Course: Crossing the Pamir Mountains: Eurasian History from the Persian to Mongol Empires

HC 231H

Professor: Roxann Prazniak

Variously known as the roof of the world and the crossroads of history, the Pamir Mountains rising to 23,000 feet with passes at 17, 000 feet are awesome terrain at the heart of Eurasian history.  Motivated by desire, adventure, and profit, nomads, scholars, and merchants among others negotiated routes to Mediterranean, Himalayan, and Yellow River commercial networks.  The consequent rich exchange of ideas and material culture produced pre-conditions essential for emergent global modernity. In this course we will consider travel accounts, art history, and scientific discourse to explore the Eurasian continent from Greek city-states and Buddhist kingdoms to the medieval era of Christian rulers and Sufi masters.  We will find our way along silk road routes linking Changan and Samarkand to Baghdad and Rome. Our goal is to think historically and comparatively about complex social and intellectual developments.