Fall 2018 Newsletter


Dear Colleagues,
As the University is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of UCIS, REEES is announcing another key landmark.  After substantially increasing academic programming broadly covering Eurasia, and Central Asia specifically, the Center has changed its name to REEES to signal that commitment to the region and to communicate our emerging profile among other institutions globally.  As of this fall, we are now the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (REEES).  The addition of “Eurasian” formally recognizes student and faculty engagement with historical, economic, and political phenomena in this diverse region that connects East Europe to West Asia.  The change aligns the Center to the most recent scholarly trends in 15 other region-related centers throughout the U.S.  The addition of an extra “E” is neither graceful nor pronounceable, but long overdue. 
The opportunity for Pitt REEES to host the annual international conference of the Central Eurasian Studies Society (24-28 October) contributes to the professional recognition that identifies Pitt as a leader for this region.  We are particularly grateful for the efforts of Jennifer Murtazashvili (GSPIA) and Zsuzsanna Magdo (REEES) for their tireless work to bring this conference opportunity to fruition.  With over 80 panels and approximately 300 participants from all over the world, CESS offers research focusing on Central Asia, the Caucasus, Iran, Afghanistan, Tibet, Mongolia, Siberia, Inner Asia, the Black Sea region, the Volga region, and Eastern and Central Europe.
At the same time, however, we are mindful of the Center’s need for balance between East Central Europe and Central Asia, and look forward to new intellectual offerings that will demonstrate our regional coverage.  Most recently, we successfully re-launched the Global Energy Program (described below), which included a key stop in Kyiv.  Moreover, REEES is working with Jewish Studies, the University Library System, the History Department, and the European Studies Center on a major initiative still in the making; we hope to write more about it in the spring.
I will not steal the thunder from the items that follow, other than to mention the remarkable fall series of talks and films organized by Sean Guillory (REEES Digital Scholarship Curator). “We Shall Refashion Life on Earth!” Youth in Eurasia and Beyond focuses on the international “cult of youth,” a historical phenomenon that positions young people as a representation of the hopes, anxieties, and health of the nation.  Given the importance of youth as a fluctuating modern social category, the Komsomol’s centenary this year—the same year as the UCIS semi-centennial—presents a unique opportunity to explore and reflect on young people’s past and present influence in Eurasia and beyond.
Happy reading!
Nancy Condee, Director
Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Center News

Title VI National Resource Center and FLAS Awards

REEES was recently awarded new Title VI National Resource Center (NRC) and Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) grants by the U.S. Department of Education for the 2018-2022 cycle. The Center received the full amount of funding requested, for an increase of over $15,000 annually in NRC funding compared to the 2014-2018 grant cycle. FLAS Fellowship funding for students focusing on REEES languages and area studies will be maintained at a level similar to the previous cycle. The Center’s Title VI funding in 2018-2022 is expected to total over $526,000 per year.

Among the many initiatives that REEES’s new NRC award will support are: 
  • critical language instruction, including online resources and Foreign Language Across the Curriculum offerings; 
  • area studies instruction, with special emphasis on contemporary Russian and Eurasian politics and interdisciplinary studies of Central Eurasia; 
  • new digital platforms to engage diverse public audiences with current debates on the REEES world region; 
  • enhancement of REEES-focused library resources at Pitt; 
  • increased career preparation programming for REEES certificate students; and
  • extensive outreach to educators and students at K-12 schools and two- and four-year colleges, both in Western Pennsylvania and nationally. 
REEES Director Nancy Condee and the Center staff look forward to collaborating with colleagues across Pitt’s campus on these and other programs to further advance teaching, research, and community engagement with Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, Russia, and Eurasia.  
REEES Awarded NEH Humanities Connections Implementation Grant for Innovative Interdisciplinary Courses on Water in Central Asia

The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies (REEES) and Asian Studies Center (ASC) have recently been awarded a National Endowment for Humanities grant to strengthen interdisciplinary connections among Pitt faculty and students across the humanities, the social sciences, and pre-professional programs in business and engineering. Led by REEES Director Dr. Nancy Condee and Director of the World History Center Dr. Ruth Mostern, the curriculum design team will develop three new undergraduate courses with linked student engagement activities on the theme of Water in Central Asia to be offered sequentially beginning Spring 2019 through Spring 2020. Historically a meeting point for peoples across Eurasia and home of the world’s largest pre-modern empire, Central Asia today is a place of geopolitical tension and struggle for access to natural resources (crucially including water), as well as the site of the longest war in U.S. history. To enroll a broad range of students, the new course cluster will enrich offerings in existing Pitt programs—the Sustainable Development Certificate for business students, the Engineering for Humanity Certificate, and REEES and ASC credentials.

The four-person curriculum design team includes: Dr. Patryk Reid (environmental historian of Russia and Eurasia), who will develop the course Central Asian Water Past: Climate Change in the Preindustrial Era; Dr. Colin Johnson (expert in politics of development, conflict and migration in the former USSR), who will develop Central Asian Water Present: Engineering in the Industrial Post-Empire; Dr. John C. Camillus (Business of Humanity Project), who will develop Central Asian Water Future: Encounters in the Anthropocene; and Dr. David Sanchez (Pitt Engineering’s Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation), who will integrate engineering perspectives into all three courses. The project co-directors (Drs. Condee and Mostern) and other Pitt humanities faculty will work closely with the team to enrich interdisciplinary content with literary, artistic and cultural resources, including the Pitt library’s Central Asian film collection, which is unrivaled outside of the state archives of the Russian Federation. 

All courses will incorporate high-impact experiential learning activities, including mentored research projects that students will present at Pitt’s European and Eurasian Undergraduate Research Symposium, as well as virtual peer-to-peer exchanges with students at Nazarbayev University, Pitt’s partner institution in Kazakhstan. Pitt and Nazarbayev students will engage in common readings and videoconference discussions to jointly develop a case study of water problems and solutions in a Central Asian community, thus gaining practical experience with cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural communication to address real-world issues. 

The three courses in the cluster Water in Central Asia will span both disciplinary and historical divides in ways that are innovative to the existing Pitt curriculum. To link interdisciplinary content with humanistic habits of mind and provide adequate structure to diverse and unfamiliar material, the proposed curriculum will be organized chronologically. Thus, as students learn about clim
ate science or contemplate future policies, they will always be aware that these matters have social and cultural consequences. Incorporating historical and humanistic content will teach students that science, business, and technology are entangled with human narrative arcs; they restructure power relations and emerge from them, and they manifest in artistic and spiritual practices as well as technocratic ones. 

For more information on the “Water in Central Asia” project, contact REEES Acting Associate Director Zsuzsánna Magdó at 

Global Water Concerns: An Experiential Learning Project

Thanks to funding received through the Office of the Chancellor’s Pitt SEED Initiative, REEES will collaborate with the Study Abroad Office (SAO) to develop a two-part study away curriculum on water culture and water policy, framed by two questions:  1.) how does water contribute to the culture, economics, health, and spiritual life in indigenous US communities? and 2.) how do NGO and think-tank leaders engage with stakeholders to promote universal access to sustainable drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene?

A stay at a US Native American reservation and meetings with Washington DC think-tanks will bring students into a larger conversation about water scarcity.  That larger context is supported by substantial funding provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (Humanities Connections program).  This three-year NEH grant, "Water in Central Eurasia: Tributaries of Change", is an innovative course cluster, focusing on the vast aqua-region of greater Central Eurasia, conducted in collaboration with Nazarbayev University (Astana, Kazakhstan), where Pitt has a robust medical partnership.

A key goal of the SEED/NEH projects is the integration of scientific and humanities perspectives on a problem of concern to both domains, offering a holistic model for 21st century education through the interdisciplinary and comparative investigation of a real-world issue. 

These two programs will enable Pitt students from a wide variety of majors to develop critical thinking skills, analyze global-local connections, and compare regional specificities in order to create career pathways for themselves in fields such as international security, policy, business, engineering, healthcare, law, and education.
The Institute of International Education has recently awarded REEES a generous $425,000 for the 2018-19 Project Global Officer (GO) program sponsored by the Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO).  This recognition was the result of hard work on the part of the REEES staff, including Kiersten Walmsley, Gina Peirce, and Dawn Seckler (who had been working on the grant in the days just before her departure from the Center), as well as the new Pitt Project GO Director, Kathleen Manukyan

The goals of Pitt Project GO are to provide intensive Russian language and cultural training at the beginning through fourth-year levels to nationally recruited ROTC students in an immersive learning environment, including 8-week study abroad experiences for intermediate and higher-level students, and to help participating students reach at least the ILR 1 oral proficiency level by the time of their graduation and commissioning. The fourth-year overseas program will aim to promote students’ attainment of ILR 2 proficiency by the conclusion of their intensive summer course. 

The two sites of Pitt Project GO are the University of Pittsburgh’s Oakland campus and Narva College of the University of Tartu in Narva, Estonia. Pitt Project GO will award approximately 29 competitive scholarships in 2019: up to 8 for intensive beginning Russian through the domestic Summer Language Institute program in Pittsburgh; up to 14 for intensive second- or third-year level Russian through the abroad program in Narva; and up to 7 for intensive fourth-year level Russian in Narva. Students enrolling in Pitt Project GO’s fourth-year program in Narva will also live in homestays and participate in a Russian-language job shadowing experience.  Applications for the 2019 Pitt Project GO Program will open in October.

Be sure to check out the 2018 blog to read firsthand student accounts about studying abroad in Narva.

Central Eurasian Studies Society Conference at Pitt

The Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS) Annual Conference is a major international conference that will be attended by approximately 300 scholars and practitioners in all fields of Central Eurasian studies.  The conference will be hosted by the Center for Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies, the Asian Studies Center, and the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. The conference will be held on Pitt's campus October 24th-28th, 2018.

Learn more about the program here!
Stalinism on the SRB Podcast

Interest in Stalinism remains consistently high for those fascinated with the Soviet Union. The SRB Podcast has many interviews on the Stalin period that might interest listeners. 

Here’s a rundown of interviews relating to Stalinism.

Lynne Viola reflects on her career researching collectivization; Pitt PhD Samantha Lomb on the Stalin Constitution in Kirov; Maria Belodubrovskaya explains the Stalinist film industry; Jon Waterlow reveals the many meanings of jokes; Yuri Slezkine tells the epic of the House of Government; Seth Bernstein talks about communist youth; Sheila Fitzpatrick on her decades of research on Stalinism; Joshua Rubenstein on Stalin’s last days; Lisa Kirschenbaum explains international communism and the Spanish Civil War; Peter Whitewood on Stalin’s purge of the Army; James Heinzen addresses bribery and corruption; Steve Maddox on preserving Leningrad during WWII; Arch Getty looks at Stalin, clans and Terror; Jon Platt analyzes the Pushkin Jubilee of 1937; James Harris on the intersection of foreign threat perception and the Terror; Alan Barenberg on the Gulag as a company town; and Cathy Frierson recovers the voices of children in Stalin’s gulag.
Faculty Spotlight: Frank G. Karioris
I have just joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh as a Visiting Lecturer in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies (GSWS), and I could not be more thrilled to be become a member of such a fantastic team at GSWS and at Pitt more generally! I can’t wait to meet and work with Pitt’s extensive faculty body and its wide-ranging research centers, including REEES, and continue my ethos of collaboration, which I see as critical to interdisciplinarity. I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and share some of the work and projects that I have been involved with over the past few years, and those that I will be working on in the coming years. 

Prior to joining the faculty at Pitt, I worked as an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Critical Gender Studies at the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. During my time there, and based on student initiative, I designed and founded a Minor and Concentration in Gender Studies – the first academic program in Gender Studies in Central Asia – and founded, with Dr Elena Kim, the Center for Critical Gender Studies. The Center, with various team members, has been awarded grants from UNDP Poverty Environment Initiative; AIDS Fond & Bridging the Gap; and the Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI) & World Bank. The World Bank & SVRI project focuses on combatting culturally-endorsed sexual violence through the use and creation of innovative technology and education in Central Asia. Combining research exploring sexual violence – most especially bride kidnapping – in Kyrgyzstan, the team has developed a mobile phone application to assist victims of sexual violence. The educational component works to educate students on the complexities of sexual violence and the practice of ethical research. Further information on these projects, and our 2018 Year in Review Annual Report, can be found on our website

I am an interdisciplinary scholar working in the fields of Higher Education, Cultural Studies, Sociology & Social Anthropology, and Gender Studies, focusing on Critical Studies of Men & Masculinities. My first monograph will be out by the end of 2018. An Education in Sexuality & Sociality: Heteronormativity on Campus (Lexington Books) builds on ethnographic fieldwork in an all-male residence hall at a U.S. university and explores the ways that sexuality and sociality are, firstly, interlinked, and, secondly, the way that the university as an institution works to put forward routes into ‘adulthood’ that give primacy to heteronormative orderings. 

My second monograph, co-authored with Dr Jonathan A. Allan (Brandon University, Canada), is tentatively titled The Full Package: The Penis, Masculinity, and Neoliberalism. Under contract with the University of Chicago Press, the book explores the soft, unexplored side of male genitalia, and their imbrication in the market and neoliberalism. 

With Dr Allan and Dr Chris Haywood (Newcastle University, UK), I am an Editor of the brand-new, peer-reviewed Journal of Bodies, Sexualities, and Masculinities (Berghahn Books), which will publish its first issue in early 2020. We are planning to host a journal launch at Pitt, and are hopeful that many scholars from Pitt will be involved in the first and subsequent issues. 

In the coming semester, with GSWS, I am organizing two lectures with global gender scholars Dr Harmony Siganporia (September 24th), who will discuss her new book I Am the Widow: An Intellectual Biography of Behramji Malabari; and Dr Guillermo Nuñez Noriega (November 15th), who will be discussing the state of gender studies and studies of men and masculinities in Mexico. These lectures will bring a global dimension to the conversation, and are sponsored by GSWS in collaboration with the Asian Studies Center, the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS), Indo-Pacific Council (INPAC), and the Department of Hispanic Languages & Literature. In Spring 2019, I am hopeful to continue this initiative and partner with further centers, institutes, and departments. 

 I cannot wait to continue this research with my new Pitt colleagues, and look forward to working and learning with each of you in the coming years. 
Faculty Spotlight: Gabriella Lukacs
During the summer, I completed research for a book project titled Technologies of Populism: Communication Autocracy and Media Activism in Hungary. Building on multi-sited ethnographic research, I investigate how the Orbán government harnesses particular media technologies to develop and maintain an authoritarian form of populism and how this strategy has catalyzed the emergence of new forms of media activism that offer alternatives to populism. The research includes such sites as the National Consultation campaign (surveys the Orbán government mails to voting citizens every year) and critical responses to it posted on social networking and content sharing platforms, the government’s anti-immigration billboard campaigns and the oppositional street art these campaigns have inspired, independent theater that has experienced a renaissance despite the Orbán government cutting funding for the genre by 75 percent, and the production of political memes, which have become the engine of the Internet in Hungary. The project aims to join scholarly discussions about the role of media technologies in developing different forms of populism and about the role of media technologies in shaping practices of political activism.

In the summer, I studied the Orbán government’s 2017 and 2018 anti-immigration billboard campaigns and the media activism these campaigns inspired. Widely criticized abroad, the 2017 billboard campaign paired images of the laughing Hungarian-born American billionaire George Soros with messages such as “Don’t let Soros have the last laugh. 99 percent reject illegal immigration.” While some of the posters were defaced with anti-Semitic commentary expressing support for the government, the campaign also inspired robust criticism. Civil society organizations and individuals painted over racist commentary, replaced “Soros” for “Orbán” while deleting the rest of the message, or removing the posters altogether. The government responded to this form of media activism with new billboards that featured Hungarian language messages such as, “You can come to Hungary, but we will not let you steal jobs from Hungarians.” And, the opposition retorted with English language counter-posters that said, “Sorry about our Prime Minister.” By 2018, Budapest had become a site of a billboard war and the more manipulative the governmental billboard campaign became, the more the responses emphasized the absurdity of authoritarian populism. 

A 2018 government billboard, for instance, read, “Did you know? Since the refugee crisis began, 300 people died due to terror attacks.” The opposition responded with posters that all began with the same introduction, “Did you know?,” but then included a variety of hilarious responses, such as “Since the refugee crisis began, there are more anti-immigration posters in Hungary than illegal immigrants;” “An average Hungarian sees more UFOs in a lifetime than illegal immigrants;” “If 500 black horses and white horses are lined up in alternating order, there is a 37 percent chance that they will transform into an oversized mutant zebra;” and “Dinosaurs are not extinct. They are preparing for war underground.” Whether this particular crowd-funded counter campaign is symptomatic of how populist politicians provoke their opposition into transforming politics into entertainment or is emblematic of how practices of political engagement are diversifying as the growing reliance on media in the realm of politics is reshaping practices of political activism, is a question my project aims to answer.

Independent Roma Theater. Balogh Rodrigó’s Independent Theater is performing Feather Plucking (Tollfosztás), which discusses discrimination, exclusion, and torture as a continuum.
Faculty Spotlight: Jan Musekamp
I am Katja Wezel’s successor as DAAD Associate Professor in the Department of History, with an additional affiliation with the European Studies Center. Before coming to Pittsburgh, I taught Eastern European History at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) – which is not the big, rich banking Frankfurt in the West but the small, modest Frankfurt right on the Polish border – an ideal place to study not only Eastern European history and languages, but also the development of the European Union right along its former external border.

In my research, I focus on migrations and mobility in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. My regional focus is on Germany and its Eastern neighbors. In this capacity, I am happy to bring in my expertise to the classes that I am currently teaching, such as Comparative European History/Migrations and Nationalism. Since nationalism and migrations are cross-border phenomena, I am also interested in approaches of transnational and World History. 

During my first year at Pitt, I am planning to finalize the manuscript of my second book, which is a transnational history of mobility in Europe. Using the example of the railroad line between St. Petersburg and Paris, I highlight the emergence of international transportation networks prior to the First World War. First, I explore how the mobility of elites experienced a rapid transformation following the establishment of cross-border railroad connections between St. Petersburg, Warsaw, Berlin, and Paris. Second, I focus on the Prussian/German-Polish/Russian borderlands, a region that could be described both as a "transitional space" and as a self-contained space with strong interconnectedness. Third, I use the railroad line as an example for how the transportation revolution facilitated transatlantic mass emigration from the Russian Empire.

I have already embarked on a new research project, one focusing on migration patterns of the so called Volhynian Germans – a group of some ten thousand German-speaking people, who in the 1860s settled in the Russian governorate of Volhynia. The newcomers established numerous villages in a Polish-Ukrainian-Czech-Jewish environment, where they benefited from both tax and military service exemptions. However, as early as the 1880s and 1890s, the revocation of privileges led to a second migration for many of these people - this time predominantly to Siberia, Canada, or Brazil. The ethnic resettlement treaties between the Third Reich and the Soviet Union in 1940 brought an end to the Volhynian German colonies. National Socialist officials relocated these people to the Reichsgau Wartheland, a territory Germany annexed from Poland. After their expulsion in 1945, they had to build new lives in West as well as East Germany. The project tracks these migratory movements in the longue durée from 1860 to 1960, considering first and foremost the transnational implications of integration at the changing places of settlement in the Russian Empire, Poland, Germany, Canada, and Brazil.

I have studied abroad in Poland and the Czech Republic and held a postdoc fellowship at the Washington University in St. Louis, as well as a Visiting Assistant Professorship at the University of Texas at Austin. I have made extended research trips to Russia, France, Poland, and Germany, and I am happy to share my experiences with travel and bureaucracies in any of those countries. In the years to come, I will also serve as a liaison for students and faculty who plan to go to Germany and consider applying for funding through the many programs of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
Postdoctoral Fellow Spotlight: Colin Johnson

During my first year as UCIS Postdoctoral Fellow at REEES, I have worked towards expanding my work on labor migration politics in the Russian Federation and the issues of development in contemporary post-communist Eurasia.  Fortunately, the courses of Politics of Oil & Natural Resources and Human Security this past year allowed me to bring my research directly into the classroom.
Pitt has been a wonderful place to practice this approach to teaching, as the students have been eager to step outside their intellectual comfort zone, whether it be geographic or theoretic.  This has provided the chance to encourage students to embrace complexity in international affairs, recognizing the array of actors and their respective interests, whether in the oil industry or the human rights regime.
In addition to offering these courses, I have been able to work towards publishing two articles regarding regional migration politics in the Russian Federation.  My work investigates the variation we observe in regional governments’ response to international labor migration from Central Asia.  In particular, I focus on the emergence of regional migration policies that are designed to provide migrants with a degree of social and legal support, which are in stark contrast to the anti-immigrant enforcement policies that have rightfully received attention in scholarly and journalist circles.  Additionally, my work also illuminates that the regional efforts to defend local ethnic identities have contributed to the marginalization of Central Asian labor migrants, despite such integrative migration policies.  Collectively, these articles recognize migration policy as a site for contests of federalism and local interests, even in an increasingly authoritarian and regimented political system.
REEES has been a marvelously exciting place to be, as the success of the NEH grant “Water in Central Asia” and the upcoming Central Eurasian Studies Society’s annual conference in October present wonderful opportunities to expand and deepen Pitt’s commitment to the study of Central Asia.  Working in concert with the NEH team as a curriculum developer, it has been a delight to discuss how to approach these courses with an interdisciplinary mission and a testament to the abiding passion for this world region at Pitt.  Similarly, with the support of a REEES Faculty Small Grant, I travelled to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in August to meet with local experts on contemporary issues in water management.  These conversations are only reinforced with the CESS annual meeting, which will serve to highlight the research community assembled at Pitt and our unique research endowments, such as our collection of Central Asian film.
R.I.P. Richard Pipes

Richard Pipes, who died on May 18 at the age of ninety-four, was a proud, ardent anticommunist. But this was the least interesting thing about him.

His anticommunist books represented his most banal work. More provocative was how Pipes’s understanding of Russia’s historical development colored his analysis of the Soviet Union and the Cold War. For Pipes, the problem of the Soviet Union lay not simply in 1917, Lenin, Stalin, or even Marxism-Leninism. As he wrote in Survival is Not Enough, “the decisive factors [for Soviet authoritarianism] are not the ideas but the soil on which they happen to fall.”

Pipes’s historical broadsides, his attacks on détente, and his advocacy for American nuclear dominance all flowed from his archaeology of that soil. Russia’s true “original sin” was not its adoption of communism in 1917. Rather, it was its failure to develop private property in the fifteenth century: a sin that caused its historical path to diverge from the West’s and, for Pipes, a determinism that made the problem of Russia not so much about communism, but Russia itself.

Read Sean Guillory’s full obituary on Richard Pipes here.

Global Energy Program Student Reflections: May 2018

Christopher Anderson

The 2018 Global Energy Graduate Program was an excellent way to kick off my international and interdisciplinary legal studies. The course explored competing perspectives on energy policy with a focus on issues related to shale and hydraulic fracturing. The diverse class had upper-level undergraduates, law students (J.D. and LL.M.), international students from the Katz Graduate School of Business, GSPIA students, and even two faculty members from local community colleges. 

In Western Pennsylvania we visited a shale gas well, got a tour of a gas processing plant, met with local government officials, and had a discussion with an environmental attorney. We then went to Washington, D.C. for meetings at the Department of State and at a petroleum industry lobbying firm. Next, the class traveled to Brussels, Belgium, the EU capital, where European Commission policymakers and independent think-tank analysts gave us the view from the other side of the pond. Finally, we ended the trip with two days of talks with a pipeline executive, professors, students, and a parliamentarian in Kyiv, Ukraine. 

The result of all this was a thoroughly eye-opening look at the interconnectedness of global energy politics. From the boom and bust gas development in the Pittsburgh region, to Ukraine’s territorial integrity, to President Trump’s views on trade with Europe, we saw that nothing happens in a vacuum in the era of globalization. We learned about issues facing Ukraine both in terms of energy and more generally. Then after the class, I stayed in Kyiv for a nine-week internship at a law firm and got to see these issues up close throughout the summer.

Of specific interest to me were the differing approaches to regulation we heard from our various hosts. Local politicians took strongly anti-regulatory positions as a way of tying themselves to a national party. Industry representatives offered a soberer assessment of regulation’s role in operating safely. The Washington lobbyist was someone who impacts regulation in a very real way. And in Europe we got a glimpse of what policy debates are possible when climate change denialists have no power. I got to further explore these issues in the research paper at the end of the course. My paper focused on the vastly different permitting processes in place for unconventional gas wells and wind turbines, despite the fact that local opposition to each is quite similar. 

In 2018-2019 I am participating in the new JD/LL.M. exchange program between PittLaw and Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. I am sure my experiences this summer have helped prepare me to study with lawyers and law students from around the world. 
Patrick A. Dongmo Tsague

My experience in REEES’s summer 2018 “Global Energy Program” was UNIQUE!

On my way back to the USA from Kyiv, Ukraine, I knew that I would need many weeks to digest everything I had seen and learned during the Global Energy Program. From our first meetings here at the University of Pittsburgh, to the last one with students and staff members at Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) in Ukraine, what I learned during site visits, travels, readings, meetings, and conversations will allow me to have a better understanding of issues related to energy locally, nationally, and globally.

The Global Energy Program gave me the opportunity to meet and have conversations with different actors in the energy sector. Meeting with these actors from the public and private sectors, think tanks, local communities, and government officials gave me enough “ingredients” to construct my own thoughts on economic, environmental, geopolitical, and global matters related to energy.

At a tour of Range Resources Natural Gas Operation plant in Washington County, Pennsylvania, I was able to connect what I was seeing during the tour with some aspects of the conversation we had with Washington County Commissioners about positive and/or negative impacts of the Marcellus Shale gas production on local communities and on the environment. Presentations during our visit to the American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. State Department, Bureau of Energy Resources, in Washington, DC helped me to understand actual U.S. policies on energy, both internally and internationally. 

In Brussels, Belgium, visits and meetings at the Institute of European Studies, the European Policy Center, and the European Commission informed me of the EU’s efforts to diversify its sources of energy and avoid energy dependence. In Kyiv, a conversation with a member of the Ukrainian Parliament’s Energy Commission and meetings with members of Ukrainian national think tanks, as well as Ukrainian lawyers, scholars, and students, provided us with information about the Ukrainian Government’s efforts to diversify its sources of energy and modernize infrastructure. These conversations also immersed us in some Ukrainian political and geostrategic questions, including efforts to eradicate corruption caused by lobbies of East European oligarchs, relations with Russia, and the country’s efforts to protect its territory. 

Interactions and conversations among participants from different specializations (Geology, Business, Law) also enriched the program. Site visits, travels, good Belgian waffles and Nutella in Brussels, and good Ukrainian food all made this experience unique.

Faculty/Staff News

Ronald Brand (Center for International Legal Education) and Professor Harry Flechtner accompanied the Pitt Law Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot team in March to Vienna for the 2018 Vis Competition.  The Pitt team consisted of Christian Kegel, Jared Quinn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Nicholas Weltz. The team advanced to the round of 32 from the original 364 teams from nearly 80 countries, losing to the University of Cambridge, which went on to the final round.  The team began the trip at the University of Belgrade Pre-Moot, followed by practice arguments at the University of Zagreb.  In Vienna, as the Academic Director of CILE, Professor Brand hosted the Pitt Consortium of teams for a pre-moot at the offices of the CHSH law firm.  The Pitt Consortium pre-moot teams included the University of Bahrain; University of Belgrade; Dar Al Hekma University, Saudi Arabia; Faculte des sciences juridiques politiques et sociales, Tunis, Tunisia; University of Jordan; Middle East University, Jordan; Kuwait International University; Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine; Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University; Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University - International Relations; Ukraine; Banja Luka University, Bosnia & Herzegovina; Sarajevo University, Bosnia & Herzegovina; University of Pittsburgh; University of Pristina, Kosovo; Qatar University; the Royal University for Women, Bahrain; Sarajevo University, Bosnia & Herzegovina; UAE University; University of Zagreb, Croatia; and the University of Zenica, Bosnia & Herzegovina.  Pitt Law grads Janet Checkley (JD ‘14), and 3L Robbie Cimmino administered the Pitt Consortium pre-moot in Vienna, and assisted the Pitt Consortium teams throughout the competition.  
Nancy Condee (Director, REEES; Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures) was appointed Jury Chair of the Ethnic and Regional Cinema Competition for the Cheboksary International Film Festival (Russia) (21-25 May 2018).  She also served as a jury member for the international film festival East – West Golden Arch, a competition for best full-length live-action films from Eastern Europe/Western Asia (Moscow).

Media contacts include a television interview on contemporary Russian cinema (Chuvash En Television) on 25 May 2018 with Iuliia Vazhenina; two radio interviews—one on regional cinema with Radio Liberty on 26 May 2018 with Dar'ia Komarova, and the other on arrested film director Aleksei Serebrennikov with Biznes FM [Business FM] on 15 May 2018 (staff journalist) as well as  print interviews—one on young Russian directors, for the newspaper Kavkazskii uzel [Caucasian Кnot] on 11 June 2018, and the other on the contemporary Russian film industry for the online newspaper Soviet Chuvashia on 1 June 2018 with Rita Kirillova.
Robert Hayden (Department of Anthropology) gave two lectures at the University of Warsaw in June 2018: “Competitive Sharing of  Supposedly Indivisible Sacred Spaces” to the Institute for Anthropology & Ethnology; and “Religiously Nationalizing the Landscape, and Conflicting Commemoration in Bosnia-Herzegovina” at the Post-Yugoslav Area Studies Center.  In July, Dr. Hayden also delivered a lecture on “Religious Shrines as Places of Inter-Communal Connection & Contestation in Post-Ottoman Spaces”, and a workshop presentation on “Developing Insights from Comparative Research: Sharing & Contesting Sacred Sites from India through the Balkans,” both at the Konitsa International Summer School on Anthropology, Ethnography and Comparative Folklore of the Balkans, Konitsa, Greece.

Dr. Hayden has also been awarded a National Science Foundation grant of $242,000 over three years, for a project on “(Re)Constructing Religioscapes and Competing Territorial Claims in a Post-War Setting: Bosnia & Herzegovina Since 1995.”  While Dr. Hayden is Principal Investigator, senior researchers from the University of Zadar (Croatia), Middle East Technical University (Turkey)  and University College, Dublin (Ireland) will also play key roles.
Adriana Helbig (Department of Music) has won a 2018 ACLS Fellowship to complete her book manuscript Romani Music and Development Aid in Post-Soviet Ukraine.  The project theorizes the sonic worlds of impoverished Roma whose pictures fill development reports. It vocalizes their modes of being and elucidates the lived experiences of the silenced poor. Specifically, it addresses the processes through which Roma communities engage with discourses of civil society as promoted via networks of development aid. It analyzes the repercussions of employing ethnicity as the main criteria for the distribution of development aid and shows that the “minorization” of specific segments of the population within development discourse encourages stratification within minority groups. This ethnographically-based research contributes to broader understandings of class formation in formerly classless societies and analyzes the ways neoliberal processes shape minority identities in emerging democracies. 

Since coming to Pitt in 2008, Dr. Helbig has involved students at the University of Pittsburgh in all aspects of her research. The Carpathian Music Ensemble, which held its 10th anniversary concert on March 23, 2018, has served as the primary vehicle for teaching Romani music and for involving students in Romani rights issues. The group has hosted numerous scholars and musicians from Eastern Europe over the years, including Esma Redžepova, the world-renowned Roma singer and humanitarian.  With Pitt-REEES support, Dr. Helbig organized and led two study abroad programs  to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland (2012) and the Czech Republic and Hungary (2014) with  Dr. Zuzana Jurkova, head of ethnomusicology at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. The study abroad programs brought together American, Czech, and Roma students in two month-long programs that offered fieldwork opportunities with Roma musicians. The ACLS fellowship allows Dr. Helbig to take a full-year sabbatical (2018-2019) to synthesize these experiences and to complete her book manuscript.
Irina Livezeanu (Department of History) attended the Society for Romanian Studies conference held at the Academy of Economic Science (ASE) in June 2018, with travel grants from REEES and the European Studies Center. 

Entitled "#Romania100: Looking Forward through the Past in honor of the 100-year anniversary of the 1918 union," the triennial SRS conference brought together over 400 scholars from all over the world. Dr. Livezeanu participated in and/or organized several panels and round-tables, including two devoted to regionalism in Greater Romania: one entitled "Thinking Interwar History with or without Livezeanu's Cultural Politics," a round-table about the book series that SRS publishes in partnership with Polirom (a series that Dr. Livezeanu co-edits with Lavinia Stan); and another round-table on the film director Radu Jude, whose recent films have dealt with major historical topics that most Romanian historians have preferred to ignore (following a screening of Jude’s film Ţara Moartă: Fragmente de vieţi paralele /The dead nation: fragments of parallel lives).  More on the conference is available here

Being in Bucharest allowed Dr. Livezeanu to also join in discussions at the Center for the Study of Romanian Jewry (CSIER) and the opportunity to reconnect with friends and colleagues, even some from the Pitt diaspora, such as Roland Clark (now in Liverpool), Narcis Tulbure (now at ASE in Bucharest), and Jennifer Cash (now in Singapore). She also had valuable research time at the National Archives.  
Tomas Matza (Department of Anthopology) published his book, Shock Therapy: Psychology, Precarity and Well-Being in Postsocialist Russia, in May 2018. 

Hear more about the book in this interview from the SRB podcast. 
Jennifer Murtazashvili (Graduate School of Public and International Affairs) spent the summer conducting research in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. In Uzbekistan, she has been working with the World Bank on an innovative survey called Listening to the Citizens of Uzbekistan. The research consists of a rapid-response survey that is conducted monthly along with qualitative interviews to better gauge citizen perceptions. This research will help inform policymakers and government officials about changes in livelihoods and governance perceptions across the country in order to better help aid agencies and the government respond to citizen needs. This work features an innovative set of survey experiments on government legitimacy done in collaboration with scholars from the University of Gothenburg. Dr. Murtazashvili is also working with a group of Uzbekistan’s new generation of scholars to establish an innovative research center in Tashkent that will use cutting-edge techniques to understand issues of economics, governance, and policy reform in that rapidly reforming country. She was invited by the United States Agency for International Development to help develop a new strategy for US government assistance in that country. As part of this effort she is doing interviews across the country with Kyrgyz policymakers, politicians, and policy activists. She presented her recommendations to the State Department and USAID officials in July 2018. Her book, Informal Order and the State in Afghanistan, received an honorable mention from the International Development Section of the International Studies Association. It has just been shortlisted for the best book in the Social Sciences by the Central Eurasian Studies Society. 
Dan Pennell (University Library System, Curator for Slavic, European, and Global Studies) traveled between April 24 and May 17 to Helsinki, Warsaw, Leipzig, and Sarajevo to attend two conferences and confer with approval plan vendors and exchange partners. In Helsinki, he attended the regional conference of the International Council for Central and East European Studies (ICCEES). There, he participated in a roundtable on current and future trends in Slavic collections and avenues for global cooperation. In Warsaw, he met with the ULS’s Polish approval vendor Lexicon and with exchange partners at the University of Warsaw and national libraries. In Leipzig, he attended the annual conference of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Bibliotheken und Dokumentationsstellen der Ost-, Ost-mittel- und Südosteuropaforschung (ABDOS), where he participated in a session devoted to future digital resource projects in Slavic and East European studies. Finally, in Sarajevo, he met with the ULS’s Bosnian, Croatian, and Montenegrin approval vendor, University Press of Sarajevo, as well as with exchange partners at the National and University Library. 
James Pickett (Department of History) published an article in June 2018, "Written into Submission: Reassessing Sovereignty through a Forgotten Eurasian Dynasty," The American Historical Review 123, no. 3: 817-45. He also carried out four months of archival research in India and Russia on a Social Science Research Council Transregional Research Junior Scholar Fellowship.
Patryk Reid (UCIS Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies) traveled to Qazaly, Qyzylorda Province, Kazakhstan for a workshop involving water experts and professionals from diverse sectors. “On the Banks of the Syr Darya River: A Dialogic Workshop for Environmental Policy-Maker and Water-User Communities in the Syr Darya Delta, Kazakhstan” took place September 22-24, 2018. It was organized by the “Social Life of a River” project team and was hosted at the University of Tubingen.

Student News

Chen Hsi-Wen (Department of Anthropology, Ph.D. student) has worked with ArchaeoTek to map out underground Roman village using remote sensing techniques in the heart of Transylvania, Romania. Excited to see the efficiency and new possibilities some of these techniques allow, he is ready to plan, conduct, and interpret remote sensing surveys in other terrestrial settings.
Ognjen Kojanić (Department of Anthropology, Ph.D. student) is continuing his ethnographic field research on ownership and property rights in a worker-owned company in Croatia, generously supported by the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the University of Pittsburgh European Studies Center. He has recently presented his research at conferences in Belgrade, Serbia (“Dialoguing ‘Between the Posts’” at the Singidunum University and “Engagement for Social Change” at the University of Belgrade Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory), Budapest, Hungary (the Ephemera journal 2017 conference “Post/social/isms”), and Vienna, Austria (“Workers beyond Socialist Glorification and Post-Socialist Disavowal” at the University of Vienna). He has also taken part in the workshop “Shipyards as transforming workplaces: methods of grasping shop-floor experiences "from below" co-organized by the University of Vienna Institute for East European History and the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies at the Gdynia City Museum in Poland. His photo essay won the Staff Pick Prize in the Social Science Research Council’s IDRF Photo Competition. 
Anna Mousouli (Department of Anthropology, Ph.D. student) was awarded a REEES Small Grant, a Klinzing Grant (European Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh), and an INPAC Research Grant (Asian Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh) to conduct preliminary fieldwork research with a focus on refugee issues for three months in Athens, Greece. In the context of her research, she has visited multiple field sites, such as various NGOs, refugee camps, and other social spaces, where she has interacted with and interviewed Iranian and Afghan asylum seekers and refugees as well as humanitarian and medical personnel. 

Alumni News

Alyssa Cypher, MPA (and former REEES student) is an activist, community organizer, and self-appointed “professional crazy person.” She enjoys connecting to and educating others through public speaking engagements, writing, and podcasting. Her work focuses on radical mental health, Mad Pride, and the expertise and rights of people with lived experience of mental illness and madness.

Alyssa is the founding Executive Director of Inside Our Minds, an organization that works to elevate the voices of people with lived experience of mental illness and madness in Pittsburgh. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Public Administration in Policy Research and Analysis from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, both from the University of Pittsburgh. She was recently honored for her work as a Pittsburgh Business Times 30 Under 30 winner.


Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies
University Center for International Studies
4400 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA  15260

(412) 648-7407

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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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