Small-scale traders play a crucial role in forging Asian connectivity, forming networks and informal institutions separate from those driven by nation-states, such as China's Belt and Road Initiative. This ambitious study provides a unique insight into the lives of the mobile traders from Afghanistan who traverse Eurasia. Reflecting on over a decade of intensive ethnographic fieldwork, Magnus Marsden introduces readers to a dynamic yet historically durable universe of commercial and cultural connections. Through an exploration of the traders' networks, cultural and religious identities, as well as the nodes in which they operate, Marsden emphasises their ability to navigate Eurasia's geopolitical tensions and to forge transregional routes that channel significant flows of people, resources, and ideas. Beyond the Silk Roads will interest those seeking to understand contemporary iterations of the Silk Road within the context of geopolitics in the region. This title is also available as Open Access.
Robert D. Crews - Stanford University
Dale F. Eickelman - Dartmouth College