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BHUM 12A01 - Silk road: knowledge and discoveries

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn and Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 48

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

As noticed by the Unesco Project, Silk Road « carried more than just merchandise and precious commodities however: the constant movement and mixing of populations also brought about the transmission of knowledge, ideas, cultures and beliefs, which had a profound impact on the history and civilizations of the Eurasian peoples. » From their early, exploratory origins, the Silk Roads developed to become a driving force in the formation of diverse societies across Eurasia and far beyond. It was business, but it was also discoveries and knowledge, intercultural exchanges, leading nowadays in some sort of common heritage of material, cultural and spiritual order. How did these interactions happen ? What kind of knowledge did they produce, or was developed by travelers and explorers ? How far is it possible to share the optimistic vision of the Unesco Project, identifying the Silk Roads not only as a common heritage, but also as Roads of Dialogue ? At the end of the course, the student is expected to : 1°) have a large overview of the Silk Roads history 2°) be able to read and analyze a text and/ or a picture


VIAL, Anne I. (Professeur des universités)

Course validation

To validate the course, the student is expected to pass the following assignments: 1°) Quizz 2°) Debates and discussions 3°) Essay 4°) Final exam

Required reading

Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, First to Second Centuries CE, Hill, John E., BookSurge, 2009

Additional required reading

  • Les Routes de la Soie, Pernot, François, Artémis 2001.
  • Shadow of the Silk Road, Thubron, Colin, 2007
  • Ruins of Desert Cathay: Personal Narrative of Explorations in Central Asia and Westernmost China, Stein, Aurel, Macmillan and Company 1912
  • The Book of Marvels, Marco Polo.