Department of History

 

Bashiri

1043 Heller Hall

Telephone: 624-3314

Office hours: M 11:15-12:00; F 1:15-2:00

or by appointment

e-mail: bashi001@umn.edu

Web: www.irajbashiri.com 

 

SYLLABUS

The Cultures of the Silk Road

Spring 2014

Hist 3504; ALL 3872; Rels 3708; Glos 3900-005

 

Conceptual Frame:

The culture of the Silk Road flourished after the invasion of Alexander. The Road served as a hub of activity between the time of the Sassanids and the Mongols. Its activity came to a halt after the discovery of the sea routes. After the fall of the Soviet Union, not only the markets but also the intellectual legacy that was associated with them, have come to life in Central Asia. The course covers both the past and the present aspects of the Silk Road.

 

Student Learning Outcomes:

1.      Learning about the cultures of medieval and present-day Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Iran

2.      Ability to interpret diverse ideological trends and accept them for what they are

3.      Distinguish different economical, political, and cultural trends

4.      Examine the roots of conflict leading to amity and cooperation versus to animosity and war

5.      Appreciate the contributions of Central Asian, Afghan, and Iranian peoples to world civilization.

 

Class Sessions:

January

22     Introduction to the course, course content, materials to be covered, office hours, tests, reports, paper, grades, attendance sheet, etc. Part of the session will be used for introductions. The students will fill out a questionnaire indicating their areas of interest.

         Assignment:  Bashiri, pp. 55-60; Frye, pp. 3-49; Whitfield, pp. 1-26

            E-Reserve link: https://reserves.lib.umn.edu/

 

24     Geography of the Silk Road—natural and man-made features—Tarim Basin, Ferghana Valley, Bactrian Plain

         Assignment:  Frye, pp. 53-63; Whitfield, pp. 27-54

         Assignment of Oral Reports

27     Peoples of the Silk Road (nomadic, settled)

         Assignment:  Bashiri, pp. 108-118; Frye, pp. 67-96; Whitfield, pp. 1-26

 

29     History of the Silk Road—Alexander's march to India

         Assignment:  Frye, pp. 99-118; Whitfield, pp. 76-94

 

31     Languages of the Silk Road (Arabic, Turkish, Persian)

         Assignment:  Bashiri, pp. 3-9, 126-130; Frye, pp. 121-150

 

February

 

3       Activities on the Silk Road (Coming of the Indo-Europeans, appearance of Zoroastrianism)

         Assignment:  Frye, pp. 135-166; Whitfield, pp. 95-112

 

5       Oral Reports I

  

7       Oral Reports I

 

10     Discussion I (Stories in Life Along the Silk Road)

 

12     The Life of the Prophet of Islam

         Assignment: Frye, pp. 169-198; Whitfield, pp. 113-137

 

14     The Islamic Conquests

         Assignment: Frye, pp. 201-232; Whitfield, pp. 138-154

 

17     Islamic Beliefs and Practices

         Assignment: Chambers, pp. 1-45; Case, "I Became a Bakhtiari"; "The Bakhtiaris of Iran"; Whitfield, pp. 155-173

 

19     In Search of Grass

         Assignment: Chambers, pp. 45-84; "The Qashqais of Iran"; Beck, pp. 27-73 (optional)

         Study Guide I

 

21     Woven Gardens

         Assignment: Chambers, pp. 84-135; Whitfield, pp. 174-188

 

24     TEST ONE

         Assignment: Chambers, pp. 136-202; "The Kirghiz of Afghanistan"; Whitfield, pp. 206-222

 

26     The Kyrgyz of Afghanistan

         Assignment:  "The Kazakhs of China"

 

28     The Kazakhs of China

         Assignment: handout

 

March

 

3       The lifestyles of the tribes are compared; emphasis is on the role of Communism versus Islam in the lives of the Uighurs.

         Assignment: none

 

5       Development of literature on the Silk Road is discussed

         Assignment: Spuler, pp. 71-114

 

7       Chang’an to Khotan (48 min)

         Assignment: History of the Manghits I

 

10     Oral Reports II

  

12     Oral Reports II

 

14     Discussion II (contents of reports)

Assignment: History of the Manghits II

 

17-21         Spring Break

 

24     Kucha to Margilan (38 min)

         Assignment: none

 

26     The Mongol invasion of Central Asia

         Assignment: none

 

28     "Storm from the East"

         Part one of a four-part series dealing with the Mongol

         invasion of Central Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

         Assignment: none

 

31     Invasion of Europe and the Middle East

         Study Guide II

 

April

 

2       The Fall of the Mongol Empire

         The Manghits of Bukhara

 

4       Class discussion of The Devil's Horsemen by Chambers

 

7       TEST TWO

         Assignment: "Central Asia: An Overview"; Rashid, pp. 25-77

 

9       The significance of Central Asia and its resources

         Assignment: "Iran: A Concise Overview"

 

11     The Westernization of Iran; the role of the clergy

         Assignment: "Afghanistan: An Overview"

 

14     History and Culture of Afghanistan (rise and fall of the socialist movement)

         Assignment: "Tajikistan: A concise Overview"; Rashid, pp. 159-185

 

16     Tajikistan: the land and its people/current state of economy, privatization, health, etc

         Assignment: "Uzbekistan: A Concise Overview" ; Rashid, pp. 78-106

 

18     The roots of the Tajik-Uzbek conflict

         Assignment: "Turkmenistan: A Concise Overview"; Rashid, pp. 187-206

 

21     The Islamic and Communist faces of Turkmenistan/current state of economy, privatization, health, etc.

         Assignment: "Kazakhstan: A Concise Overview"; Rashid, pp. 107-135

  

23     Kazakh and Russian relations

         Assignment: "Kyrgyzstan: A Concise Overview"; Rashid, pp. 136-158

        

25     Discussion of the Kyrgyz/ current state of economy, privatization, health, etc.

         Assignment: Grousset, pp. 120-126; Rudelson, pp. 5-30

 

28     Oral Reports III

 

30     Oral Reports III

        

May

 

2       Discussion III (The Resurgence of Central Asia: Islam or Nationalism? by Rashid)

         Book Report is due

 

5       The Uighurs of Xinjiang

         Assignment: none

 

7       Close to Eden

 

9       Open

         Study Guide III is posted

        

         Final Paper is due

 

         Final exam (test 3) is on Saturday, May 17, 2014, 8:00-10:00 a.m.

 

Assignments

 

There will be 1 book report, 3 tests, 1 oral report, and one final paper. Attendance and active participation in classroom discussions also carry points.

 

Book Report

Any book on the cultures of China, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Iran or about the interactions among these cultures, among each other or with India, China, Russia, and the Middle East is acceptable. The book for the book report must have the instructor's approval. The book report is due on May 2, 2014. It carries 10 points. Guidelines for Writing Book Reports

Tests

 

There will be 3 tests. The dates for the tests are geared to the completion of the sections of the course devoted to each main topic. The exams will cover classroom discussions, reading assignments, and written and oral reports for the specific section. There will be no make-up tests. Exceptions will be made for hardship cases on an individual basis. The instructor should be informed, in advance, about the reason for not taking the test at the time it is administered. Each test carries 12 points.

 

Oral Reports

Each student participates in the gathering and delivering of information for 1 oral report.  After topics are assigned, each student prepares a presentation to be given to the class. The report (comprehensive PowerPoint presentation or full text) is emailed to the instructor for review 2 days ahead of time. Following the report the instructor will grade the report, correct or adjust it as necessary and send it to all the students. Students are responsible for knowing the content of all the reports they receive for tests. Look at Guidelines for Oral Reports for information on writing the oral report.

The oral report is graded for the quality of its overall contribution to the class. Failure to participate at the time assigned results in the loss of 3 points. Failure to provide the class with a copy of the report results in the loss of the rest of the points. Each oral report carries 15 points for that round. The report should not be more than 15 minutes.

Paper

The paper should be 10 pages double-spaced, printed, and presentable. It should deal with aspects of the Silk Road and its contribution to the promotion of commerce and knowledge. The paper should include an introduction, a reasonable development of the topic proposed, and a clear indication of diligent research. The bibliography is NOT included in the 10 pages. The paper must be presented in hardcopy. Look at Guidelines for Writing Papers for information on writing the paper. The Paper is due on May 9, 2014. The paper carries 30 points as follows:

Aspects of paper

# of points

presentability

2

relevance and originality

5

introduction

3

structure

4

content

9

conclusion

3

footnotes & bibliography

4

Total

30

 

Attendance

Attendance is taken by passing a roster to be legibly signed. Each absence is worth half a point. Attendance carries 3 points.

Active Participation in Discussions

Three books are discussed at the times indicated in the Syllabus. Students are expected to show their knowledge of the content of the books by commenting on points related to the books. Active participation in discussions carries 6 points.

Grading Scale

4.0 scale

Grade

%

4.0

A

93-100

3.667

A-

84-92

3.333

B+

76-83

3.000

B

68-75

2.667

B-

59-67

2.333

C+/S

49-58

2.000

C/S

43-50

1.667

C-/S

34-42

1.333

D+

26-33

1.0

D

25

 

Selected Bibliography

 

            The following books are available at the bookstore for purchase:

1.      Whitfield, Susan. Life Along the Silk Road, University of California Press, 1999 (required)

2.      Esposito, John L. Islam: The Straight Path, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010 (required)

3.      Frye, Richard N. The Heritage of Central Asia: From Antiquity to the Turkish Expansion. Princeton: Marcus Wiener Publishers, 1996 (required)

4.      Bashiri, Iraj. Ancient Iran: Cosmology, Mythology, History, Cognella Publishers, 2012  (optional)

 

The following books are available as a packet at the bookstore (required):

1.      Chambers, James. The Devil's Horsemen: The Mongol Invasion of Europe, Oxford University Press, 1988.

2.      Rashid, Ahmed, The Resurgence of Central Asia: Islam or Nationalism?, Oxford University Press/Zed Books, 1994.

 

The following books are available through the Reserve Room at Wilson Library:

1.      Allworth, Edward. Central Asia: 120 Years of Russian Rule, 1989.

2.      Bashiri, Iraj. Ancient Iran: Cosmology, Mythology, History, Cognella Publishers, 2012.

3.      Beck, Lois. Nomad: A Year in the Life of a Qashqa'i Tribesman in Iran, University of California Press, 1991.

4.      Blunt, Wilfrid. The Golden Road to Samarkand, Viking Press, 1973.

5.      Chambers, James. The Devil's Horsemen: The Mongol Invasion of Europe, Oxford University Press, 1988.

6.      Dawson, Christopher, ed. The Mongol Mission: Narratives and Letters of the Franciscan Missionaries in Mongolia and China in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries. New York: Sheed and Ward, 1955.

7.      Dunn, Ross E. The Adventures of Ibn Battuta: A Muslim Traveler of the 14th Century. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986.

8.      Engels, Donald. Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army, University of California Press, 1978.

9.      Esposito, John L. Islam: The Straight Path, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010

10.  Marsden, W. ed. The Travels of Marco Polo. New York: Dorset Press, 1987.

11.  Foltz, Richard C. Religions of the Silk Road: Overland Trade and Cultural Exchange From Antiquity to the Fifteenth Century. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999.

12.  Franck, Irene M. and David M. Brownstone. The Silk Road: A History, Facts on File Publications, 1986.

13.  Frye, Richard N. The Heritage of Central Asia: From Antiquity to the Turkish Expansion. Princeton: Marcus Wiener Publishers, 1996.

14.  Grousset, Rene. The Empire of the Steppe, Indiana University Press, 1986.

15.  Heissig, Walther. The Religions of the Mongols, University of California Press, 1980.

16.  Hopkirk, Peter. The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

17.  Knobloch, Edgar. Beyond the Oxus: Archaeology, Art and Architecture of Central Asia, London, 1972.

18.  Rashid, Ahmed, The Resurgence of Central Asia: Islam or Nationalism?, Oxford University Press/Zed Books, 1994.

19.  Spuler, Bertold. History of the Mongols, Dorset Press, 1968.

20.  Waley, Arthur. The Secret History of the Mongols, and Other Pieces. London: Allen and Unwin, 1963.

21.  Whitfield, Susan. Life Along the Silk Road, University of California Press, 1999.