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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 Jun 17, 2018

Feminine and Masculine in the Poetry of 20th c. Latvian Women Poets

Anna Auziņa, University of Latvia, was awarded the 2017 Birnitis fellowship for “Woman’s Experience and Language in Vizma Belševica’s, Ārija Elksne’s and Monta Kroma’s Poetry”  As a poet, I was interested for a long time in why sometimes I am given an award for showing a “woman’s world” in my poetry, while no male poet is praised for showing a specifically “man’s world”. When I turned to academic life, my main interests were gender and poetry. I saw that several important Latvian women poets are not yet enough studied. Since I was interested if woman poets use language in a specific way, I decided to write a dissertation about the key women representatives of 20th century Latvian poetry: Vizma Belševica, Ārija Elksne and Monta Kroma. Vizma Belševica is probably the most famous of them, nominated for a Nobel Prize and translated into English, Swedish and many other languages. Belševica’s poetry is both modern and connected with folklore and history. Belševica was most severely persecuted by the Soviet regime for formalism...

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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 May 10, 2018

Improving Quality Standards in Large Scale Surveys

Mareks Niklass, PhD in Sociology, is a Lecturer at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Latvia, and a Researcher at Advanced Social and Political Institute. He received the 2017 AABS Mudīte I. Zīlīte Saltups Fellowships Grant, to spend the month of October at NORC at the University of Chicago. NORC is a leading research institute responsible for the organization of survey studies like International Social Survey Program (ISSP) and General Social Survey (GSS) in the US. In May 2016, I became ISSP’s coordinator in Latvia. The purpose of my visit at NORC was to learn more about quality standards, fieldwork organization and non-response in large scale surveys like ISSP and GSS. In addition, the visit gave me an opportunity to get to know world-renowned scientists in the fields of survey methodology, behavioral economics, game theory and computational social science.  These contacts will lead to further cooperation with NORC. I was also able to attend the Donald J. Bogue Demography Workshop organized by NORC on issues of response and...

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Posted on Mar 6, 2018

Documenting the lives of contemporary Baltic poets

Viktorija Jonkutė, recipient of the 2017 Baumanis grant award, describes her documentary film Closer to the Land beyond the River, which will premier on May 22. Closer to the Land beyond the River (Lith. Arčiau žemės anapus upės, La. Tuvāk zemei viņpus upes) is a full feature documentary film, revealing the connections of the lives and creative works of two talented, famous contemporary Baltic poets: the Lithuanian Vladas Braziūnas and the Latvian Knuts Skujenieks. “I have been connected with Lithuania all my life. The sense of community undefined by words is the most important thing” – K. Skujenieks, from the collection of poems Iʼve Visited Far (La. Es pabiju tālos ciemos, 2004). The recipient of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas and laureate of many other international awards, Skujeniekshas spent his childhood near the Latvian-Lithuanian border, savoring the memory of the Skujenieks family during the years of the First World War in Lithuania. V. Braziūnas – another child of Lithuanian-Latvian border, translator of K. Skujenieks’ poetry, the winner of the...

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Posted on Apr 12, 2017

Developing new techniques for teaching English language vocabulary

Baiba Kačanova received the 2016 Aina Birnitis Dissertation-Completion Fellowship in the Humanities for Latvia. In March, Baiba received her PhD from the University of Liepaja. I am an English teacher and I have been teaching English as a second language for about 14 years in Latvia. I really enjoy the process of teaching by looking for the most suitable methods, materials and approaches for each group because each group is different and a method which works well in one group might not be suitable for the other group. The most interesting thing is to find the right method and words to motivate students to study hard J  It is also very pleasant when I meet my students about 5 years later – they have already finished school and they appreciate the knowledge they got in my lessons. Then most probably I am doing it right. My point of view is that the teacher can’t just stop and say “now I know everything I need.” There always should be a process...

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