Faculty Forum to Examine Chess

The Truman Faculty Forum will continue with “The world in a game: How chess paved the way for globalization” by Torbjorn Wandel, professor of history, at 7 p.m. Nov. 4 in Baldwin Hall 176.

Presentation Abstract:
Like most other things, chess was invented in Asia and perfected and spread by the Islamic world via North African and Byzantine middlemen to Europe. Europeans then applied provincial and idiosyncratic categories to change the rules of the game and proclaimed them universal. They then judged the rest of the world inferior for not being as good at a game it either didn’t know or had largely forgotten. Today, however, players from the rest of the world, especially Asia, are starting to school Western masters at their own game. In his world history of this ancient game, Torbjörn Wandel does not just tell an engaging tale that takes us from ancient India and Persia through the Islamic world into al-Andaluz, medieval Europe, Renaissance Sicily, Spain and beyond. Through his history of the game, he also reveals surprising paths and patterns of globalization that offer a fresh perspective on world history itself.
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