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Research Project

Silk Road Imaginaries

Project Team:

2023 – 2025
A camel on the ancient Silk Road, April 1999. Photo by Jeanne Menjoulet via Flickr.

A camel on the ancient Silk Road, April 1999. Photo by Jeanne Menjoulet via Flickr.

Key Question

Project Summary

A series of workshops will bring together scholars of the polities and cultures traditionally associated with the Silk Road in order to theorize premodern representations of economic and cultural networks. The project’s key question is: How can an exploration of premodern trans-Asian exchange reinvigorate the “Silk Road” as a useful concept?

Research Team

Richard Payne

Richard Payne

Associate professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

University of Chicago

Richard Payne is a historian of the Iranian world in late antiquity, ca. 200–800 CE. His research focuses primarily on the dynamics of Iranian imperialism, specifically how the Iranian (or Sasanian) Empire successfully integrated socially, culturally, and geographically disparate populations...

Ariel Fox

Photo by Erielle Bakkum

Ariel Fox

Assistant Professor of Chinese Literature, East Asian Languages and Civilizations

University of Chicago

Ariel Fox explores the intersection of literary and economic imaginaries in late imperial China. She is particularly interested in the ways in which dramatic forms provided the conceptual grounding for late imperial writers and audiences to negotiate a newly global economy. Her current book...

Project Narrative

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In an editorial cartoon published circa 1900, Uncle Sam steps over the Philippines to carry goods to China.

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The Infrastructures of American Hegemony
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