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
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 Central 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.
Posted in Event Recap
Tagged Abdurauf Fitrat, Central Eurasia, empire, Iran, Lenin, Nazım Hikmet, Nergis Ertürk, Ottoman Empire, post-communism, revolution, Russian Empire, Soviet republics of Central Asia and Transcaucasia, Soviet Union, Turkish Republic, WWI, WWII