Saturday, November 24, 2018

Peter Frankopan

Peter Frankopan is a historian at Oxford University, where he is Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford and Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research.

His books include The Silk Roads: A New History of the World and The New Silk Roads: The Present and Future of the World.

From the author's interview with Andrew Anthony at the Guardian:

Were you surprised by the success of The Silk Roads?

I’m flabbergasted by how many people read it. I work on these parts of the world that I think are very interesting and important, like Turkey, Russia, Iran and further eastwards, and normally when I talk about what I do at dinner parties nobody wants to talk about these things with me. So I had no expectations at all that people would read my book or that the reviews would be so incredibly generous. So it was a huge shock. I was very lucky with the timing when it came out.

Has it affected your work in any notable ways?

I’ve just been at an event where we’ve had a visiting minister from Russia and that’s what’s changed. So yes insofar as I get grander and probably more exciting invitations to go and give lectures, which is flattering. On the other hand I’ve been an academic here at Oxford for more than 20 years and the satisfaction is in people realising that moving away from Eurocentrism and learning about different parts of the world in the past and the present is important.

Some critics suggested that your opinion in The Silk Roads that the region was rising again was rather optimistic. Is this new book an effort to back up that position?

No, in fact I think that’s a sloppy reading of someone who probably read the last paragraph. What I was saying in that book and in this book is that the global events of the past and the present are taking place in that land that’s between the eastern Mediterranean and China. Although we’re obsessed about Brexit and Donald Trump’s Twitter feed, the stuff that really matters is...[read on]
Visit Peter Frankopan's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Silk Roads.

--Marshal Zeringue