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.

Thursday, January 17

2:30 pm Lecture
Pitt Global Quantum Lecture
Location:
Chevron Science Center, Room 150
Sponsored by:
Director's Office along with Year of Pitt Global
See Details

This is the 2nd lecture in the Pitt Global Quantum Lecture Series, a public lecture series delivered by leading international researchers in the fields of quantum science and engineering.

This lecture will be delivered by Dr. Leeor Kronik (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel), an expert in first principles quantum mechanical calculations based on density functional theory and many-body perturbation theory.

4:30 pm Lecture Series / Brown Bag
Humanizing the Global, Globalizing the Human
Location:
602 Cathedral of Learning
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center
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Salmaan A. Keshavjee, Associate Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Presenting to University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Keshavjee's research spans four areas: (1) multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) treatment and policy; (2) health-sector reform and access to health care and medical technology in transitional societies, with a special focus on countries of the former Soviet Union (Central Asia and the Russian Federation); (3) the role of non-governmental organizations in globalization and the formation of trans-border civil society; and (4) modernity, social institutions, civil society, and health in the Middle East and Central Asia. In addition to being an active clinician, his methodological expertise is in ethnography, participant-observation, and qualitative interview techniques.

7:00 pm Lecture
Meppi Japan Lecture Series
Location:
Alphabet City Word Cellar, 40 W North Ave, Pittsburgh, PA, 15212
Sponsored by:
Asian Studies Center
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Haiku, arguably Japan’s most recognized form of poetry, developed into the poetic form we know and love today through hundreds of years of evolution. Inseparably integrated with Japanese history, Haiku has a notable influence on Japanese poetry, art, and society.

Elizabeth Oyler is Associate Professor of pre-modern Japanese Literature at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research is motivated by a fascination with the way historical and cultural memory are represented in literature and performing arts from Japan’s medieval period, particularly the fifteenth century. She is currently working on a book-length study of Noh drama, specifically how the staging of a set of plays by early playwrights simultaneously codify and undermine spaces of the poetic and social landscapes of the early fifteenth-century.