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.

Friday, March 22 until Sunday, March 24

5:00 pm Seminar
Transforming Cities: Global Cities Mini Course
Location:
100 Porter Hall, Carnegie Mellon University
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center along with Carnegie Mellon University Office of the Provost
See Details

Due to economic development and globalization, cities continue to grow with predictions that 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by the year 2050. This course, then, will view cities as hubs where patterns, connections, discussions, and the processes shape such issues as social justice, economic development, technology, migration, the environment among others. By examining cities as a lens, this sequence of weekend courses encourages students to examine cities as a system for discussing social processes being built and rebuilt. With an interdisciplinary focus, the course invites experts from the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, and relevant fields more broadly. Course Topics: Global cities (Sp. 2019): This offering of the course will address the concept of global cities, including their distinctive cosmopolitan characteristics by exploring emergent edge cities, global cities of the past, and their relationship to other critical social issues. This offering will provide a broader overview by conceptualizing the issues of global cities, including questions of scale, the challenges of pluralism, and sustainability. It will offer a brief introduction to the future issues discussed in later iterations of the course. Smart cities and technology (Sp. 2020): This iteration of the course will explore such topics as: the influence of multinational corporations on cities; the rise of privacy issues in relation to adoption of technology within cities and homes; the replacement of human labor and access to employment; the role of technology on urban planning, among others. Cities and social justice (Sp. 2021): This iteration of the course will explore such topics as: the rapid growth of cities and their impact on fair housing, gentrification, and poverty; the role of human rights cities as models; the role of migration on cities; the role of governance addressing inequality; the need to have access to health care; among others. Cities and sustainability (Sp. 2022): This iteration of the course will explore such topics as: the role cities can have on climate change, low-emission growth and clean energy; the importance of access to resources; the need for sustainable transportation; the practices of sustainable consumption; among others. For more information and to register: https://www.ucis.pitt.edu/global/mini-course/transforming-cities

Sunday, March 24

3:00 pm Film
FACES OF WO/MEN Film Screening: Rafiki
Location:
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 Sponsors
See Details

The first Kenyan film to screen at Cannes & banned in its home country, RAFIKI bursts onto the screen with fresh energy. “Good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives,” but Kena and Ziki long for something more. A tender tale of forbidden first love told in an electric, colorful Afropop style, RAFIKI tells the story of the touching, but illegal romance between Kena, a skateboarding tomboy, and Ziki, the charismatic daughter of a conservative local politician. When rumors begin to swirl about the nature of their relationship, the young lovers find themselves in great jeopardy. Combined with the charming leads, Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva, RAFIKI is another highlight in esteemed director Wanuri Kahiu’s filmography. More information and tickets can be found at https://www.cmu.edu/faces/2019/rafiki.html.

4:00 pm Film
FACES OF WO/MEN Film Screening: What is Democracy?
Location:
City of Asylum
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 Sponsors
See Details

Coming at a moment of profound political and social crisis, WHAT IS DEMOCRACY? reflects on a word we often take for granted. This philosophical journey spans millennia and continents: from ancient Athens’ groundbreaking experiment in self-government, to modern-day Greece grappling with financial collapse, and a mounting refugee crisis to the United States reckoning with its racist past and the growing gap between rich and poor. This urgent film connects the past and the present, the emotional and the intellectual, the personal and the political, in order to provoke and inspire. If we want to live in democracy, we must first ask what the word even means. WHAT IS DEMOCRACY? asks the right questions. More information and tickets can be at https://www.cmu.edu/faces/2019/whatisdemocracy.html.