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Posted on Sep 27, 2015

Baltic Scholars Discuss “Traditions, Transitions, Transfers” in Marburg

The eleventh Conference on Baltic Studies in Europe took place in Marburg, Germany, from September 7-10, 2015. The host, the Herder Institute, and its partners, the Justus Liebig University of Gießen and the Philipps University of Marburg, welcomed 195 participants from seventeen countries to discuss “Traditions, Transitions, Transfers.” The opening event took place in the magnificent ballroom of the Landgraves castle, which sits on top of the mountain overlooking the medieval city and the valley of the Lahn River. The series of welcome addresses by Peter Haslinger, the director of the Herder Institute, Egon Vaupel, the mayor of Marburg, Benedikt Stuchtey, the dean of the Faculty of History at Marburg University, and Joybarto Mukherjee, the president of Gießen University, was interspersed with musical deliberations by Aivars Kalejs (piano) and the most delightful Martina Doehring (soprano) introducing and singing pieces by the composer of Baltic descent Ella von Schultz-Adaïewsky (1846-1926). Theodore Weeks of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale lifted spirits with his highly enjoyable keynote speech “On the Edge: The...

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Posted on Sep 7, 2015

Margarita Safronova | Intermediate Latvian @ BALSSI 2015

BALSSI provides an excellent opportunity to learn a language and interact with fellow scholars who are interested in the region. As a doctoral student who studies the post-Soviet states, I was looking for an intense language course to prepare me for research in Latvia. Enrollment at BALSSI was the ideal opportunity to improve my knowledge of Latvian. The six-week session was rigorous but effective. By the end of the program, I was eager to converse in Latvian. However, the benefits of the program extend beyond the classroom. During the six weeks, students from different disciplines and backgrounds had a chance to interact and learn about culture, history, and values of Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian nations. Learning songs and traditions of different countries contributed to a better understanding of the Baltic states. In addition, the lectures by visiting scholars provided cross-disciplinary perspectives about prominent issues in the region. The students had a chance to speak directly to the visiting scholars, adding to the well-rounded curriculum. BALSSI courses helped me revive...

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Posted on Jun 7, 2015

Daunis Auers on Political History of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

A new book by Daunis Auers, former AABS board member, “provides an accessible, comprehensive and balanced comparative analysis of the political development and reinvention of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania since seizing independence from a disintegrating Soviet Union in August 1991.” Comparative Politics and Government of the Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the 21st century explores the political history of the three countries with a focus on constitutional and institutional choices of the 1990s as the three countries re-established...

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Posted on Feb 10, 2015

The Consequences of Playing the Compatriot Card

Dr. Jennie Schulze, assistant professor of Political Science at Duquesne University, received an AABS Emerging Scholar award in 2013. Her project focuses on how Russia’s kin-state activism influences decision-making surrounding minority policies in Estonia and Latvia. Estonia and Latvia have been primary targets of Russia’s Compatriot Policy. The restrictive citizenship and language polices they adopted in the early 1990s ultimately disenfranchised their large Russian-speaking minorities. Russia has used a variety of tools in the name of protecting its compatriots including military and economic pressures, historical aggravation, border agreements, citizenship policy, international organizations, media campaigns, cyber warfare, and the funding and organization of protests. Concerns over Russia’s influence in Estonian and Latvian society have been escalating in recent years, particularly in the wake of mass protests over school reform in Latvia in spring 2004 and the Bronze Soldier riots in Estonia in April 2007. Both are evidence of Russia’s increasing use of soft power strategies to co-opt Russian-speakers in order achieve its political objectives. Russia’s activism is particularly worrisome in...

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Posted on Dec 8, 2014

Study Estonian, Latvian and Lithuania at BALSSI 2015

The University of Pittsburgh’s Slavic, East European, and Near Eastern Summer Language Institute proudly hosts The Baltic Studies Summer Institute June 8 – July 17, 2015 Beginning and intermediate Estonian Beginning and intermediate Latvian Beginning and intermediate Lithuanian 6-week, 6-credit classes cover an academic year’s worth of study Generous scholarships available; FLAS eligible Classes held at University of Pittsburgh...

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