Weekly Updates

March 12 - March 26, 2021
NEW Episode!
Welcome to Chechnya

In 2017, the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta published an explosive investigation. The authorities in Chechnya were rounding up LGBT people, torturing, and even allegedly executing them for being queer. It was a reign of terror sanctioned by the Chechen authorities, involving the Chechen security services, police, and even regular citizens. Moscow turned a blind eye and has rejected evidence showing that this state violence occurred. We know what we know about the fate of LGBT people in Chechnya thanks to the testimonies of victims smuggled out of the north Caucasian republic by activists in Russia. It’s safe to say that the activists saved hundreds of lives, and not without personal costs to them and their families. The film, Welcome to Chechnya, documents these efforts and highlights not only the victims’ traumas, survival and struggles for justice and the heroic work of those activists dedicated their cause. For more on the making of Welcome to Chechnya and the stories in it, I talked to its director, David France.


David France is an Oscar-nominated filmmaker, a New York Times bestselling author, and award-winning investigative journalist. He’s directed three films on LGBT rights, resistance, and life including How to Survive a PlagueThe Life and Death of Marsha P. Johnson, and most recently Welcome to Chechnya. You can view Welcome to Chechnya on HBO.

Open Position: REEES Undergraduate Student Ambassador
Looking for an internship in a field you already care about? Want some extra help paying those tuition bills? You’re in luck! The Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (REEES) is now accepting applications for an Undergraduate Student Ambassador for the 2021-2022 academic year. 
This position is a great way to build your résumé in a way that demonstrates a professional commitment to international education, policy, and research! We are pleased to be able to offer the successful applicant a tuition remission scholarship of $3,500 per semester as compensation. This position is open to Pitt undergraduate students. Students pursuing a REEES credential will receive priority consideration.
Ambassadors are expected to work an average of 10 hours per week, depending on the Center’s needs and the intern’s academic schedule. Responsibilities of the position include:
  • Promoting the Certificate in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, the Related Concentration in European and Eurasian Studies, and other REEES undergraduate credentials through class visits 
  • Holding weekly office hours
  • Serving as the REEES liaison to relevant student groups on campus
  • Assisting with REEES and REEES-affiliated events, including student conferences and other gatherings 
  • Being a resource for other Pitt undergraduates interested in learning about REEES
  • Assisting REEES students with the digital portfolio requirement of REEES certificates 
  • Serving as our Global Ambassador to the University Center for International Studies (UCIS) and ex officio member of the Global Ambassador Committee
The position reports to the REEES Academic Advisor.
To apply, please send the following to Trevor Erlacher, REEES Academic Advisor, at by April 9, 2021:
  • A cover letter explaining your interest and qualifications for the position; please also note any scholarships you will receive and any other student positions you plan to hold during the 2021-22 academic year, as well as the number hours you will work in those positions
  • A résumé
  • The name, email address, and phone number of one reference (e.g. professor, advisor, employer), noting their professional relationship to you
Finalists will be invited for an interview via Zoom.

Call for Applications: Faculty Small Grants

REEES small grants are open on a rolling basis to all Pitt faculty working on topics related to our region. For more information on eligibility requirements and further details about the application process, please see the website. For any additional information, please contact Gina Peirce. Funding for successful proposals submitted in September – December must be spent by June 15, 2021.

Application deadline:  Rolling

**COVID-19 Advisory: At this time, the University of Pittsburgh is not allowing any non-essential travel by faculty, students, or staff on University business. Research, conference participation, and most other teaching-related travel qualifies as non-essential travel.

Call for Applications: Course Development Grants

REEES offers faculty small grants on a rolling basis for course development or language module development. Proposals are sought to enhance teaching on the cultures, languages, politics, economies and societies of Central/Eastern Europe/Eurasia, Russia and the former USSR. REEES faculty from all A&S departments and professional schools are eligible to apply. Funds may be requested to support a variety of activities. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Acquisition of special instructional materials (e.g., databases, monographs, periodicals, films or electronic media).
  • Bibliographic searches.
  • Payments to students for assistance with any aspect of course development. Note, however, that no payment may be given for any student work unless and until that arrangement has been approved by REEES, due to the possible complexities involved in paying students.

Application Deadline: Rolling

Apply here!

2021 Johns Hopkins Macksey Symposium for Undergraduate Students

The Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (REEES) encourages Pitt undergraduate students in the humanities to submit proposals focused on our world region to the 2021 Richard Macksey National Undergraduate Humanities Research Symposium at Johns Hopkins University. If your proposals are accepted, REEES will cover the registration fee for up to 8 students.

The Macksey Symposium is open to undergraduate students from any two-year or four-year college or university who would like to present their original scholarship in the humanities. The organizers hope to have 400 participants this year. In addition to the multiple panels of student papers and presentations, the symposium will include a keynote address by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anthony Doerr and multiple professional development panels featuring Johns Hopkins graduate students and faculty, as well as editors from Johns Hopkins University Press. Students studying all areas of the humanities are welcome to attend. Attendees will also have the opportunity to work with student editors to revise their presentation into a journal-length presentation for our journal of proceedings, the Macksey Journal.

Application deadline: April 1

Virtual conference dates: April 24-25

Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program 2022-2023

The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program 2022-2023 competition is NOW OPEN. The Scholar Program offers diverse opportunities for U.S. academics, administrators, and professionals to teach, research, do professional projects and attend seminars abroad.

For information on the variety of scholarships available, visit the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program online. 

Application Deadline: September 15, 2021

The Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies invites our BIPOC (black, Indigenous, and people of color) colleagues to participate in a two-year (2021-2022) pilot program, the ASEEES Initiative for Diversity and Inclusion. ASEEES recognizes that BIPOC scholars and students in our field have often experienced isolation and marginalization. The aim of this initiative is for ASEEES to provide structural support to create a community of BIPOC students, scholars, and professionals in the United States so that they can network, share their experiences and mentor each other.

We are pleased to offer complimentary two-year membership for 2021 and 2022 to eligible BIPOC students, scholars, and professionals who are working on topics in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Eurasia in or outside the academy or those who have an MA or PhD in the field but are working in unrelated areas or disciplines. Previous ASEEES members whose membership has lapsed are especially welcome to rejoin the Association at no cost in 2021 and 2022.

As part of the aim to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in our field and provide professional benefits and support for our BIPOC members, we request that those participating in this initiative be willing to engage with other BIPOC students and colleagues in a designated online networking platform.

ASEEES thanks Douglas Smith and Stephanie Ellis-Smith for their generous gift to fund this initiative.

Eligibility requirements to receive complimentary two-year ASEEES membership:

  • Undergraduate students, graduate students, scholars, or non-academic professionals who identify as BIPOC who are studying or working in the field, or
  • Professionals who identify as BIPOC who have an MA or PhD in the field but are working in unrelated areas or disciplines
  • Permanently residing in the United States
  • Willingness to engage with other BIPOC members in an online network

Please indicate your interest by completing this short information form. If you have not created a profile in the ASEEES membership database, please do so by going here. This information is required in order for us to process your complimentary membership.

Upcoming Events
UCIS International Career Toolkit:
A Discussion with Shannon Kimack, FBI Employee

GSPIA Alumni Shannon (Illig) Kimack (MPIA '08) will discuss her career in federal service. Shannon started her career as a Staff Operations Specialist for the Pittsburgh Division of the FBI and then transitioned to the role of Intelligence Analyst, where she spent ten years working in national security. She currently serves as a Supervisory Intelligence Analyst for FBI Pittsburgh.
Zoom, 5:00 pm EST, Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Climate Clash: Ecological Activism in Russia

A live interview with Konstantin Fokin (Extinction Rebellion, Russia) and Angelina Davydova (Bureau of Environmental Information, Russia). 

The existential threat of climate change has inspired renewed intellectual engagement with the Anthropocene. Eurasian Studies are no exception to this trend. In the last decade, studies that grapple with the past, present, and potential future of the human-nature dialectic are on the uptick. These studies have forced us to reconsider intellectual and ideological paradigms, sources, mission, and role of scholar in society.

Nature’s Revenge: Ecology, Animals, and Waste in Eurasia seeks to bring some of this scholarship and activism to a wider public through a series of live-recorded interviews. The goal is to illuminate recent scholarship and complicate our understanding of the Eurasian Anthropocene and its place in our world.

Zoom, 12:00 pm EST, Tuesday, March 23, 2021
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Center for Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies · 4400 Posvar Hall · 230 S. Bouquet Street · Pittsburgh, Pa 15260 · USA

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