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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 Sep 9, 2018

THESIS BALTICANA | A Project in Development

Zane Onckule, recipient of 2017 the Jānis Grundmanis Postgraduate Fellowship, has concluded her first year studies at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (she is scheduled to complete a Master of Arts program in Spring 2019). She describes the curatorial project that she is developing for her master’s degree. THESIS BALTICANA will cast light on, narrate, analyze and poeticize the ever-obscure concept of the Baltics, which are comprised of three countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – all celebrating the centennial of their national Independence in 2018. Maximizing the implicit notion of AMERICANA that comes along with the socio-political framework and geography of the United States this project largely “denounces” the concept of the Nation State and will re-brand the notion of the Baltics, introducing instead the concept of BALTICANA. THESIS BALTICANA will be based on case studies of peculiar (selected) historic, sociopolitical, artistic, and popular culture realities turned into metaphors, keywords and eventually shaped into stories fit for public events, written text or a display of artifacts....

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Posted on May 29, 2018

Imagining Soviet Childhood through Estonian and Latvian Film

Liina-Ly Roos, recipient of a 2017 AABS Dissertation Grant Award, received her PhD this spring from the Department of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Washington. The AABS Dissertation Grant allowed me to travel to Estonia and Latvia in the Fall 2017 to gather material for my dissertation chapter “The Temporal Child and Soviet Everyday in Baltic Imagination.” I was able to watch all the films at the Estonian Film Archive that I would not have been able to access in Seattle, and as I had recently established contacts with the Latvian Film Museum, I was very fortunate to be able to visit the museum and acquire several of the films to take with me. I was also able to purchase some films and books from the stores in Tallinn and Riga (recent publications connected to the topic of my research). I also made good use of the National Library of Estonia, the National Library of Latvia, the Academic Library and Art Academy Library in Estonia. it was crucial...

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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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