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Posted by: mchu 4 years, 4 months ago

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Team members Hilde De Weerdt and Julius Morche served as session chairs at the conference “Connecting the Silk Road: Trade, People & Social Networks (400-1300 AD)”, which was held at Leiden University and Hermitage Amsterdam on May 17 and 18. The presented papers covered a  wide range of periods, regions, objects and disciplinary specializations and highlighted the complexity and dynamics of interactions of social groups, objects and architectural structures through and between the networks created along the Silk Road. Linking China and Europe through different land routes across Eurasia, the Silk Road offers  an opportunity to historians with a regional focus to frame their research questions in a global perspective. 

Presenters included Johannes Preiser-Kapeller (Austrian Academy of Sciences) who used the concept of social network analysis and the tools of spatial network visualization to show the complexity of entanglements among places, individuals and objects along the Silk Road.  Through a comprehensive analysis of Chinese objects and inner Asian fashioning across Eurasia, Ursula Brosseder (University of Bonn) discussed the interaction and exchange along the Silk Road between the fourth century BCE and the first century CE and emphasised the intermediate role played by the Inner Asian Steppe. Responding to a recent proposition of small-scale trading activities along the Silk Road, Susan Whitfield (British Library) discussed trade in luxury goods on the basis of evidence from Buddhist stupas and cave temples across the Tarim Basin. Peter Hoppenbrouwers (Leiden University) explored the patterns of occasional migratory flights of relatively small groups of nomads from the steppe to the sedentary areas across Eurasia and discussed the impact of this particular type of nomadic invasion on the sedentary populations and polities in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

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