Monthly Archives: September 2011

Czeslaw Milosz Symposium

The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
The Committee on Social Thought
The Committee on Creative Writing
The Program on Poetry and Poetics
are happy to announce a symposium on

Czeslaw Milosz
at the 100th anniversary of his birthday

Saturday October 22, 1:30 – 4:30
Social Sciences Tea Lounge


1:30 Introductory remarks

1:45 Adam Zagajewski, University of Chicago

2:15 Claire Cavanagh, Northwestern University

2:45 Coffee break

3:00 Bozena Shallcross, University of Chicago

3:30 Lukazs Tischner, Jagellonian University, Cracow

4:00 Thomas Pavel, University of Chicago

Organizers: Bozena Shallcross and Thomas Pavel
The Lumen Christi Institute kindly contributed to this event

Posted in: Chicago Events, University of Chicago Events

Three Stories of Galicia Film Screening

The Kyiv and Warsaw Committees of Chicago Sister Cities International proudly present the Chicago Premiere of Three Stories of Galicia, a documentary that reveals the intimate stories of three courageous individuals who took it upon themselves to preserve the dignity of the human spirit. A Jewish man whose family chose to save the life of its worst enemy. A Ukrainian woman who endured the theft of her children to save her country. A Polish priest who risked everything to end the sectarian hatred that tore at his parish. They all came from a land where the Second World War never ended and where children grow up with the burden of fighting the battles of their grandparents. The land was called Galicia.

When: Thursday, December 1
Time: 6:30 p.m. Screening, Followed by Q&A (featuring filmmakers) and Reception
Where: Chicago Cultural Center – Claudia Cassidy Theater, 77 East Randolph Street

Tickets: $15 per person

Posted in: Chicago Events

Niagara Lecture Series Hosts Prof. James C. Harrington, Director of Texas Civil Rights Project

Prof. James C. Harrington

Wrestling with Free Speech,
Religious Freedom, and Democracy in Turkey
The Political Trials and Times of Fethullah Gulen

Welcome & Reception: 5:30 p.m.

Lecture & Book Signin: 6:00 – 7:00 pm.


Thursday, Oct 27, 2011

205 N Michigan Ave
Suite 2540
Chicago, IL 60601


Posted in: Chicago Events, University of Chicago Events

Brian Horne at the Russian Studies Workshop

Russian Studies Workshop
Tuesday, Oct. 4, 4:30-6:00 (snacks from 4:15!)
John Hope Franklin room (SSRB 224)

Please join us for the inaugural meeting of the new, interdisciplinary Russian Studies Workshop on Oct. 4, when we will discuss a dissertation chapter by Brian Horne (Dept. of Anthropology, University of Chicago) entitled “‘More alive than all the living’: Music and Mortal Politics”. Refreshments will be available at 4:15, and we will begin our discussion at 4:30.

The paper is now available on the workshop’s chalk site,, under “Documents.” If you do not have access to the chalk site, please email Leah Goldman at, and she will be glad to send you a copy. Please also contact her if you have any questions, comments, or otherwise need assistance.

Posted in: University of Chicago Events

Fellowships at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University

Fellowships at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University

“Imperial Legacies and International Politics in the Post-Soviet Space”

Deadline: January 9, 2012

More information:

Q&A session with convening faculty at ASEEES Convention

Friday, November 18, 2 p.m., Robert’s Restaurant, Private Dining Room, Lobby Level

Online webinar, Thursday, December 1, 2 p.m. EST.

The Davis Center is pleased to announce the theme for its 2012-2013 Fellows Program. The Fellows Program brings together scholars at early and later stages in their careers to consider a common theme spanning the social sciences and humanities. The program is coordinated by faculty from across Harvard University whose research interests include aspects of the selected theme. In 2012-2013, the Fellows Program will be coordinated by Professors Tim Colton (Government) and Serhii Plokhii (History).

The theme for 2012-2013 is “Imperial Legacies and International Politics in the Post-Soviet Space.” Areas to be explored under this theme include history, identity issues, security, political economy, and regime building in Russia, Ukraine, and other countries of the region. Other topics of interest include social and cultural factors such as migration, public health, religion, organized crime, environmental degradation, popular culture, and the mass media.

In addition to pursuing their own research, Fellows will participate in a bi-weekly interdisciplinary seminar series that will explore the theme. Papers will be presented by the visiting Fellows, Harvard faculty, and invited outside speakers. For more detailed information on the Fellows Program, and opportunities to apply for regional, postdoctoral, and senior fellowships, please visit the Davis Center web site,, or consult the text below.

Note that scholars whose work does not address the annual theme may still apply for fellowships at the Davis Center; their applications will receive full consideration.

We invite you to consider applying and to forward this message to colleagues and advanced graduate students who may be interested.

Posted in: Job Postings, Resources (Funding, Study Abroad, Internships, etc.)

GEEO Travel Programs for Educators

Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO) is a non-profit organization that runs summer professional development travel programs designed for teachers.

GEEO is offering 15 different travel programs for the summer of 2012: India/Nepal, Vietnam, Thailand/Laos/Cambodia, China, Russia/Mongolia/China, Egypt, Turkey 8 day, Turkey 15 day, South Africa/Mozambique/Zimbabwe/Botswana, Morocco, Argentina/Uruguay/Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, The Galapagos Islands and Costa Rica. Space is limited! Participants who book before November 15th, 2011 will receive an early booking discount of 5% off the program fee.

Educators have the option to earn graduate school credit (3 credits through Indiana University) and professional development credit while seeing the world. The trips are 8 to 23 days in length and are designed and discounted to be interesting and affordable for teachers. GEEO provides teachers educational materials and the structure to help them bring their experiences into the classroom. The trips are open to all nationalities of K-12 and University educators and administrators, as well as retired educators. Educators are also permitted to bring along a non-educator guest.

Detailed information about each trip, including itineraries, costs, travel dates, and more can be found at . GEEO can be reached 7 days a week, toll free at 1-877-600-0105 between 9AM-9PM EST.

Posted in: Resources (Funding, Study Abroad, Internships, etc.)

Socalled presented by KFAR Jewish Arts Center

Socalled & Vertikal
8pm Monday, Oct. 10
Martyrs (21+),
3855 N. Lincoln Ave,
Chicago, IL

From the KFAR newsletter:

Armed with his Akai MPC, heritage and love for genre-bending music, Socalled, aka Josh Dolgin, is a Yiddish rapping, accordion wielding hip-hop maestro. Heralded by Klezmer and hip hop musicians alike, he builds Jewish music from the bottom-up. His albums Hiphopkhasene (Piranha), Socalled Seder (2005, JDUB), Ghettoblaster (2007, JDUB ) and now Sleepover (2011, Dare to Care) are an amalgamation of traditional and contemporary influences.

“Hip hop is all about representing who you are, your crew. I’m this little white Jewish dude living in the country. It doesn’t make sense for me to rap about guns, cars, and hos. I’m not going to rap about hos. What should I make music about? I should try to represent who I am. When I began digging for samples, I found these old Jewish records, and they were a clue about this funky, old tradition that had been forgotten. Yiddish theater, Cantorial music…all kinds of weird sounds…and the records had the most amazing breaks! And I realized that I could make my hip hop – my music from them.” -SoCalled

Posted in: Chicago Events

Milosz: The Witness of Poetry–Master Class

The Lumen Christi Institute
and The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures


“Milosz: The Witness of Poetry”

A master class to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Milosz’s birth


Adam Zagajewski (Committee on Social Thought, University of Chicago)
Bożena Shallcross (Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Chicago)

Friday, October 21, 2:00pm-5:00pm
The Quadrangle Club
1155 E. 57th Street

Reception following the class.


Czeslaw Milosz, winner of the 1980 Nobel Prize for Literature, ranks among the most respected figures in twentieth-century Polish literature, as well as one of the most respected contemporary poets in the world. He was born in Lithuania in 1911, where his parents moved temporarily to escape the political upheaval in their native Poland. As an adult, he left Poland due to the oppressive Communist regime that came to power following World War II. He then moved to the United States where from 1961 to 1998 he was a professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley. He died in 2004 at his home in Kraków, Poland. Milosz’s poems, novels, essays, and other works are written in his native Polish and translated by the author and others into English. Having lived under the two great totalitarian systems of modern history, national socialism and communism, Milosz writes of the past in a tragic, ironic style that nonetheless affirms the value and dignity of human life.

In The Witness of Poetry, Milosz addresses many of the major problems of contemporary poetry, beginning with the pessimism prompted by reductionist interpretations of man to his animal origins. He examines the tendency of poets since Mallarmé to isolate themselves from society, and stresses the need for the poet to make himself part of the human family in society. One chapter is devoted to the tension between classicism and realism; Milosz believes poetry should be “a passionate pursuit of the real.” In “Ruins and Poetry” he looks at poems constructed from the wreckage of a civilization, specifically that of Poland after the horrors of World War II. Finally, he expresses optimism for the world, based on a hoped-for better understanding of the lessons of modern science, on the emerging recognition of humanity’s unity, and on humanity’s growing awareness of its own history.

Seminar Leaders

Adam Zagajewski was born in Lwów (L’viv) in 1945 and became widely known in the United States when his poem “Try to Praise the Mutilated World” offered consolation to a country under attack from the back page of the 9/11 issue of The New Yorker with its black-on-black cover. Zagajewski moved to Paris in 1982, began teaching in the University of Houston Creative Writing program in 1988, and since 2002 he has been splitting his time between Kraków and the United States, in recent years serving as a visiting professor on the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.

Bożena Shallcross is Associate Professor of Polish Literature at the University of Chicago and the College of the University of Chicago. She is Director of Undergraduate Studies and Academic Advisor for the Interdisciplinary Program at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures; she also serves as a member of the Board of Directors at the Chicago Center for Jewish Studies and Chair of Reading Cultures Core Sequence, and she is a faculty member in the Committee on Creative Writing and the Program on Poetry and Poetics.

Further Information

If you would like to participate in the class with Professors Zagajewski and Shallcross, R.S.V.P. to Ursula Pawlowski at by Monday, October 10 at the latest. Once you register, we will send you a confirmation email which will include information on how to pick up your class materials, which include a copy of The Witness of Poetry as well as a syllabus. Spaces are limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have any questions about the class, please contact Jennifer Frey, our Senior Event Coordinator, at

Posted in: Chicago Events, Resources (Funding, Study Abroad, Internships, etc.), University of Chicago Events

Conversations: Reflections on the Soviet Experience

Conversations: Reflections on the Soviet Experience
Join the University of Chicago Graham School, in partnership with the Soviet Arts Experience, for a series of three conversations on the social and political environment of the Soviet era.
Conversations will be led by Martha Merritt, Associate Dean for International Education at the University of Chicago.

On October 6th, Slavic professor Robert Bird will discuss how artists dealt with the constraints on free expression in the Soviet Union and, in the process, will challenge our assumptions about the way media functioned under Communism. What were the similarities and differences between the media systems of the USSR and the United States? Both served to form social identities, but also to provide a space for expression, even in conditions of repression and oppression. A particular focus will be the final years of Soviet rule, when a clumsy political system was being challenged by technologically savvy media pioneers.

On October 13th, political scientist John Mearsheimer will talk about the legacy of the Soviet Union and the Cold War. In 1990, Professor Mearsheimer wrote a provocative article for the Atlantic Monthly entitled, “Why We Will Soon Miss the Cold War,” in which he noted that the conditions that had made for decades of peace in the West were fast disappearing. He noted that we may “wake up one day lamenting the loss of the order that the Cold War gave to the anarchy of international relations.” Have we reached the day?

On October 20th, human rights scholar Jennifer Amos will shed light on what human rights meant in Soviet society. The communist government was among the most vocal advocates of what it called cultural, economic, and social rights, as well as the rights of minority and colonial peoples. It introduced universal education, universal health care, and eliminated unemployment. At the same time, the Soviet Union built one of the most notorious systems of forced labor camps and created elaborate networks to spy on its citizens. Since the fall of communism, Western conceptions of human rights have received mixed reactions at best. Why is this the case?


All conversations take place from 6 to 7:30 pm at
University of Chicago Gleacher Center
450 N. Cityfront Plaza Drive

Each lecture is $10, or free for University students who present a valid ID. To register, or for more information, click here.

For more information please contact Sarah Pesin in the Graham School Partnerships Office at or 773.702.2768.

Posted in: Chicago Events, Soviet Arts Experience, University of Chicago Events

New class added for Fall: Human Rights under Communism and Post-Communism

Human Rights under Communism and Post-Communism
HMRT 24100 (= HIST 29409)
Instructor: Jennifer Amos, Graduate Lecturer, Human Rights Program
Tuesday – Thursday: 1:30 – 2:50 pm

In this class we will explore human rights under communism and in the post-communism societies of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. What did human rights mean in these societies and how did that meaning change over time and place? What role did ideology play in defining these rights and what happened to the rights once communist ideology disappeared? Communist governments were amongst the most vocal advocates of cultural, economic and social rights as well as the rights of minority and colonial peoples. These governments liberated women in Central Asia from forced marriage and encouraged both them and minorities to partake in politics. They introduced universal education, universal health care, and eliminated unemployment. They challenged ‘bourgeois’ ideas of human rights and influenced international human rights treaties with their ideas. At the same time, these states built one of the most notorious systems of forced labor camps and created elaborate networks to spy on its citizens. They jailed dissidents who challenged their governments’ legitimacy also using claims of human rights. However, when Communism collapsed, governments and their citizens did not automatically embrace Western ideas regarding human rights.

Posted in: Resources (Funding, Study Abroad, Internships, etc.)