Course: Mapping Modernities: Geography, Commerce, and Technology

HC 232H

Professor: Roxann Prazniak

The era of the Mongol Empire (13th/14th centuries) inadvertently set in motion many of the preconditions of modernity. How did this happen? What were these preconditions, and how did they develop historically in various political and cultural settings? How did Chinese definitions of the “modern” compare with Turkish or English definitions? As societies sought to re-orient themselves in this new global setting, a kaleidoscope of social perceptions emerged around the themes of human purpose, the natural environment, and inter-state relations. From a global vantage point, multiple competing modernities began to appear. How did this situation eventually produce the promises and crises of the 20th and 21st centuries? Through the study of geography, commerce, and technology, we will explore the ways in which different political and cultural centers experienced the governing and economic challenges of the modern era.