Going to ASEEES 2017? See CREEES Faculty on Panels & Roundtables Across the Conference!

CREEES will be well represented at the
Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) Annual Conference in Chicago
this week!
Faculty, alumni and our CREEES librarian will be in attendance



Mary Neuburger

Panel: East Europeans as Agents of Globalization

Thu, November 9, 3:00 to 4:45pm, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 3rd, Kane

“It’s not all Greek!: Bulgarian Yogurt, Long Life, and the Global Gut

Yogurt has no nationality, but it many bacterial forms, textures, additives, and brands have made it a malleable and increasingly global product since the turn of the century. Yogurt has a much longer history in the Balkans, at the Western end of the traditional “yogurt belt”, which extends from SE Europe to India. In the course of the 20th (and now 21st) century, this very regional product has gone global, albeit intermittently cloaked in various national garbs. The recent appearance and popularity of “Greek” yogurt is only the most latest phase in this trend, which actually began with the turn of the (20th) century rise and spread of “Bulgarian yogurt” in Western Europe, the US, and Japan. This paper examines the various dimensions of first global Bulgarian yogurt “bubble”, while then tracing the ways in which it was popped—or at least shifted East—in the shadow of fickle shifts in “food science”, and the Cold War.


Panel: The Politics of Cold War Tourism: Creating, Negotiating, and Regulating Transnational Travel Cultures (Chair)

Fri, November 10, 3:45 to 5:30pm, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 3rd, Dupage

Brief Description

This panel explores the tourist industries in Communist Europe from a comparative and transnational perspective. It focuses on the everyday experience of tourism across the Iron Curtain as well as the importance of tourism in international relations and cold war diplomacy. Through studies of Romania and Yugoslavia, and of their tourism relations with the west, and of Scandinavian tourism relations with the East, this panel provides a broad perspective on the Communist tourist industries and their influence at home and abroad.

Thomas Garza

Roundtable: Transgression to Transition: Inter-Cultural Adaptation on Study Abroad (Roundtable Member)

Fri, November 10, 10:00 to 11:45am, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 10th, Water Tower

Brief Description

This panel will examine: 1) student need for more programmatic inter-cultural adaptation while studying abroad, 2) various means for facilitating students’ inter-cultural adaptation while on study abroad programs (in Russia, principally), and 3) methods for quantifying and measuring adaptation at various points in students’ experience. The panel will include participants representing study abroad providers as well as faculty advisers to students considering study abroad. This panel represents a continuation of a conversation begun at the 2016 convention; it is also an ongoing panel for the exchange of ideas on study abroad.


Roundtable: Forum on Art of Teaching Russian: An Edited Volume by Slavica Publishers (Roundtable Member)

Sun, November 12, 10:00 to 11:45am, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 10th, Water Tower

Brief Description

The Art of Teaching Russian (Slavica Publishers, 2017) is a new book that features 20+ articles on teaching Russian, language pedagogy and second language acquisition.

At the roundtable, the editors Evgeny Dengub, Irina Dubinina and Jason Merrill will introduce the volume. Several contributing authors will give presentations on the topics of submissions.

Oksana Lutsyshyna

Panel: Ukrainian Poetry of the 1970s and 1980s: Towards the Creation of an Alternative Cultural Identity

Fri, November 10, 10:00 to 11:45am, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 5th, Kansas City

“Condensing Language, Reinventing Meanings: The Poetry of Mykhailo Hryhoriv”


My paper analyzes the poetry of Mykhaylo Hryhoriv, a representative of the Kyiv School of Ukrainian poetry. Often defined as “the poet of word combinations,” his poetry stands out for its reliance on incomplete phrases rather than sentences. While the official “Socialist Realist” canon operated within the ideologically sanctioned limits of Soviet discourse, the dissident movement of the 1960s and 70s often (though not always) focused on expressing opposition in a declarative and politically charged manner. In my paper, I argue that Hryhoriv’s poetry, through short form and “non-political” topics, defied both of these trends, striving, instead, to propose a philosophical revision of language, form, and semantics.

Michael Pesenson

Panel: Agents of Change: Re-Thinking and Re-Crafting Textiles and Texts in Early Slavic Contexts (Discussant)

Thu, November 9, 1:00 to 2:45pm, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 2nd, Printers Row


The Westernization of Russian Culture in the 18th Century

Sun, November 12, 8:00 to 9:45am, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 2nd, Streeterville

“Francesco Araia’s ‘Russian’ Opera Seria: the 1755 Premiere of Tsefal and Prokris and the Internalization of Italianate Musical Culture at the Court of St. Petersburg”

The paper discusses the celebrated premiere of the first opera ever composed to a Russian libretto: Francesco Araia’s collaboration with Alexander Sumarokov in reinterpreting the Ovidian myth of Cephalus and Procris, a favorite of European Baroque dramatists and librettists, for the Russian operatic stage. I will look at both the text and the music of the opera to assess how effectively the language of the Russian libretto corresponded with the highly ornate Italianate musical style and the expressive demands of the genre, examine the dramatic quality of the work in terms of action and plot, and consider its innovative role in the development of opera in Russia. With “Tsefal and Prokris,” a Russian setting of an Ovidian myth to music by an Italian composer of opera seria, sung by young Russian singers trained by Italians in the proper Italian operatic style, with decorations and machinery managed by Italian artists working with Russian understudies, it is fair to say that Italianate musical culture had finally become internalized at the increasingly Westernized court of St. Petersburg.

Marina Alexandrova

Individual Paper Panel: Literature, Ideology, and Morality in the Soviet Era

Fri, November 10, 3:45 to 5:30pm, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 6th, Great America 1

“Ingesting Soviet Ideology: Food Myths in Early Soviet Children’s Books” (will be presented by another faculty member)

This paper examines early Soviet food myths and prescriptions surrounding food as well as ideas about ideal child body using the examples from the Cotsen collection of Soviet books. It primarily focuses on Mayakovsky’s grotesque “Fairytale about Pete the Fat Child and about Sim, Who Is Thin” («Сказка о Пете толстом ребенке и о Симе, который тонкий» (1925), and uses other books to buttress the argument. Mayakovsky’s «fairytale,» which predictably and typically ties gluttony and obesity to the «bourgeois» lifestyle, goes beyond simple dichotomies of gluttony/moderation, diseased/healthy body, and the proletarian/bourgeois lifestyles, and features some gruesome visual and verbal imagery of Pete, the greedy little boy who cannot stop eating. In the shocking finale of the story, the boy explodes, and all the food he has previously consumed rains down on good Soviet children, providing them with nutritious lunch. Blessed by this macabre manna – butter, sausages, sweets, and other delicious foods – the children celebrate the abundance and don’t seem to mourn the poor boy, symbolically ingesting him and moving on into the bright Soviet future without the profoundly corrupt «bourgeois elements.» The proposed paper analyzes the graphic and verbal content of the books, and situates them within larger context of Soviet children’s literature, which focuses on issues like table manners, desirable behavior around food, and behavioral examples for emulation.

Vladislav Beronja

Panel: (Post)-Yugoslav Disciplinary Transgressions

Sat, November 11, 3:45 to 5:30pm, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 3rd, Dupage

“Postsocialism and Critical Essay: The Case of Boris Buden”

This paper traces Boris Buden’s intellectual trajectory and emergence as a Croatian and European public intellectual, which coincides with postsocialism as a historical condition and object of critique. His essays in the 1990s, written for the oppositional magazine of the Croatian Antiwar Campaign (Arkzin), represent a specific critical and metamedial intervention into the new media environment, defined by both state control and rapid commercialization of the press. Appropriating the figure of “bastardhood,” as a trope of refusal, hybridity, and impurity, Buden’s early essays combine psychoanalytical insight with the raw material of ideology–such as everyday speech, political ritual, and mass media–to set up a “therapeutic scene” for the main protagonists of the Croatian nation-building project. Lately, however, Buden has shifted his focus from the national to the transnational and global dimensions of postsocialism, in line with new scholarship that underlines affinities between postsocialism and postcolonialism. Here Buden abandons the psychoanalytical optic and engages instead with political economy, while taking contemporary art as a privileged site of critique.


Panel: Emir Kusturica: Cinema of Transgression (Chair)

Sun, November 12, 12:00 to 1:45pm, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 6th, Indiana

Brief Description

The panel discusses various aspects of the transgressive nature of Emir Kusturica’s work – in cinema and elsewhere. Dealing directly with political and ideological issues, as well as those of ethnic and other identity of his characters (Roma, Muslim/Bosnian, Serb etc.), Kusturica’s early films deal with the most important aspects of Yugoslav identity and social life. But, with the break-up of Yugoslavia, his works becomes even more controversial and politically charged in their direct and indirect dealing with political and other norms and conventions. Probably the most important filmmaker from the region in the 1980s and 1990s, but in later works as well, Kusturica challenges the perceptions of what cinema, art or artist should be, at the same time participating in crucial political controversies of his era. Sometimes heralded as a veritable cinematic genius, sometimes accused of being a mere political opportunist, Kusturica is, by definition, an excellent example of the cinema of transgression.

Joan Neuberger

Panel: Special Effects in Soviet Cinema (Chair)

Fri, November 10, 1:45 to 3:30pm, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 6th, Iowa

Brief Description

Since the origin of cinema special effects have been deployed to enhance live-action photography, producing the illusion of an action that never occurred before the camera. While Soviet effects technologies generally followed foreign precedents, their deployment in Soviet cinema differs on the strength of its distinct specific historical and aesthetic conditions. Papers will focus on individual instances of Soviet effects, but will also allow for a general discussion of this understudied subject.


Panel: Friends and Relations: Social Networking in the Soviet Film Industry

Sat, November 11, 1:45 to 3:30pm, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 6th, Iowa

“Mapping Influence: Social Network Analysis in Soviet Film Administration, 1928-1953

During the Stalin period, the role of party-state film administrators seems to have been fairly arbitrary and unpredictable. I am using computational social network analysis to try to find discernible patterns in administrative behavior and administrator-artist interactions. I will be comparing what we know about such interactions from previous small scale research studies with large scale quantitative data. I will also be looking for unexpected lines of influence that can be uncovered by digital network analysis by plotting “betweenness” – the number of times a person acts as a bridge along the shortest path between two other people.

Charters Wynn

Panel: Studying Local Practice: Institutional ‘Feedback’ and the Viability of NEP (Chair)

Thu, November 9, 1:00 to 2:45pm, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 4th, Addison

Brief Description

Papers will examine the methods and sources that central and/or provincial party and government agencies used to generate knowledge about local practice. Party and government agencies generated a great deal of institutional research, making the party/state itself an object of knowledge. The panel will examine the efficacy of such practices. How, and to what degree, did informational reports, workshops, and conferences shape policy-making practices? Was, as Tracey McDonald recently argued persuasively, the gradual erosion of the NEP a result, in part at least, of the negative view of local personnel and conditions forged by the myriad information gathering/generating practiced employed by party and government agencies?

Kari Andreev (recent CREEES grad [Spring 17], current Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Fellow (2017-2018) in UT Dept. of Anthropology)

Panel: Multiple Feminisms 5: Visible and Invisible Choices: Women Acting at the Discursive Margins

Sun, November 12, 8:00 to 9:45am, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 5th, Denver

“The Problem of Agency: Women’s Role as Preservers of Cultural Heritage in The Sakha Republic (Yakutia)

Trends in the transmission of epic heritage in Russia’s Sakha Republic often center women as “carriers of culture” and reinforce traditional gender roles. Sakha women have taken on leadership roles in heritage preservation as researchers, educators, and performers of epic tradition. However, narratives of female warriors and leaders within the epic are often passed over in favor of narratives of beauties and mothers in materials promoting the epic’s utility in instilling Sakha values in children. The inclusion of girls in the transmission of heritage often focuses on their role as mothers of the next generation of Sakha, rather than as performers or researchers.

Ian Goodale

Roundtable: Collaborative Digital Initiatives Across the U.S. (Roundtable Member)

Thu, November 9, 5:00 to 6:45pm, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 10th, O’Hare

Brief Description

This roundtable will build on work discussed during the successful digital humanities stream at the 2016 ASEEES Convention. These five projects seek to connect scholars, students, and community members with undiscovered resources. Two websites based in Kansas and Virginia contribute to an overarching goal to inspire scholars in other U.S. states to create a nationwide network of Russian cultural resources. Another project aims to revive a defunct Slavic digital repository and convert it into a flexible, research- and teaching-friendly directory. The fourth project enables discovery of Soviet publications addressing educational initiatives, with the fifth highlighting the Prague Spring archive that is growing into a broader Cold War archive. We hypothesize that such digital initiatives transgress borders in three ways. First, the virtual crossing of physical borders allows scholars to form networks and connections where they may not have otherwise existed. Second, collaborative scholarship requires transgression of traditionally unspoken borders between faculty and staff, professors and librarians, and senior scholars and junior scholars, all of whom will participate on this roundtable. Third, the Internet allows and even promotes transgression not only of academic borders that would have certain resources remain hidden away, but also of current cultural borders dividing the U.S. from Russia in a somewhat fraught political climate. Since we will devote time to workshopping digital initiatives, from conception of a project’s goals through platform selection to design and launch of the finished product, the roundtable format is essential.


To learn more about the department, visit Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies