International Symposium

The Silk Roads and Exchanges between East and West, from Antiquity to the Present Day

Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, 28-30 septembre 2021



The "Silk Road" linked Xi'an, the ancient Chinese imperial capital of the Han dynasty, to ancient Rome, from the early 2nd century BC. Named by the 19th century German geographer Ferdinand Von Richthofen, the "Silk Road" was a set of land and sea trade routes linking Asia, Africa and Europe, a bridge between the civilisations of East and West, a privileged channel for the communication of political, philosophical, cultural and religious ideas, and for the dissemination of scientific progress. It was gradually abandoned after the opening of the Spice Route by Europe.

In 2013, the Chinese government launched the "One Belt, One Road" project to create a Eurasian "economic corridor" - that already crosses more than 65 countries - linking China to Western Europe by land and by sea (the China Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean). Based on the historical prestige of the ancient route, this land "belt" and the "Maritime Silk Road Policy of the 21st Century" represent a "Chinese-style" globalisation project that aims to forge new links between Asia, Africa and Europe and unite their land and sea trade routes.

The Silk Roads have played an important role in trade between East and West and in the rapprochement of civilisations, and renewed efforts have reinforced these orientations.

This scientific event aims to examine more closely the various exchanges between States and Peoples from antiquity to the present day, and to analyse the many reasons for this development, which has opened up new horizons. The aim of the symposium is to take stock of research on the different Silk Roads, to examine the current strategic, economic and geopolitical stakes of such research.

The idea is to produce a synthesis of research on the subject, by bringing together specialists from different disciplines (archaeology, economics, geography, history, history of art, intercultural studies, linguistics, mathematics, medicine, political science, science of religions, sinology). Such interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary cross-checking will ensure new results.



Organising Institutions

The Research Unit for History, Languages, Literatures and Intercultural Studies (UR 4030 HLLI), University of the Littoral Côte d'Opale (ULCO), France

In collaboration with the International Institute of Chinese Studies (IICS), Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), China

Organising Committee

Li Ma (Associate Professor-HDR/Accreditation to Supervise Research, UR 4030 HLLI, ULCO) : Symposium Director

Jacqueline Bel (Professor, UR 4030 HLLI, ULCO)

Michael Murphy (Associate Professor, UR 4030 HLLI, ULCO)

Jean-Louis Podvin (Professor, UR 4030 HLLI, ULCO)

Yan Liang (Professor, IICS, BFSU)

Yongqian Guan (Associate Professor, IICS, BFSU)

Scientific committee

Isabelle Charleux : Research Professor (directrice de recherche), French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités (UMR 8582, EPHE-PSL), France
Frédéric Lasserre : Professor, Université Laval, Canada
Shenwen Li : Professor, Université Laval, Canada
Yan Liang : Professor, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Chine
Emmanuel  Lincot : Professor, Institut Catholique de Paris, France
Zhenggan Liu : Professor, Ji Nan University, Chine
Li Ma : Associate Professor-HDR/Accreditation to Supervise Research, Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale, France
Éric Roulet : Professor, Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale, France
Shu Tian : Professor, North West Normal University, Chine
Tim Williams : Associate professor, UCL Institute of Archaeology, UK


Call for Papers

Call for Papers

The conference will focus on papers on the following four themes:

    1. The Silk Roads: the diversity of exchanges and the civilising dimension

    2. The Silk Roads and Empires

    3. Travellers on the Silk Roads

    4. The OBOR project in a changing world

The Scientific committee will consider all subjects concerning the study of the Silk Roads and Exchanges between East and West. Evaluations of existing research are welcome.

To submit proposals, please send a abstract (300 words maximum) and a one-page CV.


Submission deadline  :  20 May 2021


The proceedings of the symposium will be published in the form of a collective work after selection by an international reading committee. A review will be published in Les Cahiers du Littoral  and the Journal of International Institute of Chinese Studies.

Symposium Languages

Presentations will be in French or English, or Chinese (exceptionally).

Abstract Submission

To submit proposals, please send a one-page CV and a abstract (300 words maximum).

Please use the Abstract Submission Form model below.

Or, here is the link to download the Form

Submission deadline : 20 May 2021

Abstract Submission Form

International Symposium

The Silk Roads and Exchanges between East and West, from Antiquity to the Present Day

Boulogne-sur-Mer,  France,  28-30 September 2021

Institutional affiliation
Address Email
Paper Title
Abstract (not more than 300 words)

The ABSTRACT should be accompanied by a short CV (Institution, Position, Address, Nationality, Education, Research Interests, Selected publications, 1 page maxi), both to be sent before 20 May 2021, to:


Symposium Fees


50 Euros.

This will give access to : all the sessions, documentation, meals (breakfast, coffee breaks, lunches, dinners), Town Hall reception.


Given the considerable budget necessary for this international and intercontinental symposium, financial aid to young researchers and doctoral students from certain countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia... will be limited to : exemption from symposium fees ; free accommodation ; the same services as for the paying participants (access to all sessions, documentation, meals, Town Hall reception). Those concerned should also send a letter asking for this aid.


60 Euros.

This gives access to all sessions, documentation, breakfasts and coffee breaks, and the Town Hall reception ceremony. Each lunch will cost 20 euros extra and each dinner will cost 25 euros extra.

Registration will open in July, 2021.



A complete list of speakers will be annouced by July 2021.



28-30 September 2021

Venue : Centre universitaire du Musée, 34, Grande rue, Boulogne-sur-Mer


Meeting Room


Tuesday 28

8:30 a.m.- 8:00 p.m.

Amphi 1

8:30 - 9:30 a.m.: Arrival and signing in

9:30 - 12:30 a.m.: Opening of the Symposium, Plenary conference & Sessions

12:30 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.: Lunch

2:00 - 6:15 p.m.: Sessions

7:00 - 8:00 p.m.: Town Hall reception of the Boulogne-sur-Mer

8:00 p.m.: Welcome Dinner

Wednesday 29

8:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

Amphi 1

8:30 -12:15 a.m.: Sessions

12:15 a.m. -2:00 p.m.: Lunch

2:00 -5:45 p.m.: Sessions

5:45 -7:30 p.m.: Visit of the old city of Boulogne-Sur-Mer, the wall and Roman sites

Thursday 30

8:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m.

Amphi 1

8:30 -12:15 a.m.: Sessions

12:15 a.m. -2:00 p.m.: Lunch

2:00-3:30 p.m.: Sessions

3:30-4:30 p.m.: Conference closing

4:30-6:30 p.m.: Visit of the Chinese cemetery in Saint-Étienne-au-Mont

8:00 p.m.: Dinner

Important Dates

Important Dates

20 May 2021: Abstract Submission Deadline

28 June 2021: Notification of Acceptance

2 July -10 September 2021: Registration

28-30 September 2021: Plenary Sessions


Symposium Venue 

Centre universitaire du Musée

34, Grande rue

62200, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France

Boulogne-sur-Mer is located in the North of France, 2 hours from London, Paris, and Brussels by train or car.

Transport between Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport and Boulogne-sur-Mer

-->   TGV (high speed trains), Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 2 TGV <> Lille-Europe <> Boulogne-sur-Mer

-->   RER B (suburban trains), Aéroport Charles de Gaulle <>  Gare du Nord (by train) <> Boulogne-sur-Mer

-->   Taxi, Aéroport Charles de Gaulle <>  Gare du Nord (by train) <> Boulogne-sur-Mer

More information on (TGV) the French train service (SNCF) and on (RER B)

Paris - Boulogne-sur-Mer

A regular train service runs from Paris, Gare du Nord station to Boulogne ville (TGV 2 hours, TER, 2h45).

More information on   

Boulogne ville train station to Conference venue (Centre universitaire du Musée, 34, Grande rue), by bus in 10 minutes (Bus C : Gare SNCF <> Dutertre) or on foot in about 20 minutes.




Li MA, Associate Professor-HDR/Accreditation to Supervise Research, UR 4030 HLLI, ULCO (Symposium Director)

Email : 

Tel : +33 6 22 37 75 28

Sophie Bracqbien, Secretary of the Research Unit 4030, ULCO

Email :

Tel : +33 3 66 25 64 16