Week of April 14, 2019 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.

Sunday, April 14

7:00 pm Cultural Event
Composers Concert
Sponsored by:
Asian Studies Center
See Details

Elizabeth Brown will give a repeat performance of Tipp's new work "Pale Blue Dot"; the concert will feature works by Pitt composers Jason Belcher, Laura Schwartz, Marco Guisto, Emerson Voss and Karen Brown.
The concert is free and open to the public
Where: Frick Fine Art Auditorium

Monday, April 15

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.

Tuesday, April 16

12:00 pm Lecture Series / Brown Bag
Conversations on Europe: EP Elections: What's at Stake?
Location:
4217 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
European Studies Center
See Details

On May 23-26, 2019, voters across the European Union will head to the polls to elect 751 members of the European Parliament. In this conversation, our panel of experts will discuss the key players, parties and issues at stake (including the role of Brexit) in the upcoming elections. To participate remotely, contact irm24@pitt.edu

1:30 pm Workshop
Russian Tutoring with Katya Kovaleva
Location:
Hillman Library, Room 201D
Sponsored by:
Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies along with Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures
See Details

Meet with our Russian tutor Katya Kovaleva in 201D Hillman Library if you need help with your homework or want to prepare for your tests and exams.

Thursday, April 18

12:00 pm Lecture Series / Brown Bag
The Stories Polish Secret Police Files Tell Us
Location:
4130 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies along with Department of History and Department of Political Science
See Details

Anna Krakus, University of Southern California

Police files tend to catalog a suspect’s crime. Police files in communist countries, however, go much further and document a suspect’s biography. This was the case in Polish police files where genres of biography and criminal surveillance blurred, turning the cop into a kind of literary author. Communist police files, therefore, told stories—not just about the factual and fictive biographical characteristics of a subject, but also intimate aspects of their personal lives and relationships. This live interview with Anna Krakus will delve into the police as author and the ways police files reflected literary elements that intersected with literary genres found in communist Poland.

3:00 pm Lecture Series / Brown Bag
The Rediscovery of Sogdian: The Lingua Franca of the Medieval Silk Road
Location:
Hillman Library, First Floor - Thornburgh Room
Sponsored by:
Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies
See Details

Presented by Nicholas Sims-Williams, Emeritus Professor of Iranian and Central Asian Studies, SOAS University of London.

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

6:00 pm Lecture
Art in the US-Japan Relationship
Location:
Carnegie Museum of Arts, 4400 Forbes Ave
Sponsored by:
Asian Studies Center along with Japan America Society of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Museum of Art, National Association of Japan America Societies and Japan-United States Friendship Commission
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Beyond his fame as Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of Tales of the South Pacific and Hawaii,James A. Michener was an enthusiastic collector of fine art. He managed to assemble the third largest collection of ukiyo-e in the United States, which he donated to the Honolulu Museum of Art. Join us at the Carnegie Museum of Art to learn about Michener's collecting journey with Stephen Salel, Curator of Japanese Art. Please register at japansocietypa.org/events.

Friday, April 19 until Sunday, April 21

8:00 pm Performance
On Trial
Location:
Studio Threatre, Cathedral of Learning
Sponsored by:
European Studies Center along with University of Pittsburgh Stages
See Details

Written by Mairead Ni Ghrada and Directed by Nic Barilar
A child is dead, a baby girl - and her mother is standing trial for infanticide. Gripping and theatrical, On Trial follows the tragic life of Maura Cassidy, an unmarried single mother. Set in 1960s Catholic Ireland, Maura must find a way to make a life for herself without the support of her family, her child’s father, or society - leading her to make some catastrophic decisions. Told through testimonies and flashbacks, this controversial courtroom drama questions where guilt and blame lie in a world of oppression, prejudice, and hypocrisy. Originally written in the Irish Gaelic language by Máiréad Ní Ghráda - one of Ireland’s preeminent female playwrights - this special addition to the University of Pittsburgh’s current season is the North American premiere of a modern Irish classic.