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Mary Neuburger, Chair BUR 452, 2505 University Avenue, Stop F3600, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-3607

The Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies, along with a variety of co-sponsors, regularly coordinates symposia on topics of concern or interest.

Upcoming Symposia:


Food for Thought Culture and Cuisine in Russia and Eastern Europe 1800-present

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:

confText, 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.

The Thirteenth Annual Czech Studies Workshop: 

Program 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

Commodities and Culture in the “Other” Europe  1800-1945

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 modernityinto 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.

Teaching the Speakers: Heritage Language Learners and the Classroom

Presentations at this one-day workshop will focus on one commonly-taught language (Spanish), and less-commonly taught language (Russian). The talks will address the growing necessity of integrating learners with varying degrees of prior exposure to the language into the curriculum, recognizing the different instructional needs, cultural perceptions, and affective factors of heritage language learners. Following the morning presentations, an hour-long open discussion will address any questions and comments.

For more information on featured presentations, please view our Agenda page or View Event Poster Here Saturday, April 9, 2011
10 AM – 1:30 PM
Mezes (MEZ) 1.306
Sponsored by the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies and the Texas Language Center
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