1°) be able to contextualize, read and analyze texts from different areas and periods. 2°) be able to describe and analyze emotions along the Silk road and beyond. 3°) have read extensively one book (or more !) from the bibliography. Compulsory reading : at least one modern traveller + summary records of selected excerpt(s) ; research : historical research in order to prepare and contextualize readings debate about the texts of the conference


VIAL, Anne I. (Professeur des universités)

Course validation

To validate the course, the student is expected to pass the following assignments: 1°) one presentation (to be decided during the conference). 2°) summary records of a book or of selected excerpts (to be defined with the teacher). 3°) debate. 4°) final exam (last session ; commentary).

Required reading

Silk, Barrico, Alessandro (novel)

Additional required reading

  • News from Tartary, Fleming, Peter, 1936
  • Oasis interdites : de Pékin au Cachemire, une femme à travers l'Asie Centrale, Maillart, Ella, 1937 / Turkestan Solo - One Woman's Expedition from the Tien Shan to the Kizil Kum
  • Longue marche. De la Méditerranée jusqu'en Chine par la route de la soie, Ollivier, Bernard , Paris, 2001
  • Shadow of the Silk Road, Thubron, Colin