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CREECA Monthly

September 2014
CREECA Summer Programs Promote Cultural Exchange
This summer, the center held its annual intensive language-learning program, the Central Eurasian Studies Summer Institute (CESSI), where students took courses in Kazakh and Uzbek.  In addition, CREECA, along with various university partners and the Visiting International Student Program (VISP) organized an 8-week summer session for 60 students from Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. (Read full story here).
Photo: Students of Kazakh share a lighter moment at CESSI, July 2014. Credits: Maria Vishnevsky/CREECA
Life, Learning, and Pushkin
Now in its third year, the Pushkin Summer Institute hosted its largest group of students yet. The growing program works with rising high school seniors who are first-generation college-bound students to strengthen their Russian languages skills, give them a sense of college life, and instill an appreciation for Russia’s national poet, Pushkin.  (Read full story here).

Photo: Students at the 2013 Pushkin Summer Institute with Prof. David Bethea. Courtesy Pushkin Summer Institute.
Oakhill Prison Humanities Project is Looking for Volunteers!
Throughout the year, the Oakhill Prison Humanities Project offers free, non-credit evening classes on literature, creative writing, and cultural studies to inmates at Oakhill Correctional Institution in Oregon, Wis. The program provides opportunities for participants to express themselves in an open, collaborative environment and to develop critical skills in speaking, thinking, and reading.

Those interested in leading classroom discussion or any of the following -- 
Web site design, graphic design, volunteer recruitment, outreach, and fundraising -- should contact project coordinator, Jose Vergara (
More information available at:

Photo: The entrance to the Oakhill Correctional Institution. Credits: Aparna Vidyasagar/CREECA
Community Updates
Yoshiko Herrera (Political Science) was promoted to full professor in spring 2014. She will be on sabbatical in spring 2015
at Nuffield College in Oxford, England.

Halina Filipowicz (Slavic) accepted an invitation from the Academic Studies Press in Boston to serve as series editor for the newly launched Polish Studies Series. The series will publish scholarly books in literary and cultural studies, intellectual history, critical theory, gender and women's studies, and folklore. The series is designed to showcase the richness of Polish studies in the twenty-first century and is open to different methodological approaches, interpretive perspectives, and historical frameworks. It aims to offer new interpretations of familiar texts and practices; to take roads less traveled in Polish studies and look for fresh insights and extend available knowledge about a complex and controversial culture; to chart new directions in scholarship on Polish topics; and to open up cutting-edge interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives.
Athan Biss (History) will publish an article titled  "Unexpected Frontiers of Black Internationalism: African Americans in Soviet Central Asia, 1930-1976," i n the January issue of Central Asian Affairs.
Melissa Miller (History) taught 'Intensive First Year Russian' at the Middlebury Language Schools in Vermont. This semester, she starts her new position as the Graduate Project Assistant at the Center for Jewish Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Gerald Mikkelson ((B.S. ‘59, M.A. ‘63, Ph.D. ‘71) participated in an international conference (July 20-25, 2014) commemorating the 85th anniversary of the birth of Vasily Shukshin in Russia's Altaiskii krai (Barnaul, Biisk, Srostki). Mikkelson's article "Staraia vera v sovremennoi russkoi literature: Rasputin, Abramov, Astafiev, Shukshin" (Old Believers in Contemporary Russian Literature) was published in Traditsii tvorchestva V.M. Shukshina v sovremennoi kul'ture (Barnaul: Izd. Altaiskogo gos. universiteta, 2014), pp. 57-66.
Long Shadows of the Soviet Past
Thursday, October 2, 2014
4 p.m, 206 Ingraham Hall

Ekaterina Mishina is a lawyer and assistant professor of law at the National Research University, Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia. Dr. Mishina has participated in various capacities in several projects for the World Bank, Ford Foundation, European Union, and USAID. At present she is a visiting faculty member at the University of Michigan, where she teaches comparative constitutional law.

In her talk, Dr. Mishina will address the characteristics of the Soviet past and how it affects the process of Russia's transformation, especially in the realm of criminal justice and legal reform.
Saving Beauty: Zoos in Wartime
Thursday, October 9, 2014
4 p.m, 206 Ingraham Hall

Tracy McDonald is a specialist in Russian and Soviet History. Her areas of interest include social and cultural history, micro-history, film, agrarian studies, violence, and animal studies. 

Dr. McDonald's lecture will focus on her new area of research; the history of Soviet zoos. The focus of the talk will be zoos at war, with case studies of Moscow and Leningrad.

Václav Havel Film Series
Tuesdays, 4 p.m. 206 Ingraham Hall
(Check events calendar for schedule)

CREECA is hosting a Czech language film series about the places and people key to Václav Havel (1936-2011), the dissident dramatist who went on to become a world renowned statesman as the first president of the Czech Republic. He is credited with having changed the course of twentieth-century history by mixing theater with politics and peacefully ending communism in his country.

The series, "The Play's the Thing," is built largely off of the collection of films organized by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Washington, D.C. and curated by Margaret Parsons, head of the film program at the National Gallery of Art. Additional films selected by David S. Danaher. 
Find more events at and follow us on Twitter (@UWCREECA)

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