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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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Posted on Apr 10, 2019

2019 Birnitis, Grundmanis, Emerging Scholar, and Dissertation Awardees Announced

  The AABS Board is pleased to announce that seven scholars and graduate students have been awarded the following 2019 grants and fellowships. The Aina Birnitis Dissertation-Completion Fellowship in the Humanities for Latvia Kristine Bekere Latvian Academy of Sciences Baltic Strategic Studies Centre For the proposed research project, Activities of Latvian Exiles to sustain the idea of independence of Latvia   Jānis Grundmanis Postgraduate Fellowship for Study in the U. S. Renate Prancane Hunter College         Research Grants for Emerging Scholars Laura Dean Millikin University For the proposed research project Gender dynamics both feminist and anti-feminist in Latvian politics     Catherine Gibson European University Institute For the proposed research project Mapping Religious Communities in the Baltic Provinces of the Russian Empire     Eleonory Gilburd University of Chicago For the proposed research project Weary Sun: Tango in Eastern Europe and Soviet Russia     Dissertation Grants for Graduate Students Kristina Jõekalda Estonian Academy of Arts For the proposed research project Local and National in the 19th-Century...

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Posted on Feb 26, 2019

Art, Artists and 19th c. Colonialism in the Baltic Provinces

Bart Pushaw received a 2018 Dissertation grant to complete archival research for his dissertation in Latvia. He will complete his PhD in Art History at the University of Maryland this spring. My dissertation “The Global Invention of ‘Art’: Race and Visual Sovereignty in the Colonial Baltic World, 1870-1920” investigates visual art as a realm of multiethnic cooperation and decolonial possibility, revealing how images and the ability to assume the power of image-making were pivotal to changing the strict social stratifications of the Baltic Provinces. Most importantly, I completed archival research about Emīlija Gruzīte, the first Latvian woman to become a professional artist. While I have accessed many primary source documents about her in Latvian newspapers through the portal Periodika, there nevertheless existed a veritable treasure trove of non-digitzied material which I could only access in person in the archives of the Art Academy and other files at the National Library. These sources, including her autobiography and miscellaneous photographs (of pivotal importance of course for scholars of visual culture!), played a key...

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Posted on Feb 21, 2019

Dissertation grant supports archival research on LGBTQ history in Soviet Baltic

Feruza Aripova is a PhD Candidate in World History at Northeastern University, Center Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University and a Visiting Scholar at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University. My dissertation project, tentatively titled “Silencing of Same-Sex Desire in Post-Soviet Space: Deconstructing the Soviet Legacy,” investigates the legacy of same-sex violence in carceral spaces and its profound impact on public perception of associating homosexuality with crime; as well as the medical establishment that subjected individuals with same-sex attractions to psychiatric treatment in the 1950s through the 1980s. Furthermore, it examines the ways in which legal and medical regulations enabled and constituted “alternative” spaces for same-sex desire in the 1960s through late 1980s. By “queering” the Soviet ideological narrative, it seeks to investigate fragments of same-sex existence, subjectivities, spaces and local and transnational networks. I am immensely grateful to the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies for the financial support which allowed me to complete my archival research in Latvia. I...

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