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.

Friday, February 15 until Thursday, March 21

(All day) Exhibit
Africans in India Exhibition
University Art Gallery, Frick Fine Arts Building
Announced by:
Director's Office on behalf of the Year of Pitt Global
See Details

Over the centuries, East Africans have greatly distinguished themselves in India as generals, commanders, admirals, architects, prime ministers, and rulers. They have written a story unparalleled in the rest of the world: that of enslaved Africans attaining the pinnacle of military and political authority.

Known as Habshis (Abyssinians) and Sidis, they have left an impressive historical and architectural legacy that attest to their determination, skills, and intellectual, cultural, military and political savvy.

This exhibition retraces—in over 100 photographic reproductions of paintings and contemporary photographs—the lives and achievements of a few of the many talented and prominent Sidis of yesterday.

The gallery at Frick Fine Arts is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with extended hours on Thursdays up to 7 p.m. It is closed on weekends.

Monday, February 25 until Sunday, March 10

(All day) Exhibit
Names instead of Numbers: Remembrance Book for the Prisoners of Dachau Concentration Camp
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."

Thursday, March 7

12:00 pm Lecture Series / Brown Bag
Spies, Coups and National Liberation
4130 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies along with Department of History and Department of Political Science
See Details

A live interview with Natalia Telepneva, University of Warwick

The Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact satellites were ideologically, materially, and geopolitically committed to aiding national liberation struggles in Africa during the Cold War. Communist states gave economic aid, provided weapons, and sent spies and military advisors. This live interview with Natalia Telepneva will explore the relationship between Soviet and Warsaw Pact policy and activities in African anti-colonial struggles, the role of espionage in the Cold War and the influence of Soviet and Warsaw Pact secret services on the development of state security in post-independent Africa.

12:00 pm Lecture
Present Humanitarian Practices and Refugee Children: Abuse of Human Rights or Humanitarian Negligence
3106 Posvar
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center
See Details

Since the beginning of the recent migration crisis, we have witnessed an increase in the number of unaccompanied children who are trying to reach the safety of affluent Western societies. Countless young people are forced into displacement due to increasing poverty, violence, development projects, social instability, and/or increasing environmental degradation. Dr. Mlado Ivanovic approaches this phenomenon by taking violence, oppression and various forms of exclusion faced by children refugees to demonstrate the structural limits of the present institutionalized refugee and asylum system. The outdated and gendered nature of these political structures leaves refugee children with terrible choices: internal displacement, sexual violence, squalid refugee camps, enslavement, urban destitution, human trafficking or dangerous migration. Looking at these conditions, it becomes clear that it is necessary to rethink our humanitarian commitments and political practices in order to promote essential protections for the youngest and most vulnerable forcefully displaced people.

4:00 pm Reception
Global Studies Faculty Salon
4100 Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center
See Details

Join us for a happy hour in the Global Studies main office. We'll provide drinks and light refreshments; you provide the great company and conversation. Not only are these events fun, they also help us to build up the Global Studies program and community at Pitt by giving us a chance to learn more about your work and how we might support it. It's a great way to meet people with shared or complementary interests, and for us to hear your suggestions about what we might do to enrich and encourage exciting research, teaching, and programs on campus and beyond. This event is for faculty only.

6:00 pm Reading Group
Four Evenings: Valeria Luiselli, Tell Me How It Ends
Hillman Library 171B (Latin American Lecture Room)
Sponsored by:
Center for Latin American Studies and Global Studies Center along with University Library System (ULS)
See Details

Valeria Luiselli, Tell Me How It Ends
March 7 | 6-7pm | Hillman Library 171B - Book Discussion
Discussion led by Roger Rouse, Global Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh

March 11 | 7:30pm | Carnegie Music Hall - Lecture by Valeria Luiselli

Co-sponsored by the Global Studies Center, Center for Latin American Studies, University Library System and Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures

In conjunctions with the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures program's "Ten Evenings" series, GSC is hosting "Four Evenings," pre-lecture discussions that put prominent world authors and their work in global perspective. Open to series subscribers and the Pitt Community, these evening discussion, conducted by Pitt experts, provide additional insight on prominent writers and engaging issues. A limited number of tickets to the author's lectures are available.

Register for this event at the following link: