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The notion of “silk roads” conjures images of ancient trade routes, both across land and sea, connecting China with the outside world. Since in recent years there has been something of a paradigm shift in the study of Chinese maritime history, we have chosen the title Beyond the Silk Roads to better convey the most recent trends that take us beyond simple bilateral discussions of trade and economics. Not only scholars within China have taken an interest in this exciting, fast-growing field, but also scholars from across the globe. These include historians as well as archaeologists, anthropologists, geographers, sociologists, and political scientists.
Based on new documentary, literary, archaeological, and ethnographic research, the authors explore the multi-dimensional and diverse range of topics that today are subsumed under the heading of maritime history and culture. Utilizing interdisciplinary and multi-linguistic methodologies, the chapters offer cutting-edge discourses on China’s role in East Asian maritime history and culture. Chapters include topics on marine archaeology, port cities, sailing routes, trade and cultural networks, nautical technology, folklore, diasporas, law and maritime law, coastal defence, piracy and smuggling, religion and religious cults and many more. It is hoped that this volume will stimulate further research and discussions on maritime history in general and on Asian maritime history in particular.