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.

Wednesday, March 20

11:30 am Panel Discussion/Reception
Our Place in Changing Cities:
University Club, Ballroom A
Sponsored by:
Director's Office and European Studies Center
See Details

Join us for a special event featuring University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick Gallagher in conversation with the leader of Newcastle University (UK), Vice Chancellor Chris Day.

In a wide-ranging discussion moderated by Lina Dostilio, Pitt’s Assistant Vice Chancellor of Community Engagement, the two higher education leaders will discuss the role of their institutions in post-industrial cities as universities take on new responsibilities in the areas of social mobility, cultural wellbeing, innovation, and economic development.

A reception will be held beginning at 11:30 am., in advance of the 12 – 1:00 p.m. special program. Both events are open to the public and the entire Pitt community. Students, faculty, administrators, and the public are invited to engage in a dialogue with the panelists following the discussion.

Registration is not required.

Seating is limited.

12:00 pm Lecture
Nazi Antisemitism: Racial Theory, Bystandership, and Genocide
1502 Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
European Studies Center along with Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences, Department of Jewish Studies, Department of Religious Studies and Department of History
12:00 pm Lecture
Redefining the American Social Contract: From Social Exclusion to Equity and Rights
109 Barco Law Building
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center along with Pitt Human Rights Working Group; Year of Pitt Global; Center for Health Equity and Pittsburgh United
See Details

As we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we face the realization that the human rights system is facing an existential crisis. Human rights are more important than ever and under great threat. But the human rights framework has historically avoided engaging with core economic and political systemic questions. Despite formal recognition of many human rights, hunger, housing instability, poor educational outcomes, lack of access to healthcare, abusive poverty jobs, state and private violence, and lack of access to clean water are all at epidemic proportions and dramatic racial disparities. Today it is core systemic questions—how capital and finance (and debt) are organized, what structural arrangements underlie our economy, our relationship to land and resources and more—that have become the focus of grassroots movements, especially those led by young people. These broader movements have embraced community driven solutions to our multiple crisis that arguably hold the key to deep systemic change. Can these solutions add up to a New Social Contract for America driven by human rights values? Will our movements usher in a new post-neoliberal era? And if so, what do human rights lessons of history have to say to guide us?

3:00 pm Film
The Silk Road on Screen: The Adopted Son
Hillman Library, First Floor - Latin American Lecture Room
Sponsored by:
Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies along with University Library System (ULS) and Year of Pitt Global
See Details

This film is an exquisitely composed and photographed child-to-man tale of a Kyrgyz villager. Beshkempir is just like any other kid- playing in the mud, getting into trouble, experiencing the first pangs of sexuality- until a fight with his best friend leads to the revelation that he was adopted.

Running Time: 81 minutes

Introduction by Ellina Sattarova, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Pittsburgh

4:00 pm Panel Discussion
Public Interview with Jessica Oublie and Marie-Ange Rousseau
WPU Dining Room A
Sponsored by:
European Studies Center along with University Honors College, Dean Twyning, Humanities Center, Department of French & Italian, Department of Africana Studies, Dept of Instruction and Learning, World History Center, Office of the Associate Dean and Department of History of Art and Architecture
See Details

A part of the International Francophonie Day 2019!