Events in UCIS

Thursday, October 25 until Wednesday, May 1

8:30 am Exhibit
Travelers Along the Silk Roads: 10th Century to the Present
Location:
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.

Monday, November 5

1:00 pm Lecture
Somebody Is Watching
Location:
Humanities Center Conference Room, 602 Cathedral of Learning
Sponsored by:
Asian Studies Center
See Details

"Koshikijima no Toshidon" is a New Year's Eve ritual performed annually on the island of Shimo-Koshikijima off the southwest coast of Kagoshima Prefecture. During the event, men masked and costumed as frightening demon-deities enter individual households to "discipline" and "educate" young children. In 2009 the ritual was inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This talk will introduce Toshidon with a focus on the way a structure of surveillance, of "seeing and being seen," informs the performance of the ritual and to a certain extent the everyday lives of the islanders. An understanding of the dynamic of this "optic imaginary" provides insight into broader questions of community, tourism, UNESCO, and the production of heritage in Japan and elsewhere.

4:30 pm Lecture
Global Migration: The Case of the Volhynian Germans
Location:
History Department Lounge 3703 Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center along with Department of History
See Details

This talk centers on migration schemes of a German-speaking group that used to live in Ukraine. After the 1880s, the worsening economic and political situation in the Russian Empire forced many of these people to move to other regions in the world, such as Siberia, Canada, Brazil or Germany. Eventually, Hitler's population policies put an end to German-speaking settlements in Ukraine, with the descendants scattered all over the world but still connected today.

4:30 pm Lecture
Global Migration: The Case of the Volhynian Germans
Location:
3703 Posvar Hall (History Department Lounge)
Announced by:
Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies and European Studies Center on behalf of
5:00 pm Career Counselling
Careers in International Trade & Development: Asian Development Bank
Location:
115 Mervis Hall
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center and International Business Center
See Details

Bart W. Édes, the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB’s) Representative in North America since October 2017, is coming to the University of Pittsburgh to discuss careers, fellowships and more exciting opportunities with the Asian Development Bank. In his current role, Bart mobilizes financing for ADB’s developing member countries; shares development knowledge and experience; establishes and deepens partnerships with public, private and nonprofit organizations in North America; and raises public awareness of ADB in Canada and the United States.