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Posted on Dec 5, 2016

Towards a Deeper Understanding of Online News Commenting

Asta Zelenkauskaite is an assistant professor of Communications at Drexel University.  She received a 2016 AABS Emerging Scholar award for research travel to Lithuania for her project “Commenting Practices in Baltic Online News Portals.” Online news portals increasingly represent spaces where anyone can comment on traditional news stories. Thus online commenting is not only a new public sphere, but it is also a new terrain for ideological battles to shape opinions regarding specific issues (especially controversial ones) through government-sponsored mechanisms or by providing monetary rewards to users for commenting. First and foremost, the Emerging Scholar grant allowed me to visit Lithuania and engage with readers of news portals to understand the interpretation of online commenting on news portals. This grant has helped me to validate initial observations regarding data collection through informal interviews with Lithuanians who are actually engaging in online discussions or reading them. While travelling in Lithuania, I had a chance to talk to the people who use online comments – as a source of additional reflection...

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Posted on May 12, 2015

Imagining a Baltic-Nordic World: A Biography of Aleksander Kesküla

Mart Kuldkepp, Tartu University, is the 2015 recipient of the AABS Emerging Scholar Award. His project is a biography of the Estonian politician Aleksander Kesküla. In Estonia, Kesküla is notorious as one of the most radical leaders of the 1905 revolution, but internationally he is primarily known for being the first to bring Lenin to the attention of the German General Staff in 1914 and for mediating as a German agent between the Germans and the Bolsheviks in their joint attempt at “revolutionizing” Russia. At the same time, Kesküla was also trying to fulfill his own Baltic-Nordic political aims which included drawing Sweden into the First World War on the German side and having it liberate Finland and Estonia from Russia. He imagined that, after the war, Sweden and the other Scandinavian states, Finland and Estonia, would establish a Nordic Union with King of Sweden as its head. Mart explains how the Emerging Scholar award will support this project: As documents concerning Kesküla’s activities during World War I are...

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Posted on May 5, 2015

Congratulations to 2015 AABS Grant Recipients!

  AABS announces the recipients of 2015 fellowships: Research Grants for Emerging Scholars Mart Kuldkepp, Tartu University Jānis Grundmanis Postgraduate Fellowship for Study in the U. S. Elina Ruka, Columbia College, Chicago The Aina Birnitis Dissertation-Completion Fellowship in the Humanities for Latvia Indra Purs, Latvian University of Agriculture Mudīte I. Zīlīte Saltups Postgraduate and Post-Doctoral Fellowship Anete Vitola, University of...

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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 Sep 27, 2014

AABS Emerging Scholar Explores Linguistic Landscape

  In his project “Multilingualism and the internationalisation of higher education in the Baltic states: A linguistic landscape approach,” Josep Soler-Carbonell focuses his analysis on languages displayed in universities’ public space, i.e. their linguistic landscape. In the context of the internationalization of higher education, the growing presence of English in higher education has become a widespread phenomenon and concern, especially in Europe. As a result of students’ and staff’s mobility, universities have adapted to this new era by offering a growing number of courses and degree programs (particularly at the masters and doctoral levels) partially or entirely in English. Soler-Carbonell explains, I aim at offering a picture of the kinds of multilingual scenarios that we can detect in the linguistic landscape of universities in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The data gathered in the frame of this project will provide both a quantitative and qualitative examination of (1) the languages displayed in the linguistic landscape of the three universities selected for this study and their relative weight; and (2) the...

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Posted on Mar 24, 2012

Performing the East: AABS Scholar Examines Performance Art in Latvia

In 2011, Dr. Amy Bryzgel was awarded an AABS Emerging Scholar Award to assist with the completion of her book, Performing the East: Performance Art in Russia, Latvia and Poland since 1980. The book dedicates one chapter to an analysis of performance art in Latvia as viewed through the works of contemporary artists Miervaldis Polis and Gints Gabrans. The funding was utilised to offset the cost of copy-editing and indexing of the final manuscript. Performing the East examines the phenomenon of performance art as it emerged in Eastern Europe by examining distinct case-studies of artists working in Russia, Latvia and Poland. While Performance Art is a thoroughly theorised and codified genre within the Western Art Historical canon, there has yet to emerge a comprehensive study of the meaning and significance of this art form to artists and audiences in the ‘East,’ where it emerged under entirely different socio-historical conditions. This book is one of the first efforts to fill that gap in the scholarship. The chapter on Performance Art...

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