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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 Aug 12, 2018

AABS Book Prize awarded to Julija Šukys

  The AABS Board is pleased to announce that Julija Šukys has been awarded the 2018 AABS Book Prize for Siberian Exile: Blood, War, and a Granddaughter’s Reckoning (University of Nebraska Press, 2017). The review committee noted that “rigorous scholarship with personal writing of an autobiographical nature that is inquisitive and insightful.” Additionally the book was commended for its “strong contribution to the field. Its multiple subjects—the Soviet occupation of Lithuania, Siberian exile, and Lithuanian participation in the Holocaust—continue to be of the utmost important not only to Lithuanian scholars, but also to generations of Lithuanians themselves.” Publisher’s website...

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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 Sep 13, 2017

Theories of the Prehistoric in a Cold War Context

Rasa Navickaitė, PhD Candidate at Central European University, received an AABS dissertation grant for her project “The Pre-Historic Goddess of the Cold War: Transnational Life and Reception of Marija Gimbutas.”  She tells us about the research she conducted in California this summer: My dissertation is an intellectual biography and reception history of Marija Gimbutas (1921-1994) – a renowned Lithuanian-American archaeologist and an advocate of the controversial hypothesis of the peaceful, egalitarian, matristic, and matrilineal pre-historic civilization of Old Europe. Gimbutas left a wealth of scholarship, from her early works on the Bronze Age Europe, the Balts and Lithuanian folklore, to her later, much debated works on the culture of Neolithic Old Europe and its Goddess-centered religion. Her oeuvre and her charismatic personality made Gimbutas a source of inspiration for various socio-political movements between 1970s and 1990s: from the American Goddess spirituality movement, to the anti-Soviet Eastern European ethnocultural movement, to post-socialist Lithuanian feminism. Despite Gimbutas’ intellectual influence on the both sides of the Iron Curtain, and her reputation as...

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Posted on Jun 16, 2016

Food Culture in the Baltic States receives Vitols Award

The Vilis Vitols Award for Best Article published in the Journal of Baltic Studies went to Diana Mincyte and Ulrike Plath for their editorship of and short introduction to special issue 46.3: Food Culture in the Baltic States. The award is usually presented to a writer of a specific article; however, the awards committee received so many positive comments from readers about the food issue that it decided to break with tradition and honor the editors. Every article in this issue speaks insightfully and eloquently to a topic that previously has not received much attention in the field of Baltic...

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Posted on Jun 16, 2016

AABS Awards Book Prize to Power of Song

Guntis Smidchens’ The Power of Song: Nonviolent National Culture in the Baltic Singing Revolution (University of Washington Press) received the 2016 AABS book prize. Smidchens expertly depicts how music, specifically singing, was used as a form of nonviolent resistance to Soviet force by Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians during the period preceding independence. The book is meticulously researched, with more than 110 choral, rock, and folk songs used to support the thesis and illustrate the richness and beauty of Baltic song. Interested readers can acquire the book through Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/ or directly from the University of Washington Press website at...

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