SOAS, the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) is dedicated to the study of the languages, cultures and societies of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and is the only Higher Education institution in Europe with this academic specialisation. It also has the largest concentration in Europe of academic staff concerned with Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Situated in the heart of London, the School was founded in 1916 as the School of Oriental Studies. It was renamed the School of Oriental and African Studies in 1938, with the addition of African Studies to the academic programme. Today, a wide range of subjects relating to Asia, Africa and the Middle East are studied at SOAS, from languages to develoment and political and social sciences.
The SOAS Library, first opened in 1973, now holds over 1.5 million items and is furnished with extensive electronic resources.
SOAS engages in study of the Silk Road on many levels, with undergraduate and postgraduate courses available that investigate this vital aspect of Asian, Middle Eastern and African history. There are also a number of professors specialising in studies of the Silk Road, and seminars dedicated to this topic.