This workshop will offer the opportunity for a broad look at the linguistically diverse textual witness to life on the Silk Road(s), or Central Asia, during the 9th–13th centuries. In this region and time period, we find texts and documents from a variety of communities (principally Buddhist, Manichaean, and Christian), which show us a fascinating juxtaposition and interplay of language and identity, religion and language, language and script, and translation. This grants us the opportunity to see how a matrix of language and cultural context develops, with nodes of both similarity and dissimilarity.
In addition, we will discuss the context of the 19th and 20th century “acquisition” and subsequent fate of this textual witness, a case of American, French, German, Russian, and Japanese expeditions active in western China at a high point of colonial activity.
Seating is limited. Registration is required. A short group of pre-assigned readings will be circulated at least one week prior to the workshop. Participants are expected to complete the readings before the workshop.
This workshop is part of the Studying East of Byzantium III workshop series. EAST OF BYZANTIUM is a partnership between the Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Chair of Armenian Art at Tufts University and the Mary Jaharis Center that explores the cultures of the eastern frontier of the Byzantine empire in the late antique and medieval periods.