Kazakhstan Chamber of Commerce in the USA


The History of the Silk Road

Posted on March 14, 2011 by KazCham
Location Almaty, Kazakhstan
Dates June 3 – July 1
Credits Offered HIST 341.32 – 3 CREDITS (CUNY tuition is not included in program fee)
Application Deadline Students applying for STOCS: March 14.
Other applicants: March 25.
Financial Aid TAP, PELL, GILMAN, STOCS, student loans
Program Fee $835 (estimate) includes housing, cultural activities, field trips, some local transportation and health insurance. Airfare not included.
Payment Schedule $350 due with application. Remaining balance due by April 29. All payments by certified checks or money orders (no personal checks or credit cards).

Program Description
This course surveys the history of cultural and economic exchanges of the Silk Road with focus on the history of Central Asia. The Silk Road connected China with eastern and western Europe for nearly two millennia, as innumerable caravans moved goods, ideas, cultures, traders, explorers, scholars and adventurers  across the Eurasian land mass.

The course begins with a review of the formation of two distinct social and economic systems in the region – nomadic and settled – the context of debates on the nature of the nomadic world and its contribution into the interactions between the Central Asian region and outside world. Then, it discusses the emergence of local, regional and international exchanges and trades in the region. It also assesses the legacy of the nomadic world empires (Turkic and Mongol) and the history of trade, cultural and religious exchanges along the Great Silk Road and emergence of such trade centers as Kashgar, Otrar, Bukhara, and Samarkand. It continues with the discussions of the economic, political and military decline of the region and offers a comparative discussion of the marine and land routes between China and Western Europe.

Further, the course provides a careful examination of Tsarist Russia’s attempt to revive trade along some parts of the Silk Road and the controversial nature of the competition for influence in greater Central Asian between Russian and British empires. In the conclusion, it assesses numerous attempts to revive the trade along ancient Silk Road, which were frequently discussed since 1991.

The readings, excursions and discussions are designed to explore the mysteries of the Silk Road including: who were those traders and explorers? Why people used this Road? What was the role of the nomads and settlers of Central Asia in this early global trade?

Seminars and lectures will consist of the following and/or similar topics:
Land and economic development
Economy and education
Social structure
Traditional folk music
Change and continuity
Energy and international trade
International war on terrorism

Cultural, historical and social activities:
Sightseeing – KazNU campus and the immediate environs
Visit of the national Historical Museum
Trip to the medieval City of Turkistan
Visit of an oriental bazaar
National Philharmonic (TBC)
Visit of the Central Asian Geographic Society

NOTE: Before the program starts, students will have to prepare summaries of the following readings:

  • Marco Polo. The Travels of Marco Polo (any editions)
  • Abazov, Rafis. The Culture and Customs of the Central Asian Republics

These summaries must identify the most significant cultural, political, economic and technological forces that contributed to the rise of the Silk Road. They will be due May 15, 2011. The summaries should be 1000 words long.

Academic Inquiries
Rafis Abazov, Dept. of History
E-mail: ra2044@columbia.edu

Administrative Inquiries
Education Abroad Office E1447
Monday – Friday 9:30 am – 5:30pm
Phone: (212) 772-4983
Fax: (212) 772-5005
E-Mail: edabroad@hunter.cuny.edu

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