Five Things You Need to Know about the Protests in Poland

Five Things You Need to Know about the Protests in Poland

by Anna Grzymala-Busse and Monika Nalepa

First published in The Monkey Cage at The Washington Post on December 19, 2016 under the title “Why are there protests in Poland? Here are the five things you need to know.” 

Poland is gripped by its most severe constitutional crisis since the Communist regime declared martial law in 1981, with protesters — both inside parliament and outside in the freezing streets — accusing the ruling party of threatening democracy.

Law and Justice (PiS), the party in power, has roots in the dissident trade union Solidarity, which helped bring down the Communist regime. But it has this in common with the authoritarian Communist PZPR, which ruled Poland between 1948 and 1989: It occupies an absolute majority of seats in the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish Parliament. Unlike the PZPR, it was elected in free and fair elections.

Here’s what you need to know about the protests and what they say about PiS’s rule in Poland.  Continue reading

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Francofonia

Francofonia

by Anthony Stott

On October 20, 2016, the University of Chicago community joined Dragan Kujundžić, Professor of Germanic and Slavic Studies, and Film and Media Studies at the University of Florida, to celebrate the renowned Russian film director Alexander Sokurov and his latest film Francofonia. The event was sponsored by the Franke Institute for the Humanities, CEERES, The Chicago Center for Jewish Studies, The Transnational Approaches to Modern Europe, and the Departments of Cinema and Media Studies and Comparative Literature. Continue reading

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Doubly Neglected: Women and Religion in the Balkans—The Case of Orthodox Women Monastics

 Milica Bakić-Hayden: Doubly Neglected: Women and Religion in the Balkans—The Case of Orthodox Women Monastics

by Nada Petković

doublyneglectedOn October 17, 2016, the Franke Institute for the Humanities hosted a lecture on Orthodox
Women Monastics in the Balkans delivered by Milica Bakić-Hayden, a scholar in religious studies from the University of Pittsburgh. The event was sponsored by the Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies, The Franke Institute for the Humanities, and the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. The paper was based on ethnographic research conducted among women monastics in Serbia over the course of the last decade.  Continue reading

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To Be Arrested in Russia

To Be Arrested in Russia

by Ariella Katz

14316908_1300058116691506_8615033570249890654_nOn September 19, a week before school started, I was arrested in Moscow twice. I went to Manezhnaya Square, near the entrance to Red Square with a poster that said in Latin: “Ildar Dadin quamvis captivus liber est,” which means “Ildar Dadin although imprisoned is free”. A few minutes later I was surrounded by police. When they saw my American passport, they told me that I had no right to protest in Russia. At the police station, I was told that this time I would be forgiven, but if I returned to the square they would be forced to press charges against me and revoke my visa. Continue reading

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Pearls of the Czech New Wave

Pearls of the Czech New Wave

by Cheryl Stephenson

From left to right: Ivan Passer, Milos Stehlik, Alice Lovejoy, and Herbert Eagle

From left to right: Ivan Passer, Milos Stehlik, Alice Lovejoy, and Herbert Eagle

On April 29, 2016 Slavists and film enthusiasts came together to welcome the legendary Czech film director Ivan Passer for “Pearls of the Czech New Wave,” an evening of conversation and film, featuring the film anthology Pearls of the Deep and including the Chicago premiere of Passer’s short film, A Boring Afternoon. The event was sponsored by the Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies, the Film Studies Center, the Franke Institute for the Humanities, the Central Europe Workshop, and the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. Bořek Lizec, Consul General of the Czech Republic in Chicago also provided a special introduction. Continue reading

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Politics of Difference: Migration, Nation, Postsocialist Left and Right

SOYUZ at the University of Chicago

By Roy Kimmey and Patrick Lewis

SOYUZ1The 2016 SOYUZ Symposium took place at the University of Chicago’s Franke Institute on March 11-12.  SOYUZ is the Research Network for Postsocialist Studies of the American Anthropological Association.  This year’s symposium took its impetus from the ongoing refugee crisis now gripping postsocialist Europe. However, presentations were not limited to Europe and addressed a host of themes about the broader postsocialist world. The two day meeting hosted eight panels and two special sessions: one on Roms in postsocialist Europe, the other a roundtable on the current trajectory of Left and Right politics in Hungary, Russia and Ukraine. Pamela Ballinger (U of Michigan) delivered the keynote address: “A Sea of Difference:  Regime Collapse and Migrations from Albania to Italy, 1945-1992.”
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In Empire’s Long Shadow: Modern Constructions of Central Eurasia, 1900-1941

In Empire’s Long Shadow: Modern Constructions of Central Eurasia, 1900-1941

by Robert Bird

In recent years the University of Chicago has become home to a group of innovative young scholars—both faculty and PhD students—working on issues related to the modern construction of new cultural institutions, practices and histories in EmpireShadow1Central Eurasia. Supported by faculty from a range of departments, these PhD students have rejuvenated the Committee on Central Eurasian Studies and maintained a lively program of events. On 26-27 February 2016 the University hosted a major international conference designed to showcase their work and bring them into dialogue with leading senior scholars in the field, as well as with colleagues within the Committee for Central Eurasian Studies and from across the University.

All twenty presentations examined aspects of Central Eurasian history and culture at a time when empires crumbled in the wake of World War I and revolutionary transformation rocked the entire territory, from Iran and the Turkish Republic to the Soviet republics of Central Asia and Transcaucasia and across Xinjiang, Mongolia, and Siberia. Political developments and the formation of national institutions were accompanied by rapid changes in culture, most strikingly in language, literacy, gender and religion. By the beginning of World War II, Central Eurasia had taken shape as a set of ethnically-defined territorial units. Papers examined both this unprecedented political order and the equally unprecedented cultural forms it engendered.

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Documentary and Ideology: Svetlana Alexievich, the 2015 Nobel Laureate for Literature

Who is Svetlana Alexievich?

by Zachary Murphy King

Alexievich RoundtableOn January 19, 2016, the Center for East European, Russian and Eurasian Studies hosted a roundtable discussion on Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature. Specialists in Russian studies from the University of Chicago gathered to discuss the significance and place of her work in the current ideological debates in the Russian-speaking world. The speakers were Robert Bird, Eleonora Gilburd, Faith Hillis, and William Nickell.

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“Russia on the Brink?”: A Panel Discussion

“Russia on the Brink?”: A Panel Discussion

by Zachary Murphy King

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On 5 October 2015 the Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies kicked off the 2015-2016 academic year with a panel discussion “Russia on the Brink? (Europe on Alert)” at the Neubauer Collegium, an institute for interdisciplinary research in the humanities and social sciences at the University of Chicago. Four brief presentations focused on the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution, the role of the US, Russian state corruption, and the social roots of Russia’s recent crisis. The four panelists comprised three professors from the University of Chicago—John Mearsheimer, Monika Nalepa and Konstantin Sonin—and sociologist Svitlana Khutka of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Kyiv, a visiting scholar at Stanford University.

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Introduction to East from Chicago Blog

Welcome to “East from Chicago,” a multimedia blog focusing on East European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at The University of Chicago.  Our goal is to report on events of interest held by a wide variety of departments, committees, and centers at the University.

We hope that “East from Chicago” will become a venue for stimulating information and vibrant discussion. We therefore welcome input from our audience, but we expect civility to be respected in the comment sections.

For information on our editorial board please see our About page.

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