SymposiaThe Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, along with a variety of co-sponsors, regularly coordinates symposia on topics of concern or interest.
February 7-8, 2014
The Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies, in cooperation with the Department of History and the Center for European Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, is hosting a two-day symposium on the culture of food in the Russian Empire (and Soviet Union) and its successor states, as well as “Eastern Europe” broadly defined.
Drawing on a wide range of sources and disciplines, speakers will explore how patterns of food cultivation, preparation, and consumption are embedded in local, national, and trans-national cultural configurations. Scholars from all disciplines are welcome to apply, but organizers especially welcome contributions from history, literary and cultural (including film and media) studies, and anthropology.
We hope to reexamine the history and culture of the region through the lens of its food—that is, cultural attitudes, marketing and packaging, memories and representations of particular foods, patterns of eating, cultural dietary restrictions, or local cultural difference that were expressed through divergent patterns of food preparation and consumption. How was food as “tradition” experienced, how was its cultivation and production gendered, how was it tied to religious or ethnic differentiation, in what ways was it processed, “packaged” or otherwise modernized—for example, tied to global patterns and flows. How was it tied to private and public socialization—the kitchen versus the restaurant or cafeteria and what did this mean for local or national cultures? How was food depicted in film and literature, described in cookbooks, marketed at home and abroad? Did food take on new meanings—cultural, political, or otherwise—under communism? And finally, what about food culture or food nostalgia after communism? We hope for creative approaches to these and other questions related to the production, consumption, exchange, and service of food in Russia and Eastern Europe from 1800-present.
Past Symposia Have Included:Text, Context, and Non-Text: Grimoires in Central Europe
April 5–6, 2013
This conference is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of a large corpus of magic texts that figure prominently in the cultural and intellectual history of Europe. Its focus will be grimoires, real or imagined, whose legacy has reverberated throughout European culture in the form of folktales, literature (Faust, for example), and graphic art down to the present, at times being among the few treasured possessions brought to the New World.
April 27–28, 2012
The 13th Annual Czech Studies Workshop will take place on April 27-28, 2012, at the University of Texas at Austin. The Czech Studies Workshop was begun by Jindřich Toman at the University of Michigan in 1999 to bring together graduate students, younger scholars, and more established scholars in the field of Czech studies. Since then, the workshop has grown to become one of the most prominent scholarly gatherings in our field each year.
The keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Michal Kopeček,on Friday evening from 7-9 pm. His talk is entitled: “From Politics of History to Memory as Political Language: Czech Dealings with the Communist Past after 1989.” (Please see further details below)
The Czech Studies Workshop is sponsored by the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies/Czech Chair; the Department of History; the Center for European Studies; the Center for the Study of Modernism; the Department of American Studies; the Department of Theatre and Dance; and the Czechoslovak Studies Association.
The 2012 Czech Studies Workshop Committee: Mary Neuburger, Veronika Tuckerová. Zachary Doleshal, Tatjana Lichtenstein
March 9-10, 2012
The “West” and particularly Western Europe holds a privileged place in the recent state of literature on the history and “social life” of commodities across the globe. Direct colonies of the West, too, have been closely tied in to a history of global commodity exchange. In contrast, work on commodity and culture on Europe’s eastern periphery—including East-West flows of goods and models of consumption—has largely eluded study. “Commodity and Culture in the ‘Other’ Europe” will gather scholars working in relatively uncharted territory, that is, cultural and social processes surrounding commodity production, exchange and consumption in East Central and Southeastern Europe from 1800-1945. Among other things, symposium participants will consider the following questions. Were commodities and their accompanying social and cultural transformations experienced, lived, and filtered in entirely different ways in the “Other Europe”? In what ways did commodity-driven “Eastern” interaction with the West spawn imitation or, on the contrary, resentment and reaction? Were parts of “Eastern Europe” rightfully a part of commodity-driven core transformations, innovators not imitators, centers not peripheries? Also we will explore the extent to which the social lives of commodities were shaped by local mores and experiences. In other words was the consumption of certain products tantamount to a leveling “Westernization,” or was it integrated into distinctly local practices, forms, and meanings? Finally how were various incarnations of commodity exchange, production and consumption linked to the ushering in of modernity into the region—to what extent did they make Eastern Europe modern and how tightly was this tied to the West European experience. Ultimately, discussion of these questions promises to shed light on contemporary cultures of consumption in “New Europe,” and more pointedly its ongoing encounter with the West via commodity exchange and consumption.
Strategic Warning and the Role of Intelligence Lessons Learned from the 1968 Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia
April 16, 2010 (Sponsored by the LBJ Library Foundation)
CREEES was proud to serve as a co-sponsor of this conference examining Prague Spring. Over 100 guest attended sessions examining the lead up to, and aftermath of, the 1969 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Speakers included Dr. Mark Kramer (Director, Cold War Studies Project, Harvard), Peter Clement (Dept. Director of Intelligence, CIA), and Joseph Lambert (Dir. Information Management Services, CIA).
Alash: A Celebration of Tuvan Culture and Music
April 8, 2010
CREEES, The Butler School of Music, The College of Liberal Arts and The University of Texas were pleased to arrange a return visit of the internationally-renowned musical ensemble Alash return to our campus to perform and discuss the unique musical style of throat-singing. Alash gave a standing room only public concert (200+), and conducted workshops for University courses and local high schools during their week long residence at UT.
November 4–6, 2009 (co-sponsored with LLILAS, CMAS, CES and MES)
Scholars from around the globe gathered in Austin to share research findings, compare challenges, and assess the similarities and differences in government restrictions on international migration in the fall of 2009. Three days of session covering cultural, linguistic, political and economic issues relating to labor migration drew well over 150 audience members. Conference highlights included the key note address by Professor Alejandro Portes (Princeton University), and the participation of CREEES graduate student Erin Hofmann (Ph.D. Sociology). Eurasian migration issues were discussed by Dr. Timothy Heleniak (University of Maryland) and Professor Cynthia Buckley (UT). A collected volume of conference papers is plan.
April 20-21, 2009
This event will feature scholars from across Russia and the United States engaged in social science research on topics related to HIV/AIDS in Eurasia. Panel presentations will include discussions on topics ranging from risk behavior, government response, sexual practices and stigma to the challenges of conducting field research on sensitive topics in Eurasia and the availability of data sources in the region. Additionally, one panel devoted to comparative perspectives on HIV/AIDS will explore issues relevant to the Eurasian experience with presentations on studies conducted in India, China and Brazil. Co-sponsored by CREEES, the Social Science Research Council, and the Center for Russia, East Europe and Central Asia at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
November 17-19, 2008
CREEES, The Butler School of Music and the University of Texas are pleased to have the internationally-renowned musical ensemble Alash visit our campus to demonstrate the unique musical style of throat-singing. Alash will give a concert and conduct workshops during their stay.
March 27-29, 2008
This 2.5-day conference will be held at the University of Texas at Austin to discuss the following themes: The cultures of water; water in literature, film, aesthetic production. The religious significance of water; water as a national cultural resource. Conflicts over water: local, national and international, corporations, NGOs and states. The conservation and renewal of water as a natural resource; sharing best practices from around the world Water as a human right.
This conference is co-sponsored by the Title VI National Resource Centers for area studies (the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, and the South Asia Institute), as well as the Center for Mexican-American Studies, the College of Liberal Arts, the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Jackson School of Geosciences, and other University units.
Exhibiting the Nation: World's Fairs, International Exhibitions, and the Place of Southeastern and East Central Europe
This symposium will explore the history of staging Worlds' Fairs and other significant national exhibitions within Southeastern and East Central Europe, and participation of these various countries in exhibitions outside the region, most notably in the West. It will examine a wide array of questions. To what extent, for example, was Balkan (or East European) backwardness on display and how was it situated within host-country organizations of meaning? Did Balkan peoples perhaps exoticize their own nations in order to sell their wares to consuming Western publics? Or did East Europeans use these fairs as vehicles for exhibiting an image of their own bourgeoning progress and material prosperity to the world? How did East Europeans generate or reproduce national meanings at home through the vehicle of the world's fair or national exhibition? What architectural and design forms or other kinds of displays and messages were utilized in creating spaces for the making of a modern citizenry? Such questions raise issues not only about the power implications of Western representations of "other" peoples, but also about how East Europeans and others were able to "read" these fairs and as a consequence shape their own national participation and display. The situating of the Balkans within the East-West continuum was and continues to be integral to the Southeastern European national projects. World's Fairs and national exhibitions present an exceptional context for exploration of the South Eastern European encounter with the rest of Europe and the "West," both at home and abroad.
April 20-21, 2007
The organizers of this conference -- Professors Zoltan Barany and Robert Moser -- invited an exceptional group of scholars to consider the all-too-timely subject of whether or not democracies are obligated to promote democracy in authoritarian states and what sort of help they should render. Speakers also addressed specific issues such as how democracy builders could be sensitive to various cultures, promote civil-society, defuse ethno-religious tensions, establish a viable party system, write durable constitutions, and build democratic armies.
March 23-24, 2007
Organized by Professors Michele Rivkin Fish (University of North Carolina) and Cynthia Buckley (Texas), the conference focuses upon exploring the ways in which cultural, political and economic factors shape health behaviors and health related practices within Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Through workshop meetings and an afternoon public forum on Friday March 23rd, an international and interdisciplinary group of 17 scholars will engage in critical dialogues concerning the way in which health choices are structured, constrained, and enabled by forces beyond the individual, in an attempt to contextualize and structure assessments of health within the region.
February 16-17, 2006
The conference Contemporary Islamic Movements: Ideology, Aesthetics, Politics explored Islamic thought, politics and social life through an interdisciplinary approach. The Keynote Speaker was Reza Aslan, author of No god but God.
The conference was co-sponsored by Center for Middle Eastern Studies CMES) Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies(CREEES) South Asia Institute(SAI) International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World Religious Studies Program Center for European Studies(CES).
April 18, 2005
This Symposium on the diversity of Islam highlighted the historical roles Islam has played in Eurasia and the variations found within Islamic Eurasian regions in the modern era. In the morning session, speakers discussed the complexity and diversity of Islam in the Central Asian states and how they have changed as their governments have grown more independent from their former Soviet rulers. The afternoon lectures addressed some of the challenges faced by Muslim women in these same societies. Co-sponsored by the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Department of Sociology, and the College of Liberal Arts.
The symposium included a week of speakers and activities related to the Republic of Georgia. The highlight of the week was an exhibition of golden jewelry, which came from the Georgian Arts and Culture Center (GACC) in Tbilisi. The exhibition was partially underwritten by the International Financial Corporation (IFC) and the US Embassy in Tbilisi, and traveled to Austin after showings in New York and Washington, D.C. University co-sponsors included the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and the LBJ School of Public Affairs.
This event, co-sponsored by The Gale Chair of Jewish Studies, CREEES, the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies, Jewish Studies, Religion Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Harry Ransom Center, Texas Hillel Foundation, and the Jewish Community Association of Austin caused great interest as the first major symposium in Austin devoted to Jewish Mysticism.
The Future of Russia's Environment, March 2004: A day-long symposium featuring four specialists from Russia and Central Asia in dialogue with four US specialists on Russia's environmental hotspots,legislation and policy-making, impact on health care and potential political ramifications.
Co-sponsored by the Gale Chair of Jewish Studies, the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, the School of Music and the Jewish Community Association of Austin with the support of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, The Jewish Studies Program, The Department of Anthropology, The Program in Comparative Literature and Texas Hillel Foundation.
April 26, 2002
This symposium focused on the cultural upheavals in Afghanistan that accompanied a period of tumultuous political change. For millions of Afghans, the experiences of war, exile and suppression profoundly altered the possibilities for cultural expression. Since the fall of the Tailban, Afghanistan has begun to redefine itself as a nation-state. Will political stability endure and provide the necessary framework for cultural rejuvenation? What roles might art, music and poetry now assume? Which parts of the heritage will be chosen for preservation? And who will interpret the past and represent it, and to whom? Co-sponsored by the Center for Asian Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies.
This one-day symposium brought together specialists and practitioners interested in using computer technology in enhancing the teaching of our area's languages and cultures.Richard Brecht of the National Foreign Language center delivered the keynote address. The symposium was co-sponsored by the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts.
April 6, 2001
An aging population is one of the most dramatic demographic trends in the Russian Federation. Over 31 million permanent residents of the Russian Federation are past pension age (60 for men and 55 for women) and nearly 30 million citizens receive state pensions for old age. As with countries across the industrialized world, long term trends in fertility and mortality, point to both further population aging and increased stress on the state pension system. This conference brought together national and international experts to discuss their research on the demographic, political, economic and social implications of population aging within the Russian Federation.
April 14-16, 2000
This symposium brought together artists, activists, scholars and public figures from each of the newly created countries of former Yugoslavia. The purpose was to explore the complexities of the past and their bearing on the possibilities for a shared future.