Discover how flavors, spices, and trade traveled the world via the Silk Road.
What was the Silk Road? Is it still there? Where was/is it? For centuries into the present, trade networks linking Europe to Asia have periodically played a critical role in world history.
This presentation focuses on the first global era of trans-Eurasian exchange that gave us much of our current cultural connectivity. Products and ideas circulated widely, in great volume, and with relative ease and speed. New tastes in food and fashion traveled across Italy, Iran, India, and China, resulting in shared food cultures and textile designs still common today. This was the era of the nomadic Mongol Empire when Marco Polo traveled east, Rabban Sauma traveled west, and Ibn Batutta covered all the territory in between. Along the paths of these travelers, dumplings, noodles, persimmons, silk fabrics and a host of other desired goods also traveled, mingling with local preferences, and ultimately finding new homes and variations.
Roxann Prazniak grew up in Minnesota and California where she graduated from UC Berkeley. She has traveled to many of the Silk Road sites in Europe, Turkey, India, and China. Her favorite activities include gardening, writing, knitting, hiking, and swimming. Professor of history at the University of Oregon since 2002, she is now semi-retired. Her most recent book is SUDDEN APPEARANCES: THE MONGOL TURN IN COMMERCE, BELIEF, AND ART (University of Hawai’i Press, 2019)