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Posted on Dec 5, 2016

Towards a Deeper Understanding of Online News Commenting

Asta Zelenkauskaite is an assistant professor of Communications at Drexel University.  She received a 2016 AABS Emerging Scholar award for research travel to Lithuania for her project “Commenting Practices in Baltic Online News Portals.” Online news portals increasingly represent spaces where anyone can comment on traditional news stories. Thus online commenting is not only a new public sphere, but it is also a new terrain for ideological battles to shape opinions regarding specific issues (especially controversial ones) through government-sponsored mechanisms or by providing monetary rewards to users for commenting. First and foremost, the Emerging Scholar grant allowed me to visit Lithuania and engage with readers of news portals to understand the interpretation of online commenting on news portals. This grant has helped me to validate initial observations regarding data collection through informal interviews with Lithuanians who are actually engaging in online discussions or reading them. While travelling in Lithuania, I had a chance to talk to the people who use online comments – as a source of additional reflection...

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Posted on Nov 5, 2016

Song and Dance and Integration in Latvia

Indra Ekmanis 2016 AABS Dissertation Grant recipient “Latvian culture” is inescapably tied to “Latvian identity,” both colloquially and in policy language. Acceptance of and respect for Latvian culture is also a cornerstone of Latvian integration legislation, which is particularly geared toward individuals speaking Russian as their first language. With the support of the AABS Dissertation Grant, my research focuses on minority participation in Latvian cultural life, particularly through the National and Youth Song and Dance Celebrations. These UNESCO-recognized festivals are a keystone of “Latvian identity,” but participation is not limited to those with “latvietis” stamped in their passport. Particularly in the school youth format, the Celebrations provides a mechanism for minority students to access a form of Latvian cultural identity that can affect their relationship to the Latvian state and “nation.” This extends beyond the days of the festival into the years prior through preparation in school choirs and folk dance collectives. The AABS Dissertation Grant has helped to fund the continuation of my fieldwork in Rīga and rural...

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Posted on Sep 6, 2016

Baumanis recipient investigates history of Lutsi-speakers in Latvia

Uldis Balodis received the first AABS Baumanis grant to document the current state of villages historically inhabited by Lutsi Estonian speakers, as well as to conduct archival research in Tartu, Estonia and Helsinki, Finland on the work of Oskar Kallas, the original researcher of the Lutsi Estonians (Lutsis). The Lutsis are a little-known ethnic minority group in rural parishes surrounding the city of Ludza in eastern Latvia (Latgale), the members of which still spoke their own dialect of South Estonian until very recently. Balodis’ book, entitled In Kallas’ footsteps in Lutsimaa, will retrace the journey of Oskar Kallas through this region through extensive photography of village communities and interviews with village residents. The historical language of the Lutsis is most similar to that of the present-day Seto minority of southeastern Estonia and their ancestors most likely came to Latgale from Estonia approximately three to four centuries ago. The project will introduce this little-known minority group in Latvia to a wider audience – Estonians, Latvians, and English speakers interested in linguistics,...

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Posted on Aug 24, 2016

2017 Baltic Studies Conference in Riga

The Baltic states at 99: Past, Present and Future University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia, 19-21 June, 2017 The 12th Conference on Baltic Studies in Europe (CBSE) aims to reflect on the past, present and future of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania 99 years after their declarations of independence. The conference will discuss achievements such as the battles for independence, the reconstruction of war-torn economies, the flourishing of cultural life and the swift ‘return to Europe’ as well as low points, for example, the dislocations caused by the two world wars, German and Soviet occupations as well contemporary economic development, innovation systems, social inequality and a pervading disenchantment with political life. Proposals can be submitted until 15th January 2017.  CBSE welcomes proposals for papers, panels and roundtable discussions in all academic fields related to Baltic studies. Paper, panel and roundtable proposals must include an abstract of no more than 200 words and a 1-2 page CV emailed to the conference contact: CBSE2017@lu.lv Results will be announced on...

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Posted on Jul 27, 2016

New Administrative Executive Director

In July 2016, AABS welcomed new Administrative Executive Director Amanda Jeanne Swain.  We greatly appreciate Irena Blekys’ six years of service in this position and wish her the best as she moves on to other projects. You can still reach us at aabs@uw.edu, but please be patient as we go through this transition.             Amanda Jeanne Swain received her PhD in History from the University of Washington.  Her research interests focus on the intersections of youth and national identities in Soviet and contemporary Lithuania. Recent publications include articles in Cahiers du Monde Russe and Ab Imperio.  She has 15 years experience in non-profit and academic administration....

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Posted on Jul 16, 2016

FPRI Report on Baltic States in European Security

The Foreign Policy Research Institute presented a roundtable discussion on the Baltic States in European Security at the 25th Biennial Meeting of the American Association of Baltic Studies in Philadelphia.  Read the report online or download a PDF...

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