The photos that I capture of the historical sites and everyday life in Uzbekistan will of course supplement the lessons I hope to create and revise. I would also like to collect artifacts from various historical sites we visit to bring back home if possible. I also have intentions of keeping a journal to record our daily experiences in real time. I know my answer is very broad right now, but I am just hoping to gain a sense of the unique culture of Uzbekistan and to understand how its history has impacted is present and future.
I am hopeful that I can make several connections to various units in my freshman Global Themes (World History) course. First, I would like to add to an existing Silk Road lesson from our Global Trade unit. Much of what I do for the Silk Road currently is China-focused so I would like to expand our studies into other areas of the world to allow the students to fully understand the global reach of this trade network and to see evidence of the economic and cultural impacts. I also hope to supplement my existing lessons on Islam from our World Religions unit since we will be traveling during Ramadan and will be visiting mosques. In addition, there is potential for making links to our study of the Mughal Empire in India before the arrival of the British since the Mughals moved into India from Central Asia. There is also potential to use the physical location and unique characteristics of Uzbekistan to explore the impact of geography on a society in our World Geography unit. Finally, my students studied the Russian Revolution during our Political Revolutions unit. Part of our curriculum requires us to make contemporary connections to our historical case studies. Therefore, we studied the current crisis in Ukraine and also Georgia this year. It may be interesting to look at how other former Soviet republics have fared since independence. I also teach a semester long East Asian Studies course for juniors and seniors that explores the culture and history of China, Japan, and the Koreas. While we do not spend too much time on the ancient dynasties of China, we do discuss the impact of the Silk Road on China throughout its many dynasties before maritime trade exceeded overland trade. There is also potential for collaboration with a colleague who is traveling with the second group.
Preparation During Travel
I have viewed In the Footsteps of Marco Polo, a documentary that follows the journey of Marco Polo which includes a section on Uzbekistan, and I recently watched the section on Uzbekistan from the BBC documentary Meet the Stans. Beyond that, I know very little about Uzbekistan or that section of the Silk Road network. I have read parts of Life Along the Silk Road but I am hoping to read more books before the trip so I am familiar with the sites we will be visiting. I have ordered A Carpet Ride to Khiva: Seven Years on the Silk Road (suggested by the GEEO book club) and Murder in Samarkand (recommended to me by a colleague traveling with the second group). I hope these books will provide me with a sense of both the historical and modern aspects of Uzbekistan.