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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 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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