Universität Wien FIND

070032 UE Guided Reading Global History - Travelers along the Silk Roads (2021W)

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 7 - Geschichte
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 25 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Monday 04.10. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 11.10. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 18.10. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 25.10. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 08.11. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 15.11. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 22.11. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 29.11. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 06.12. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 13.12. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 10.01. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 17.01. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 24.01. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 31.01. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

The course addresses the structures and development of the trade and communication networks known as “Silk roads”, through the reports of medieval travelers from the 7th up until the early 15th century. By comparing a variety of travel accounts (in English translation) resulting from different aims (pilgrimage, trade, diplomacy), the course provides an overview of: 1) the routes of these travels, 2) the different cultures and religions which met and developed along the Silk Roads, and 3) material culture related to the methods of travels and to the different lifestyles encountered along these routes.
The analysis will focus on three main moments: firstly, the course will address the period between the 7th and 13th centuries, from the Tang period (e.g. Buddhist pilgrims, Xuanzang and Yijing) till the emergence of Mongol power in Eurasia, and consequently the radical change in the scale and dynamics of the Silk Roads (as testified for example in the accounts of Rubruck, Carpini, Simon of Saint-Quentin, Odoric of Pordenone, Hayton, or the Daoist monk Chang Chun). The second half of the 13th century will be analysed as an example of the Mongols’s construction of imperial authority in Eurasia (as reported in Marco Polo and Rabban Sauma among others). At last, the course will cover travel accounts from the 14th century (such as Wang Dayuan, Jordanus de Severac, Ibn Battuta, Pegolotti) up until the Zheng He voyages in the Ming period, showing the regionalization of the economic and political dynamics initiated by the Mongols, and their contribution to the shaping of early-modern Asia.

Assessment and permitted materials

Course Requirements:

The seminar will be based on weekly readings in primary and secondary sources (in English) and discussions in class. Students are required to actively participate in the class discussions and address the readings. Each week you have to submit an assignment on the given readings. Either you submit the answer to the 3 questions or a source analysis.

Answer to the 3 questions:

The assignment of answering the 3 short questions has been implemented to assess participation and ensure that you do the readings every week.
Submitting them (every time you don't submit the source analysis) is part of the requirements for the 0-20 pt for attendance. Not submitting them (every time you don't submit a source analysis) will affect negatively the final grade (-1 to max. -20 pt for attendance).

Source analysis:

Each student has to submit 8 source analyses by the end of the course, each analysis is graded on a 0-10 pt basis for a total of 0-80 pt.

This means that the final grade is the sum of class participation + 13 assignments in total: 8 source analyses (for 0-80 pt) plus 5 times answering the 3 questions (as part of attendance, which counts in total for 0-20pt). Extra points (max. 5) can be allocated either for constant, particularly active participation in class or for assignments done extra well.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

To pass the course you need to reach 51 points. The grading scale of the course is as follows:

0-50 -> 5; 51-62.5 -> 4, 63-75 -> 3; 75.5-87.5 -> 2; 88-105 -> 1

Grade Breakdown and Grading system:

- Participation and Attendance* in class: 0-20 pt
- Assignments 0-80 pt
*Students can miss up to two (2) classes. Any further absences will require a doctor's note or might reflect badly on your attendance grade.

Examination topics

Course Materials:

All sources will be available online and uploaded on moodle during the course.

Reading list

Association in the course directory

Vertiefung zu: VO Weitere Zugänge

BA Geschichte (2012): Mittelalter (4 ECTS)
BA Geschichte (2019): GR Vertiefung - Global History (5 ECTS), ZWM Fremdsprachen in der GeWi (5 ECTS)
BEd UF Geschichte: Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte, Globalgeschichte (4 ECTS)

Last modified: We 15.03.2023 00:14