Slavic Story Time at the Urbana Public Library

What could be better than cozying up at the library to hear a Slavic folktale?

On September 16th, 2017, Stephanie Chung, Outreach Coordinator of REEEC, and Nadia Hoppe, PhD student in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, hosted Slavic Story Time at the Urbana Public Library.

Chung read the Russian folktale “Alenoushka and Her Brother,” a story about two orphan children that set out to walk all over the world, never stopping long enough in one place to be unhappy there. The brother, Vanya, was so thirsty that he drank water from a lamb’s hoofmark, turning him into a little lamb.

After the story, Hoppe led the group as they sang the Russian song “Kliuchi” (Keys), followed by a craft, for which the participants made lambs of their own using poms-poms.

REEEC hosts Slavic Story Time once a semester at the Urbana Public Library. Stay tuned to our master calendar and the Urbana Public Library’s program calendar to catch the next Slavic Story Time.


Library Exhibition on 1917

How do you commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution when your library hosts one of the preeminent Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies Collections in the U.S.? The University of Illinois’ world famous Slavic Reference drew from the amazing collections housed at the University of Illinois Library to create unique exhibit commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.

The exhibit, which opened on September 1st, includes materials related to the 1917 revolution, as well as materials that demonstrate its global reverberations throughout the following decades. Among the exhibit, visitors can find iconic Soviet posters; newspaper articles from around the world that reported on the events of the Revolution, including the Daily Illini; a doctoral dissertation from 1917, which analyzes the social and political causes of the revolution; and paintings on revolutionary themes. However, the appearance that attracted the most attention at the exhibit’s opening celebration, as the life-size cut-out of Lenin, who watched over the students, faculty, and staff as they enjoyed the collection.

The exhibit will run through September 30th and is located in the first floor North-South corridor of the Main Library (1408 W Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL). It is part of the series of events Ten Days that Shook the World, Ten Days that Shake the Campus.

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Letter from the Director, Fall 2017

Can it really have been 100 years already? The centenary of the Russian Revolution is upon us, and its memory is on the march across campuses and across the world. Nor is it a sepia-toned sort of memory: the questions raised by the Revolution as to whether and how another world is possible seem acutely relevant in our own time of revolutionary political, social, and environmental challenges.  Thanks to the hard work of students, faculty and staff across campus—led by Professors Harriet Murav and David Cooper of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures—we at Illinois have a wonderful new program of events that explore and illustrate 1917’s continuing impact across the modern world.

Starting August 24th, the Krannert Art Museum is hosting a new exhibition, “Propositions on Revolution (Slogans for a Future),” curated by Professor Kristin Romberg  (Art History).  It features exciting new works by contemporary artists that have a “potential to start a conversation about what revolution means in our contemporary moment.”   This exhibition is just the first of ten such events–”Ten Days that Shook the World / Shake the Campus”-that will keep us thinking about and moving through 1917 all term.  There will be revolutionary films and poetry slams, musical performances and scholarly colloquiums, a production of Travesties by Tom Stoppard and an opera workshop based on Konstantin Malevich’s iconic act of iconoclasm, Black Square.  Make plans to join us by checking out all the Ten Days on our special website,

This term is an eventful one for me, personally, as I’m thrilled to be joining REEEC as its new Director, as of August .  I feel quite lucky: not only do we have an extraordinarily rich semester of programming ahead, the Center itself continues to grow and prosper in a challenging environment.  In April, Professors Joseph Lenkart and Christopher ‘Kit’ Condill became the inaugural Ralph Fisher Library Scholars, supported by a generous endowment gift from  Professor Emeritus Larry Miller.  These funds will help sustain our historic strengths in REEES collections and librarianship in the future.  Shortly thereafter, we learned the news that REEEC won one of the very few Title VIII awards given by the Department of State in this grant cycle.  This will allow us to continue to develop our unique Slavic Reference Service and Summer Research Laboratory—alongside other initiatives—in the coming year.  Make plans to join us in Urbana if you can next Summer!

Since getting started, I’ve come to understand that all these big successes are but a small external expression of all the amazing work that goes on every day at REEEC, thanks to Dr. Maureen Marshall (our Associate Director), Linda McCabe, Stephanie Chung, and a great team of graduate and undergraduate student workers.  I have the great fortune as well of following Professor David Cooper, whose five year term as Director lifted the Center to its recent string of successes.  I can only hope to keep the momentum going:  though our calendar for the Fall is largely planned, we’re gearing up to submit a new application for Title VI funding from the Department of Education.  It will be a great chance to think about where REEEC has been and where it will be going in the next few years, as we enter the second post-1917 century.  If you’re reading this newsletter we’d love to hear from you, with your thoughts and ideas!  (And as always, your generous contributions help us take advantage of opportunities throughout the year to maintain Illinois’s place as a major institution in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies.)

Finally, it remains for me to close out this letter with one final, wonderful (if for us bittersweet) piece of news.  Professor Diane P. Koenker, for over 30 years a member of our History faculty and a leader in research, teaching, and service across the field, will be leaving us.  Starting in January, Diane will be the new Director of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) at University College London.   It’s a rightful recognition of  Diane’s amazing gifts as a scholar, and we want to wish her every success in her new position!  We trust that she and Roger will find a wonderful new home in London, even as they will of course always have a place of honor here among us at Illinois.

With best wishes for the coming year,

John Randolph

John Randolph is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and also the Director of REEEC as of Fall 2017. 

“For the study of a foreign language, immersion is key”

I am deeply grateful for the FLAS program, which allowed me to return to St. Petersburg to continue my studies of the Russian language. Last summer, I enrolled in the Derzhavin Institute, and I enjoyed the challenge of studying in at this very strong institution. For the study of a foreign language, immersion is key, and I found that my interactions with my host family, the instructors, and friends outside of class to be just as valuable as my classroom studies and essential in the improving the ability to communicate.

St. Petersburg in the summer is a beautiful and vibrant city. Personally, I was drawn to the art galleries and performance venues. If you have an interest in classical music, I recommend seeing the opera and ballet at any of the three stages in the Mariinsky Theatre complex. Also, the New Stage of the Alexanderin Theatre periodically offers performances of experimental electronic music. If you are interested in visual art, I recommend the Hermitage complex (not just the Winter Palace!), the Russian Museum, and the Erarta Contemporary Art Museum.

Thornton Miller is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Musicology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. 

Academic Year FLAS Fellows for 2017-18

REEEC congratulates the Academic Year 2017-18 FLAS fellows, who will be studying the languages below in order to enhance the knowledge of their respective disciplines, which range from literature to advertising. Their language study will also help them engage in a vast array of area studies courses in disciplines ranging from history to international law.

Graduate Students:
Madeline Artibee (REEEC) – Croatian
Benjamin Bamberger (History) – Georgian
Tyler Dolan (Slavic) – Ukrainian
Kathleen Gergely (REEEC) – Russian
Jacob Goldsmith (Slavic) – Russian
Sydney Lazarus (REEEC) – Russian
Lucy Pakhnyuk (REEEC) – Ukrainian
Morgan Shafter (Slavic) – Polish
Victoria Sobolev (Advertising) – Ukrainian

Undergraduate Students:
Jamie Hendrickson (REEES) – Russian
Monika Pendurkova (Psychology) – Bulgarian
Justin Tomczyk (Political Science) – Russian

REEEC faculty participating in IPRH research clusters for 2017-2018

Every year the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities funds a select group of research clusters on campus. Research clusters are groups of faculty and graduate students from the University of Illinois campus who work together to explore particular questions or subjects in the humanities and arts.

This year, several REEEC-affiliated faculty will have projects funded by IPRH. John Randolph (Associate Professor, History and new director of REEEC) will be serving as director for the research cluster entitled “Digital Editorial Practice and the Humanities Classroom: Creating New Publishing Capabilities for Higher Education.” Eugene M. Avrutin (Associate Professor, History) and Harriet Murav (Professor, Slavic Languages and Literatures and Editor of Slavic Review) will be co-directors of the research cluster entitled “New Directions in Eastern European Jewish Culture.” Judith Pintar (Visiting Associate Professor, Sociology) will be serving as co-director of the research cluster entitled “Playful by Design (Imagining America Cluster).” Click here to visit the “Playful by Design” website.

For more information on this academic year’s research clusters, please click here.

REPOST: Inaugural Ralph Fisher Library Scholars Celebrated

Originally posted by the University Library at: 

fisher_scholars170413-033-b_websitecoverOn April 13, faculty, staff, students, and Library Friends gathered in the International and Area Studies (IAS) Library to celebrate the legacy of Professor Ralph Fisher; Professor Christopher “Kit” Condill and Professor Joseph Lenkart, the very first Ralph Fisher Library Scholars; and the generosity of Professor Emeritus Larry Miller, whose gifts have made the Scholars program possible.

Ralph Fisher’s wife, Ruth, and family members were on hand for the afternoon celebration including remarks by notable faculty and staff. Acting Dean of Libraries and University Librarian William Mischo welcomed everyone to the event. John Randolph, associate professor of History in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, spoke of Fisher’s work and accomplishments. An exhibit of Fisher’s papers from the Archives was introduced by University Archivist William Maher. Library Friend Larry Miller recounted his partnership with Fisher and his vision for the Slavic, East European, and Eurasian collections and services which inspired his gift in Fisher’s honor. Professor Steven Witt, the head of the IAS Library, talked about Condill’s and Lenkart’s many contributions to the Library and the profession.

Kit Condill is the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Librarian and an assistant professor at the Library. He is a 2004 graduate of the School of Information Sciences (iSchool) at Illinois, where he teaches a Slavic Bibliography course each fall, and a 1995 graduate of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. He spent seven years as the Central Asian reference specialist for (and then manager of) the Slavic Reference Service. He has directed Slavic collection development since 2011. Condill’s research interests revolve around national bibliography as a tool for assessing and evaluating the publishing output of the non-Slavic peoples of the former Soviet Union, and for assessing the comprehensiveness of U.S. library collections.

Joe Lenkart is the international reference librarian and an assistant professor at the Library. He provides vision and leadership for the Slavic Reference Service in support of Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies scholars at Illinois and affiliated programs from around the world. As international reference librarian, he also extends the model of in-depth reference services across other regional areas of focus in the IAS Library. Lenkart’s research focuses on information systems and print cultures associated with ethnic minorities in the Russian Federation and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries. In addition to his reference and research interests, Lenkart is a returned Peace Corps volunteer (Russian Federation, 2000–2002). He holds a master’s degree in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies and a Master of Library Science degree, both from Illinois.

Named positions, such as the Ralph Fisher Library Scholars, enhance the Library’s services, programs, and reputation by recognizing and fostering the considerable research contributions of its faculty.