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Seminar in Russia in summer 2004
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Seminar in Russia in summer 2002
Seminar in Central Europe in summer 2001
Central Europe & Russia Task Force
Travel grants awarded in 2001

Ten travel grants were awarded by the Central Europe & Russia Task Force for summer 2001 and academic year 2001-02.

Eric Ching

Assistant Professor of History, Furman University. During the summer of 2001, Dr. Ching researched the relation of the Soviet Union to Latin American communist parties in the 1920s and 1930s. He spent the bulk of his time looking through personnel files from the Honduran, Costa Rican and Nicaraguan Communist Parties held in the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History. These are valuable records for a historian of Latin American communism, he reports, because "they contain many details (names, dates, locations, relationships) that allow for a much more precise understanding of how the parties functioned on a day-to-day basis. The files also allow for a reading of the relationship between the local parties and the Communist International." This work contributes to his ongoing comparative study of the five parties in the Central America in the 1920s and 1930s.

Over the ensuing year Ching has used this research in several settings. In November 2001 he presented a paper, "Reading Communists Reading Their World: The First Communist Parties in Central America, 1930-1932," at the Social Science History Association. He also prepared the introduction to a translation of Aldo Lauria's book, An Agrarian Republic (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999), which is to be published in El Salvador in 2003. The translation of Lauria's book is part of a program sponsored by the Salvadoran Ministry of Education to make key works of Salvadoran history written in English available in Spanish to Salvadorans. Finally, the research is contributing to Ching's book manuscript, Rise Up and Die: The 1932 Uprising and Military Massacre in El Salvador. A central argument of this book revolves around the role of the Communist Party in the events of 1932. The research in Russia has allowed him to better explain the situation in El Salvador by injecting a broader context of communist movements throughout Central America during the late 1920s and early 1930s. It also shaped his teaching of his Modern Mexico and Latin American History course. He even utilized copies of my research in class to show students the construction of identities and ideologies in communist movements.

Joseph Favazza

Associate Professor of Religion, Rhodes College. In April 2002, Dr. Favazza gave the keynote lecture at "Days of Theological Reflection: The Role of Religion in Reconciliation," a conference at Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj, Romania. The conference was sponsored by the university's Faculty of Roman Catholic Theology. He also participated as part of a Forum that ended the conference. The presentation will be published, both in English and in Hungarian translation, as part of the proceedings of the conference. In addition, it is being reviewed for possible publication in Romanian translation by a refereed journal published by Babes-Bolyai University.

While in Cluj, Dr. Favazza also laid the groundwork for a research project in social reconciliation. Working with a colleague in the Faculty, he will survey college students in Romania and in the United States. He hopes to publish the results of his research in 2003.

W.G. Fiedorow

Professor of Modern Languages and Literature, Knox College. Field-trip to Krasnodar, Russia, in preparation to lead ACM study-abroad program in fall 2001.

Mark Foley

Assistant Professor of Economics, Davidson College. Dr. Foley worked in Moscow during the summer of 2001 on the elderly in Russia during economic transition. He collected information on the situation of the households and individuals in Russia, to be used in case studies for his classes on the Economics of Transition and Labor Economics. He feels that the sessions were illuminating for his students, most of whom have not been to Russia or any transition country, as they were challenged to think about what it means not to have ever known unemployment, high prices or macroeconomic instability, but suddenly be faced with all these simultaneously. The class section on corruption also benefited from his Russian research, since he encountered a few instances where small "payments" were necessary to facilitate, for example, admission to a museum. This helped put the economic models of corruption in perspective.

Paula Hertel

Professor of Psychology, Trinity University. Professor Hertel spent two weeks in Poland during April 2002. She and Dr. Grzegorz Sedek, of the Warsaw School of Advanced Social Psychology, discussed three experiments to study cognitive processes in depression, several of them developed by Dr. Hertel's students at Trinity. Students in Warsaw and at Trinity will carry out the experiments over the next several years. She also talked with other colleagues at the Warsaw School about teaching and feminism. She hopes to have some of the Polish colleagues visit San Antonio in the winter of 2003. More information about her trip is on her web site at www.trinity.edu/phertel/.

Diane Nemec Ignashev

Professor of Russian, Carleton College. Development of multi-media course materials, including Web sites representing different regions of Russia, part of a larger, multi-year curricular project; will also visit potential program sites.

Valerie Nollan

Associate Professor of Russian, Rhodes College. In the summer of 2001, Nollan worked in St. Petersburg to translate Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov's The Philosophical Foundations of Integral Knowledge. Most of the work was in the Solovyov archives of the National Library of Russia at St. Petersburg. She also met with several Solovyov scholars in the city. Her work also contributes to a larger project that she and a colleague have in mind, the formation and strengthening of collaborative collegial ties between faculty at St. Petersburg academic institutions and Rhodes College.

This project is contributing to the deepening of Nollan's understanding of Western and Russian intellectual history. Her translation has been accepted for publication, due out in September, 2003. She has also recently published Solovyov-related book reviews and presented two conference papers. She has incorporated several essays by Solovyov into the religio-philosophical components of a course on the Biblical tradition and Western intellectual history, and included other material in a course on Dostoevsky in English translation. (Solovyov and Dostoevsky were very close friends, and the latter used Solovyov as the prototype for two of the Karamazov brothers -- Ivan and Alyosha.) Nollan is also planning a new course titled "Russia's Silver Age: Solovyov, Blok, and Rachmaninoff." To be taught in English translation, the course would potentially attract students from English, Foreign Languages and Literatures, Religious Studies, Philosophy, and Music. In its emphasis on philosophy, poetry, and music, the course is also intended to be happily compatible with the evolving emphasis in the Rhodes curriculum on interdisciplinary connections.

Donna Oliver

Associate Professor of Russian, Beloit College. Oliver visited Moscow and Krasnodar in Russia in May of 2001. One highlight of her time in Moscow was studying the collection of underground Soviet art currently housed at the museum at the Russian State University for the Humanities, where Beloit has its exchange program. She interviewed the collector, L.P. Talochkin; she presented the results of her interviews to Beloit colleagues, reflecting on questions of value and context. Since virtually every piece in Talochkin's collection was given to him by the artists and thus have never been on the art market, they have an unknown economic value; and since they have been removed from their historical context of being works of the underground, they are no longer controversial. Is their value now a historic one? What is their aesthetic value (now that their value is no longer tied up in their status as underground pieces)? What is their economic value? She hopes to talk further with Talochkin, and perhaps present the results in a conference paper.

While in Moscow she also interviewed with Russian theatre director Sergei Artsibashev at his "Teatr na Pokrovke." She hopes to expand her study of Artsibashev to include a fuller comparative perspective of his directorial work at the tiny Pokrovka, which is a chamber theater offering much opportunity for innovation, and the larger Mayakovsky, with its traditional hall.

In both Moscow and Krasnodar Oliver collected over 300 digital images. Among other uses, she has created PowerPoint presentations for classroom use; these slide shows use advertising and other signs to teach reading, imperatives, and participles. She also visited faculty and staff at Kuban State University in Krasnodar, the host of the ACM/GLCA Russia program.

Charles Rock

Professor of Economics, Rollins College. During the summer of 2002 Rock visited Poland to interview people in several cities about the development of social services during the transition from communism. Among them were regional heads of CARITAS, which is affiliated with the Catholic Church and carries out the vast majority of aid to the needy given by nongovernmental groups in Poland today. They were interested in setting up a program whereby US students could come to Poland and work with them and especially with youth-at-risk in their areas. He also talked to people working in the National Association of Local Governments about social services at the local levels. The faculty members of the Public Adminstration program at the Jagellonian University in Krakow were enthusiastic about the possibility of future student exchanges. They will help by giving lectures to any group Rock brings in the future.

In his Economics of Nonprofits (and Social Welfare) class, Rock will be incorporating a section on transition countries and social services using the information on Poland as a case study. He will also use Polish examples in his Political Economy of Media class in the section on international and comparative media systems.

Joseph Troncale

Associate Professor of Russian, University of Richmond. Dr. Troncale spent the summer of 2001 laying the groundwork for his 2001-02 sabbatical, which helped him prepare for a new course on the history of Russian painting. The work has included establishing a firm scholarly base for teaching a survey of Russian painting from the 10th to the 21st centuries, developing co-curricular activities to involve the students and the Richmond community in the course, and the editing a scholarly article for publication.

During the sabbatical year Troncale was engaged in an intensive study of Russian painting to synthesize his experience of Russian culture in other forms and to create an even broader, richer, and more deeply informed perspective from which to approach his study of Russia altogether. To forge the necessary scholarly base in Russian painting he has used a combination of scholarly texts and albums, CD-ROMs, lengthy study sessions in Moscow's State Tretiakovsky Gallery and Petersburg's State Russian Museum, and innumerable consultations with scholars in St. Petersburg. Since the materials available on Russian painting in the states and in the West, in general, are woefully inadequate, all of the materials for the course are from Russian sources.

Troncale was also the guest curator of the exhibition "Pushkin Ten: Recent Paintings from St. Petersburg, Russia," a complement to the painting course. It offers the students a hands-on opportunity to examine works from the last eleven years of the new Russia in the company of the works themselves. Working with the artists and with the Museum of Nonconformist Art he selected forty-one paintings to show in the University of Richmond's Marsh Gallery in October 2001. The exhibition will be in the states for two full years. A special feature of the exhibition is a concert by Yury Shevchuk and the Russian band DDT, one of Russia's most popular rock bands.

Finally, Troncale began to study drawing last summer with Professor Nicholas Sichyov in St. Petersburg, and published an article, "The True Water of the Universe: A Sense of the Source of Being in the Work of Evgeny Orlov," in the new Russian journal Art and Times.

Return to travel grant description


updated 12/23/02

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