2nd degree (Master)
islamic & middle east stud.
Dr. Michael Shenkar
Coordinator Office Hours:
Dr. Shenkar Michael
We shall learn about the network of economic and cultural contacts that developed between China and Cental Asia in the 4th-8th centuries CE and is known as the "Silk Road". We shall discuss the culture of the Sogdians who managed this network. We shall also discuss the complex relations between the sedentary Sogdians and the nomadic Turkic tribes, and focus on the Sogdian colonies in China and the phenomenon of Sino-Sogdian art.
The goal of this class is to introduce students to the Sogdian civilization, to the development and demise of the Sogdian trade network and cultural contacts between Central Asia and China.
Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
To be able to analyze the main features of the Sogdian culture, its principal sites and historical events. To be acquainted with basic terms and processes related to the "Silk Road".
Teaching arrangement and method of instruction:
The Lecturer's exposition of the subject followed by a discussion.
1. Introduction: Geography and historical background.
2. “Masters of the Silk Road” – introducing the Sogdian culture.
3. Panjikent – urban space, art, and everyday life in the Sogdian city.
4. Paintings from the “Ambassadors Hall” in Samarkand and the worldview of the Sogdians.
5. Bukhara and the principality of Ustrushana.
6. On the way to China – City-states and cultures of the Tarim Basin.
7. “Neither Silk, nor a Road” – the trade network between China and Central Asia.
8. The creation of the Sogdian trade network.
9. “Rulers of the Steppes” – the appearance of Turks and the “Turko-Sogdian symbiosis”.
10. Sogdian settlements in China.
11. The Sino-Sogdian art.
See syllabus on Moodle.
Additional Reading Material:
Hansen, V. (2016), The Silk Road: A New History with Documents, Oxford.
Azarpay, G. (1981), Sogdian Painting: The Pictorial Epic in Oriental Art, Berkeley.
Marshak,B. (2002), Legends, Tales and Fables in the Art of Sogdiana, New York.
de La Vaissière, É. (2005), Sogdian Traders, Leiden.
Encyclopædia Iranica Online Edition available at: http://www.iranicaonline.org
End of year written/oral examination 0 %
Presentation 0 %
Participation in Tutorials 10 %
Project work 70 %
Assignments 20 %
Reports 0 %
Research project 0 %
Quizzes 0 %
Other 0 %