Widely studies and hotly debated, the Silk Road is often viewed as a precursor to contemporary globalization, the merchants traversing it as early agents of cultural exchange. Missing are the lives of the ordinary people who inhabited the route and contributed as much to its development as their itinerant counterparts. In this book, Kate Franklin takes medieval Armenia as a compelling case study for examining how global culture and everyday life intertwined along the Silk Road. Guiding the reader through increasingly intimate scales of evidence, she vividly reconstructs how people living in and passing through the medieval Caucasus understood the world and their place within it. With its innovative focus on the far-reaching implications of local practices, Everyday Cosmopolitanisms brings the study of medieval Eurasia into relation with contemporary investigations of cosmopolitanism and globalization, challenging schisms between modern and medieval, global and quotidian.
“Culminating in a tasty stew shared in a medieval Armenian caravanserai, Kate Franklin’s feminist analysis of different scales of the material culture of hospitality and its powers turns the heroic travel narratives of what we call the Silk Road inside out. A critical tour de force.” FRANCESCA BRAY, author of Technology, Gender and History in Imperial China: Great Transformations Reconsidered
“A delightful and perceptive read. The author traces the threads that are woven throughout the land and sensory ‘scapes’ of a valley in Armenia: its archaeology, architecture, and people’s lives, past and present. She argues that like other places across Afro-Eurasia, this valley and its people reveal their part in the wider ‘scape’ of a cosmopolitan medieval world, the Silk Roads.” SUSAN WHITFIELD, author of Silk, Slaves, and Stupas: Material Culture of the Silk Road
KATE FRANKLIN is Lecturer in Medieval History at Birkbeck, University of London.
Franklin, K. 2021. Everyday Cosmopolitanisms: Living the Silk Road in Medieval Armenia. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.109
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