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The Silk Road: Connecting the ancient world through trade - Shannon Harris Castelo

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With modern technology, a global exchange of goods and ideas can happen at the click of a button. But what about 2,000 years ago? Shannon Harris Castelo unfolds the history of the 5,000-mile Silk Road, a network of multiple routes that used the common language of commerce to connect the world's major settlements, thread by thread.

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  • Educator Shannon Harris Castelo
  • Director Steff Lee
  • Animator Jack Ross
  • Narrator Michelle Snow

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
Globalization:

The concept
of interconnectedness through global world trade, often referred to as globalization, is a hot topic of debate today. What are the results of modern
world globalization on economy, culture,
politics and the environment around the world?
Some suggested reading on the issues of globalization:
Friedman, Thomas L. The World Is Flat: A Brief History
of the Twenty-First Century
. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.
Print
Foer, Franklin. How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization. New
York: Harper Perennial, 2005. Print.
The
pioneering cultures of the Silk Road overcome physical obstacles to create
connections across varying geographies. Why did they choose the intricate
routes that are seen in our lesson? Take a look at a physical map of Eurasia like the one here. Draw your own routes from the east coast of
China to the Mediterranean Sea. What paths did you choose? Why? Compare them to
the Silk Road maps of our lesson. Did you match the traders of the Ancient Silk
Road?

Sometimes a single unlikely idea can have massive impact across the world. Sir Harold Evans, the author of They Made America, describes how frustration drove Malcom McLean, a small-town truck driver, to invent the shipping container. Containerization was born, and it transformed the modern global economy.

It may seem that we're living in a borderless world where ideas, goods
and people flow freely from nation to nation. We're not even close, says
Pankaj Ghemawat. With great data (and an eye-opening survey), he argues
that there's a delta between perception and reality in a world that's
maybe not so hyperconnected after all.

As globalization and technological advances bring us hurtling towards a
new integrated future, Ian Goldin warns that not all people may benefit equally. But, he says, if we can recognize this danger, we might yet
realize the possibility of improved life for everyone.

James Glattfelder studies complexity: how an interconnected system —
say, a swarm of birds — is more than the sum of its parts. And
complexity theory, it turns out, can reveal a lot about how the economy
works. Glattfelder shares a groundbreaking study of how control flows through the global economy, and how concentration of power in the hands of a shockingly small number leaves us all vulnerable. (Filmed at
TEDxZurich.)


Suggested
Reading on the Silk Road:

Non Fiction:
Gordon, Stewart. When Asia Was the World.
Cambridge, MA: Da Capo, 2008. Print.

Liu, Xinru. The Silk Road in World History.
Oxford: Oxford UP, 2010. Print
Wood, Frances. The Silk Road: Two Thousand Years
in the Heart of Asia
. Berkeley: U of California, 2002. Print.
Weatherford, J. McIver. Genghis Khan and the Making of the
Modern World
. New York: Crown, 2004. Print.
Fiction:
Whitfield, Susan. Life along the Silk Road.
Berkeley: U of California, 1999. Print.

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TED-Ed Animation lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Shannon Harris Castelo
  • Director Steff Lee
  • Animator Jack Ross
  • Narrator Michelle Snow

Share

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