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From St. Petersburg to Sochi: New Colors and Remnants of the Past

By Jenny Jarrett

 

After living in Russia for one year and visiting again prior to my trip this summer, I thought that  I would be very prepared for my experiences in St. Petersburg and Sochi. To my surprise, neither city was anything like Moscow or the lovely village of Beloomut, on the outskirts of Moscow.

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By |November 10th, 2014|Series on Sochi, Student Spotlight|1 Comment

LECTURE | Kazakh nomadic politics and the Russian Administration of the Steppe in the 1820s-30s

Dr. Virgina Martin’s lecture about Kazakh nomadic political culture over the first ten years of Russian rule in the Middle Horde Kazakh Steppe was held in Thompson 317 at 1:30pm today.

Dr Martin presented her recent research which explores local political views and practices of service, loyalty and governance as she works to challenge the standard outdated nationalist and statist historiographies on resistance and bureaucratization of the Kazakhs during this period.

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By |November 6th, 2014|Academic Spotlight, Alumni Spotlight|0 Comments

Real political implications: Radnitz on Putin

After Vladimir Putin’s fiery Valdai Club speech in Sochi on October 21st, it has become clear that 2014 will be a watershed year for the Russian Federation and Russia-watchers everywhere. From Euromaidan to the Olympics, from the Crimean Crisis to the support of separatists in the Donbass region, Westerners have been attempting to answer one simple question:

What is motivating Putin? […]

By |November 3rd, 2014|Academic Spotlight, Faculty Spotlight|1 Comment

The path to mediation: UW Carnegie Fellow addresses law, society in Georgia

Changing perception from “win-lose” to “win-win” in legal cases goes beyond lawyering. It is a physiological process and it requires intensive training for mediators. I believe that popularization of mediation as a mechanism of alternative dispute resolution is a step forward for the country. However, the concept of mediation is used in various contexts within Georgia.

By |October 27th, 2014|Academic Spotlight, Community Spotlight|0 Comments

Tracing traditions: storytelling in Slovenia, Georgia

Storytelling festivals are a fascinating phenomenon. Festivals and circles aimed at adults, first appearing in Western Europe and the United States in the early 1970s, have now become an established practice worldwide. In the United States, for example, the storytelling revival movement dates back to the Jonesborough Storytelling Festival in Tennessee, established in 1973. Among the post-communist countries, Slovenia shows an interest in not only studying collections of its native folktales, but in reviving traditional storytelling as an oral performance art aimed at adults.

By |October 24th, 2014|Academic Spotlight, Student Spotlight|0 Comments

Estonian artist turns ancient instruments into heavy metal music

By Indra Ekmanis

Don’t cry “wolf” unless you want him to hear you and eat your sheep, Lauri Õunapuu warned students in a deep and imposing voice during his visit to UW Tuesday. Õunapuu, an Estonian musician, plays traditional folk instruments in a heavy metal band, Metsatöll – the ancient Estonian word for what you should call a wolf if you don’t want him to hear you, Õunapuu explained.

This is just one of the ancient traditions of Estonia Õunapuu shared as a guest lecturer in Dr. Guntis Šmidchens’ introduction to folklore class. Õunapuu looked every bit the folk musician turned heavy metal artist, dressed in a vest and shirt reminiscent of a traditional costume and with a long ponytail and beard. Metsatöll makes use of traditional instruments, upgraded to fit with the band’s style. It would be difficult to play an acoustic stringed instrument made of wood and sheep guts against heavy metal instruments, Õunapuu said, showing off his self-made electric hiiu kannel, a lyre-like instrument.

Õunapuu brought with him a trunk full of traditional Estonian instruments, each with its own origin tale. The hiiu kannel, for example, has a difficult history. The stringed instrument played with a horsehair bow was a favorite of Estonian Swedes on the island of Vormsi (Swedish: Ormsö) off the mainland. But, when the region was becoming Christianized, the local religious authority on the island declared the hiiu kannel a tool of the devil, and set about burning the “heathen” instruments in a bonfire. Only a few well-hidden hiiu kannels survived the purge and only a few men of the island retained the talent for playing them, Õunapuu said.

Speaking on the oral roots of Estonian music, Õunapuu described the tradition as […]

By |October 13th, 2014|Academic Spotlight, Community Spotlight|0 Comments

There’s no substitute for being there: Early Fall Start in Sochi

After two six-hour layovers in Los Angeles and Istanbul, two trips through American security, three in-flight films, and four terrible hours of sleep, I was about to fulfill my life-long goal of traveling to Russia.

By |October 13th, 2014|Academic Spotlight, Series on Sochi, Student Spotlight|0 Comments

Authors honored for book on nation-building in Baltics

By Indra Ekmanis

In a celebration of family and new contributions to the field of Baltic studies, UW Baltic scholars and interested community members gathered at the Seattle Latvian Center Sept. 28 to honor Prof. Emeritus Gundars Ķeniņš-King and his recently published book, Nation-building in the Baltic States: Transforming Governance, Social Welfare, and Security in Northern Europe.

The program included a musical introduction and talks by co-author David E. McNabb, professor emeritus at Pacific Lutheran University, and Guntis Šmidchens, head of the Baltic Studies Program at UW. The book maps out the transition from Soviet vassals to modern European states for the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. It capitalizes on the expertise of its authors, both of whom have spent considerable time in the Baltic region.

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By |October 2nd, 2014|Academic Spotlight, Community Spotlight|0 Comments

‘The Seagull Project’ turns heads in Tashkent

On April 23, 2014 a Seattle based troupe of self-producing actors their director and a production manager flew to Tashkent, Uzbekistan to present their production of Chekhov’s The Seagull at the renowned Ilkhom Theatre of Mark Weil.

By |May 27th, 2014|Academic Spotlight, Community Spotlight|0 Comments

‘More to do’: Grigas speaks on European energy security

Agnia Grigas, energy security expert and political risk analyst, discussed the impact of Russian energy monopolies in Europe during her visit to Seattle.

By |May 20th, 2014|Academic Spotlight|0 Comments