In this packet we look at works that span nearly a thousand yearsäóîfrom shortly after the foundation of Islam in the seventh century to the seventeenth century when the last two great Islamic empiresäóîthe Ottoman and the Safavidäóîhad reached their peak. Although the definition of Islamic art usually includes work made in Mughal India, it is beyond the scope of this packet. The works we will look at here come from as far west as Spain and as far east as Afghanistan.
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This course will introduce the student to the history of Central Eurasia and the Silk Road from 4500 B.C.E to the nineteenth century. The student will learn about the culture of the nomadic peoples of Central Eurasia as well as the development of the Silk Road. By the end of the course, the student will understand how the Silk Road influenced the development of nomadic societies in Central Eurasia as well as powerful empires in China, the Middle East, and Europe. Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to: identify and describe the emergence of early nomadic cultures in Central Eurasia; identify and describe the rise of silk production in China; identify and describe the various routes of the Silk Road; identify and describe the reasons for China's opening of the Silk Road in the second century; identify and describe Han China's political and commercial relationships with nomadic tribes in Central Eurasia; identify and describe the impact of the Hellenistic World and the Roman Empire on the Silk Road; describe and analyze the 'golden age' of the Silk Road; identify and describe the impact of the Mongol Empire on Silk Road cultures; identify and describe the transmission of art, religion, and technology via the Silk Road; analyze and describe the arrival of European traders and explorers seeking a 'new' silk route in the 1400s; identify and describe the 'Great Game' rivalry between China, Britain, and Russia in Central Eurasia in the nineteenth century; analyze and interpret primary source documents that elucidate political, economic, and cultural exchange along the Silk Road. (History 341)