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Central Eurasian Studies at Harvard University
SEMINAR- Cherie Woodworth: 14th16th-Century Rus’ in the Economic
System of the Steppe’s “Great Churn”, Feb. 11
Posted by: Inner Asian and Altaic Studies <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Inner Asian and Altaic Studies program is co-sponsoring a talk to be given this Friday, February 11, in the Early Slavists Seminar series.
How Many Horses?
14th16th-Century Rus’ in the Economic System of the Steppe’s “Great Churn”
Cherie Woodworth (Yale University)
February 11, 12:15 to 2 p.m.
CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge Street, Seminar Room S354
Summary of Paper
This paper considers the productive capacity of livestock producers (pastoralists) on the grasslands of the Eurasian steppe in the early modern era.
These grasslands provided a critical resource input in the early-modern era which made possible the rise of a large, powerful, centralized state in Russia.
An even larger annual influx of meat, horsepower, and military materiel (in the form of war horses) likewise flowed from the steppe into China, Anatolia, Persia, and India in a continent-wide symbiotic exchange of resources I have called “the Great Churn.”
The economic role of horses and other livestock from the steppe has not been considered for example, by Kenneth Pomerantz in his study The Great Divergence  nor by Victor Lieberman in his new comparative study Strange Parallels . This argument follows on that of Peter Perdue in China Marches West , Christopher Beckwith in Empires of the Silk Road , and James Scott in The Art of Not Being Governed .