Afghanistan: At the Heart of the Silk Roads
Sanjyot Mehendale, UC Berkeley
Thursday, October 21, 2021, 7 pm (ET)
A talk organized by the Dunhuang Foundation
PO Box 8309, Houston, TX 77288
This talk aims to counterbalance the popularly imagined Afghanistan—filtered by the mass media through the lens of terrorism and war— as a barren and backward place. Instead, presenting a place that lies at the heart of vibrant, millennia-old regional and international trade and exchange networks, with a culture not only rich but richly diverse, not isolated and insulated but deeply and complexly engaged with other cultures near and far.
Sanjyot Mehendale received her B.A. (Art and Archaeology) from the University of Amsterdam and her M.A. (Art and Archaeology) from the Rijksuniversity of Leiden, The Netherlands. She obtained her Ph.D. (Near Eastern Studies) in 1997 from the University of California at Berkeley. Since 1997, she has been teaching Central Asian and Silk Roads art and archaeology in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Berkeley. From 2001-2005, she was the co-director of the Uzbek-Berkeley Archaeological Mission (UBAM). During the same period, she was Executive Director of the Caucasus and Central Asia Program. Among Dr. Mehendale’s main research concerns is a focus on the Kushan period, in particular on trade and cultural exchange and the relationship between Kushan kingship and Buddhist institutions. A recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, she has developed, in collaboration with the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative, a digital archive of the Begram ivory and bone carvings, which were once housed in the National Museum in Kabul, Afghanistan (www.ecai.org/begramweb). The author of several articles on Silk Roads art and archaeology, she is the co-editor of Central Asia and the Caucasus: Transnationalism and Diaspora (Routledge, 2005). At Berkeley, Sanjyot Mehendale is Chair of the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for Silk Road Studies and Vice-Chair of the Center for Buddhist Studies.