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.

Friday, November 2

11:00 am Panel Discussion
Erwin Panofsky in Translation
602 Cathedral of Learning
Sponsored by:
European Studies Center along with Department of History of Art and Architecture, Department of Medieval & Renaissance Studies, Department of Jewish Studies and Humanities Center
See Details

Speakers: Sonja Drimmer (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), Josh Ellenbogen (University of Pittsburgh), Jacqueline Jung (Yale University), and Karl Whittington (The Ohio State University). Organizer: Shirin Fozi (University of Pittsburgh).

Fifty years after his passing, Erwin Panofsky (1892-1968) remains one of the most widely read art historians of the past century, and perhaps the single most influential figure in establishing (in his own phrase) "the history of art as a humanistic discipline." He also belongs to a generation of German Jewish scholars who began their careers in their native country but were displaced by World War II, and eventually came to North America where they had a profound impact on Anglophone scholarship. In Panofsky's case this has led to an odd but powerful historiographic divide: his early work, published in German, is still widely read in Europe but scarcely known in the United States -- especially compared to his later, widely renowned English-language publications.

This colloquium seeks to address that gap by bringing together a small, focused group of scholars to address Panofsky's early work in a set of new, unpublished translations. Participants will read pre-circulated English versions of three texts: "The Problem of Style" (1915), German Sculpture of the Eleventh through Thirteenth Centuries (1924), and "Imago Pietatis" (1927). The colloquium will be an opportunity to discuss the essays, consider their position in the humanities today, and also reflect on the process of translation as a means of increasing access to a pivotal era of transatlantic scholarly exchange.

Interested participants must RSVP to Karoline Swiontek ( no later than Friday, October 26. Participation is open to all, but space is limited and RSVPs are required in order to receive access to the pre-circulated texts. Coffee and a light lunch will be served.

2:00 pm Lecture
Year of Pitt Global Featured Speaker: Jon McCourt, civil rights and community activist
Cathedral of Learning, G24
Sponsored by:
European Studies Center along with Year of Pitt Global and Department of History
See Details

Jon McCourt has been a community peace activist and member of the Peace and Reconciliation Group in Derry, Northern Ireland, for more than 30 years. He played a major role in the development of the Community Awareness Training Programme and founded and established the first Victim Support Service in Northern Ireland in 1986. He has also worked with those involved in conflicts around the world, including Bosnia, the Middle East, Rwanda, and Colombia.

Join the Year of Pitt Global, the European Studies Center, and the Department of History for this Signature Event as we hear from Jon on his experience with conflict and peacemaking around the world.

Jon will answer questions following his talk!

Friday, November 2 until Sunday, November 4

5:00 pm Lecture Series / Brown Bag
Global Health Mini Course
2400 Sennott Square
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center
See Details

Global Health: Health and Well Being:PS 1903/29734
This course will examine food insecurity and malnutrition as a part of a larger discussion on how to ensure healthy lives and well-being for all ages. Sustainable Development goals 2 and 3 will be the primary focus of the course.The course is for 1 credit and will run Friday November 2- Sunday November 4 2018

Friday, November 2 until Saturday, November 3

5:30 pm Symposium
2018 Graduate Symposium
Carnegie Museum of Art Theater / Humanities Center room 602, the Cathedral of Learning
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center along with Department of History of Art and Architecture
See Details

Motivating Monuments:
Defining Collective Identities in Public Spaces

A symposium hosted by the graduate students of the history of Art and Architecture Department at the University of Pittsburgh will be held November 2-3, 2018. Dr. Jacqueline Jung will serve as the symposium's keynote speaker.

The goal of this conference is to promote interdisciplinary discussions about the power invested in monuments and how individual attachments to them are persistently and profoundly mediated by shared group identities. This symposium takes objects as concrete manifestation of collective identities and will foster productive, in-depth discussions about the shared stakes of monuments. Conversations will unfold across premodern, early modern, modern, and contemporary topics, thematically linking research that might otherwise be isolated by disciplinary or historical divides.