The University of Chicago News Office
February 22, 1995 Press Contact: William Harms
(773) 702-8356

Researchers to follow the path of Chingis (Genghis) Kahn

The University of Chicago Center for Middle Eastern Studies will organize an international team of scholars to follow the path of the12th-century conqueror Chingis Khan (pronounced “Tchingkis kHan–also spelled “Genghis") in an expedition taking place this summer.

John Woods, Professor of History at the University of Chicago and an expert on Islamic civilization, has been named project director of the expedition, which will include experts from the University of Chicago, Wellesley College, Trenton State University and the Mongolian Academy of Sciences. The goal of the expedition, called “The Path and Passages of Chingis Khan,” is to expand understanding of the achievements of Chingis Khan and the role Mongols played in an empire that stretched from China to eastern Europe.

Professor Damba Bazargur (pronounced “BAH-zar-goor"), Historical Geographer and Head of the Center for Nomadic Pastorlism Studies of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, will serve as leader of the expedition. He is visiting the University to conclude a cooperative agreement with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

“We hope to learn more about the rise of this great civilization and also about the culture of the largely pastoral people who currently live in Mongolia,” said Woods. “Further work in the field will be based upon what we discover in our survey mission.”

The survey team will follow the path of Chingis Khan from his birthplace to battle sites and other locations associated with his personal development and reign.

The University of Chicago project carries on the concept originated by Maury Kravitz, a Chicago businessman and longtime student of Mongolian history and Chingis Khan. Kravitz will continue as consultant and co-leader of the project.

A documentary of the project has also been announced for the New Explorers television series by Bill Kurtis, host of the series. The documentary will be produced jointly by Kurtis Productions, Ltd. and Chicago’s WTTW, Channel 11.

Chingis Khan was born in 1162 of a noble family and eventually unified embattled Mongolian clans to lead them on campaigns of conquest. Mongolians regard him as the father of their nation, and he is considered by historians to have been a military and political genius who also was an innovative social leader. His conquests were achieved by a relatively small cavalry, riding on grass-fed ponies. Later, other methods, such as catapults and burning oil, were used to capture cities. He was particularly interested in overcoming China, and he completed a successful campaign in 1215 with the capture of Beijing.

At the time of his death in 1227, Chingis Khan’s armies had dominated the land from Beijing to the Caspian Sea and had raided Persia and Russia. His successors continued the push by extending their power over China, Persia and most of Russia to create the greatest continental empire ever achieved.
Last modified at 03:50 PM CST on Wednesday, June 14, 2000.

University of Chicago News Office
5801 South Ellis Avenue - Room 200
Chicago, Illinois 60637-1473
(773) 702-8360
Fax: (773) 702-8324
Contact Us