Class Plan

  • Nancy Micklewright provides an overview of the Freer|Sackler project.
  • Historical overview of the social, cultural, political, and economic dynamics of the regions surrounding the Sogdians from around 300 BCE to 1000 CE.
  • Discussion: How to research and write an object study



Valerie Hansen, The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), Introduction, Chapters 3, 4 and 5 (pp. 1-24, 83-166). (BGC | NYU: PDF 1. PDF 2. PDF 3. Notes.)

Étienne de la Vaissière, Sogdian Traders: A History, trans. James Ward (Leiden: Brill, 2005), General introduction, Introduction to Part One, Chapter One, Introduction to Part Two, Chapter Four, Chapter Six, Introduction to Part Three, Chapter Eight, General Conclusion (pp. 1-42, 95-118, 159-196, 227-260, 333-336). (BGC | NYU)


Find a map of the Sogdians (their territory, their movement, the “silk roads” they moved along) and put in on our Omeka site under the collection “Maps.” We will discuss what makes these maps effective or ineffective in class.

Class Resources

Prof. Balbale’s Historical Overview Powerpoint (BGC | NYU)

Kimon’s notes of conversation about audience:

Nancy asks the students who the audience should be?
Matthew – What is the level of presentation of the site?
Nancy – Certain amount of SEO, somewhere on the museum site. When launched it will be marketed
Elizabeth – Language localization?
Nancy – Speaks to audience question. Comes down to what should be translated from Chinese and Russian and what should be translated into Chinese and Russian
Matthew – Hip new thing and fits into global historical thought being in vogue. Non-euro-centric narrative. Nebulous of Silk Road.
Joanna – More in an academic context, not great for children and families
Leslie – Scholars and students, will be a web site and a nice new web site and digitization being in vogue. More information than entertainment
Julie – From a scholarly perspective unites Asian art fields
Summer – big access project, bridging together diverse resources from different locales, making a whole out of fragments
Soley – Making a web site tool for scholars, but there are hooks for non-scholars. Mythbusters of silk road
Nancy – museum is taking scholarly work and making it broad and accessible to interests that are varied and hard to predict. The challenge is to take those hooks and make them more accessible. Unpack those mystery for larger audiences. Don’t rush to pigeonhole the scholastic part into only those formats.
Abby – many audiences would want visually rich, scholarly accessible sites. We need more of this and you can bring different layers to a project that are differently accessible.