In recent decades, there has been a new surge of interest in the history and legacies of the Silk Roads both within academic and public discourses. A field of Silk Roads Studies has come into its own. Consciously mirroring the temperament of its subject, the field has moved out of the narrow niches of particular disciplines to become a truly interdisciplinary endeavor. New research findings about the historical operations of the Silk Roads and interpretations of their legacies for the modern and contemporary world have broken down geographical and temporal divides that once demarcated the Silk Roads as primarily pre-modern and Old World-centered conduits of globalization. In light of these developments, the time is ripe to begin formulating a new definition of the contour of Silk Roads Studies and laying a new foundation for further work in this field.
Silk Roads: From Local Realities to Global Narratives brings together leading scholars in multiple disciplines related to Silk Roads studies. It highlights the multiplicity of networks that constituted the Silk Roads, including land and maritime routes, and approaches the Silk Roads from Antiquity to China’s One Belt One Road Initiative from Afro-Eurasia to the Americas. This holistic approach to understanding ancient globalization, exchanges, transformations, and movements - and their continued relevance to the present - is in line with contemporary academic trends toward interdisciplinarity. Indeed, the Silk Roads is such an expansive topic that many approaches to its study must be included to represent accurately its many facets.
The volume emphasizes exchange and transformation along the Silk Roads - moments of acculturation or hybridization that contributed to novel syncretic forms. It highlights the multiplicity of networks that constituted the Silk Roads, including land and maritime routes, and approaches to the Silk Roads from Antiquity to China’s One Belt One Road Initiative from Afro-Eurasia to the Americas.