Faculty, staff, students, and Summer Research Lab (SRL) participants celebrated the start of this year’s SRL with a reception at the University YMCA on June 21. Food from the Russian, East European, and Eurasian region was served. Joe Lenkart, Manager of the Slavic Reference Service (SRS), gave his remarks. Everyone had a great time catching up with colleagues, meeting visiting researchers, and enjoying the refreshments.
Ingrid Nordgaard, PhD Candidate in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University, was awarded the 2017 Fisher Fellowship for her research at the Summer Research Lab on aesthetics in Russia’s north. The fellowship, named after Dr. Ralph Fisher, the founder of SRL and REEEC, and a champion for building the Slavic collection at the University of Illinois Library, provides funding to a scholar with a particularly promising research project.
While at SRL, Nordgaard worked on the first chapter of her dissertation project, “Aesthetics of the North: Russian Modernist Culture and Scandinavia, 1891-1910.” She also gave a Noontime Scholars Lecture entitled “On the Frozen Sea: Exploring, Writing and Painting the Northern Frontier.”
According to Nordgaard, SRL has been on her radar for a while. After reading about it on SEELANGS, she was encouraged by professors to apply and heard excellent reports from fellow graduate students, who had attended SRL in the past. After defending her prospectus last spring, she decided to kick-start her dissertation, or, as she calls it “the big forest that is The Dissertation” by attending SRL, knowing that she would be able to work with the staff at Slavic Reference Service, who would be able to give tips on how to tackle such a big project.
At the early stages of her research, Nordgaard has found SRL most helpful for getting advice on how to collect materials most efficiently, that is, locate archives, track down obscure sources and access them in the US. In general, she is searching for resources that shed light on how cultural producers in Russia approached the North within the period she is studying. Since she has been at SRL, she has been able to locate articles on the topic from several Russian journals published in the 1890s, and she has also made a list of what archives and folders to look into when she goes to Russia. Additionally, she remarked that the Slavic Reference Service librarians have been an excellent resource on their own. “You might find several copies of a book, but there’s only one Joe Lenkart!” said Norgaard.
Her favorite thing about the SRL experience has been allowing herself to completely indulge in her work without thinking of anything else. “Waking up in the morning,” she said, “I’m excited to start another day of research — every day brings something new, since you can never really be completely certain about what you might find!”
“I would highly recommend SRL! Even though I attend a large research institution like Yale University and have access to a wide array of resources, it still does not compare to attending a lab in which you get to work so closely with a librarian and receive personal advice on how to approach various research questions,” said Nordgaard. Plus, she remarked, the people in Urbana-Champaign are very friendly, the squirrels and the rabbits are amazingly bold, and the campus area has a lovely atmosphere.
The Summer Research Laboratory (SRL) on Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia is open to all scholars with research interests in the Russian, East European and Eurasian region for eight weeks during the summer months from June 12 until August 4. The SRL provides scholars access to the resources of the world renowned Slavic, East European, and Eurasian collection within a flexible time frame where scholars have the opportunity to receive one-on-one research assistance from the librarians of the Slavic Reference Service (SRS).
The deadline for grant funding is March 15 and is fast approaching! REEEC will continue to receive applications for the Summer Research Lab after the grant deadline, but housing and travel funds will not be guaranteed.
For further information and to apply, please use this link:
For graduate students, the SRL provides an opportunity to conduct research prior to going abroad and extra experience to refine research skills and strategies. Students will also have the opportunity of seeking guidance from specialized librarians in navigating resources pertaining to and originating from Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia.
The SRS is an extensive service that provides access to a wide range of materials that center on and come from: Russia, the Former Soviet Union, Czech and Slovak Republics, Former Yugoslavia, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. The International & Area Studies Library, where the Slavic, East European, and Eurasian reference collection is housed, contains work stations for readers, research technologies, a collection of authoritative reference works, and provides unlimited access to one of the largest collections for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies in North America.
Benedict E. DeDominicis received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1992. He taught at the American University in Bulgaria from 1994 to 2009, and then from 2009 to the present at the Catholic University of Korea. At CUK, he teaches undergraduate classes on American History, American Politics, Introduction to International Relations, and other classes when requested. He also teaches graduate courses in European Union Institutions, Theories of International Relations, and Foreign Policy Analysis. At the American University in Bulgaria, Ben was heavily involved in faculty shared governance in establishing the policies and procedures of this new, USAID-supported institution as an officer of the AUBG Faculty Assembly, as well as membership on various Faculty Assembly and University-wide committees. His teaching experience at AUBG included a heavy focus on Southeast European comparative political and international relations themes, as well as courses in international relations and international law.
Ben’s research agenda continues to include Bulgaria and the Balkans, typically seeking insights through comparative analysis of cases of nationalism in the Balkans with cases of nationalism in Korea and East Asia. His most recent publication is “Personnel Performance Evaluation Systems in Non-profit Academic Multinational Institutions: The American University in Bulgaria and The Catholic University of Korea,” Management Education: An International Journal, Vol. 12, No. 4, 2013, pp. 25-40. In his article, Ben states that human resources management in government-funded non-profit multinational academic institutions face unique challenges in strategic planning. Different national stakeholder constituencies may pursue their respective aims through these organizations in return for organizational use of the former’s political influence capabilities to obtain additional financing. Constituencies with a particular national political interest may have representation through membership on the executive board of the organization as academic institutions seek to globalize. The tensions from interaction of differing constituency political objectives may be in conflict with academic ideals regarding faculty participation in shared governance due to the varying degree of political sensitivity perceived with these various interests. A consequence may be the reduction of the role of faculty representational input into institutional strategic human resources management. Established academic institutions aiming to increase the representation of expatriates among their faculty will likely face less difficulty in integrating international staff into personnel evaluation processes as part of human resources management strategic planning.
Ben’s stay in July at the 2013 Summer Research Laboratory in Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia allowed him to find additional information in peer-reviewed academic literature to use and cite regarding Bulgarian history and historiography. Ben acknowledged the contribution of the SRL in the publication, and he encourages all REEEC Newsletter readers to remember to do so in their publications to help support the SRL.
Dear Colleagues, Community, and Friends,
It is now widely known that the Department of State Title VIII program has been suspended due to lack of funding for the 2013 cycle of applications. While it remains uncertain whether the program will be revived, the REEEC community of faculty and staff at Illinois intend to host the Summer Research Lab (SRL) in 2014 for its 41st session. Unfortunately, this session will have fewer funding opportunities for participants. This is to say that while the loss of Title VIII support this year is detrimental, it is not devastating in the short term. Thanks to the foresight of past faculty and REEEC Directors, we have the means available to continue SRL while we search for new, perhaps more sustainable, funding streams. It should be noted that this news from the Title VIII program in no way impacts our status as a Department of Education National Resource Center, FLAS funding, our degree programs, or other academic year activities that REEEC offers as a center.
Cutbacks can often lead to innovation and make way for new ideas to spring forth. The REEEC community has already gotten to work on expanding, re-thinking, and developing ideas for what the Summer Research Lab can become in a world where future Title VIII funding may be completely unavailable. Because of the creativity and insight of the REEEC Executive Committee, plans are currently in place to expand SRL offerings in 2014 in partnership with our colleagues at the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. Further reconfiguration and expansion is also in the planning stages, so please stay tuned to our website and blog for announcements.
Patrons of the Slavic Reference Service (SRS) should be aware that SRS will continue to provide support for reference requests as usual. Thanks to the leadership in the International and Area Studies Library (IASL), arrangements have been made to maintain staffing at the Slavic Reference Service. In addition, the IASL has been working towards developing an enhanced reference service modeled on the SRS to include expanded expertise and a broader range of materials and service to more scholars and specialists the world over.
In addition to new partnerships and programmatic developments, REEEC has embarked on a fundraising campaign to help replace funds no longer available from Title VIII. Part of this campaign includes an appeal for community support. If you have benefited from Title VIII in the past and want to help the next generation of scholars, please consider making a donation to the Friends of REEEC fund, indicating your intention to support SRL (http://www.reeec.illinois.edu/friends/). With these monies, we hope to provide housing and travel grants to graduate students and early career scholars to visit Illinois during SRL. The programmatic sharing of our remarkable library collection, which makes it a more vital resource for scholars than the few collections that outsize it, will thus definitely continue.
Again, it is with a heavy heart that we consider the ways in which the loss of Title VIII funding will impact the field of Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. The program is responsible for funding countless hours of research, language training, and field visits, which has led to thousands of publications, hundreds of specialists in the field, and dozens of new and enhanced courses at American universities. It is our mission at Illinois to continue to serve as resource for those with limited opportunities for field visits and access to vernacular materials. While it is our hope that Title VIII funding will be renewed in the near future, we will also seek other sustainable means to continue to offer services and support for scholars and research professionals to the best of our ability.
Please feel free to contact REEEC for any comments or questions regarding the contents of this message. We look forward to seeing many of you again for SRL 2014.
With all best wishes,
Dr. David L. Cooper, REEEC Director & Ms. Alisha Kirchoff, REEEC Associate Director
For further information, analysis and media coverage on the status of Title VIII, please visit the following links:
RIA Novosti “US Defunds Venerable Russian Studies Program:” http://en.ria.ru/russia/20131023/184302924/US-Defunds-Venerable-Russian-Studies-Program.html
RIA Novosti “US Ambassador Alumnus of Defunded Russia Studies Program:” http://en.ria.ru/russia/20131025/184359108/US-Ambassador-Alumnus-of-Defunded-Russia-Studies-Program.html
Inside Higher Ed: http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2013/10/23/federal-cuts-eurasian-and-eastern-european-studies
ASEEES Title VIII Alert: http://www.aseees.org/new/title8-alert.php
Russia Direct, “Why America Needs to Fund the Next Generation of Russia Scholars:” http://russia-direct.org/content/why-america-needs-fund-next-generation-russia-scholars
Russia History Blog: http://russianhistoryblog.org/2013/10/federal-defunding-of-russian-and-eurasian-studies/
Sean’s Russia Blog, “Defunding Title VIII:” http://seansrussiablog.org/2013/10/23/defunding-title-viii/
Sean’s Russia Blog, “Title VIII and Ambassador McFaul:” http://seansrussiablog.org/2013/10/26/title-viii-ambassador-mcfaul/