Thursday 22 February 2018 – 6:00 pm
Building the “Silk Road” From Below: Arab Traders Between East and West Asia
This talk offers an ethnographic account and theorisation of some of the commercial geographies and economic networks that have connected the market city of Yiwu in south-eastern China to the Middle East over the past two decades. Analysts have also often highlighted the Muslim and Arab ethnic nature of the transnational economic networks which connect Yiwu to markets across the Middle East. But rather than adopting a network governance approach which sees these networks as embedded in a shared culture or ethnicity which furnishes the possibility of trust, I adopt a structural analysis approach in which traders act as brokers, moving and mediating between different geographies.
Dr Paul Anderson is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge. He is a social anthropologist interested in the articulation of economic, moral and religious life. He has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Syria, Turkey, China and the UAE. His forthcoming book on Syria, published in March 2023 with Cornell University Press, is entitled Exchange Ideologies: Commerce, Language and Patriarchy in Pre-Conflict Aleppo.
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