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HUMSS Colloquium with Sitta von Reden

Prof. Dr. Sitta von Reden
University of Freiburg
Ancient History
Recorded on May 18, 2020

The Myth of the Silk Road

This paper, related to my FRIAS book project (and the “Beyond the Silk Road”- project connected with that book, argues that the study of ancient Afro-Eurasian connections faces two major challenges: a) to fight off the myth of an “Ancient Silk Road” (or “Silk Roads”) that never existed in the way it is/they are imagined; and b) to write a history of economic connections in the ancient Afro-Eurasian World region without resorting to a linear model of road-thinking. I will suggest that studying imperial frontier zones and their economic and institutional transformation in the course of imperial development offers methodologically superior and historically more adequate ways of approaching ancient Afro-Eurasian exchange and “globalization”.