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.

Thursday, March 21 until Friday, March 22

(All day) Symposium
Eastern European, Balkan, and Middle Eastern Female Artists
Sponsored by:
Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies along with Graduate Program for Cultural Studies, Global Studies Center, Yugoslav Nationality Room, Pitt Global, Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures, Humanities Center, Film Studies Program, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Gender, Gender Sexuality & Women's Studies Program, Turkish Nationality Room, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and Film and Media Studies
See Details

Thursday, March 21

A temporary exhibit will be opened in the Cathedral Gallery, Alumni Hall

* 5:30-5:40pm: Opening remarks and an intro of the participants

* 5:40-6:10pm: A conversation with the three female artists and a poetry reading

* 6:10-7:50pm: A Belarusian film screening, Crystal Swan (2018)

* 8:00-9:00pm: Reception

Friday, March 22

* 9:30-10am: Breakfast

* 10:00-11:30am: A public roundtable on women artists in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East

* 11:30-11:40am: Closing remarks

Thursday, March 21

11:00 am Lecture
Laborer, Citizen and Neighbor: Comparing Subjectivity in Pittsburgh and Berlin
3307 Posvar
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center
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Fiona Eichinger (senior, Biological Sciences, BPHIL/IAS/global studies) will defend her thesis using comparative case studies of Bhutanese refugees in Pittsburgh and Syrian refugees in Berlin to illustrate how national responses to forced migration have differentially taken shape in light of global trends. This investigation prioritizes refugee voices to understand how national resettlement frameworks are structured to enforce expectations for a refugee's relation to the state (citizen figure), economy (laborer figure), and society (neighbor figure).

3:00 pm Lecture Series / Brown Bag
Traveling for the State: Dunhuang Envoys on the Silk Road (850-1000)
Hillman Library, First Floor - Thornburgh Room
Sponsored by:
Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies along with University Library System (ULS) and Year of Pitt Global
See Details

Presented by Xin Wen, Assistant Professor, East Asian Studies and History, Princeton University.

This event is a part of the Guest Speaker Series of Silk Roads Rising: Globalization and Exchange from the 10th Century to the Present

4:30 pm Workshop
Global Issues Through Literature: Instant City
4130 Posvar
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center
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This reading group for educators explores literary texts from a global perspective. Content specialists present the work and its context, and together we brainstorm innovative pedagogical practices for incorporating the text and its themes into the curriculum. Sessions usually take place in 4130 Posvar Hall (unless otherwise noted) from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Books, Act 48 credit, dinner, and parking are provided.

7:00 pm Film
FACES OF WO/MEN Film Screen: Border
McConomy Auditorium, CMU
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center along with Jewish Studies Program, Pitt Film and Media Studies, Pitt Film Talk, Pitt's German Film Fund, Department of English, Student Office of Sustainability and Several Community Partners
See Details

Tina is not an ordinary woman--both inside and out. With a bestial-looking face that provokes judgement from those around her and a mysterious scar on her tailbone, Tina has the ability to sense or smell how people feel. She is especially adept at detecting fear or unease, skills that make her an invaluable customs officer. When she catches a twitchy businessman carrying child pornography, law enforcement loops Tina and her unusual abilities into the investigation. On the job, she meets Vore, who shares her unusual physical traits and holds information that could alter Tina’s entire existence. Based on a short story by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist (LET THE RIGHT ONE IN), the Academy Award nominated BORDER is an exciting, intelligent mix of romance, fantasy, Nordic noir, social realism, folk tales, and supernatural horror that defies and subverts gender and genre conventions. More information and tickets can be found at