Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Critical Silk Road Studies

About Critical Silk Road Studies

Critical Silk Road Studies is a year-long series of workshops funded by the John 
E. Sawyer Seminarsprogram of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  These 
workshops are focused upon a critical examination of the Silk Road. Our goal is 
to investigate the invention and development of the concept of the Silk Road as 
well as its on-going impact—its potential as well as its limitations for framing 
fields of academic inquiry and even policy-making.  Today, the term "Silk Road" 
serves as a rubric in contexts ranging from the undergraduate curriculum to 
institutional funding and international symposia, and has become a household 
word through educational television and other popular media.   Yet seldom has 
its definition been examined, and it remains a challenge to overcome the 
chronological, regional, linguistic, and disciplinary compartmentalization of 
specialists to consider the workings and effects of the trans-Eurasian Silk Road 
as a broader phenomenon.

Critical Silk Road Studies will expose our seminar members to a range of 
empirical expertise while considering collectively the macro-level issues from 
a perspective that is interdisciplinary, interregional and longue durée.  We will 
bring together scholars of ancient and modern history, art history, religious 
studies, literature, musicology, anthropology, archaeology, as well as foreign 
policy academics and practitioners in an interrogation and exploration of the 
notion of the Silk Road and its usefulness towards understanding both past 
and present. 

General Information

Participation in the seminars of Critical Silk Road Studies is free and restricted to 
current faculty, academic staff, and graduate and undergraduate students.  The 
seminars are scheduled for 5:00-7:30pm in Intercultural Center (ICC) 662, which 
is located on Georgetown’s main campus.  Further information is available 
regarding transportation and visitor parking. 

The format of each seminar consists of moderated discussion of the presenters’ 
pre-circulated papers. For this reason, pre-registration for individual seminars is 
required, as papers will be circulated only to registered participants of the seminar.

Please visit the main Schedule of Events page for information regarding the time 
and location of each seminar.

A Demise Greatly Exaggerated: the Silk Road in the Early Modern Era
January 8, 2015 

Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Hawai'i at Manoa
“The Eurasian Drug Trade: Commodities and Medical Knowledge between East 
and West”

Associate Professor, Department of History, Ohio State University
“Networks of Trade in Early Modern Central Asia”

Professor, Department of History, Georgetown University

Science on the Silk Road
January 29, 2015 

Canada Research Chair of Early Modern Studies and Associate Professor, 
Department of History, University of British Columbia
“Paper Dolls: An Architectonics of Translation in Early Modern Eurasia”

Assistant Professor, Department of History, Pennsylvania State University-Abington
"Are Buddhist Scriptures the 'Missing Link' in the Global History of Medicine?"

Associate Professor, Department of History, Georgetown University

Islamic Encounters with Sinic and Buddhistic Realms
February 19, 2015 

Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Southern Methodist University
“‘Ala’ ad-dawla as-Simnani and the Buddhists of Iran, 1258-1328”

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Islamic Art History, Department of History 
of Art and Architecture, Harvard University
“Ghiyath al-Din Naqqash and His Visit to Beijing, 1419-22”

Assistant Professor, Department of Art History, George Washington University

Performance and Performativity
March 19, 2015 

Arthur R. Virgin Professor of Music, Department of Music, Dartmouth College
“The Silk Road as Jam Session, Then and Now”

Assistant Professor, Department of Art, Lafayette College
“Strumming Strings along the Ancient Silk Road: Archaeological Evidence for 
Lutes and their Performance in the First Centuries CE”

Professor, Department of Ethnomusicology, University of Maryland School of Music

Institutional Settings
April 9, 2015 

Programme Specialist, Asia and Pacific Unit, UNESCO
“Heritage Conservation, International Cooperation, and Capacity Development: 
UNESCO’s Recent Projects for the Silk Roads Serial and Transnational World 
Heritage Nomination in Central Asia”

Director, International Dunhuang Project, British Library
“Defining a Cultural Silk Road for Today: IDP and Negotiating the Landscape of 
International Collaboration”

Curator of Ancient Chinese Art, Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution

On-Site Session at the Freer Gallery of Art
April 24, 2015 (2:30-4:30pm)

Associate Curator for Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, Freer and Sackler 
Galleries, Smithsonian Institution
"Two Dunhuang Paintings in the Freer Gallery of Art: History, Content, and 

Sawyer Seminar Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Art and Art History, 
Georgetown University

Silk Road Politics and Policies: Security, Energy and Eurasian Land 
April 30, 2015 

Research Professor, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington 
“Envisioning a Region: China's Silk Road and Russia's Eurasia”

Associate Professor and Assistant Director of the Institute of International 
Relations, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences
“Building an Interest Community: New Development of the Energy Club in the Silk 
Road Economic Belt”

Professor of Practice of International Affairs, Elliott School, George Washington 

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