Congratulations to REEEC-Affiliated Professors Greenberg and Pinkert, Conrad Humanities Scholars

We at the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center would like to extend our congratulations to REEEC-affiliated professors Jessica Greenberg and Anke Pinkert for being named Conrad Humanities Scholars. These awards “are designed to support the work of exceptionally promising associate professors in humanities units within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.” The award itself, made possible by the patronage of Arlys Conrad, provides awardees with $5,000 yearly for up to five years.

According to the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Illinois, “A goal of the Conrad Humanities Professional Scholar Award is to recognize exceptional achievement in humanists between the initial promotion to associate professor through the promotion to professor, with the aim of enhancing retention of our strongest scholarly leaders.”

Dr. Jessica Greenberg is an Associate Professor of Anthropology. Her research interests include “Anthropology of democracy, legal anthropology, postsocialism, youth, social movements, revolution, Serbia/Balkans, Europe.” Her first book, After the Revolution: Youth, Democracy and the Politics of Disappointment in Serbia, was published by Stanford University Press in 2014. Dr. Greenberg is currently “working on a book that she hopes will reach broader audiences of people interested in human rights policy and practice. She will use the grant to support her projects and travel, though she’d like to eventually host events on campus to talk about human rights, rule of law, and democracy.”

Dr. Anke Pinkert is an Associate Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures. Her research interests include “Modern German culture, literature, and film; Holocaust studies; memory and affect; postcommunist transnational studies; Humanities as field, theory, and practice; educational philosophy; mass incarceration.” Her most recent book, Film and Memory in East Germany, was published in 2008 by Indiana University Press. Dr. Pinkert “plans to use the grant money to attend national and international conferences in the area of memory studies, community activism, and new directions in the humanities. She also hopes to train and mentor graduate students in research methods and archival work.”

For a detailed profile of all six Conrad Humanities Scholars, please visit

Call for Applications: The Open Research Laboratory at Illinois

The University of Illinois is pleased to announce a call for applications to the Open Research Laboratory (ORL). An expansion of Illinois’ renowned Summer Research Laboratory, the ORL program is aimed at scholars who wish to visit Urbana-Champaign any time between January 22 and May 10, 2019, in order to work in our Library’s famous collections in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. The ORL is open to researchers from all fields at all stages of their work, from initial conception to final revision. It is a great opportunity to prepare for summer research, follow-up on summer research, or fit in research during the spring semester.
The deadline for applications is December 10, 2018.
Scholars participating in the Open Research Laboratory may apply for:
* up to 5 days of housing on campus;
* travel grants of up to $500 for their trip to Urbana-Champaign;
* research stipends
ORL Associates are also welcome to attend all campus programming and public talks at the Center during their stay. We are happy to introduce associates to local students and scholars, as well as to make arrangements for them to present their work in progress for discussion.
The ORL is supported by the U.S. State Department Title VIII Program for the Study of Eastern Europe and the Independent States of the Former Soviet Union, which exists to support policy-relevant research on the region. ORL applicants are also encouraged to consider studying an area language at Indiana University’s Summer Language Workshop, located in nearby Bloomington, IN, after their participation in the ORL. Those interested in overseas language study are particularly encouraged to pair ORL participation with an application for an IU Title VIII Portable Fellowship. More information on Indiana’s Title VIII funding opportunities, languages, and the application can be found at the Summer Language Workshop website.

Summer Spotlight: FLAS Fellow Rebecca Clendenen

As a third year PhD student, I am starting my language learning late, but it is a critical component to my research and therefore to my future. My University of Illinois campus in Chicago does not offer Turkish courses. In 2016-2017, I took a full year of Turkish at Northwestern through campus reciprocity agreements, but when I finished those courses, there were no others available. My only option was to travel for Turkish. In the Spring of 2018, I was frantically trying to figure out how I would be able to continue my language training in Turkey over the summer when I received my letter from the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center on the Urbana-Champaign campus, that they were offering me funding through their Foreign Language and Area Studies grant. Not only was this grant sufficient to cover my living expenses over the summer, but the tuition funding was substantial enough to allow me to take what is known to be the best Turkish language program in Istanbul, at Bogazici University. In that moment I went from being a poor graduate student trying to piece things together just well enough to get the training I need to having institutional support and their vote of confidence. I took that night off and celebrated, but it took several days for the relief to fully sink in.
            I had been to Istanbul in the summer of 2017 as well, but my language skills were still marginal and I had not been able to push past my anxiety well enough to engage native speakers. This summer was different. I woke up every morning at 7am in an apartment that I shared with local Turkish college students, and I took the bus to the Bogazici campus. Once there, we were expected to speak exclusively in Turkish, at least as best as we could, and out of necessity but in this environment of support I gradually became comfortable communicating in Turkish. We had four lessons every day and then visiting speakers or cultural activities, and in these full days of study, I made friends that I hope will be a part of my life for the rest of my life. I went to Turkish folk music shows, traveled on the weekends to the coast or to Ankara, and I became really familiar and comfortable with Istanbul and with Turkish culture.
            Most importantly, my language skills have improved to the point where I can now begin my research. Over the summer I spent some time in the official state archives and was able to understand content well enough to utilize the sources as references. This year I will defend my dissertation proposal and begin my formal research. I am studying heritage politics and how historic agricultural landscapes of Turkey inform its national identity. Next summer I will continue my language instruction and begin ethnographic research in some of Turkey’s most ancient agricultural communities. I hope that my research will lead to popular and political recognition of agricultural heritage landscapes as valuable assets. In the future I would like to continue to do research in this field, but I would also like to engage directly in heritage politics and work with organizations advocating for the preservation of important cultural memories. In all of these ambitions, the funding I received from REEEC has given me a critical stepping stone in a place where before there were none.

Rebecca Clendenen is a PhD student in Political Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Spring 2019 Select Courses in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Note: The courses listed below are not an exhaustive list of courses being offered on the REEE region.
Please see course explorer for additional classes.

ARTH 491 KR: Topics in Art History, Russian Avant-Garde
Kristin Romberg
TR 11 am-12:20 pm, 316 Art and Design Building

What happens to art’s forms and institutions in a socialist society? What kind of patron is the working class, the public, or the state? Can art be revolutionary? If so, what does it look like, and where does it exert its power? In this course, we will look at the ways that artists strove to answer these questions in the decades surrounding the Russian Revolution of 1917. Examining formations across a broad range of media—including painting and sculpture, mass festivals and monuments, theater, design, architecture, photography, and cinema—we will attempt to understand how art was redefined in terms of collective creativity, common spaces, and shared things.

BCS 115: South Slavic Cultures
Instructor TBA
TR 12:30-1:50 pm, 259 English Building

Exploration of South Slavic cultures in the historically rich and complex region sometimes referred to as “the Balkans,” focusing particularly on those groups found within the successor states of the former Yugoslavia. Critical look at the traditional view of the region as the crossroads or the bridge between East and West, and at the term Balkanization which has become a pejorative term used to characterize fragmented, and self-defeating social systems.

CWL 254/GER 251: Grimm’s Fairy Tales in Context*
L. Johnson
Multiple sections

The Grimms’ Fairy Tales in Context Students read classical and little-known tales from the Grimms’ 19th-century collections, as well as earlier tales and other texts, focusing on how power, gender, race, class, and ecological issues play out in these surprisingly dense, meaningful, and very old stories. Why do we continue to tell these tales? Why do certain stories recur again and again, in Western and other cultures? The power of narrative is at the center of our lives, and of these tales, and by the end of the semester we will understand this power much better. This course fulfills General Education requirements in Literature and the Arts, and in Western and Comparative Culture.

CWL 273/JS 261: The Holocaust in Context*
S. Hilger
TR 9:30-10:50 am, 205 Gregory Hall

This course examines cultural representations of the Holocaust in a variety of postwar texts, including memoirs, poems, essays, memorials, documentary and feature film, to explore how Jewish and non-Jewish writers have dealt with issues of perpetration, survival, trauma, and memory in postwar German culture and beyond.

EURO 418/LING 418/PS 418/SLAV 418: Language and Minorities in Europe
Z. Fagyal
W 1-2:50 pm, 1060 Lincoln Hall

Survey of regional and immigrant minority language use and language policies in contemporary Europe. Focus on political and social issues, such as bilingual education, acculturation and assimilation, language loss and language maintenance in two immigrant languages, Turkish and Arabic/Berber, and four indigenous language families: Balto-Slavic with Estonian, Celtic, Romance with Basque, and Slavic with Hungarian. Taught in English.

EURO 502: The EU in a Global Context*
K. Kourtikakis
W 3-5:50 pm, 1112 Foreign Languages Building

European Union history, politics, law, culture and identity.

HIST 260: Russian History from Early Times to the Present: Experience, Imagination, and Power
Mark D. Steinberg
MWF 11-11:50 am, 1028 Lincoln Hall

The history of “Russia” (Rus, Muscovy, Imperial Russia, the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation) from medieval times to the present. Although an introductory “survey course,” my aim is for us to look beneath the surface of events to discover how individuals and groups experienced, interpreted, and made their own history. Most readings are primary texts, created at the time, so that we can listen to the past in its own voices as we try to understand, explain, and interpret. Three big interpretive questions are at the center of our exploration—experience (especially the experiences of everyday life); imagination (ways of thinking, feeling, seeing, and dreaming as expressed in ideas, ideologies, religion, and art); and power (rulers and their ideals as well as dissent and rebellion).

HIST 467: Eastern Europe
K. Hitchins
TR 9:30-10:50 am, 221 Gregory Hall

We shall examine the political, economic, and cultural history of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, Greece, and Albania from the end of the First World War to the present. Among topics receiving special attention will be the two decades between the World Wars as the culmination of a process of Europeanization and the time of debate among intellectuals about national identity and about the doctrines of liberalism, fascism, socialism, and communism; the Second World War; the four decades (ca 1945-1989) of the Communist era and the place of Eastern Europe in the Cold War between the West and the Soviet Union; and “the return to Europe” of our region after the fall of Communist regimes in 1989.

JS 252/HIST 252: The Holocaust
P. Fritzsche
MW 12-12:50 pm, 1092 Lincoln Hall

The purpose of this general education course is to provide students from all backgrounds with an introduction to the complex events in twentieth-century Europe now known as the Holocaust, and to explore the various interpretations that scholars have offered to attempt to explain the Holocaust as well as the global legacy of the Holocaust. We will examine perpetrators, bystanders, and victims, the role of anti-Semitism, the interaction of war and genocide, the relationships between German and other European actors, the responses of Jewish communities, and the memory of the Holocaust. There will be a midterm and a final, but the primary focus of the course will be on student engagement with the texts in three short papers spread out across the semester.

LAW 657: International Human Rights Law
Francis A. Boyle
Time TBA, Location TBA

Based primarily on a series of contemporary “real world” problems, the course introduces the student to the established and developing legal rules and procedures governing the protection of international human rights. Its thesis is that there exists a substantial body of substantive and procedural International Human Rights Law, and that lawyers, government officials, and concerned citizens should be familiar with the policies underlying this law and its enforcement, as well as with the potential it offers for improving the basic lot of human beings everywhere. Additionally, the course presupposes that the meaning of “human rights” is undergoing fundamental expansion, and therefore explores Marxist and Third World conceptions of human rights as well as those derived from the liberal West.

MUS 252 S: Ethnomusicology Performence Ensembles: Balkanalia
D. Buchanan
T 7-9:50 pm, 0061 Music Building

Instruction and experience in the performance of various non-Western and vernacular music tradition.

PS 391: Soviet & Post-Soviet Foreign Policy
C. Leff
MW 2-3:20 pm, 222 David Kinley Hall

Surveys Soviet and Post-Soviet foreign policy from 1917 to the present, with emphasis upon the forces shaping this policy; special attention to the interplay of ideology and national interest in policy formulation.

PS 397: Authoritarian Regimes*
X. Guo
TR 3:30-4:50 pm, 222 David Kinley Hall

Examines the various aspects of the politics in authoritarian regimes: their emergence and breakdown, the policy choices and institutions typically adopted, leadership change, and the theories that explain them. Historical case studies and statistical data will be used to examine real-world cases.

PS 546: Comparative Political Behavior*
D. Canache
M 3:30-5:50 pm, 404 David Kinley Hall

Examines the political behaviors and opinions of common citizens in dissimilar national contexts, focusing on the theoretical literature and empirical research on topics such as political participation, political culture and contention politics from a cross-national perspective.

REES 115/POL 115: Introduction to Polish Culture
G. Gasyna
MW 10:30-11:50 am, 125 David Kinley Hall

Introduction to Polish culture and literature from a broad historical perspective. Drawing on novels and plays, film, the visual arts, and works of historical research, the course provides students with the basic concepts, methodologies and theories of literary and cultural interpretation, with an emphasis on modern Polish culture (1800-2010) within a broader European context.

REES 201: Introduction to Eastern Europe
Instructor TBA
TR 12:30-1:50 pm, 204 Transportation Building

Interdisciplinary survey of Eastern Europe focusing mostly on the 20th century to the present, exploring issues of nationalism, socialism, post socialism and EU accession. Focuses on Central Europe and the Balkans, but also references the Baltic States, Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia. Students will learn about the region using perspectives and methodology from historical, economic, political, sociological and anthropological texts.

REES 477/SLAV 477/CWL 477: Post-Communist Fiction
David Cooper
W 2-3:50 pm, 325 Gregory Hall

Survey of the central and east European novel in the postcommunist period. Explores how fiction has responded to and creatively figured the period of the so-called “transition” to capitalism and the continuities and discontinuities in literary traditions in these societies, as well as the relevance of theories of postmodernism and postmodern literary analysis to these literatures.

RUSS 225: Russian Literature and Revolution
Richard Tempest
MWF 12:30-1:50 pm, 111 David Kinley Hall

Major works from 1900 to the present; futurism, modernism, Stalinism, post-modernism, and after; writers may include Mayakovsky, Babel, Olesha, Akhmatova, Bulgakov, Nabokov, Solzhenitsyn, Tolstaya, and others; readings and discussion in English.

RUSS 260: Medicine & Russian Literature
Michael Finke
WF 1-3:20 pm, 1028 Lincoln Hall

Examines cultural significance of medicine and the figure of the physician, and understandings of illness and health, primarily in literature of Russia and the USSR from the 1860s to present. Asks what larger issues are at stake in the literary representation of medical practice by physicians and non-physicians alike in the Russian and Soviet contexts; investigates what medicine and literature offer each other, and the bearing on this of the latter’s formal, aesthetic qualities. Considers how medical practice is conditioned by the broader culture, how medical discourse, knowingly or unknowingly, ‘borrows’ from, is conditioned by, or otherwise reciprocally involved with other greater or peripheral discursive spheres. Reads fiction by leading literary figures who were physicians (Chekhov, Bulgakov, Veresaev, and Aksyonov); fiction by “lay” authors about doctors and medical practice (such as Solzhenitsyn); memoirs by physicians (tales of training and practice, apologies, denunciations); memoirs by patients; ‘real’ and fictional case histories; theoretical and methodological readings.

RUSS 323: Tolstoy
V. Sobol
TR 2-3:20 pm, 1120 Foreign Languages Building

Introduction to the major works of Lev Tolstoy. No Russian required.

RUSS 523: Tolstoy
V. Sobol
TR 2-3:20 pm, T 3:30-4:20 pm, 1120 Foreign Languages Building

Study of Tolstoy’s works in the original Russian, of their historical and philosophical context, and of current critical approaches to Tolstoy’s works.

SLAV 120: Russian & East European Folktales
David Cooper
TR 12-12:50 pm, 1120 Foreign Languages Building

Introduction to Russian and East European folktales, focusing on folk beliefs, fairy tales, and folk narratives in Slavic languages from a comparative perspective, with an emphasis on methods of analysis and the role of gender.

SOC 488: Demographic Techniques
Cynthia Buckley
Time TBA, Location TBA

Through active engagement strategies, students are encouraged to master the basic definitions, formulas, and calculations procedures associated with basic demographic measures and projections. In exploring these measures and projection techniques in the areas of fertility, morbidity, mortality, migration and population aging we place special emphasis on patterns of racial and ethnic variations, linking issues back to concepts of social capital, family structure, region, education and wealth. Through mastery of the methods covered in this course students emerge with a significantly enhanced ability to understand, and quantify issues relating to population change. REEEC students are welcomed and will be provided with population data from the region for their assignments and projects.

SOC 596: Integrating Quantitative and Qualitative Methods*
Cynthia Buckley
Time TBA, Location TBA

This course examines the possibilities and problems associated with the integration of qualitative and qualitative research methodologies, providing participants with a “hands on” approach to data collection, evaluation, and analysis. Through individual and group assignments, we will gain experience with specific methodological approaches and ethical concerns, including familiarity with the basic epistemological challenges associated with qualitative and quantitative approaches, central issues in probability and non-probability sampling/case selection, basic survey and interview protocol construction, observational techniques, focus groups, in-depth interviews, and content analysis. A formal grant proposal will take the place of a formal research paper as the final project. Developing a detailed mixed methods research proposal enables participants to develop a basis for a portfolio writing sample, a future fellowship application, or the beginnings of your MA prospectus.

TURK 490: Special Topics in Turkish: Language and Culture in Turkey
A. Ozcan
TR 2-3:20 pm, 1046 Foreign Languages Building

Provides an opportunity to focus on various aspects of Turkish language, culture, and society.

YDSH 320/CWL 320/JS 320: Literary Responses to the Holocaust*
R. Harris
TR 12-1:50 pm, 170 Wohlers Hall

Holocaust on Screen surveys documentaries, feature films and short films from Europe, the United States and Israel. The films cover a wide array of cinematic representation, plot and genre to consider the divergent strategies employed to represent the past, and to engage the present.

Note: An asterisk indicates courses that may count towards a degree or FLAS requirement, but must be approved by the REEES advisor or FLAS coordinator.

New! Joint Program: Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, M.A., and Library and Information Science, M.S.

This joint master’s degree includes a program of language and area studies courses leading to an interdisciplinary Master of Arts degree in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, as well as a program of study leading to the Master of Science in Library and Information Science. The joint degree matches area expertise with professional education, and prepares students for professional careers in all types of information organizations, including libraries.

The joint degree requires 56 credit hours divided between REEES and iSchool courses. A minimum GPA of 3.25 must be maintained throughout in order to remain in good academic standing.

For more information, please visit the program’s page at

REEEC Fall Reception 2018

On Thursday, September 27, 2018, the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center community gathered in the International Studies Building to kick off the academic year with fall-themed snacks, light beverages and old-fashioned chitchat. A major focus of this year’s Fall Reception was the recognition of the Center’s Foreign Languages and Area Studies fellows, both for Summer 2018 and for AY 2018/19 (listed below), and its freshly awarded US Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center (NRC) and FLAS funding.
Dr. Donna Buchanan, Interim Director of REEEC, introduced this year’s FLAS awardees and REEEC graduate students. She then congratulated everyone involved in securing the competitive Title VI and FLAS funding for the Center, including faculty, staff and students. During her opening remarks, a slideshow ran at the front of the room, consisting of photos submitted from REEEC Summer FLAS fellows. These pictures were submitted from among ten students from eight different departments, studying four different languages, who, with Center assistance, studied in Russia, Kazakhstan, Israel and other countries this summer.
We at REEEC would again like to congratulate this year’s FLAS awardees, and wish good luck to faculty, staff and students as the new academic year begins. Udachi vsem vam!
Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships
Academic Year 2018-2019
Graduate Students:
Elizabeth Abosch (Russian) – History
Melissa Bialecki (Ukrainian) – Musicology
Tyler Dolan (Ukrainian) – Slavic
Sydney Lazarus (Russian) – Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Sarah Leffingwell (Russian) – Political Science
Kathryn O’Dowd (Czech) – Sociology
Victoria Sobolev (Ukrainian) – Advertising
Jesse Mikhail Wesso (Russian) – Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Undergraduate Students:
Priyasha Bhatt (Turkish) – Anthropology
Jamie Hendrickson (Russian) – Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies

For more information about our FLAS fellows, please visit our Graduate Students and FLAS Fellows page.

To keep up to date with center events and news, please also like us on Facebook.

REEES + Global Informatics Certificate

We are happy to announce the new Global Informatics Certificate Program at UIUC, in partnership with Illinois Informatics. This program allows undergraduate students to declare an Informatics minor in addition to a major in REEES, and, upon completion, awards a Global Informatics Certificate, preparing students to enter a world “in which information technologies are ubiquitous, evolving, and global in scope.” This program combines the international knowledge and engagement of a REEES major with the computational tools and technical problem-solving of an Informatics minor.

The only additional coursework required for the certificate is a capstone project course, which pulls together knowledge and interests from both the major and the minor fields.

If you are interested, feel free to contact Maureen Marshall (REEES) or Karin Readel (Informatics).