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, February 21 until Sunday, February 24

(All day) Conference
2019 International Model African Union Conference
Location:
Howard University, Washington, D.C.
Sponsored by:
African Studies Program
See Details

The Model African Union is a simulation of the proceedings of the African Union, amplified by pre-conference study at home institutions and Embassy briefings in Washington, D.C. at Howard University in collaboration with the African Union Mission in Washington, D.C. and Member State Embassies sponsors this annual simulation of the African Union, the regional organization of African states, in the form of a Model African Union Conference. This is an opportunity for university and college students to study the role, structure, and activities of the African Union as well as the economic, social, and political-security issues facing African countries. Through simulation, students gain a better and clearer understanding of the capabilities and constraints that shape the policies of African Union member states in the arena of intra-African diplomacy on issues of mutual concern.

Sunday, February 24

12:00 pm Festival
East European Festival
Location:
Cathedral of Learning, Commons Room
Sponsored by:
Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies along with Yugoslav Nationality Room
See Details

Join the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies for the annual East European Festival on Sunday, February 24, from noon until 4:00pm in the Cathedral of Learning. Enjoy regional cuisine, a Russian tea ceremony, and other entertainment. We’ll also have a table with activities for the kids. Thank you to our co-sponsors, including the Yugoslav Nationality Room, the Graduate Organization for the Study of Europe and Central Asia, and our many student organizations.

Performances by Balkan Babes (12:00 pm) and GypsyStringz (2:00 pm)

Food by S&D Polish Deli and Salem's Market and Grill