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September 2014 Events


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roundtable

Faculty Roundtable

 

When: Thursday, September 4, 4:00pm

Where: 206 Ingraham Hall

Sponsors: The Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia

 

About the Roundtable: Please join us for a gathering to welcome the start of a new semester. This event will feature an informal roundtable presentation by members of the CREECA faculty, including Kathryn Hendley (Voss-Bascom Professor of Law and Political Science), David McDonald (Alice D. Mortenson-Michael B. Petrovich Chair of Russian History), Manon van de Water (Vilas-Phipps Distinguished Achievement Professor, Departments of Slavic Languages and Literature & Theatre and Drama), and Ted Gerber (Professor of Sociology and CREECA Director). We will also welcome our four new MA students in Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies (REECAS): Lauren, Brian, Mike, and Alex.

 

Refreshments will be served starting at 3:45; the discussion will begin at 4:00.

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gabe

"'Like a River Wild in Flood': The Politics of Poetic Speech in Kazakh Literature"

Gabriel McGuire, Assistant Professor of World Languages, Literature & Cultures, Nazarbayev University

 

When: Tuesday, September 9, 4:00pm

Where: 1313 Sterling Hall

Sponsors: Department of Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies (CLFS)

 

About the Speaker: Gabriel McGuire is an Assistant Professor in the faculty of World Languages and Literatures. He holds a BA in Anthropology from Whitman College (2002) and an MA (2007) and Ph.D. (2013) from the department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University. His dissertation described the revival of small-holder mobile pastoralism in rural post-Soviet Kazakhstan and the links between folk or rural cultures and the politics of national identity. His current research interests include the oral literatures of Central Asia, depictions of village life in 19th and early 20th century Kazakh literature, and language ideology in Soviet and post-Soviet Central Asia. He teaches classes on the history of the Humanities, literatures of the ancient world, folk tales and oral epics, and ethnopoetics. He has been the recipient of Fulbright-Hayes, Fulbright IIE, and FLAS fellowships for the study of Kazakhstan and of the Kazakh language.

 

About the Lecture: This paper traces ideologies of poetic speech as they move through three literary and historical contexts: the poems of the mid-19th century Kazakh bard Dulat Babataiuly; the essays of the great turn of the century Kazakh poet and critic Abai Qunanbai; and the depiction of both writers in Mukhtar Auezov’s 1948 novel Abai Zholy (The Path of Abai), itself often considered the paradigmatic work of Kazakh prose fiction. Babataiuly was one of the central figures in what came to be termed the poetic genre of Zar Zaman (time of sorrow). The Zar Zaman poets all lived on the Kazakh steppe in the 19th century, all drew on the oral poetic genre of tolghau, and all composed poems that addressed the eclipse of the Kazakhs’ traditional social structures by an ascendant Tsarist colonial administration. Faced with increased regulation by the Tsarist state and by the encroachment of Russian settlers on their pasture lands, the poets of Zar Zaman wrote works that castigated the Kazakh elite as indifferent to the obligations of kinship and community and as perverted by the lure of material wealth. In his novel, Auezov describes a fictional visit by Babataiuly to the herding camp of Abai’s family, where the young, book-educated Abai listens to the poetry of Babataiuly and comes to understand both the literary value of the Kazakh oral poetic tradition and the power of poetic speech to expose and thus contest the corruption of the Kazakh elite. Auezov crafts a literary genealogy in which Abai, and by extension Auezov himself, are the spiritual heirs of the 19th century Aqyns (bards). Close examination of the texts of works by Babataiuly and Abai, however, reveals that this genealogy elides the differences between each author’s distinctive views of the role of poetic speech: in Babataiuly’s work, the poet emerges as a defiantly public figure whose performances serve to expose the material impact of colonial policy on mobile-pastoral practices, while Abai consciously rejects questions of economics and presents his written literature as a quintessentially silent excavation of his own soul.

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"The Legacies of Socialist Housing in Contemporary Czech Society"

Kimberly Zarecor, Associate Professor of Architecture, Iowa State University

 

When: Thursday, September 11, 4:00pm

Where: 206 Ingraham Hall

Sponsors: The Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia, Sponsored in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Mellon Slavic Studies Initiative

 

About the Speaker: Professor Zarecor researches historical and contemporary architecture in the former Czechoslovakia. Her 2011 book with University of Pittsburgh Press, Manufacturing a Socialist Modernity: Housing in Czechoslovakia, 1945-1960, focuses on the intersection of architects, housing design, and the state apparatus in the early years of Communist Party rule. It follows the development and deployment of standardized mass-housing types such as the prefabricated structural panel building and examines the relationship between communism and architecture. Academia Press will publish a Czech translation of the book in 2013 in the series, Šťastné zítřky.

 

Her new project considers the development of the industrial cities in the Ostrava region since 1960. She spent five months in Czech Republic on research leave in the fall of 2011. This work was funded by Iowa State University and a Fulbright Faculty Research Grant.

 

About the Lecture: The Czech Republic’s socialist-era prefabricated apartment buildings are largely intact twenty-five years after the end of Communist Party rule and ten years after the country joined the European Union. These buildings have been rehabilitated, but not replaced, surprising many people who predicted that they would be torn down or become slums. This lecture will start with a look at the history of industrialized housing as a government response to the housing needs created in the aftermath of World War II and the transition to a planned economy. These buildings were influenced by international design methodologies that affected architectural and urban practices across Eastern, and Western, Europe. The buildings also required innovative construction approaches that are often overlooked in the historical record of this period. Now decades later, socialist-era housing is one of the strongest social and cultural anchors of post-socialist cities. Long-term rent regulation and schema to sell apartments to their owners at below market rates have created stable neighborhoods with many owner occupants and allowed new government programs to help owners rehabilitate their own dwellings. While problems like physical degradation and social segregation certainly exist - and may be increasing in some of the poorest cities, observations from neighborhoods in Prague and Ostrava show that a stable housing stock is helping some cities fend off the worst effects of economic recession.

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bissenova

"A Tale of Two Cities: Mobility, Culture, and Class in Astana and Almaty, Kazakhstan "

Alima Bissenova, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Nazarbayev University

 

When: Thursday, September 11, 5:00pm

Where: 5230 Social Science Building

Sponsors: The Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia, Sponsored in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Mellon Slavic

 

About the Lecture: Drawing on various articulations of the moral politics of mobility, Bissenova examines how mobility and movement within the last decade affected class distinctions in Almaty and Astana. As the seat of the Kazakh government and a booming city since 1998, Astana has attracted hundreds of thousands of migrants; as a cultural and financial capital, Almaty also continued to boom, attracting comparable number of migrants from different regions of Kazakhstan. However, varying historical trajectories and historically constructed notions of the urban and rural, as well as different preparedness by the government for migration flows in the 1990s and the 2000s in Almaty and Astana respectively have resulted in different attitudes toward mobility and different perceptions about how urban order should be achieved. While migration to Astana has usually been presented as a positive change in both official and vernacular discourses, migration to Almaty has often been seen as a disorderly movement which threatens and erodes the cultural place that Almaty used to be. Examining the history and structural position of Almaty and Astana in Russian imperial and Soviet times, I argue that these two cities stand as two different representations of modernity – modernity as an inherited and established tradition and modernity as a frontier with the potential of creative destruction and renewal. The stability of the markers and symbols of modernity in Almaty and their fluidity in Astana make the latter more attractive as a space for social mobility.

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Film screeing: "Citizen Havel (Občan Havel)"

Czech film series - The Play's the Thing: Václav Havel, Art, and Politics

 

When: Tuesday, September 16, 4:00pm

Where: 206 Ingraham Hall

Sponsors: The Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia, the Central Asian Studies Program

 

Pavel Koutecký and Miroslav Janek | 2008 | 120 min | Czech with subtitles

 

About the Film: The film presents a behind-the-scenes look at the political and personal dramas in Havel’s life during his time as president of the Czech Republic. The directors began filming in 1992 and followed Havel for more than thirteen years. The film captures all the significant moments in Havel’s presidency up to and including his retirement from the office in February 2003 and also includes footage of both of Havel’s wives as well as friends and associates, including leading political figures from the Czech lands and from abroad. 

 

About the Series: Václav Havel (1936–2011), the dissident and imprisoned dramatist who went on to become a world-renowned statesman as first president of the Czech Republic, changed the course of twentieth-century history by mixing theater with politics and peacefully ending communism in his country. His plays, filled with metaphor and pointed innuendo, exposed the failings of the system, and Havel became a hero in an epic struggle. This program is based on the places and people that Havel knew, from the influential Theatre on the Balustrade, where his theatrical career began, to his friendships with filmmakers of the Czech New Wave, and to his political ascendancy in Prague.

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art

Exhibit: Forbidden Art

 

When: September 17 - October 5, 2014; 10 am - 8 pm daily

Where: Porter Butts Gallery, Memorial Union

Sponsors: The Polish Heritage Club of Madison

 

About the Exhibit: The Polish Heritage Club of Wisconsin, Inc. - Madison is privileged to bring the “Forbidden Art” project to Wisconsin. This traveling exhibit from Poland’s Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum features twenty works of art created by Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camp internees with historical commentary and excerpts from archival accounts.The exhibition is made up of large format, color photos of drawings and sculptures made by inmates of the Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Ravensbrueck Nazi concentration camps.

 

According to the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Dr. Piotr M.A. Cywiński, "The memory is carried in the words of the survivors. But it is also stored in the objects remaining after Auschwitz. These are two faces of the same authenticity."

 

Forbidden Art is divided into two parts. One part portrays the reality of the camps: the plights of the inmates, scenes from the functioning of the camps, and portraits of prisoners. A second part offers a look at various kinds of escape from camp reality: caricatures, albums containing greetings, and fairy tales prisoners wrote for their children. Most of the photographs show works of graphic art but there also are such items as a bracelet with scenes depicted on it, found near the gas chamber on the Auschwitz II–Birkenau grounds; a crucifix; and a miniature figure of a devil made from tape and a piece of wire, which was used by prisoners for smuggling correspondence. Each of the photographs shown in the exhibition is accompanied by a historical commentary and excerpts from archival accounts. The original works of art are kept at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum to protect them from possible damage.

 

Forbidden Art is presented in North America by The Polish Mission of the Orchard Lake Schools in exclusive partnership with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. More information can be found at: http://en.auschwitz.org/m/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1147&Itemid=8

 
RECEPTION: Sept 17 at 6:30 pm: short program by Professor Rachel Brenner, Center for Jewish Studies, UW – Madison, and Mr. JJ Przewozniak, The Polish Mission, Orchard Lake, MI.



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grossmann

"Distance and Intimacy: Close Encounters between Jews and Germans in the Aftermath of Catastrophe"

Atina Grossmann, Professor of History, Cooper Union

 

When: Wednesday, September 17, 4:00pm

Where: Banquet Room, University Club; 803 State St.

Sponsors: George L. Mosse Program in History, Alice D. Mortenson/Petrovich Chair in Russian History

 

About the Lecture: Part of the Institute for Research in the Humanities program "War and Intimacy," a year-long series of lectures exploring the intimate bonds fostered by the experience of war in the twentieth century. For more information about the series, please visit the IRH website: http://irh.wisc.edu/.

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"The Ascendance of Nationalism in Central Asia"

Russell Zanca, Professor of Anthropology, Northeastern Illinois University

 

When: Thursday, September 18, 4:00pm

Where: 206 Ingraham Hall

Sponsors: The Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia, the Central Asian Studies Program

 

About the Speaker:Professor Zanca has lived in Chicago for twenty years where he serves as a professor at Northeastern Illinois University. He is also an associate at Center for Russia,Eastern Europe, and Central Asia at UW-Madison, the University of Chicago’s Center for Eurasian, East European and Russian Studies, and at the University of Illinois’  Russian, Eurasian, and East European Center.

 

Zanca first began traveling to and studying in the former Soviet Union more than 25 years ago, and to Central Asia more than 20 years ago. Over the years he has published mainly on Uzbekistan, covering topics such as collective farming, the cotton monoculture, cuisine, religion, gender, and Soviet history. He has co-edited Everyday Life in Central Asia with Jeff Sahadeo (2007) and written Life in a Muslim Uzbek Village, Cotton Farming after Communism (2011).

 

In 2010, he began working with colleagues at the University of Wisconsin to help establish and enrich the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan, and recently became an international coordinator of graduate anthropological studies at the Al-Faraby National University of Kazakhstan in Almaty and the Eurasian National University of Astana. Russell also became a cooperative member of the Halle-Zurich Centre for the Study of Anthropology in Central Asia in 2013.

 

He is a proud father and helps his wife, Christine, in the rearing of four children, two dogs, one bunny and a turtle. 

 

About the Lecture: In this presentation, Professor Zanca will discus the state (or status) and intra-regional conditions of political sovereignty in post-Soviet Central Asia. The argument to be made is not exactly one of success or failure, but rather examines the very successes and failures that exist in Central Asia from the standpoints of political integrity and political development—despite or because of dictatorial rule and concomitant degrees of freedom of conscience, economic decision-making, etc.. The latter, political development, subsumes economic and cultural development.

 

Recently, scholars and pundits have meaningfully examined many hyper-nationalist aspects of the Central Asian countries’ politics. The basic argument here is that nationalism has prevented the kind of intra-regional cooperation that would have fueled greater development and freedom throughout Central Asia. Generally speaking, nationalism may be necessary to independence, but it is rarely considered positive in terms of development and human freedom by most social scientists. While there may be much to recommend this position, Zanca looks to data and analyses going back more than 20 years to compare different visions of independence, areas for national and regional comity and strife, and treaties and agreements that have fostered and foiled individual and regional growth and freedom.

 

In the end, he assesses what it means to speak of successes and failures from Central Asian positions as well as those from what we think of as international standards and norms.

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Film screeing: "Who Is Václav Havel..." & "The Mist"

Czech film series - The Play's the Thing: Václav Havel, Art, and Politics

 

When: Tuesday, September 30, 4:00pm

Where: 206 Ingraham Hall

Sponsors: The Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia, the Central Asian Studies Program

 

Helena Matiášová | 1977 | 11 min | Czech with subtitles

Radúz Činčera | 1966 | 28 min | Czech with subtitles

 

About the Films: Who is Václav Havel . . . (Kdo je Václav Havel…) is a short propaganda film, produced for the communist regime in the 1970s to disparage Havel, his plays, and his supposed wealth.

 

In the early 1960s, Prague’s celebrated Theatre on the Balustrade was a center for experimentation, mime, and theater of the absurd. It’s the place where Václav Havel began as a dramaturge and stagehand, and where his plays were later produced. The Mist (Mhla) poetically captures this famous theater from different perspectives, as well as other Prague landmarks at dawn.

 

About the Series: Václav Havel (1936–2011), the dissident and imprisoned dramatist who went on to become a world-renowned statesman as first president of the Czech Republic, changed the course of twentieth-century history by mixing theater with politics and peacefully ending communism in his country. His plays, filled with metaphor and pointed innuendo, exposed the failings of the system, and Havel became a hero in an epic struggle. This program is based on the places and people that Havel knew, from the influential Theatre on the Balustrade, where his theatrical career began, to his friendships with filmmakers of the Czech New Wave, and to his political ascendancy in Prague.

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