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Posted on May 11, 2019

Highlights of May 2018 Board Meeting, Stanford University

Mara Lazda, 2016-2018 Director-at-Large The biennial AABS conference provides an opportunity for the incoming and outgoing board members to meet in person, with the outgoing board members sharing their experiences and familiarizing the incoming members with the structure of the organization. At the May 31, 2018 meeting, the outgoing board focused on two initiatives that have been the subject of much discussion over the last two years. The first was a clarification of AABS’s stance on political advocacy. As reported in the last newsletter, a growing number of societies have been issuing public statements on policy issues (e.g. ASEEES statement against racism and intolerance). Some AABS members have asked why the AABS did not issue a statement about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or the threats to close Central European University. Academic Executive Director Olavi Arens and Director-at-Large Mara Lazda presented the results of their research on the AABS history of political advocacy and the positions of other learned societies. Arens pointed out that maintaining a non-political, non-partisan position has...

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Posted on May 10, 2019

Looking Back at the 2018 AABS Conference at Stanford

Liisi Esse, Ph.D. Associate Curator for Estonian and Baltic Studies, Stanford Libraries 2016-2018 AABS VP for Conferences The 2018 AABS Conference at Stanford University: The 100th Anniversary of Baltic Independence, held on 1–3 June, celebrated two important milestones – the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies and the 100th anniversary of independence for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The three-day program also highlighted the breadth and depth of Baltic Studies today, featuring 124 panels, roundtable discussions, and workshops—as well as keynote talks, evening receptions, film screenings, literary readings, and exhibits. In total, 473 presenters, including 125 students, and over 200 members of the general public attended the conference. The keynote lectures by leading historians and policy analysts provided historical and contemporary contexts of the Baltic countries and Baltic studies. The conference’s first keynote talk, “Russian and East European Studies and Baltic Studies: A Historical Exploration,” was delivered by renowned Stanford historian Dr. Norman Naimark. The opening keynote was followed by a roundtable...

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Posted on May 10, 2019

Australasian Chapter’s 19th Conference: 100th Anniversary of Baltic Independence

AABS Australasia Committee: Dr. D. Skerrett (Brisbane), Dr. U. Ozloiņš (Melbourne), Dr. E. Reilly (Geelong) Fifteen delegates and another six attendees – including four delegates from Estonia and India – gathered at the Waterfront Campus of Deakin University, Geelong, on a clear and warm weekend Saturday 13 October – Sunday 14 October 2018. Renowned historian, Professor Sheila Fitzpatrick of Sydney University, gave the plenary address on the story of Latvian displaced persons in Europe. She is the author of Mischka’s War, On Stalin’s Team, The Russian Revolution, and other books on the 20th-century Russia. A diaspora studies panel featured Eve Wicks-Puodžiūnaitė’s presentation on her memorial project, In Sunshine and Shadow, a publication resulting from her doctoral research. Independent scholars, Marija Perejma and Ilse Matthews, focused on Latvian post-war experience in Adelaide. A panel on contemporary politics included Dr. Uldis Ozoliņš, University of Western Sydney, who spoke to the timely topic, “Is Latvia the weak link?”, analyzing the results and reporting of the previous weekend’s elections in Latvia. Dr. Skerrett,...

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Posted on May 10, 2019

BALSSI 2018: Eight Great Weeks of Baltic Languages and Culture

Liina-Ly Roos, PhD, Estonian language instructor For the third year in a row, Indiana University Summer Language Workshop hosted the Baltic Summer Language Institute (BALSSI), providing our students with a welcoming and intellectually stimulating community. The 2018 BALSSI students were very motivated learners of Estonian and Lithuanian. The Latvian course was unfortunately not offered due to low enrollments. The Estonian class had three students, who are all planning to incorporate their knowledge of Estonian language and culture in their graduate and post-graduate research. The Lithuanian class had five students, combining those who are using Lithuanian language for their graduate research and students learning more about their heritage. Their fields of specialization included education, history, and literature. In addition to the rigorous and intensive study of language (four hours every weekday for eight weeks), we screened six films in our Baltic film series, representing different topics and visual styles of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian cinema. Our inspiring guest lecturers included Dr. Piibi-Kai Kivik discussing her research on Estonian language and...

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