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Central Europe & Russia Task Force
Travel grants awarded in 2005

The Central Europe/Russia Task Force awarded twenty-nine travel grants for summer and fall 2005.

Eliza Ablovatski
Assistant Professor of History, Kenyon College. In the summer of 2005 Ablovatski spent two weeks in archives and museums in Budapest to gather material about the visual culture of Hungary during WWI and the 1919 revolutionary period. She gathered photographs and films to use in her classes on Central European history, and in her book manuscript on the 1919 revolution and counterrevolution in Hungary.

Todd Armstrong
Associate Professor of Russian, Grinnell College. In May 2005 Armstrong and a student will attend a conference in Krakow on women and the Holocaust, to support a large collaborative project on Polish literary and cultural responses to the Holocaust. Together they will compile a comprehensive bibliography of literary works, a filmography, compilations of journalistic writings, textbooks, and various popular cultural materials.

Kamilla Bahbahani
Assistant Professor of Education, Millsaps College. Bahbahani visited Kyrgyzstan in the summer of 2005 to investigate and help expand a civic education curriculum in that country. She visited nine schools and interviewed thirteen teachers and numerous students about the curriculum's ability to a. encourage participation rather than passivity, change the culture of control, incorporate the diverse cultures of Kyrgyzstan, and foster global citizenship. She also gave a presentation to to Kyrgyz teachers about citizenship education in the United States.

Ze'ev Barel
Associate Professor of Mathematics, Hendrix College. During a fall 2005 Barel visited Moscow to learn about the ways undergraduate mathematics has been taught there during the post-Soviet times, particularly their experiences in problem-solving activities.He worked with several colleague at with the Independent University of Moscow (IUM) and the Moscow Center for Continuous Mathematical Education (MCCME), and learned about IUM's "Mathematics Semester in Moscow" program. He also met with a few colleagues at Tbilisi State University in Georgia.

Christopher Brooks
Assistant Professor of Political Science, St. Olaf College. Brooks visited the Czech Republic in July 2005 to look at the status of the Roma under the advent of Western institutions, attitudes, and behaviors. He met with some members of the sitting government to garner their assessment of the Roma situation, met with a pair of Roma activists in Prague, collected documents, news clippings, and other printed materials related to the plight of the Roma, and traveled to Olomouc to meet with Political Scientist Jakub Durr of Palacky University. He discovered that "despite the fact that the Roma are marginalized systematically as a group, their socio-political structure is fragmented and fraught with so much political infighting and clan-based competition that the idea of mobilizing as a unified social movement is simply not a consideration at this time. None of this is to say, however, that oppression, discrimination, and violence against the Roma has ceased to exist; on the contrary, it may be the case that the inability of the Roma to organize under a single banner to fight for their democratic and human rights enables those who would harm them."

Brooks plans to produce a scholarly article that engages the topic employing theoretical frameworks drawn from the social movement literature, possibly in collaboration with Durr. He also made arrangements for an interim 2006 course, Post-Communist Democracy in the Czech Republic, that will be conducted on site during the month of January.

Tara Chamra
Instructor of Music, Davidson College. In August 2005 Vila participated in the International Conducting Workshop and Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria. She conducted the New Symphony Orchestra of Sofia in a variety of Russian works, under the instruction of experienced condutors. The culmination of the workshop was conducting the orchestra in a public performance of "Romeo and Juliet Before Parting" from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet. It was Chamra's first experience with much of this repertoire; inspired by the workshop, she is planning an all-Russian concert at Davidson.

David Ellison
Assistant Professor of Political Science, Grinnell College. In spring 2005 Ellison will visit Budapest to analyze the potential impact on the countries of Central and Eastern Europe of adopting EU environmental policy regulations. He will interview representatives from a wide variety of environmental organizations and experts in policy. The results of this research, he writes, will be of broad significance to our understanding of the impact of membership in the European Union and the ability of international organizations to assist in the management environmental policy.

Brenda Flanagan
Professor of English, Davidson College. During the 2001 Global Partners seminar in Central Europe Flanagan became interested in the work of female Czech surrealist writers; with a previous travel grant she returned to Prague to interview several. Surrealism, she argues, was a particularly useful strategy for writers living under repressive regimes; she is testing that hypothesis through analyses of certain novels and chapbooks produced when the country was under communist rule. In the summer of 2005 Flanagan returned to continue those interviews. She talked with Eva Svankmajerova and Katerina Pinosova, as well as Josef Janda, a male surrealist who is writing a history of the movement. She attended an exhibit and two book launches related to the movement. Flanagan is currently transcribing the interviews.

Robert Givens
Professor of History, Cornell College. Givens and two colleagues from Cornell visited St. Petersburg in June 2005. Building on Givens' previous connections with the School of International Relations, they developed a preliminary agreement for exchange between Cornell and the School. The current plan is for a group of Cornell students to visit St. Petersburg in September, 2006, for a stay of three and a half weeks (one Cornell term). This will be followed by a two month visit by a graduate student or young faculty member of the School of International Relations to Cornell in the spring of 2007.

John Gould
Assistant Professor of Political Science, Colorado College. Over six weeks Gould did research on the political economy of Slovakia's economic reforms, including doing numerous
interviews in Bratislava. He also talked with a number of academic colleagues in Central Europe to recreate a course on Central European politics, including a focus shifted from the 1989 transition to the second generation of post-communist problems: EU accession, democratic renewal in countries that missed the first wave of liberalization in 1989, and the relationship between markets and partial democracies that dominate the political economy of Ukraine, Belarus, Croatia, Serbia and Kosovo. While in the area Gould also did some research into the development of privatization in Kosovo, and had a chance to meet with two Serbian student activists involved in the resistance to the Milosevic regime. He hopes to bring the activists to Colorado in spring 2006.

Hilde Hoogenboom
Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian, Macalester College (now at the State University of New York at Albany). Hoogenboom spent several weeks in July 2005 in Moscow, doing archival research on of nineteenth-century editions, fictionalizations, and dramatizations of several women's memoirs. She also purchased numerous books for the project, and a collection of movies unavailable in the United States. After her time in Moscow Hoogenboom gave a paper at the International Council for Central and Eastern European Studies in Berlin on her research. She is also preparing a paper for the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies.

Yvonne Howell
Associate Professor of Russian, University of Richmond. In 1971 Russian dissident scientist Vladimir Pavlovich Efroimson published an article, "The Genealogy of Altruism: ethics from the perspective of evolutionary genetics," in the journal Novyi Mir. The article challenged official Soviet scientific and cultural policy by promoting an evolutionary approach to understanding human behavior. In June 2005 Howell visited St. Petersburg to interview two of Efromson's colleagues about the debates generated by the article. She talked with Inge Bechtomov, chair of the genetics department at St. Petersburg State University, and Elena Romanovna Gaginskaia, director of the Cytology Institute in Peterhof. She also interviewed Victor Rafailovich Dol'nik, an ornithologist and ethologist. During the 1970s and 1980s Dol'nik published a series of popular science articles in which he systematically developed a conception of human behavior based on our biological inheritance as a species.

Michele Intermont
Associate Professor of Mathematics, Kalamazoo College. In fall 2005 Intermont went to Warsaw, Poland, to begin collaboration on a research project with Dr. Jan Spalinski of the Warsaw University of Technology. Together they began working on a problem involving algebraic topology. Intermont also gave a lecture at Warsaw University and participated in a colloquium at the University of Lodz.

Krzysztof Jasiewicz
Professor of Sociology, Washington and Lee University. In 2005 there will be two elections in Poland-a parliamentary election (at the earliest in June, at the latest in September), as well as a presidential one in October. This long electoral season happens at the time of a major realignment in Polish politics, which makes it only more exciting and worthy of a thorough investigation. Jasiewicz will go to Warsaw to study the elections and collect polling data.

Alexandra Kostina
Instructor of Russian, Rhodes College. The Russian faculty at Rhodes would like to be able to offer its students regular summer (4-6 week long) internships in Russia. Building on a previous visit, Kostina went to Novogorod in July 2005 to meet with government leaders and officials at the Novgorod Pedagogocal Lycee about establishing an internship program there. They have agreed to start a partnership effective summer 2006 at a variety of sites. She also met with the President of the Novgorod Women Artists Association, to discuss plans to add classes in traditional folk painting on wood to the academic program of the Rhodes Maymester in Russia.

Karen Lebergott
Associate Professor of Art, Lake Forest College. Lebergott spent two months in East Berlin in the summer of 2005 working on an exhibition to be shown in November. She met with Berlin artists and the curator. Her trip laid the groundwork for the visit of four East Berlin artists to Lake Forest in 2006. The visitors will produce collaborative work with Lebergott and a colleague, as well as work with students at Lake Forest and the ACM Chicago Arts Program. "The artists are looking forward to the interactions with our college students and to discussing their own roles within their culture," she writes. "Our students will gain insights into a very different culture and its relationship to artmaking which is completely different from the American model." Lbergott met with another German artist and invited her to create an installation in a Lake Forest gallery, and was herself invited to participate in an exhibition in Berlin.

Robert Lemke
Assistant Professor of Economics, Lake Forest College. In June 2005 Lemke visited Budapest to investigat three sources of opportunities for students and faculty. The most beneficial was contacts with officials of Central European University. He also investigated the work of the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics, which is both relatively inexpensive and nurtures prospective graduate students in mathematics and related fields. He did not succeed in making contacts at the Hungarian Central Bank.

Charles Mills
Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian, Knox College. Knox's course "Russia Then and Now" includes a visit to Moscow and St. Petersburg. Mills wants to make the course more welcoming for First years and Sophomores with no prior knowledge of Russian. He will visit Russia in the summer of 2005 to design a new itinerary and create a guidebook that would be site-specific to the course's itinerary, keyed to the trip. He will also investigate new meal and lodging possibilities.

Nadia Nedelsky
Assistant Professor of International Studies, Macalester College. In the fall of 2005 Nedelsky spend two months in the Czech Republic, looking at how it has dealt with transitional justice. How should democratic regimes emerging from a history of unjust and oppressive authoritarian rule respond to their past? Should the agents of that oppression be held to account? Should they be ignored, their injustices best forgotten? Or should some sort of reconciliation be sought? She interviewed members of Parliament, former dissients, and current civil societiy leaders about the goals and outcomes of Czech transitional justice in the post-Communist period. Her research will help with some writing projects and inform courses on Eastern Europe and human rights at Macalester.

Roger Nemeth
Professor of Sociology, Hope College. Nemeth, a colleague, and three Hope students spent two weeks in Romania researching non-governmental organizations providing child welfare services in Romania. They interviewied twenty child welfare NGOs and governmental ministers about child welfare policy. The group also met with faculty and administrators at three Romanian schools of social work about possible future connections with Hope students interested in the non-profit sector. Nemeth and his colleague will prepare a grant proposal for the National Science Foundation to support at REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program in Romania.

Natalia Olshanskaya
Associate Professor of Russian, Kenyon College. In summer 2005 Olshanskaya l visited Ukraine to research how Russian writers have understood the process and politics of translation. Her project will not only provide additional information on the importance of literary translation as a social and cultural phenomenon in the Russian tradition, but also reiterate its innovative, cross-cultural influence on the development and maintenance of literary canons in world culture. She also met with officials at Odessa University to develop an exchange relationship with Kenyon, as well as some students interested in American liberal arts education. She spent 10 days in Odessa and 5 days in Kiev.

Olenka Pevny
Assistant Professor of Art History, University of Richmond. In August 2005 Pevny will go to Ukraine to meet with contemporary Ukrainian artists, as well as gallery and museum curators. She is interested in trends in independent art in Ukraine since the fall of the Soviet Union. She also hopes to develop an exhibition of art by young Ukrainian painters for a gallery in Richmond.

Margaret Rennerfeldt
Assistant Professor of Dance, Beloit College. In 2004 Rennerfeldt and a colleague took students to a dance festival in Moscow, where they won a prize. A group of dancers from Moscow in turn visited Beloit. In May 2005 Rennerfeldt continued her collaboration with the Russian dancers. She worked with a Beloit student already in Russia and taught modern and jazz dance to Russian students. She met a number of other Russian dancers and laid the groundwork for the visit of another Russian troupe to Beloit.

Marc Robinson
Assistant Professor of Russian, St. Olaf College. In fall 2005 Robinson spent six weeks in Russia attending plays and meeting with theatre people. He participated in the New Drama Festival in Moscow, including attending plays and readings, going to conferences, and meeting with playwrights and directors. He also attended plays in Novgorod and St. Petersburg. In Novgorod Robinson visited St. Olaf's study abroad program, meeting faculty and host families. He laid the groundwork for a January term course to be offered in 2007 on Theatre in Russia.

Robinson writes: "My time in Russia was all that I could have wished for. I can not imagine having greater access to the number of people active in Russian contemporary theatre. I returned home with the texts of approximately seventy new plays from Russia as well as many interviews with directors, playwrights, and actors." He has already started translating some of the plays and writing an article.

Floyd Sandford
Professor of Biology, Coe College. In November 2005 Sandford traveled to Russia and the Czech Republic to collaborate with two scientific colleagues: Boris Sirenko, a chiton expert at the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Zoological Institute at the University of St. Petersburg and Zdenek Duris, a crustacean specialist at the University of Ostrava in Ostrava, Czech Republic. This continues work Sandford did last year, building on connections he developed on the 2003 Global Partners faculty development seminar in Central Europe. In St. Petersburg Sandford and Sirenko analyzed and compared their collections of chitons; Sandford also lectured at the University of St. Petersburg. In Prague he and Duris documented the presence of new species of shrimps that live in sponges in the western Caribbean; they will continue that research when they take Coe and Knox College students to Belize in June 2006. Sandford lectured in Ostrava as well.

Robert Southard
Professor of History, Earlham College. Southard is working on the history and memory in the former Pale of Settlement which before World War II housed the world's largest and most culturally productivity Jewish community. In summer 2005 he and his wife visited Lithuania and Latvia to look at the presentation of past Jewish life in places where Jews used to live. They photographed sites and interviewed local guides.

Southard anticipated museums targeted at Jewish tourists, but found that "Jewish sites and institutions struggle to exist and to reach local people in an effort to prevent further anti-semitic violence. . . .We found a duel between Jewish memory and Lithuanian minimization (or, sometimes, condoning) of anti-Jewish violence. This is striking since in 1941 mass killing of Jews began in Lithuania and Latvia, frequently with willing collaboration of the Jews' neighbors." The Southard will publish their findings on history and memory in two journals, and he will include material in his courses on Russian and Holocaust history.

Raymond Sprague
Professor of Music, Davidson College. In June 2005 Sprague attended the Varna International Conductor's Workshop in Varna, Bulgaria. He pursued intensive supervised score study and conducted rehearsals with the Orchestra Symphonietta and Morski Zvutsi Choir, both of Varna. Sprague writes: "I received critiques on both my conducting technique and intepretation of the required pieces that I found both beneficial and challenging. The perspective of the Bulgarian conductors/master teachers was markedly different from that of the American. Upon reflection this pointed not only to differences in informed personal opinions but also to cultural expectations. In any case it opened my eyes to other ways of viewing the scores and their potential and I feel that I grew as a musician."

Paul Stanley
Associate Professor of Physics, Beloit College. In the summer of 2005 Stanley will visit Prague in the Czech Republic and St. Petersburg in Russia in order to study historical references to the development of physics and astronomy. He will study original documents from Kepler, Brahe and Euler at the Archives of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and see the facilities at Charles University where Einstein worked at from 1911 to 1912. He hopes to take some students along.

Kirilka Stavreva
Associate Professor of English, Cornell College. In June 2005 Stavreva returned to her native Bulgaria to research, on site, of adaptations of Shakespeare in Bulgarian theatre and fiction during the transition from totalitarianism to democracy (1989 to the present). She attended several productions of The Tempest in Varna and Sofia, as well at attending a conference in Varna, "The Stage Arts: European Horizons," giving Stavreva "a comparative sense of the problems facing the Bulgarian theatre during this pivotal economic and cultural transition."

Joseph Troncale and Elizabeth Schlatter
Associate Professor of Russian, Assistant Director of the Art Museum, University of Richmond. Troncale and Schlatter visited St. Petersburg to develop a traveling exhibition of Russian paintings for the fall of 2006 called "The Apartment Exhibitions." During Soviet years non-compliant artists would risk punishment by exhibiting paintings in their own apartments. The traveling exhibition will recreate this environment in a portable form within the museums that would house the exhibition. Troncale gathered a wealth of archival materials not only from the archives of the Museum of Nonconformist Art, but also from the invaluable, personal samizdat archive of one of the leading artists who participated in the original exhibitions. He also interviewed artists who were among the organizers of the apartment exhibitions. He finds the idea compelling, he writes, because the "apartment exhibitions were bold acts of freedom of expression that led to deep changes in Russian society and in Russia's relations with the rest of the world."

Vessala Warner
Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre, Centre College. In summer 2005 Warner visited Skopje, Macedonia, and Sofia, Bulgaria, to do first-hand research on contemporary Balkan drama. She interviewed playwrights, saw new plays, and worked in archives. She also finalized plans for a planned visit of Centre College students to Bulgaria and Greece in January 2006.


updated 4/3/06

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