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"The Afro-Asian 'Silk Road' and the Rhetoric of Connected History"

  • 403 Kent 1140 Amsterdam Avenue New York, NY, 10027 United States (map)

CSSD working group Bandung Humanisms cosponsors "The Afro-Asian 'Silk Road' and the Rhetoric of Connected History" talk by Tamara Chin (Brown University). 

This event is presented by the program in Chinese Literature and Culture in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University.


Today, we invoke the Silk Road as an interconnected antiquity before globalization. This talk approaches the Silk Road as a modern idea--as a term that was first coined by a German geographer in 1877, but whose significance lies within a more global history of contestatory narratives about antiquity.  During the Cold War, China resignified the Silk Road/ 丝绸之路 as the ancient prefiguration of its Non-Aligned diplomacy with the decolonized world. The Silk Road became part of a larger Afro-Asian area studies framework through which Chinese and Afro-Asian historians and writers spatially re-organized China’s connected past. China’s Afro-Asian Silk Road differed from the Euro-Asian Silk Road of the West and Japan. This account argues the need to pay greater attention to the inherited frameworks and rhetorical tropes with which we narrate the connected past.

This event is cosponsored by the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, the Center for the Study of Social Difference, the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, and the Huang and Lin Fund and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures.