About This Course

“The Silk Roads” course is designed with the assumption that class members wil be comfortable with reading many, perhaps most, of the course materials on the screen of a personal computer or a tablet computer.  Some of those items can be downloaded and printed out.  But others cannot — because they are located on websites that make it difficult or impossible to download documents.  

The only hard-copy book that is essential reading for the course is:  Journeys on the Silk Road: A Desert Explorer, Buddha's Secret Library, And The Unearthing Of The World's Oldest Printed Book,  by Joyce Morgan and Conrad Walters. Copies are available inexpensively from Amazon and from Abe.books.com

We will be reading portions of a second excellent book, but purchase is optional:  The Silk Road Journey with Xuanzang, by Sally Hovey Wriggins, also available inexpensively from Amazon and from Abe.books.com   The course coordinator wil make copies of necessary chapters available in pdf file form, which you can print out. 

How Much Reading is Required in This Course?

When you review the syllabus, the potential readings may look overwhelming — but don’t be put off, please!

Just how much to read is up to each member of the class: you certainly don’t need to read all the suggested texts to enjoy the course. Most of the texts, in fact, are pretty light reading — both because they are written in accessible style, and because many of the readings have extensive illustrations.  The average “Core Reading”  selection per class is not more than about 30 pages. And if you don’t want to read all of that, you will still enjoy the class presentations and discussions.

Other readings are classified as “Recommended but Not Required,” and “For Further Reading.”  This means what it says! The more a given subject interests you, the more you may want to read.  But that is a matter of individual choice.

The list of reading selections and videos has been assembled in the manner of a Chinese buffet dinner! Read and watch what you like, and put aside the rest!