Speakers Spring 2014

Section 1



30 january - New Directions in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia

Improvement in Reproductive Health in Central Asia: How Much and for Whom?
4pm, Msgr. Swetland Assembly Room, St. John's Catholic Newman Center, 604 E. Armory Ave., Champaign

The past two decades are marked with extensive national and international efforts to improve reproductive health across Central Asia. Focused primarily upon improving familiarity with modern contraception, these programs coincide with signicant increases in marital contraceptive use and declining fertility. Yet, improvements among other indicators of reproductive health, including broad based contraceptive familiarity, accurate knowledge relating to sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) and access to medical care, remain modest. Substantial differentials in reproductive health remain by age, education, and rural/urban residence in the countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Using Demographic and Health Surveys and Multi-Cluster Indicator Surveys from 1999 through 2011, public health records, governmental records, and interviews with clients, Cynthia Buckley (Professor of Sociology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) re-examines "improvements" in reproductive health, tracing patterns of improvement across demographic, social and cultural sub groups within each country. Findings indicate persistently poor reproductive health knowledge, particularly among the young, unmarried, non-titular, and rural residents of Central Asia. These results raise serious questions concerning the efficacy of program interventions in the region, the responsiveness of programs to previous criticisms in the area of reproductive health in the Middle East and South Asia, and the success of reproductive health partnerships with authoritarian regimes.


11 february - noontime scholars lecture

Orthodox Travel and the Conquering of the Kazakh Steppe
12pm, 101 International Studies Building, 910 S Fifth St, Champaign

By the early 20th century, Asiatic Russia constituted a favorite destination for adventurers, explorers, ethnographers, missionaries, and many others enticed by the eastern half of the Russian empire. Men and women, of Russian and foreign descent, mustered their courage, braved local conditions, and lived to tell others of their exploits in publised accounts of their travels. Yet, it was not only outsiders who shared their impressions of the land and the people. Local Orthodox clergymen also published descriptions of their travel experiences during this period. This presentation will analyze articles published in Omsk Diocesan Gazette by Orthodox clergymen about their travels through the Kazakh steppe. Using these sources, Aileen Friesen (Postdoctoral Fellow, REEEC) will explore the ways in which the Orthodox Church used spiritualized travel in its quest to transform historically non-Orthodox lands into a stronghold of the church.

14 February - Roundtable on the ukrainian protests

Understanding the Ukrainian Maidan: Between Russia and the EU
1pm, 126 Graduate School of Library and Information Science Building, 501 E Daniel St, Champaign

On November 2013, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich refused to sign the European Union Association Agreement, after years of negotiation. As a result, chaos and protests flared up on the capital city Kiev's main square, which the locals call Maidan. Since the Orange Revolution of 2004, the Maidan has symbolized freedom. A roundtable, featuring Illinois experts on Ukraine, will discuss the country's current events, the implications of the ongoing political protests, and the enduring symbol of the Maidan.

  • Carol Leff, Associate Professor, Political Science
  • Kostas Kourtikakis, Lecturer, Poltical Science
  • Oleksandra Wallo, Lecturer, Slavic Languages and Literatures


Organized by: Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center; European Union Center

Co-sponsored by: Pi Sigma Alpha

20 february - New directions in russia, eastern europe, and eurasia

Biography as History: The Case of the Bulgarian Communist Functionary Tsola Dragoitcheva (1898-1993)
4pm, 101 International Studies Building, 910 S Fifth St, Champaign

The lecture, based on the life trajectory of Tsola Dragoitcheva, a Bulgarian political functionary during the state socialism, presents (her) biography as a useful historical tool which would help scholars to find the balance between treating women from the past patriarchal contexts as agents of change or as constrained by the specific historical structures. It is a contribution to the ongoing historical debate regarding women's situation in the East European state socialist countries during the Cold War period.

Krassimira Daskalova is Professor of Modern European Cultural History at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, in Bulgaria. Her most recent monograph is Women, Gender, and Modernization in Bulgaria, 1878-1944 (in Bulgarian), published by Sofia University Press in 2012. From 2005-2010, Daskalova served as the president of the International Federation for Research in Women's History. Since 2007, she has been the editor and book review editor of Asphasia: The International Yearbook of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European Women's and Gender History, published by Berghahn Books in New York. Daskalova has been awarded fellowships from a number of prestigious organizations, including the DADD (the German Academic Exchange Service), the Fulbright Program, the Japanese Association of University Women, the Korber Foundation and the Institute for Human Science, the Indiana University Institute for Advanced Study, and others. Her book A Biographical Dictionary of Women's Movements and Feminisms: Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe: 19th and 20th Centuries (Central European University Press, 2006), co-edited with Francisca De Haan and Anna Loutfi, was a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2006. Currently, Krassimira Daskalova is a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.

Co-sponsored by: Department of Sociology; Department of History; European Union Center; Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

26 february - Roundtable panel discussion with members of Chicago Consular corps

The EU's Big Bang and Beyond: A Decade After Eastern Enlargement
12pm, Alice Campbell Alumni Center, 601 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana

  • Marijus Gudynas, Consul General of Lithuania in Chicago
  • Simeon Stoilov, Consul General of Bulgaria in Chicago
  • Robert Rusiecki, Deputy Consul General of Poland in Chicago
  • George Predescu, Consul General of Romania in Chicago


Co-sponsored by: European Union Center; Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center

27 february - john jurisic

White City: A Photographer's Retrospective on the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics
4pm, 1090 Lincoln Hall, 702 S. Wright St., Urbana

John (Ivica) Jurisic is currently a resident of the Southside of Chicago, IL.  He was born in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he spent most of his life until he started college in Zagreb, Croatia, in 1964. He studied law and music for a short period of time in Zagreb, but because of his financial instability and the great expenses of new musical instruments, he left Zagreb and embarked for better opportunities elsewhere. He moved to England for a couple of months, and then to France where he lived for three years. With an offer to play soccer for a Canadian league near the end of 1968, John took the opportunity and moved to Canada. His dissatisfaction with the soccer league, however, forced him to move back to his hometown of Banja Luka in 1969.  After a bad earthquake hitting Banja Luka, most of the buildings were damaged, and John had nowhere to stay so he embarked on another journey to Paris, France. Shortly after residing in France, he received another offer to continue playing soccer in Canada, with more incentives and promises from the league. After moving to Canada again, he realized the empty promises and left for the United States.

John Jurisic has been living in Chicago since 1970. He worked as a construction worker and really enjoyed it because of the leisurely and relaxing atmosphere. He liked that if a mistake was made, it was easily fixed unlike in other jobs. In addition, when he was done with work, he was able to utilize his time doing things dear to his heart. He was a construction worker by day, photographer by night and a musician by weekend. He has always had a passion for photography, which is the reason it has stuck with him since the early 1960s when he didn’t even have a camera, but nonetheless followed his dreams. In the U.S., he was able to photograph basketball, tennis, car racing, football and other sporting events. However, it was hard for John to make a career out of photography and provide for his family, which is why it always remained as a side hobby/interest.

Among John's other interests are the photography of architecture and the landscape of cities, including Chicago. He has never expected his photography to have any significant value as much as it does today, especially for the Bosnian community in Chicago. The first anniversary that the Sarajevo Olympics were celebrated was for 15 years, and then came the anniversary for 20, then 25, and now the 30-year anniversary. He continues to entertain himself with photography during his free time and to love it.

In conjunction with the exhibit "The Sarajevo Winter Olympics: A Photo and Media Retrospective" (February 8-28, 2014, in the North/South Corridor of the Main Library)

Co-sponsored by: International and Area Studies Library; Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center; European Union Center

28 february - Ambassador Ian C. Kelly, U.S. Department of State

The U.S., Russia, and Bridging the East-West Divide
12pm, 1000 Lincoln Hall, 702 S. Wright St., Urbana

Ian C. Kelly is the Diplomat in Residence for the Midwest, based at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  He was most recently (from March 2010 to September 2013) the U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), in Vienna, Austria. From December 2012 to September 2013, he was concurrently the U.S. Co-Chair of the Minsk Group, the negotiating process set up to resolve the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the territory of Nagorno Karabakh.

From May 2009 until his appointment as ambassador, he was the Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State. Ambassador Kelly’s previous assignments include Director of the Office of Russian Affairs in Washington, D.C., Public Affairs Advisor at the U.S. Mission to NATO, Press Attaché at Embassy Rome, Press Attaché at Embassy Ankara,Information Center Director in Belgrade, and Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer in Moscow. He has also had several regional assignments that took him to all fifteen former Soviet republics.

He has studied Italian, Serbo-Croatian and Turkish at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center of the State Department. He also speaks Russian. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ambassador Kelly taught Russian at Columbia University, and received his doctorate there in Slavic Languages and Literatures in 1986. He also holds a B.A. from St. Olaf College and a M.A. from Northwestern University.

The lecture draws on his experience working on Russian affairs, and takes a historical look at the Helsinki Process and at the U.S.-Russia relationship in a multilateral context.

Co-sponsored by: International Programs and Studies; Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center; European Union Center; Department of Political Science; Center for Global Studies; Program in Arms Control, Disarmament, and International Security.


5 march - Salih Brkic

Salih Brkic: Bosnian Journalist and Filmmaker
4pm, 66 Main Library, 1408 W. Gregory Dr., Urbana

Salih Brkic is a war crimes investigative journalist from Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has been a professional journalist for more than 37 years with a strong focus on Srebrenica, his "wound." He has made the documentaries Lovac Na Pravdu (Hunter: Return to Justice), which NBC has filmed; Nermine; Lampa iz Spilje Polja; Ubijali Su i Nerodenu Djecu; Skorpioni Streljane Djece iz Srebenice; and 12 Godina Muke Fate Orlovic, which received an International Award and international acknowledgement.

Co-sponsored by: Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center; European Union Center; Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies; Center for Global Studies; Program in Arms Control, Disarmament, and International Security; Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

11 march - Jean Monnet "Eastern Europe and Eu Integration" lecture series

Europe and the Collapse of Yugoslavia: The Role of Non-State Actors and European Diplomacy
2:30pm, Lucy Ellis Lounge, 1080 Foreign Languages Building, Urbana

Branislav Radeljic is Associate Professor of International Politics in the School of Law and Social Sciences at the University of East London, and Visiting Faculty Fellow of the Telluride Association and the Department of History at the University of Michigan.

Co-sponsored by: European Union Center; Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center


15 april - Noontime scholars lecture

Displacement Effects on Gender Roles, Family Structure and Ethnic Identity: Muslim Meskhetians in the USA
12pm, 101 International Studies Building, 910 S Fifth St, Champaign

Ekaterine Pirtskhalava (Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at Iv. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, REEEC Visiting Scholar) will examine the processes of influence relocation to the USA on the lives of the Muslim Meskhetians. The Muslim Meskhetians, who originate in the territory of Georgia, have been subject to external rule and multiple forced displacements. Most recently, in 2005, a large number of Meskhetian Muslims were granted refugee status and resettled in the United States. Guided by previous studies of cultural adaptation and identity maintenance, Prof. Pirtskhalava explores how this group has negotiated resettlement to the United States. Combining in-depth interviews with immigrants, who live in the states of Pennsylvania and Illinois, she will illustrate the changes Muslim Meskhetians underwent in several important areas such as the family structure and family relationships, male and female roles in the family, and their ethnic identity.

21 april - Jessica Greenberg

After the Revolution: Youth, Democracy and the Politics of Disappointment in Serbia
4pm, 123 David Kinley Hall, 1407 W Gregory Dr, Urbana

What happens to student activism once mass protests have disappeared from view, and youth embody the political frustrations, rather than the hopes of a nation? After the Revolution chronicles the lives of student activists as they confront the possibilities and disappointments of democracy in the shadow of the recent political transformation in Serbia.

Jessica Greenberg is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Illinois. Her research focuses on the anthropology of democracy in the Balkans and Europe - more broadly, post-revolutionary politics, youth, and post-socialist studies. Her research on student activists in Serbia has led her to track and analyze the conditions of possibility for transformative politics in the post-Cold War period, and the ways in which contemporary democracies are shaped by the imaginaries and expectations of earlier political forms and practices. Her book entitled After the Revolution: Youth, Democracy and the Politics of Disappointment in Serbia was published by Stanford University Press in 2014. Her work has appeared in American Anthropologist, Political and Legal Anthropology Review (PoLAR), Eastern European Politics and Societies, Slavic Review, Language and Communication, and Nationalities Papers. Prior to coming to Illinois, Greenberg was an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, and an assistant professor in Communication Studies at Northwestern University. She received her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2007.

Co-sponsored by: European Union Center; Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center

22 april - Noontime scholars lecture

"Roadlessness" and the State in Soviet Tajikistan, 1925-1935
12pm, 101 International Studies Building, 910 S Fifth St, Champaign

When the Soviet republic of Tajikistan was established in 1924, officials saw it as little more than an idea. It had had borders and a government, but it had never hosted a car or a train or any industrial economic activity. This lecture will explore the ways that the Communists worked to overcome what they saw as the isolation and "roadlessness" (bezdorozhnost') of the territory in order to fulfill political geography through economic development. Efforts to establish land transportation were meant to support the foundation of large-scale cotton agriculture in southern regions of the new republic as the basis of a new economy. More fundamentally, they were a way of physically altering the natural landscape to create a built environment for the state. This lecture will show that Tajikistan's almost entirely mountaineous terrain persistently interrupted and interfered with road projects and frequently influenced the routes they could follow. The impact of the natural environment on early work plans demonstrated demonstrated the weakness of the Soviet state, and the instability of its geography. Because planners, engineers, laborers, and others often found themselves compromising with the natural environment on behalf of the state, through efforts they saw as extraordinary and unanticipated, the process of developing Soviet mobility in southern Central Asia frequently determined the pace and scale of efforts to realize Communist ambitions and planning in Tajikistan.

Patryk Reid is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is writing a dissertation entitled "Managing Nature, Constructing the State: The Material Foundation of Soviet Empire in Tajikistan, 1917-37."

24 april - New Directions in RUssia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia

Reinventing Russia: Modernist Myth-Making and National Self-Identity, 1898-1914
4pm, 101 International Studies Building, 910 S Fifth St, Champaign

This presentation frames the immanent impact the cultural tradition and innovation in Russia had on the development of national self-identity as well as on the shaping of Russian Modernist aesthetics in the early 20th century, from Diaghilev's Ballets Russes to the Futurist art and poetry.

Nina Gourianova is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Northwestern University. Her scholarship in the fields of literature and art history encompasses both Russian and European modernist and avant-garde movements, with a specific emphasis on the interrelation and mutual influence of aesthetics and politics. Gourianova served as the primary curatorical consultant to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) on the exhibition of Russian Futurist and Constructivist books in 2002, and participated in the organization of many exhibitions, including "Amazons of the Avant-garde" and "Kazimir Malevich" at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and "Cubisti e Cubismo" in Rome (2013). She has published extensively in Europe, the United States and Russia. Her most recent book The Aesthetics of Anarchy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012) won the 2013 AATSEEL (American Association for the Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages) Best Book in Literary/Cutural Studies annual award. It explores the question of art and ideology in the pre-revolutionary Russian avant-garde.

Speakers Spring 2014

These speaker events are funded in part by the Department of Education Title VI grant for the National Resource Centers Program