The trade networks of the Silk Roads offered an astonishing array of intellectual and cultural influences, which, through the exchange of knowledge and ideas, both verbal and written, still reverberate throughout our societal framework today. Science, arts and literature, textiles and technologies were shared and disseminated into societies along the lengths of these routes, and, through this exchange, languages, religions, and cultures developed and influenced one another. In this paper we describe the development of our collaborative exhibition at the University of Southern California(USC)which draws upon artifacts in our collections and those of partner institutions. This initiative includes two phases: First, working with faculty, staff, and students across USC departments, as well as external collaborators, we are focusing on written artifacts—the books, manuscripts, and other vehicles for nonverbal communication—that connected different Silk Road communities and created entirely new cultures. Rather than impose chronological or historical divisions, the organization of our exhibition is based on geography. Visitors will walk through and view objects as they would travel along the Silk Roads. The aim is both to introduce visitors to specific peoples and places that mark the Eurasian land mass while, at the same time, preserving the sense of formidable disorientation that so many interlinked empires and ideas create for modern travelers. Secondly, a companion one-day event, Stolen Recipes: Migrant Food Worlds of the Silk Roads, traces the hidden cultural exchanges underlying the foods originating along the Silk Roads and widely available to us in Los Angeles today.
Danielle Mihram, University of Southern California, United States
Melissa L. Miller, University of Southern California, United States
This paper is part of the ECAH2021 Conference Proceedings (View)
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