The Silk Road: A New History with Documents by Valerie HansenThe Silk Road: A New History with Documents by Valerie Hansen

The Silk Road: A New History with Documents

byValerie Hansen

Paperback | June 28, 2016

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The Silk Road. We have a hazy mental image: a lone traveler carrying silk on a camel moves along a desert. Where exactly is he going and what goods is he carrying? This book offers concrete answers based on newly discovered documents preserved in the sands of the Taklamakan Desert. It isamazing what has been dug up, and how the new materials - both documents and artifacts - radically challenge our understanding of the Silk Road. Historians have only recently begun to piece together and make sense of these materials, which give a far clearer picture of actual Silk Road.Placing these documentary finds at the heart of the narrative, this book also tells the story of the different explorers who found these documents, and it teases out the implications of these documents for our understanding of the Silk Road. (We learn, for example, that the Silk "Road" was notreally a road, and that no one used the term "Silk Road" in the past.) The book focuses on the seven most important Silk Road sites that have produced document and objects from the Silk Road. Six (Niya, Kucha, Turfan, Dunhuang, Khotan, and Xi'an) are located in northwest China; the seventh,Samarkand, is in modern Uzbekistan. This college edition includes a selection of excerpted primary sources in each chapter. The range is enormous: memoirs of medieval Chinese monks and modern explorers, letters written by women, descriptions of towns, language-learning materials for traveling monks, and contracts, among others.Instructors can select the documents they find most interesting to discuss in class; students can use these materials write papers. Many of these are difficult to find, and the author has checked all the translations to enhance their readability.The college edition also includes a new final chapter that examines the Silk Road during the period of Mongol rule (to c. 1400 CE).
Valerie Hansen is Professor of history at Yale University. Her books include The Open Empire: A History of China 1600, Negotiating Daily Life in Traditional China: How Ordinary People Used Contracts, 600-1400, Changing Gods in Medieval China, 1127-1276, and, with Kenneth R. Curtis, Voyages in World History.
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Title:The Silk Road: A New History with DocumentsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:496 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:June 28, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190208929

ISBN - 13:9780190208929

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Editorial Reviews

"In 2013, the International Convention of Asia Scholars recognized Valerie Hansen's The Silk Road: A New History as the best new book about Asia for teaching the humanities. That is no small praise, and I could not readily agree more. Indeed, for anyone who teaches the Silk Road-or Asian orworld history-this updated version that includes a remarkable array of original sources is an absolute boon. Not only because it is beautifully written and cogently offers up a magisterial overview of Inner Asian history up through the Mongol conquest, but also, more importantly, because it weavesinto its narrative the excitement of discovery that lies at the heart of the humanities." --Johan Elverskog, Southern Methodist University