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 25 until Sunday, March 10

(All day) Exhibit
Names instead of Numbers: Remembrance Book for the Prisoners of Dachau Concentration Camp
Location:
Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
European Studies Center along with German Department
See Details

This international traveling exhibit comes to the University of Pittsburgh for a limited time.
This world renowned exhibit features biographies of twenty-two former inmates of the camp in an attempt to "remember the people hidden behind the prisoner uniforms and victim statistics."

Tuesday, February 26

12:00 pm Lecture Series / Brown Bag
Conversations on Europe: World's Fairs & International Expositions
Location:
4217 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
European Studies Center and European Union Center of Excellence
See Details

As a part of the ESC’s Year of Global Europe, the ESC will devote this session of its virtual roundtable series to discussing the history of world’s fairs and international expositions. The first of these massive events began in Europe in the nineteenth century and became a way for European nations to showcase technology and their imperial power. In the last century, non-European nations became active participants and hosts. Our panel of experts will explore this change over time and discuss the role of world’s fairs and international expositions yesterday and today. Audience participation is encouraged. To participate remotely, contact irm24@pitt.edu

1:00 pm Workshop
Benshi Workshop
Location:
4130 Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
Asian Studies Center
4:30 pm Cultural Event/Information Session
Less-Commonly-Taught-Languages Coffeehouse
Location:
William Pitt Union, Assembly Room
Announced by:
African Studies Program, Center for Latin American Studies, Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies, Director's Office and European Studies Center on behalf of Year of Pitt Global and Less-Commonly-Taught-Languages Center
See Details

Take a break from studying and enjoy kaffe and a kanelbullar in Swedish, njugu paak in Swahili, or gazoz in Turkish! Less-Commonly-Taught Languages Center will teach you how to place your order in Hindi, Quechua, Irish, Persian, Greece, Hungary, Haiti, Vietnam, or Ethiopia and more! You will have chance to place your order at the Coffeehouse and enjoy drinks and snacks from around the world.

Check out the event on Facebook!

4:30 pm Workshop
Hot Topics/Global Perspectives
Location:
Hillman Library ground floor (next to Cup and Chaucer)
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center
See Details

We supply the cookies, you supply the questions, insights, and perspectives on contemporary global issues. Join GSC for these informal monthly conversations about pressing contemporary issues. We begin with current events and seek to draw deeper connections and put these issues in transnational perspective. Student-focused, open to all.

5:30 pm Performance
Benshi Workshop
Location:
125 Frick Fine Arts Auditorium
Sponsored by:
Asian Studies Center
See Details

Japanese Silent Film Screening with Live Performance
Once known as “poets of the dark” benshi brought silent films to live through commentary and vocal performance, giving voice to the characters on screen. Perched on a podium beside the screen, benshi brought films to life. As many as 8000 benshi were performing across the country and the Japanese empire by the 1930s, and their popularity—and power—slowed the introduction of sound film in Japan.