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.

Friday, January 25

(All day) Deadline
Roadmap to Model African Union
Sponsored by:
African Studies Program
See Details

Begin to expand your research from your specific country to looking at neighboring countries to determine how climate change and displacement affect the region as a whole.

4:30 pm Lecture
"I See Dh Everywhere Now!"
Location:
4130 Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
Asian Studies Center
See Details

This talk will examine the course "East Asian Digital Humanities" taught by Dr. Des Jardin at Penn, covering the format and content of the course, the students and their expertise, and its broader implications for digital humanities pedagogy and community building. By introducing several specific aspects of digital humanities methods that are complicated by the vagaries of data based in East Asian sources, Dr. Des Jardin will demonstrate how she approached teaching about the seminar's various topics through examining real-world research cases in addition to theory and method.

Dr. Des Jardin is the Japanese Studies Librarian, and liaison for Korean Studies, at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. Her research interests encompass book history in modern Japan as well as Japanese text mining, and she is deeply involved in the global Japanese DH community. Dr. Des Jardin received her PHD in Asian Languages & Cultures and MSI in Library & Information Science from the University of Michigan, and BA/BS in History and Computer Science from Pitt.