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Caravans and Traders: Global Connections, 1200-1500 (HI2B8)

Marco Polo

Abraham Cresques, Catalan Atlas (detail), 1375.

Convenor: Anne Gerritsen

Lecturers: Anne Gerritsen, Luca Molà, Guido van Meersbergen

Seminar tutor: Serin Quinn
Lecture Times: in person, Tuesdays 4-5 (OC1.09)
Seminar Times:
Thursdays, 4-5 (S0.21) & 5-6 (S0.10)

For full details, please see the Moodle page (for registered students only)


This one-term module introduces students to the history of global interactions between different parts of the world through a focus on early connections in the period 1200-1500. By following the circulation of people, knowledge, religion, and goods in the late medieval world, this module compares regions from the Mediterranean and Islamic world to India and China. The module will be set within the theoretical framework of global history. Topics include diasporas, material culture, African states and empires, the silk roads, global cities, and medieval travellers.

This second-year undergraduate 15 CATS module runs for ten weeks in the Autumn term. In this module students will:

  • Gain an understanding of non-European histories, and their connections with and impact on medieval European history.
  • Obtain knowledge of the processes which made the late medieval world increasingly interconnected.
  • Engage with key concepts in global history such as "connections", "comparisons", "entangled histories", "micro-global" and "cultural exchange".
  • Engage with a wide range of approaches to history through primary and secondary sources.
  • Analyse a range of visual, material and textual sources.
  • Communicate ideas both orally and in writing.
  • Develop research skills, historiographical engagement, and critical analysis through essay writing and book reviews

There are no pre-requisite or post-requisite modules. However, students wishing to take this module are encouraged to consider also taking HI2C1 Galleons and Galleys: Global Connections 1500-1800

Student feedback

“As an individual who was previously only interested in modern history, this highly enjoyable module has broadened my historical scope to an earlier world more complex and interconnected than I had once perceived.” Second-year History student, 2019-2020

“The content of this module was so fascinating, enriching my knowledge on how people, ideas, and goods could circulate in the pre-modern period and how this manifested itself in global connections. I particularly enjoyed the focus on travel writings and religious co-existence. Overall, Caravans and Traders was my favourite 15 CATS module by far!" - Second-year History student, 2019-2020