Events in UCIS

Thursday, October 25 until Wednesday, May 1

8:30 am Exhibit
Travelers Along the Silk Roads: 10th Century to the Present
Ground and Second Floors, Hillman Library
Sponsored by:
Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies along with Year of PittGlobal and Hillman Library
See Details

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.

Tuesday, October 30

12:00 pm Panel Discussion
RMU Global Dialogue
Robert Morris University, Center for Global Engagement
Sponsored by:
Center for African Studies along with Robert Morris University
See Details

A round table discussion on access to education in Africa. The panelists will use case studies (Nigeria, Ethiopia and Kenya) in conversations about gender equity in education.

Dr. Soji Oni: Factors Hindering Women’s Aspiration for Tertiary Education in South-West Nigeria

Anna-Maria Karnes: Women and higher education in Ethiopia

Macrina C. Lelei: Challenges girls and women face in accessing education in Kenya

12:00 pm Panel Discussion
Panel Discussion on Energy Policy
Posvar 4217
Sponsored by:
European Studies Center along with Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany;
See Details

What is the Energiewende? Why is Germany heavily investing in renewable sources of power?
Is it politically controversial?
Dr. Jorg Radte of the University of Siegen and Dr. Nikolas Wolfing of the Centre for European Economic Research will answer your questions about German energy policies in this virtual panel.

12:00 pm Panel Discussion
Family Separation in the Trump Era: Puerto Ricans and Central Americans
4130 Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
Center for Latin American Studies and Global Studies Center along with Immigration Law Clinic at Pitt Law and Panoramas (CLAS)
See Details

Join us for a round table discussion, "Family Separation in the Trump Era: Puerto Ricans and Central Americans"

Invited speaker include:
Dr. Iris Camacho Melendez, a Family Law professor at the Interamerican University School of Law, Puerto Rico.
Dr. Sheila I. Vélez Martínez, the Jack and Lovell Olender Professor of Asylum Refugee and Immigration Law, University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Orlando G. Portela, an Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and affiliated attorney with Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Pittsburgh.

Sponsored by The Center for Latin American Studies, Immigration Law Clinic at Pitt Law, Global Studies Center and Panoramas at the University of Pittsburgh.

Free and open to the public!

For more information:

5:00 pm Lecture
Cherry Blossoms, Traditions, Symbols, and Stories
540 William Pitt Union
Sponsored by:
Asian Studies Center
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Author Ann McClellan will explore the images and tales associated with the ethereal Japanese cherry blossoms. People have celebrated the blooming of these trees for more than 1000 years, and today they serve as instruments of diplomacy, as landscape enhancements, and as eternal signs of spring and romance.

Ann McClellan is the author of two definitive books about the Japanese cherry blossoms including the official book of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC.