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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 2002

Eighteen travel grants were awarded by the Central Europe & Russia Task Force for summer 2002 and academic year 2002-03.

Todd Armstrong

Associate Professor of Russian, Grinnell College. Armstrong has been laying the ground work for a course on "The Cultural Politics of Central Europe," to be taught simultaneously at Grinnell and Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic. With the grant he visited Pakacky, met with faculty members, and installed the necessary software. He will implement the course in stages, starting with using the technology to have local experts to give virtual lectures to students at Grinnell and participate in discussions.

Ultimately he hopes to have Grinnell and Pakacky students work together to study the many issues surrounding cultural participation in the political development of Central Europe in the post-WWII era. Faculty members would collaborate on core readings, a series of lectures, and consult with students on group projects. Students would work in pairs or small groups. Contact between the two institutions would be conducted via a number of technological paths: discussion boards, chat rooms, and real time video conferences. The classes would "meet" on a regular basis, and students would meet with each other and with faculty.

Robert Bird

Assistant Professor of Russian Literature, University of Chicago. Bird is preparing the first critical editions in Russian and English of key texts by Russian poet and thinker Viacheslav Ivanov. In the summer of 2002 he worked in several Moscow and St. Petersburg archives to survey sources. He went through manuscripts at the Russian State Library, the Russian National Library, and the Scriabin Museum. He also met with several Russian colleagues and presented a paper at a conference at the Institute of Russian Literature. Most importantly, Bird discovered few sources he was not already familiar with.

Since his return, Bird has submitted his edition of Viacheslav Ivanov and Mikhail Gershenzon's Correspondence from Two Corners to a Russian publisher. This will be the first critical edition of a seminal text of Russian intellectual history (written in 1920). He also has recently submitted to Slavic Review an article "On the Mystery of Man: Viacheslav Ivanov's Chelovek and Aleksandr Scriabin's Misteriia."

Claudia Bossard

Assistant Professor of Music, DePauw University. Bossard wants to introduce her American piano students to the principles of Russian piano pedagogy. During the summer of 2002 she will attend the American-Russian Piano Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Brenda Flanagan

Professor of English, Davidson College. During the Global Partners seminar in the Czech Republic in the summer of 2001, Flanagan interviewed Czech dissident women writers about their experiences and writing under communism. In the summer of 2002 she returned to the Czech Republic to interview other dissident writers, especially Surrealists. She met them in their favorite cafes, and toured exhibits of Surrealist art. Flanagan also participated in the twenty-first SVU World Congress of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences, where she presented a paper on teaching Czech Surrealist literature in an American liberal arts college. She is continuing to study Czech so she can read the literature, and plans on teaching it in her seminars at Davidson

Michael Galaty

Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Millsaps College. In 1921 American writer Rose Wilder Lane traveled through rural Albania and wrote about her adventures. In the summer of 2002, Galaty and colleagues retraced Lane's route to produce a short film about Wilder, her trip, and how rural Albanian society has changed since 1921. They shot twelve hours of film, visited sites described by Wilder, and talked with the descendents of people she met. "The film we are making," Galaty reports, "will, we hope, convey something of the scope of Lane's life, and at the same time depict the majesty of the Albanian high country and the strength and grace of its inhabitants." They are now collecting archival material in the US and getting ready to edit the film.

Galaty's trip also kindled an intense interest in the culture and history of High Albania. In 2003 he published a paper on the theoretical importance of archaeological, ethnohistorical, and ethnographic study of Shala, Albania. He is starting to plan a large, regional research project based in Theth and Shkodra. He has also been in contact with an American scholar working to create a trans-national "peace park" which would incorporate portions of Montengro, Kosavo/a, and northern Albania. Should significant archaeological sites be found, the peace park would have the additional benefit of protecting archaeological resources.

Robert Gitter

Professor of Economics, Ohio Wesleyan University. Gitter worked with Markus Scheuer of the Rhine Westphalia Institute for Economic Research to research economic issues in Central Europe during the fall of 2002. They visited with both government and private sector economists about recent changes in the Czech economy. The consensus was that the key to the unemployment picture would be the very likely entry of the Czech Republic into the European Union. They will present a paper on unemployment in Eastern Europe at the Midwest Economic Association.

They also met with faculty and students at the Institute of Foreign Trade of the University of Gdansk. The Polish economy seems less ready for integration into the European Union because it is more heavily reliant on agriculture, which in general is already in surplus in the European Union. In Warsaw they talked with faculty at the Institute of Statistics and Demography at the Warsaw School of Economics about the very low birth rate in Poland today.

Robert Givens

Professor of History, Cornell College. Givens is spending the 2002-2003 academic year in Krasnodar, Russia. He directed the ACM/GLCA study abroad program during the fall, and conducted research in the spring. During the summer of 2002 Givens visited the city to meet faculty and administrators at Kuban State University, the host for the off-campus study program. He talked with those who would teach the American students and some of the program's host families. "As a result, when I arrived with the students on August 27 I was both quite familiar with conditions in this part of Russia and had already resolved questions affecting important aspects of the program," he reports. "There is no question that the overall ACM/GLCA Krasnodar Semester benefited from my ability to hit the ground running."

During his visit Givens also developed his course for the seminar, on ethnic tensions in the Kuban region. "I focused the assigned reading on the question of centralism and localism in recent Russian history, and sought to show the students how regional political developments reflected trends that can be observed at the national level." These tensions will also be the topic of his spring 2003 research.

Xenia Srebrianski-Harwell

Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian and German, Wabash College. In May 2002, within a three week period, Harwell traveled from St. Petersburg to Ekaternburg, Tobol'sk, Tiumen', Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Listvyanka, and Ol'khon Island, doing research for a potential student trip to Siberia. She now has a better idea about where to take students and which cities to give priority to under the time and financial constraints of a student trip. She also gathered materials and many photos from the trip, some of which she can already use in her Russian language classes. The trip also allowed her to narrow the focus of the course she is planning. She had hoped to offer the course in 2003, but it will most likely be offered in 2005.

Meanwhile, Harwell has put the knowledge gained on this trip to good use in other classes, including first and second year languages classes as well as in a course she offered in Spring 2003, entitled "Russian Culture: Taboos, Traditions, Transitions," in which she was able to incorporate issues related to Siberia in class discussions. She also made a presentation about her trip as part of the Humanities Colloquium Series at Wabash College, speaking at a well-attended session on 3 December 2002 on "Beyond European Russia: Travels in Siberia, Mongolia, China."

Gina Hausknecht

Associate Professor of English, Coe College. During the Czech faculty seminar in the summer of 2001, Hausknecht began researching how Central European actors and scholars have adapted and appropriated Shakespeare. In the summer of 2002, she returned to the Czech Republic to attend a conference, attend Shakespeare performances, and meet with scholars, translators, and theatre artists. Since her return she has incorporated her experience in her teaching and in a seminar she led for high school teachers.

A year after her return, Hausknecht wrote: "The history of Shakespeare in Central Europe is fascinating and in many ways unexpected for American audiences. More, however, than the details of the role of Shakespeare in the Central European nationalist movements of the nineteenth-century and the anti-communist theater of the Soviet era, what's most valuable to me in talking with students is how international Shakespeare helps us re-examine the question of why the plays are so enduring and so powerful. Ben Jonson famously eulogized his contemporary as being 'not of an age, but for all time' and students and Shakespeare fans are often quick to rhapsodize about his universal human appeal. But the long history of appropriating Shakespeare for local political and cultural uses leads us to question the theory of fixed, ahistorical, universal elements in the plays-or in us-that accounts for their longevity. And the fact that more people experience Shakespeare in translation than in English challenges claims that the language of the plays itself accounts for their unique genius."

Lynn Hooker

Assistant Professor of Music, University of Richmond. During the summer of 2002, Hooker spent a productive month in Central Europe pursuing several projects. She did research in Budapest on the impact of Franz Liszt, aimed at completing a manuscript on Hungarian music history. She visited Vienna, Prague, Budapest, and Brno to develop a proposed study-abroad course, "Central European Culture in Transition." She met with local museum officials, program administrators, and folk music scholars. Finally, she laid the groundwork for two future research projects -- one into the role of Gypsy music in Hungarian culture, and the other on the international phenomenon of the Hungarian "tanchaz" (dance house).

Krzystof Jasiewicz

Professor of Sociology, Washington and Lee University. In the summer of 2002, Jasiewicz continued research he began with a previous Global Partners travel grant, on the ideological and structural sources of "Euro-skepticism" in Poland. He secured access to a variety of public opinion polling data, including the Polish National Election Study 2001. He also visited several programs and projects on European integration, obtaining materials related to Poland's forthcoming membership in the European Union, problems stemming from integration of Poland's economy and polity to the framework of European institutions, and popular attitudes related to these issues.

Since his 2002 trip, Jasiewicz has presented lectures at conferences in the U.S. and Europe on this research, and has written two chapter for books published in Poland on Polish politics. He also used the data gathered for this project as a foundation for analysis of public attitudes toward the EU enlargement in a course on European Politics and Society offered at Washington and Lee during the Winter 2003 semester.

Alexandra Kostina and Valerie Nollan

Instructor of Russian (Kostina) and Associate Professor of Russian (Nollan), Rhodes College. In the summer and fall of 2002, Nollan, Kostina, and Professor Maksin Proskuriakov of St. Petersburg State University conducted a valuable series of exchanges. During the summer the two Americans traveled to St. Petersburg to meet with Prof. Proskuriakov to define some collaborative research plans in linguistics and to discuss the research/consultation trip to Memphis planned for the fall. In November Proskuriakov lectured in Memphis on several issues concerning contemporary Russian literature. Proskuriakov also participated in a poetry reading organized by Rhodes Russian Club, where he and Prof. Nollan recited their original poems. Other professors and students recited Russian poetry by various authors. The three also presented a panel at the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (AAASS) international conference.

These exchanges were valuable for all the participants. The professors discussed the design and content of the Introduction to General Linguistics course at Rhodes College (to be introduced in the spring of 2004 and taught by Prof. Kostina), as well as to the development of additional courses in linguistics at the college. The meetings furthered the scholarly and pedagogical collaboration between Rhodes College and St. Petersburg State University. The project enabled Prof. Proskuriakov to present his paper at a prestigious international conference on a panel with Profs. Nollan and Kostina; his participation could not have taken place without funds for travel to the U.S. from Russia. It also allowed Prof. Proskuriakov to present two lectures at Rhodes College, to which all faculty and students were invited.

Myron Levine

Professor of Political Science, Albion College. Can urban and social policy mitigate the effects of gentrification and promote more balanced urban growth? To investigate that question, Levine visited the East Berlin neighborhood of Prenzlauer Berg in the summer of 2002. He met with academics and architects as he investigated the impact of the redevelopment project. He was also able to secure permission to accompany a group of German architects on a tour of the New Chancellery, the German White House. Since his return he presented a paper at a "Berlin in America" conference in Iowa City, and a quite scholarly and detailed piece at an international conference on gentrification at the University of Glasgow. As part of his work he took photos which will accompany a future published piece on German policy and gentrification. "Government Policy, the Local State, and Gentrification: The Case of Prenzlauer Berg (Berlin), Germany" appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs.

Stephanie Merkel

Assistant Professor of Humanities and Classics, Ohio Wesleyan University. In December 2002 Merkel will visit several museums and archives in Moscow, as she researches and translates the work of Russian Romantic poet and theorist Prince Petr Viazemskii.

Bruce Polay

Professor of Music, Knox College. Building on the experience supported by a previous travel grant, Polay went to Russia in December 2002, where he guest conducted performances of the Kislovodsk State Philharmonic Orchestra and itsnewly formed Amadeus Chamber Orchestra in Kislovodsk, Essentuki, and Piatagorsk. The programs included pieces by Handel, Mozart, Prokofiev, and Polay himself.

Polay writes that "the opportunity to realize music performance with such fine, Russian-trained Russians, particularly in works central to their collective heritage greatly effects my ability to discussion Russian music in the classroom. It is my firm belief that what touches performance nurtures the classroom. Having the experience of performing great Russian literature enhances my view of performance practice and the history contemporary to the work." He is also sharing his experience with other classes on campus; a colleague has asked him to lecture on Russian nationalist opera in his 19th century Russian literature class.

Louis-Philippe Rochon and Matias Vernengo

Assistant Professors of Economics, Kalamazoo College. For several years Rochon and Vernengo have been researching capital volatility of capital flows in Latin America. In the summer of 2002 they will visit Moscow, where their research will provide a comparison between Brazilian and Russian financial crises.

Anatoly Vishevsky

Associate Professor of Russian, Grinnell College. Vishevsky will direct the ACM/GLCA Central European Studies Program in 2004. He spent the summer of 2002 in Prague preparing for the course. He improved his conversational Czech, as well as grammar and comprehension, by taking advantage of the Czech-speaking environment as well as by visiting Prague theaters. In pursuit of Czech language competency he have also saw a number of Czech films, which was part of his on-going interest and commitment to Czech (as well as to East and Central European) cinema. He also had private Czech lessons.

For the program Vishevsky has planned a director's course that would focus on the history of the region as seen through film. He met several times with Michal Bregant, Dean of the prestigious Czech film and media school, FAMA, and an authority on Central and Eastern European Cinema. He also met with Professor Galina Kopaneva from the Film Faculty of Charles University in Prague, and continued discussions with her on specific directors and films for the course-in-planning on Central and Eastern European Cinema.

Veljko Vujacic

Associate Professor of Sociology, Oberlin College. Vujacic will spend part of the summer of 2002 in Belgrade, researching the rise of authoritarian nationalism in Yugoslavia after the fall of communism. He is interested in showing the ideological and institutional forces that encouraged nationalism in Yugoslavia and elsewhere in the region.


updated 1/28/05

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