Session 1: Keynote Lectures 2020: Borders in a Borderless Empire? - Political, Ecological, and Cultural Borders in Mongol Eurasia (Language: English) / Right Time, Wrong Place? - Navigating the 'Territorial Trap' in the Study of Medieval Religion (Language: English)
Monday 6 July 2020, 09.00-10.30
|Speakers:||Michal Biran, Department of Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies Hebrew University of Jerusalem|
Ryan Szpiech, Department of Romance Languages & Literatures / Jean & Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies, University of Michigan
Abstract Borders in a Borderless Empire?:
This paper analyzes some aspects of borders in Mongol Eurasia, highlighting both political and cultural aspects. It focuses on the stabilisation of the empire’s borders in the post-1260 period, stressing the role of ecology and politics in halting Mongol expansion and creating inter-Khanate borders; the fate of the border regions and the means of securing and ruling them. It stresses the permeability of these borders due to connections – of friendship, kinship, or ethnic solidarity – between the garrisons securing both sides of the border, a phenomenon that promoted desertions (and sometimes peace as well).
The second part of the paper explores the open cultural borders of the Empire, manifesting how knowledge and skills enabled people to cross social and cultural borders. It analyses the locations and institutions that facilitated such border crossing (the mobile courts [ordo]; the royal guard [keshig]), while also emphasising the difficulties that border-crossing migrants tackled in their new environments or caused their host societies, giving examples of compelling life stories from across Eurasia. It concludes by analyzing how the mobile empire of the Mongols reshaped political, cultural, and religious borders across Eurasia
Abstract Right Time, Wrong Place?:
Please note that admission to this event will be on a first-come, first-served basis as there will be no tickets. Please ensure that you arrive as early as possible to avoid disappointment.
Introduction: Nora Berend, Faculty of History / St Catharine’s College, University of Cambridge