Speakers Fall 2015

Section 1



3 September - paprika, foie gra and red mud: hungary ten years after EU accession

Paprika, Foie Gras and Red Mud: Hungary Ten Years after EU Accession
4pm, General Lounge (Room 210), Illini Union

Prof. Gille goes behind the popularity of the current governing party FIDESZ's slogan "Nem leszunk gyarmat!" ("We are not going to be a colony!") by approaching Hungary's immersion in a global context through three stories that captivated lay people's political imagination. The first is the 2004 ban on the sale and use of paprika due to contamination by carcinogenic mycotoxin; the second is the 2010 boycott of Hungarian foie gras by an Austrian animal rights organization; and the third is the 2014 red mud spill, Hungary's worst industrial accident. These scandals, as Hungarians learned and talked about them, revealed certain previously hidden aspects of the relationship between their country and the European Union. Prof. Gille will analyze the three cases in the tradition of global ethnography, and she will use them to illustrate a new trend in the relationship between politics and materiality in the European Union.

Zsuzsa Gille is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of From the Cult of Waste to the Trash Heap of History: The Politics of Waste in Socialist and Postsocialist Hungary (Indiana University Press 2007--honorable mention for the AAASS Davis Prize), co-editor of Post-Communist Nostalgia with Maria Todorova (Berghahn Press 2010), and co-author of Global Ethnography: Forces, Connections and Imaginations in a Postmodern World (University of California Press, 2000). She was the special guest editor of Slavic Review's thematic cluster on Nature, Culture, Power (2009). Her book Paprika, Foie Gras, and Red Mud: The Politics of Materiality in the European Union (2016 Indiana University Press) investigates the relationship between power and materiality in a transnational context.

Followed by the REEEC Fall Reception.

3 September - reeec fall reception

REEEC Fall Reception
5pm, General Lounge (Room 210), Illini Union

Please join REEEC as we begin the 2015-2016 academic year! Refreshments will be served

4 September - Music and citizenship

Music and Citizenship
5pm, Smith Memorial Hall Room 25, 805 South Mathews Avenue, Urbana IL, 61801

Citizenship debates - traditionally focused on questions about property, liberty of the person, representation - shifted radically in the 1990s. Globalization pushed questions about 'flexible citizenship,' about problems of inclusion and exclusion in a world of migrancy, war, and failed states. Feminist and queer movements made questions about sexual rights central to citizenship discourse, and with them the politics of feeling, emotion, and care. Responses to Habermas explored the idea of counter-publics, spaces of citizenly participation involving alternative structures of emotional disclosure and recognition. Proccupied with matters of identity in the 1990s, ethnomusicology has, arguably, been slow to respond. This lecture looks at the place of music and musicians in constructions of citizenly virtue with four foci: emotion, environment, the body, the public sphere. It springs from questions that I explored in a recent book on Turkish music (The Republic of Love, University of Chicago Press, 2010), but traces the configurations of a more general and more global inquiry from the middle of the twentieth century on.

24 September - Familiar Strangers: The georgian diaspora and the Evolution of soviet empire

Familiar Strangers: The Georgian Diaspora and the Evolution of Soviet Empire
4pm, 101 ISB

Following the history of Georgians beyond the Georgian republic from 1917 to the present, this presentation explores the rise and fall of the Soviet multiethnic empire from the perspective of its most prominent internal diaspora. Joseph Stalin (Jughashvili) was just one of a group of Georgian revolutionaries who came to power in the early years of Soviet rule and directed the developement of the new state. After the socialist state was established, Soviet citizens sought new opportunities for leisure and consumption and found them at the Georgian restaurant, where they adopted the distinctive rituals of the Georgian table. During Khrushchev's "Thaw," Georgian cultural entrepreneurs embodied the era's spirit of spontaneity as popular ehtnic entertainers specializing in song, dance, and theater. As official life grew stagnant under Brezhnev, Georgians thrived in the burgeoning informal economy. Finally, with the advent of Gorbachev's reforms, it was a Georgian film, Repentance, that explored the furthest limits of allowable expression, calling into question the very legitimacy of Soviet power. The prominence of the Georgian diaspora suggests that the Soviet Union was not simply a Russian empire, nor merely a multiethnic state composed of separate nations; instead, it was an empire of diasporas, where politics, culture, and economics were constituted by the mixing of a diverse array of mobile nationalities.

Erik R. Scott is Assistant Professor of Russian and Soviet history at the University of Kansas. Drawing on years of fieldwork and knowledge of several regional languages, his research and teaching explore migration and diaspora within and beyond the imperial borders of Russia and Eurasia. His book, Familiar Strangers: The Georgian Diaspora and the Multiethnic Soviet Empire (forthcoming from Oxford University Press in 2016), reimagines the Soviet empire by revealing how external borders concealed an array of specialized internal diaspora populations. He has recently begun a new project on Soviet defectors and the production of Cold War borders, focusing in particular on the winding journeys of defectors through border zones, transit hubs, extraterritorial spaces, and contested areas beyond the limits of state jurisdiction. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on Russian and Soviet history, the Cold War, comparative empires, and migration in global perspective. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011 and was the Post-Doctoral Fellow in Caucasian and Central Asian Affairs at Georgetown Univesity's Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies from 2011 to 2012.



6 October - Sirin Pancaroglu harp

Sirin Pancaroglu
12:15 pm, 1114 West Nevada Street, Urbana Room 1201, Music Building

Praised by the Washington Post as a "major talent of international caliber," harpist Sirin Pancaroglu has been credited for achieving a multifaceted musical career in which she has also been involved with the revival of the medieval Near-Eastern lap harp called, the "ceng." Disappeared in the 17th century, the ceng has a beautiful, almost archeological sound, which it owes to the leather stretched over its body. In 2013 she collaborated with Bora Uymaz, the leading singer and composer of Turkish music today, on a unique album titled Cengnagme, the song of the ceng. Ms. Pancaroglu will lecture on the ceng and together with singer Bora Uymaz and Mehmet Yalgin, they will perform hymns, semais and songs from the Turko-Ottoman repertoire.

6 October - The revival of the ceng

Sirin Pancaroglu with the Simdi Ensemble Performance
4:30 pm, Memorial Room, Smith Memorial Hall

Co-sponsored by: College of Fine and Applied Arts and Music


Implications for Bulgaria: Pascal Zhelev, Fulbright Visiting Scholar and Chief Asst. Professor, University of National and World Economy (UNWE), International Economic Relations and Business Department, Bulgaria
12:00 pm, Lucy Ellis Lounge, 1080 Foreign Languages Building (707 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana)

In the European Union, industrial policy is pursued at two levels - supranational and national. Complying with the principle of subsidiarity, the most substantial part of industrial policy, in the narrow sense, is pursued at the national level. However, the EU exerts a significant influence not just on the available toolkit, but also on the attitude towards industrial policies of its member states. For a number of reasons, the EU stance towards industrial policy in the 1990s was passive and subsequently, the candidate countries were obliged to adopt the horizontal approach to it as a condition of the accession process. Since the beginning of this century, the EU, facing a number of challenges (slow growth and jobs creation; falling behind the USA in technological advancement; increased competition from emerging markets, ets.), has relaunched its interest in industrial policy. It has been very high on the political agenda since the Global Recession and became an important part of a wider economic reforms strategy called "Europe 2020." The main goal of the EU's renewed industrial policy is to reverse the declining role of manufacturing in Europe from 16% of GDP to as much as 20% by 2020. By placing industry in a central position in its growth strategy, the EU also gives a strong signal to its member states to step up their national industrial policies. The objective of the presentation is to shed light on the new developments in the industrial policy of the EU and to discuss the policy challenges in front of its poorest member state Bulgaria, whose indsutrial capacity has been greatly diminished by the years of transitional recession, and undermined by the horizontal industrial policy it had to adopt.

Co-Sponsored by: European Union Center

20 October - Noontime scholars lecture

The Digestive Tract of the Universe: Andrei Platonov's "Antropo-tekhnika" Marina Filipovic (Ph.D. Candidate in Slavic Lanugages and Literatures, Illinois)
12:00 pm, 101 International Studies Building (910 S. Fifth St., Champaign)

In the 1920s, Soviet Russia embarked on a project of creating a super-science with the ultimate goal of achieving immortality. Biotechnology of human rejuvenation and life prolongation was the leading trend both in science and in fiction, while the human bilogical cell became the Archimedean point in research and the metaphor of liberation from death. Biotechnological research was a fertile ground for Soviet authors like Andrei Platonov who responded to this state-sponsored venture to reshape human life by engaging in "antropo-tekhnika" -- a literary attempt to overcome the problem of death. In this presentation, Marina Filipovic (Ph. D. Candidate in Slavic Languages and Literatures, Illinois), will discuss Platonov's ideas on human-cell transformation through carefully designed technology, the project called "the ethereal tract" or "the digestive tract of the universe"--one of the most potent metaphors in Platonov's prose of the twenties and early thirties. Through the organic imagery of the digestive tract that is simultaneously envisioned as a powerful machine system comprised of animate (muscles, bowels, enzymes, hormones, blood vessels, etc) and inanimate properties (human waste), Platonov produces a peculiar, hybrid understanding of the human organism that runs according to both inexplicable life forces and precise, mechanical functioning, and represents a perfect medium for technological manipulations.

26 October - new directions lecture

The Talking Dead: Articulating the 'Zombified' Subject Under Putin, Eliot Borenstein (Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies, New York University)
4:00 pm, 126 Graduate School of Library & Information Science (501 E. Daniel St., Champaign)

In the current Russian media environment, commentators of all political stripes are on the lookout for propaganda and its effects. The war in Ukraine, for example, has prompted accusations that the Russian, Ukrainian, and Western media are brainwashing their audiences. The Russian term most frequently invoked is "zombification": the transformation of otherwise potentially rational TV viewers into unthinking husks due to the pernicious effects of the "zomboiashchik" (the "zombie box," which is the Russian equivalent to "boob tube"). The casual but pervasive discourse of zombification, while completely inconsistent with the frameworks of modern media studies, has itself exerted a powerful hold on the Russian consciousness. Ironically, brainwashing and its Russian variant, zombification, are a concept with deep Cold War roots: Western anti-communists after World War II essentially took the Leninist rhetoric of reforging and reeducation at face value, creating fantasies of communist mind control. From there, brainwashing makes the jump to the anti-cult movement, which then exports it to the former USSR with the help of anti-sectarian activists associated with the Russian Orthodox Church. When combined with conspiracy theories as the Dulles Plan and the Harvard Project (and a large dose of blind faith in the power of mysterious KGB science), brainwashing/zombification plays a crucial role in the discursive constructio of a Russian state whose inhabitatnts have been subject to prolonged mind control experiments (whether by the Americans, Jews, or the Communist Party). Ultimately, one of the few ideas that seems to unite a large number of otherwise fractious Russian pundits and Internet commentators is a pessimistic anthropology of the Russian public, posting Russian subjectivity largely as absence: the Russian media consumer is painted as a passive victim with no defense against the media's vast and varied rhetorical arsenal. Speech ceases to be the product of an integral consciousness, turning instead into stuff of which false consciousness is made.



5 November - new directions lecture

The Political Prisoner as a Global Figure, Padraic Kenney (Professor of History and International Studies, Indiana University)
4:00 pm, 101 International Studies Building, 910 S. Fifth St., Champaign

What is a political prisoner, and how do we recognize such a figure? One medium through which we approach the political prisoner - movements that support or publicize them. Using the cases of Poland, Ireland, and South Africa over the course of the 20th century, Prof. Kenney will examine how the political prisoner has variously been the object of general humanitarian concern, a martyr used to rally political movements, and a neutralized symbol of the cause of human rights. Key movements to be examined will be Red Help, the International Committee for Political Prisoners, and Amnesty International.

4-8 November - concert

The Jupiter String Quartet Presents The Complete String Quartets of Bela Bartok
November 4, 7:30 pm, Memorial Room, Smith Memorial Hall
November 7, 2:00 pm, Rosann Gelvin Noel Gallery, Krannert Art Museum
November 8, 2:00 pm, Spurlock Museum--with Donna Buchanan

The JSQ will present the Barok Cycle around campus in conjunction with lectures and discussions led by Illinois scholars from the School of Music. Lectures begin at 7:30 and 2 pm with performance and discussion to follow.

Co-sponsor: School of Music

10 November - Noontime scholars lecture

Bulgarian-Russian Trade Relations in the Post-Socialist Period, Paskal Zhelev (Fulbright Fellow, Chief Assistant Professor, University of National and World Economy, Sofia, Bulgaria)
12:00 pm, 101 International Studies Building (910 S. Fifth St., Champaign)

Bulgaria was once considered to be the closest and the most loyal ally of the Soviet Union within the former Eastern bloc. However after the collapse of the COMECON new priorities replaced the old ties. The country has pursued a policy of "returning to Europe" with a main goal accession to the EU. Following the European Association Agreement Bulgaria's trade with the EU has started to grow very fast to the detriment of the economic relations with Russia, which have been subject to many tariff and non-tariff barriers. While market shares of Bulgarian products on the RUssian market slumped, at the same time Bulgaria has remained extremely energy-dependent on Russia. This has led to the accumulation of vast year on year negative trade balance. The efforts during the last decade to develop more solid and pragmatic economic relations between the two traditional partners have shown little effect. More recently the bilateral ties cooled over Bulgaria's support for the EU sanctions and abandonment of major Russian energy projects. The paper uses merchandise trade data with the aim to analyze the development of Bulgarian-Russian trade relations after the start of the transition. It has been argued that the potential of the mutual trade relations has been largely unutilized and some opportunities for its reenergizing in the conditions of Bulgaria's EU membership are suggested.



7 December - noontime scholars lecture

Framing Homosexuality in Moral Terms: Patterns of Potential Tolerance in Central Asia, Cynthia Buckley (Professor of Sociology, Illinois)
12:00 pm, Lucy Ellis Lounge (1080 Foreign Languages Building)

Co-sponsored by: Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

9 december - reeec winter reception

4:00 pm, Illini Rooms A & B, Illini Union (1401 W. Green St., Urbana)

Come celebrate the end of the fall semester with REEEC! Refreshments and entertainment will be provided.

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