View a comprehensive calendar of events.
Thursday, October 25 to Sunday, October 28
CESS 2018 : October 24-28, 2018 at the University of Pittsburgh
The Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies and the Graduate School for Public and International Affairs are pleased to host the 19th Annual Conference of the Central Eurasian Studies Society. Join over 300 scholars and professionals from around the globe for a conference, spanning five days of workshops, panels, forums, exhibits, and special events.
For more information about the program, see https://www.cess.pitt.edu/program.
Thursday, October 25 to Wednesday, May 1
Free and Open to the Public during Hillman Library Hours
The term Silk Road, coined by 19th century German explorer Ferdinand von Richthofen, refers to a loose network of overland trade routes stretching from the Mediterranean to East Asia. Textiles, gems, spices, animals and even religions were all exchanged along this vast expanse, starting around 1,000 B.C. and continuing for millennia. For much of this time, most Silk Road traders coming from western Eurasia were Muslim, and they brought their beliefs and rich culture to millions of people.
A Crossroads of Ideas
While the Silk Road was a two-way route, most of its movement was eastward, carrying Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and later, Islam.
By the 8th century, Muslims stopped thinking of religion geographically and began seeking converts along the Silk Road. The benefits of conversion to such a widespread religion were many, as Muslims preferred trading with other Muslims.
Islamic scientific and medical advancements also had significant impact on Silk Road travelers. Chinese Buddhist traders adopted Islamic medical knowledge in wound healing and urinalysis. Muslims brought India their insights on astronomy, including a skepticism of the geocentric universe.
Cultural Exchange Along the Route
Influences from Buddhist China and other regions also affected radical changes in Islam. In the 12th century, abstract Islamic art suddenly started depicting human figures, long considered forbidden in Islam. Murals showing Buddhist statues and Indian narrative artwork started appearing in mosques, and Islamic art exploded with new techniques and figures. Chinese technologies, such as paper production and gunpowder, were transmitted to the West. Iran’s art in the Mongol period (13th and 14th centuries) is dramatically influenced by Chinese artistic traditions.
The Exhibit Design
The ground floor cases in Hillman Library feature a map of the Silk Road from its Eastern terminus in the Chinese city of Xian to its western terminus in Constantinople. They also display the late-14th century Catalan Atlas, the most detailed world map of its time, showing key places along and major figures who traveled the overland route of the Silk Road. The exhibit continues on the second floor of Hillman Library in five thematic display cases:
*Horses and Dynasties: Cartography and Painting in China, 10th-14th Centuries,
*Alexander the Great, Kublai Khan, and Marco Polo: Confluences of Power and Exchange in Assia,
*Musical Encounters in the Deserts and Mountains of Central Asia,
*Explorations in Turkestan: Aurel Stein and Bamiyan, and
*New World Exploitation and the China Trade with Europe.
Thursday, October 25
A special roundtable convened by EurasiaNet, https://www.eurasianet.org/.
Eurasianet is an independent news organization that covers news from and about the South Caucasus and Central Asia, providing on-the-ground reporting and critical perspectives on the most important developments in the region. We strive to provide information useful to policymakers, scholars, and interested citizens both in and outside of Eurasia. Content is published in both English and Russian.
Conference registration required to attend this event (https://www.cess.pitt.edu/program).
Friday, October 26
Conference registration required (https://www.cess.pitt.edu/registration).
Dr. Orzala Nemat is an internationally known Afghan scholar and a life time activist recognized for being an expert in political ethnography. Her research focuses on the political economy of governance interventions in conflict affected settings highlighting local governance relations in Afghanistan’s villages resulting from the policies of transnational/international institutions and central government’s development and political interventions.
Featuring music by Dutar Odeyev
MUST BE REGISTERED FOR THE CESS CONFERENCE TO ATTEND (https://www.cess.pitt.edu/program).
Saturday, October 27
The Majlis Podcast is Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's in-depth weekly current affairs talk show focusing on Central Asia.
Hosted and produced by Muhammad Tahir, RFE/RL's Media Relations Manager, every week the podcast brings the most relevant experts to discuss the pressing issues of the day involving its target region.
As part of the Special Events Series of the 2018 conference of the Central Eurasian Studies Society, RFE/RL will record an episode on a current affairs topic with discussants and a live audience.
Conference registration is NOT required.
Must be registered for the CESS conference to attend (https://www.cess.pitt.edu/program).
The conflict in the North Caucasus has echoed throughout the Middle East, Europe, and even in the USA (Boston bombing). The Russians claim it is just another page of the war on terror.
The general consensus is that the conflict has its origins in Muslim resistance to Russian colonization in the 19th century, known as the Caucasian war. Is it actually that simple though? No one doubts that the Caucasian war took place, but was the resistance really Muslim?
For 200 years, one Caucasian nation has been denied the possibility to be heard: Ingushetia. Now, it is time to let them tell their story. Ingushetia: The Speech Of The Voiceless is a documentary produced on the basis over 10 years' worth of research. It presents the discovery of the evolution of Ingushetia from a democratic nation to the one put in a context of Russia's war on terror. The premiere of the documentary will be followed by a Q&A session with Mr. Magomet Albakov, one of the key figures behind this documentary.
While open to the broader public, this documentary will be of special interest to those studying Ingushetia and the Caucasus, the Caucasian War, the Crimean War, or Russia's war on terror.
Ingushetia: The Speech Of The Voiceless is part of the Special Events Series of the 2018 Annual Conference of the Central Eurasian Studies Society. Registration at CESS 2018 is NOT required.
An initiative of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Not in Our Name is the first documentary project ever produced on counter-extremism in Central Asia. With the goal of empowering communities to stand up to violent extremist recruiters who claim to represent them, the RFE/RL team traveled to diverse regions and explored how residents can work together from the local to the national level to prevent the spread of violence. Not in Our Name features video portraits of those who lost family members in Syria and Irak and follows discussions among youth from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan as young people in these countries reflect on experiences from a nearby conflict in town hall meetings.
The challenge Central Asian communities face from extremist groups is real. According to recent estimates, countries of the former Soviet Union were the single largest source of foreign fighters in the Syria/Iraq conflict -- more than neighboring states in the Middle East. With over 4,200 Central Asians joining the conflict, communities across the region have been and will continue to be exposed to the horrors of war and extremist ideological tendencies. The documentary follows Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Tajik, and Uzbek youth as they come to a deeper understanding of the challenges they face and consider what their options for collective action so that their communities can take a stand and declare "Not in Our Name."
This event is part of the Special Events Series of the 2018 Annual Conference of the Central Eurasian Studies Society. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with contributors. Conference registration is NOT required.
Moderator: Muhammad Tahir, Media Relations Manager, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Thursday, November 1
In response to Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s 2013 outlawing of “gay propaganda,” activist Elena Klimova created Children 404, an online forum for Russian-speaking LGBTQ teens.
Monday, November 5
Tuesday, November 6
The world's first documentary about Siberia's punk rock scene in the 1980s. It was a phenomenon of those times that this music existed thousands of miles away from the movement's epicenters in New York and London.
Wednesday, November 14
In “Oktyabr (October)” (1993) and “Rostov-Luanda” (1998), the Mauritanian film director Abderrahmane Sissako shines a light on the experiences of African students in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Sissako, like many young Africans at the time, studied in the Soviet Union in the 1980s on a “Socialist Friendship” scholarship, making these two very different films, one a work of fiction, the other a pseudo-documentary, divergent experiments in documenting the displaced self. Working within the frameworks of diasporic intimacy and queer diaspora, this talk explores “Oktyabr” and “Rostov-Luanda” as meditations on the uniquely constructed intinerancy of black communities in the Soviet Union, a distinctly "queer" transience all the more intensified by the peripatetic nature of student life.
Tuesday, November 27
At the turn of the twenty-first century, a tide of nonviolent youth movements swept across Eastern Europe demanding political change in repressive political regimes in Serbia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, and Ukraine that emerged since the collapse of communism. This live interview with Olena Nikolayenko will discuss these youth movements and their ability to mobilize citizens against the authoritarian governments on the eve of national elections.
Friday, March 22 to Saturday, March 23
The Soyuz Research Network for Postsocialist Cultural Studies is an interdisciplinary forum for exchanging work based on field research in postsocialist countries, including Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, Africa, East and Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Soyuz is an interest group of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and an official unit of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES). The Soyuz symposium has met annually since 1991 and offers an opportunity for scholars to interact in a more personal setting. More information on the Soyuz Research Network can be found at http://soyuz.americananthro.org/symposium/.
Thursday, April 4 to Saturday, April 6
Friday, April 12
The Undergraduate Research Symposium is an annual event since 2002 designed to provide undergraduate students, from the University of Pittsburgh and other colleges and universities, with advanced research experiences and opportunities to develop presentation skills. The event is open to undergraduates from all majors and institutions who have written a research paper from a social science, humanities, or business perspective focusing on the study of Eastern, Western, or Central Europe, the European Union, Russia, or Central Eurasia. The Symposium is held on the University of Pittsburgh-Oakland campus. After the initial submission of papers, selected participants are grouped into panels according to their research topics. The participants then give 10- to 15-minute presentations based on their research to a panel of faculty and graduate students. The presentations are open to the public.