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, February 11

(All day) Symposium
First Annual Center for Latin American Studies Undergraduate Symposium
Location:
4130 and 4217 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
Center for Latin American Studies
See Details

The Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh is calling for undergraduate students to submit papers for our upcoming symposium to be held on February 11 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.—Room 4130 and 4127 Wesley W. Posvar Hall.

This symposium provides a platform for students to showcase their research, papers and an opportunity to see what other undergraduate students at Pitt are working on areas related to Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States.

The Center is accepting papers across all disciplines, that showcase our region, such as but not limited to: Economic development, inequality and social inclusion, democracy, human rights, health, education, LGBTQ and gender studies, ethnicity, race studies, ecocriticism, urban development, violence and crime, social movements and political parties, technological innovation, political behavior, Latinx politics, and elites, will be accepted. If you have a topic that is not listed, please let us know.

Papers should be 10 pages and be double-spaced, with citations of at least four to five resources (MLA or APA format). Students will be limited to 15 minutes to present.

Call for papers due: January 10, 2020

Papers accepted will be announced on January 24, 2020

For questions or inquires, email: lavst12@pitt.edu