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RACE IN FOCUS: #BLM: Reception in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia

February 26, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm



Reception in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia


Join us to hear from distinguished scholars and educators about methods for incorporating critical pedagogies of race into teaching about language, culture, history, and society in Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia.

Among the first African Americans to join the American Communist Party and an important architect of communist approaches to race, racism, and African American equality, Lovett Fort- Whiteman (1889-1939) was one of the US citizens convinced (naively, to be sure) that Soviet society showed the way for overcoming racism in the United States. While visiting the USSR in 1924, Fort-Whiteman wrote to W.E.B. Du Bois: “There is a perfect spirit of internationalism here.” “Women from the various Circassian republics and Siberia, men from China, Japan, Korea, India, etc. all live as one large family, look upon one another simply as human beings … Here, life is poetry itself! It is the Bolshevik idea of social relations, and a miniature of the world of tomorrow.”

Communist positions on race and racism have yielded both successes and failures worldwide since 1917. Despite the mixed results, Fort-Whiteman’s words recall the impact that global colonialism has had on the social construction of identity, including in our world region; its legacy on research and teaching in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (SEEES); and its effect on perpetuating systemic inequities in academia as a whole. To address this legacy, this series is designed to elevate conversations about teaching on race and continued disparities in our field while also bringing research by scholars from underrepresented minorities and/or on communities of color to the center stage.

The series will comprise four segments: two pedagogy webinars; two lighting rounds on the experience of scholars of color in the field; and two roundtables featuring research by scholars from underrepresented minorities and/or on racial minorities, concluding with a forum on the reception of the Black Lives Matter movement in our field.


Sibelan Forrester is a Professor of Russian, Russian Section Head, and Coordinator for Interpretation Theory at Swarthmore College. Forrester’s primary academic specialty is Russian poetry of the 20th and 21st centuries, with significant secondary specializations in folklore, South Slavic literature and culture, and women’s and gender studies; she also does teaching and research in science fiction and literary translation (theory and practice).




Angéla Kóczé is Assistant Professor of Romani Studies, Chair of Romani Studies Program, and Academic Director of the Roma Graduate Preparation Program at Central European University, Budapest. Her research focuses on the intersections between gender, ethnicity, and class as well as the social and legal inequalities faced by the Roma in various European counties.


Diana Kudaibergenova is a Research Associate at the University of Cambridge. Dr. Kudaibergenova studies different intersections of power relations through realms of political sociology dealing with concepts of state, nationalizing regimes, and ideologies. She is the author of Rewriting the Nation in Modern Kazakh Literature (Lexington, 2017) and her forthcoming book focuses on the rise of nationalizing regimes in post-Soviet space after 1991 with a prime focus on power struggles among the political and cultural elites in democratic and non-democratic states.



Maxim Matusevich is a Professor and Director of the Russian and East European Studies Program at Seton Hall University. His research focuses on the history of cultural and political encounters between Africa and Russia/Soviet Union. He is the author of Africa in Russia, Russia in Africa: Three Centuries of Encounters (Africa World Press, 2007) and No Easy Row for a Russian Hoe: Ideology and Pragmatism in Nigerian-Soviet Relations (Africa World Press, 2003).



Jakobi Williams is the Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor in the Department of History and Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. Dr. Williams is a Civil Rights, Black Power, Social Justice, and African American history scholar. Dr. Williams is completing two books, Neighborhoods First and Global Call of Power to the People.






February 26, 2021
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
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