Imperial Interstices: Agents of Eurasian Interaction in Late Antiquity, Workshop I: Merchants

Friday, November 11
1:00 pm - 6:15 pm

Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society
5701 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60637

In the first millennium CE, regions in the interstices of the Mediterranean, the Near East, and East and South Asia gave rise to merchants, political elites, and religious specialists that stimulated social change across Eurasia. 

The Neubauer Collegium project Imperial Interstices aims to shift our historical perspective away from the Roman, Chinese, Iranian/Islamic, and Indian civilizational centers toward the places in between, such as the Central Eurasian steppes, Indian Ocean ports, and the passes of the Caucasus and Hindu Kush, as centers of economic, political, and religious innovation. 

The first workshop of the project will focus on the mercantile networks and communities that took shape between empires in the first millennium and explore convergences and divergences in their respective historical trajectories. 


1:00-2:00 Session 1: Nicholas Purcell (Oxford University), “Circulation Across and Around West Asia”
2:00-3:00 Session 2: Bryan Miller (Oxford University), “A Small Steppe World: The Centrality of ‘Barbarian’ Elites in Eurasian Networks of Exchange”
3:00-3:15 Break
3:15-4:15 Session 3: Fanny Bessard (St. Andrews University), “Afro-Eurasian Artisans in the Early Islamic World: Mobility and Innovation”
4:15-5:15 Session 4: Seth Priestman (Edinburgh University), “State Power and Long-Distance Exchange Networks in the Indian Ocean”
5:15-6:15 Respondents: Kenneth Pomeranz (University of Chicago) and Michael Frachetti (Washington University in St. Louis)
6:15 Reception

If you would like to receive updates on the Imperial Interstices project and other events at the Neubauer Collegium, please sign up for our newsletter HERE.