by Max Bergholz
This piece was originally published with the same title in Sage House News: The Cornell University Press Blog. The original post can be found here.
The town of Kulen Vakuf, site of mass killings in 1941
“You have fifteen minutes to look around. After that I’m going for coffee with my colleagues, and besides, God save me if someone found out I let a foreigner down here!” These words—spoken to me on a September afternoon in 2006 by an archivist in Bosnia-Herzegovina—marked the moment my book began.
I was in one of the archive’s basement storage depots. Many of the light bulbs were burned out, while a handful of others flickered. The impatient archivist handed me a flashlight, and pointed me down a dark set of shelves. “I think what you’re looking for might be down there,” she yelled just before exiting the depot. I stood in silence for a moment, and then switched on the flashlight. After ten minutes of straining to read the handwriting on filthy, uncatalogued stacks of blue folders, my eyes froze on these words: “Sites of Mass Executions.” Continue reading
Posted in Essay
Tagged Balkan History, Balkans, Bosnia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Community, Croatia, Ethnic cleansing, Ethnic violence, Herzegovina, Kulen Vakuf, Massacres, Max Bergholz, Multiethnic, Violence, World War II
by Michaela Appeltova
On February 2, Kateřina Kolářová, Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies in the
Department of Gender Studies at Charles University in Prague, presented a theoretically dense, analytically layered, and thought-provoking excerpt from her manuscript on the intersections of disability, race, sexuality, and post-socialism in the Czech Republic. The event was sponsored by the Disability Studies Reading Group, Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies, and Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. Continue reading
by Monika Nalepa
First published in The Monkey Cage at The Washington Post on January 23, 2017 under the title This is what the gradual erosion of rule of law looks like in Poland.
From Dec. 16 to Jan. 11, 10 members of parliament occupied the plenary hall of the Polish parliament (called the Sejm). The unprecedented blockade began with a protest against the right-wing ruling party’s ban on allowing the news media in the building. It continued as a way to object to what many have seen as an uncertain fate for the rule of law in Poland — including plans for a far-reaching reconstruction of the court system that could endanger the nation’s hold on democracy.
Until recently, Poland and Hungary were seen as examples of successful transitions to democracy. Each emerged from behind the Iron Curtain after the Soviet Union dissolved in 1989. Each is now ruled by a right-wing party that is steadily shaving away those new democratic institutions and norms — and which is explaining its crackdown in part by pointing to past failures to fully clean house after communism. Continue reading
On January 12, 2017 the Seminary Co-op Bookstore and the Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies launched A CEERES of Voices, an author-centered series of readings and conversations on books from or about Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Central Eurasia, and the Caucasus. The series began with a discussion of Country of Red Azaleas with Domnica Radulescu and Maria-Sabina Draga Alexandru. Continue reading
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
Posted in Essay
Tagged Civic Platform (PO), Committee for Defense of Democracy (KOD), freedom of the press, Law and Justice (PiS), Mateusz Kijowski, Michal Szczerba, Poland, Polish parliament, protest, Ryszard Petru, Sejm, Solidarity
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
Milica Bakić-Hayden: Doubly Neglected: Women and Religion in the Balkans—The Case of Orthodox Women Monastics
by Nada Petković
On 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
To Be Arrested in Russia
by Ariella Katz
On 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
Pearls of the Czech New Wave
by Cheryl Stephenson
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
Posted in Event Recap
Tagged A Boring Afternoon, Bohumil Hrabal, Closely Watched Trains, Czech film, Czech New Wave, Czech Republic, Daisies, FAMU, Intimate Lighting, Ivan Passer, Jiří Menzel, Pearls of the Deep, Věra Chytilová