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, March 18

10:00 am Lecture
"You Can't Forget Our Roots Anyway": French College Students' Views on a Multicultural France
4217 Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center
See Details

France has a long and complicated history with its Muslim population, rooted in its colonial history and currently tied to dominant French discourse surrounding French Republican ideals, including secularism or laïcité. Tabachnick's thesis explores how have French college students, who have grown up in a time of de-facto racial and religious pluralism, been shaped by contemporary French discourses and understandings of laïcité?

12:00 pm Lecture Series / Brown Bag
Migrations Initiative Brown Bag Series
4130 Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center
See Details

Dr. Yolanda Covington-Ward will present on Mobility, Displacement, and Black Privilege in the Experiences of Liberian Migrants, Refugees, and Returnees

Brown Bag is a monthly seminar for faculty to learn about the research currently going on at Pitt in the area of migrations. Each month a faculty member will give a presentation about their ongoing research projects or an introduction to their research agendas. Students and faculty are encouraged to attend.

4:00 pm Lecture
Islamophobia and Antisemitism: Perspectives From Europe and the US
William Pitt Union Room 630
Sponsored by:
European Studies Center and Global Studies Center along with Religious Studies, Nordenberg Scholars and and the Jewish Studies Program
See Details

This event is an open conversation with Paul A. Silverstein,Professor of Anthropology at Reed College and Jeanette Jouili, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Silverstein's current research focuses on the laboring and political experience of post-war North African immigrant coalminers as a a story of the fate of Europe"s cosmopolitan identity. Dr. Jouili's research and teaching interests include Islam in Europe, secularism, pluralism, popular culture, moral and aesthetic practices, and gender.

5:00 pm Reception
From Africans to India: Sidi Music from the Indian Ocean Diaspora
125 Frick Fine Arts Auditorium
Sponsored by:
Asian Studies Center along with Year of Pitt Global
See Details

Closing Reception for Africans in India: From Slaves to Rulers and Generals Exhibition
5:00-6:00 pm | University Art Gallery

Film Screening: From Africa to India: Sidi Music from the Indian Ocean Diaspora
and Q&A w/ director Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy
6:00-8:00 pm | 125 Frick Fine Arts Auditorium

5:00 pm Panel Discussion
Cities on the Global Edge
Provost Suite, 2500 Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
Director's Office and Global Studies Center
See Details

This special event led by Provost Cudd is a discussion about the many ways cities are being shaped by the forces of globalization.

This unique program will use Vice Provost Ariel Armony's new University of California Press book, The Global Edge: Miami in the Twenty-First Century, co-authored with Alejandro Portes, as a launching point to explore the social, economic, and cultural transformation of Miami and Pittsburgh – past and present.

Portes (Princeton University and University of Miami) will join in discussing issues of social justice, economic development, technology, migration, and the environment that arise from globalization as cities are built and rebuilt. The dialogue will allow for ample time for audience participation.

5:00 pm Program
6:15 Reception

6:15 pm Workshop
Russian Conversation Table
Hillman Library, Room 201D
Sponsored by:
Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies along with Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures
See Details

Come to 201D Hillman and have an informal conversation in Russian with other Russian program students and the facilitator, Katya Kovaleva.