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, February 7

12:00 pm Panel Discussion
Black Lives Matter: Intersectional and Transnational Perspectives
Thornburgh Room, Hillman Library
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center along with Department of Africana Studies; Department of English; Department of Political Science; Department of Sociology; University Library System; Student Government Board; Islamicate Working Group
See Details

Join us for a discussion of the Black Lives Matter movement by three distinguished panelists. Donna Auston, doctoral candidate in the Anthropology Department at Rutgers University, is a writer, and activist whose body of work focuses on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, media representation, and Islam in America. Her dissertation is an ethnographic exploration of Black Muslim activism and spiritual protest in the Black Lives Matter era. Jeanette Jouili, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, focuses her research and teaching on Islam in Europe, secularism, pluralism, popular culture, moral and aesthetic practices, and gender. Ronald Judy, Professor of Critical and Cultural Studies in the Department of English at the University of Pittsburgh, where he teaches courses in world literature, critical and literary theory, and literary criticism.

4:00 pm Workshop
Undergraduate Workshop: Micro-Translation
Robert Henderson Media Lab G-17 CL
Sponsored by:
European Studies Center and Global Studies Center along with Department of Classics, Department of French & Italian and Humanities Center
7:00 pm Cultural Event/Performance
Ewabo Caribbean Trio
Pitt Titusville, Henne Auditorium
Announced by:
Director's Office on behalf of Year of Pitt Global
See Details

With a particular emphasis on the "Steeldrum," better known as “Pan” to the people of its native land (Trinidad & Tobago), Ewabo is recognized as one of the preeminent Caribbean calypso bands in the mid-Atlantic region. Ewabo’s skill and dedication to indigenous island music and the playing of Pan Drums (the predominant art form in the Caribbean) has propelled the trio to prominence in the mainstream of contemporary world music. With the benefit of a variety of backgrounds in the arts, the musicians of Ewabo utilize their experiences to entertain, astound and educate audiences on the potpourri of Caribbean culture. The success of Ewabo is attributable to a strong belief shared by band members whose motto, “ONE LOVE," is embodied in their vast array of exceptional musical arrangements of traditional and contemporary calypso, reggae and Pan Drum music.