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.

Thursday, November 15

12:45 pm Panel Discussion
Let's Talk Africa
4217 WWPH
Sponsored by:
Center for African Studies
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The National Museum of African American History and Culture is hosting a student roundtable for those who would like to learn more about their Robert Frederick Smith Internship Program. The summer program provides well-paid full-time internships for 12 weeks with projects in DC, Pittsburgh, and other locations around the country. This information session on the Robert F. Smith program will include application instructions, internship benefits, and tips on making your application competitive.

The program seeks to build a professional pipeline for historically underrepresented individuals to grow successful careers in the cultural sector. All internship opportunities with this program will focus on work related to digital imaging, media preservation, digital preservation of personal and community objects, digital content management, collections information management, recording and preserving oral histories, or digital film-making.

4:00 pm Lecture
"Let's Become Less": Networks and Nationalisms in the Feminist Challenge to 'Mass Sterilization' in Mexico and Brazil
602 Cathedral of Learning
Sponsored by:
Center for Latin American Studies along with Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures, Dean Twyning and Year of PittGlobal
See Details

"Let's Become Less": Networks and Nationalisms in the Feminist Challenge to 'Mass Sterilization' in Mexico and Brazil

Thursday, November 15th
602 Cathedral of Learning
4:00 p.m.

This presentation explores the history of feminist and other societal mobilization around population policy, particularly "mass sterilization," in Mexico and Brazil. Against the transnational backdrop of Cold War geopolitics, it traces the role of social movements, national governments, and transnational networks in these histories.

This event is free and open to the public!

For more information, visit:

4:30 pm Lecture
Global Issues Through Literature
4130 Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center
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The fall 2018 Global Issues Through Literature series, a reading group designed for K-12 educators to learn about and use new texts in the classroom, will explore ways in which authors' works touch upon issues of exile, religious intolerance, and injustices to marginalized groups such as women and the LGBTQ community. Books, Act 48 credit, dinner, and parking are provided!

6:00 pm Performance
The Goddess Performance
125 Frick Fine Arts Auditorium
Sponsored by:
Asian Studies Center