RES 312 Silk Roads: Old and New
The silk roads were ancient transportation and trade links that wound their way across the Eurasian continent, or by sea through the South China Sea and Indian Oceans, to Europe. They carried silk, glass, jade, and mechanical clocks, and moved religions and literatures across continents. Today, the new silk roads carry oil, gas, drugs, capitalism, nationalism, and immigrants seeking their fortunes. We will investigate the parallels between the ancient and modern silk roads and the contemporary strategic, cultural, and economic significance of these new highways. We will follow the links they establish between China, Central Asia, the Middle East, South Asia and the new Europe. Why are these roads so central to the geopolitical strategies of contemporary modern states?