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Was there a Silk Road?

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image of Asian Medicine

Is the 'Silk Road' a meaningful term? Is it being used simply to provide a historical legitimacy for our preoccupation with the dichotomy of east and west, the rising power of India and China and the waning of Europe, and our ambivalence towards globalisation? If it ever had any descriptive or analytic force for scholarship, is this now lost and should we discard the term entirely in our scholarly discourse as misleading at best and leave it for the marketers to exploit as a symbol of luxury and exoticism? This article argues that although the term 'Silk Road' has become a widely used portmanteau term, with apt clarification it is still a meaningful term for scholarship.


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