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 29 until Saturday, April 13

7:00 pm Film
Italian Film Festival of Pittsburgh
Location:
Frick Fine Arts Auditorium
Announced by:
European Studies Center on behalf of

Monday, April 1

4:30 pm Information Session
Fulbright Opportunities for Faculty and Students in the Visegrad Countries and Beyond
Location:
Wesley W. Posvar Hall, Room 3911
Sponsored by:
Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies along with Pitt University Honors College and Pitt Global
See Details

Join us for this information session to learn about Fulbright program grants for students and faculty in Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Bulgaria.

An expert in municipal finance and bankruptcy, Jókay taught municipal finance, public budgeting and public management in the Department of Public Policy at Central European University between 2005 and 2017. Jókay has extensive experience in Central and Eastern European countries, including Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia, completing projects on municipal bond disclosure standards, public utility transformation and regulation in the municipal services sector, as well as municipal debt regulation. He was born in Chicago to Hungarian parents, earned a B.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan and has an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Illinois. Jókay moved to Hungary in 1994, became active in several civil society organizations, and established a family foundation to support the education of poor, rural children in the High School of the Reformed Church in Pápa.

6:15 pm Workshop
Russian Conversation Table
Location:
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.

Monday, April 1 until Tuesday, April 2

9:00 pm Symposium
Defining the Neglected Tropical Diseases: Research, Development, and Global Health Equity, 1970-present
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center
See Details

The "neglected tropical diseases" (NTDs) are a cluster of infectious diseases categorized by their impact on an estimated one billion people in 149 countries worldwide. These diseases are generally characterized by their high morbidity and low mortality and are strongly associated with poverty. NTD-focused campaigns have accelerated rapidly in the past two decades, with U.S. funding alone topping $887 million since 2006. Regional elimination or global eradication are often the end goal of these initiatives, coordinated by local and global NGOs, development organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and national ministries of health. The stakes of success or failure are high - in the twenty-first century, the NTDs have become a powerful operative and imaginative category in global public health.

This workshop seeks to catalyze new conversations on the history, present, and future of the (NTDs) in an innovative, multi-disciplinary gathering. The multi-sectorial nature of NTD work provides a unique opportunity for dialogue between scholars and practitioners in the humanities, social sciences, public health, law, and medicine around the complex challenges these diseases present. Pre-circulated papers will be discussed on a series of panels on Monday, April 1. On Tuesday, April 2, participants will gather for 1) a roundtable discussion on key areas of research on the NTDs in wider perspective and 2) an open plenary conversation on futures of research and collaboration. Registration, a complete schedule, and more information can be found at https://www.ucis.pitt.edu/global/NTD-Conference.