A man in a white sweater and a hat with ear flaps standing on a street in St. Petersburg, Russia.

REEES Kruzhok, May 10, 2024: “GOYDA and OYDA: Putin’s propaganda narratives through the lens of pro-war and anti-war songs” with Elena Vasyanina

This paper by scholar Elena Vasyanina delves into the influence of Russian propaganda narratives on public perception. Vasyanina presents findings from a content analysis of 70 Russian anti-war songs and 70 pro-war songs (Z-songs), all penned in 2022 and 2023, reflecting on or reacting to Kremlin propaganda narratives related to the war against Ukraine. The assumption is made that songwriters, whether they create “from the heart” or “on commission,” tend to embody in their lyrics what they consider to be important and what emotionally engages them more deeply.

Sign up here (Zoom) to join us for this final CUNY REEES Kruzhok of the semester, May 10, 2024 at 12:30 PM

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REEES Kruzhok, April 19, 2024: “Mass Atrocities and the Police: A New History of Ethnic Cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina” with Christian Axboe Nielsen

Join the CUNY REEES Kruzhok at 12:30 PM on April 19, 2024 (on Zoom) with historian Christian Axboe Nielsen, who will speak about his new book, Mass Atrocities and the Police: A New History of Ethnic Cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Between April 1992 and December 1995, more than 100,000 people were killed in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The terrible atrocities committed in this period have been much discussed and studied and many prosecuted as acts of genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity. But so far, the academic scholarship has focused on the role of the military in these events. This has come at the expense of considering the police’s role, which Nielsen here demonstrates as crucial. Nielsen traces the origins of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina to the police and associated paramilitary groups. Nielsen makes this ground-breaking case by drawing on a host of confidential archival sources, academic research and practical experience as a widely cited expert witness in the most notorious of the war crimes tribunals. His innovative new history sheds light on wider issues regarding the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the Balkan wars and the region today.

Christian Axboe Nielsen is an Associate Professor of History and Human Security at Aarhus University in Denmark. He received his Ph.D. in Eastern European history with distinction from Columbia University in 2002, and also holds a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He has worked as an analyst at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and at the International Criminal Court, and has appeared as an expert witness in international and domestic criminal and civil cases, including the trials of Momčilo Krajišnik, Mićo Stanišić, Stojan Župljanin, Goran Hadžić and Radovan Karadžić. He has also worked as a consultant for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and for the Ministry of Justice in Canada and for the Federal Prosecutor in Germany. His books include Making Yugoslavs: Identity in King Aleksandar’s Yugoslavia (University of Toronto Press, 2014) and Yugoslavia and Political Assassinations: The History and Legacy of Tito’s Campaign Against the Émigrés (Bloomsbury/I.B. Tauris, 2020) and Mass Atrocities and the Police: A New History of Ethnic Cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bloomsbury/I.B. Tauris, 2022). He has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals on Yugoslav history, football hooliganism, mass violence and genocide. 

Sign up here (Zoom) to RSVP.

Papers for the workshops will be circulated one week prior to the event date and a reminder email will be sent at that time. We will meet once per month throughout the semester. We look forward to seeing you!

The CUNY REEES Kruzhok is a space for scholars in the social sciences and humanities to share research in progress for feedback, with a wider aim of connecting specialists focused on this region within CUNY, New York, and further afield. It is co-sponsored by the European Union Studies Center and the History PhD Program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. It is coordinated by Mark Lewis (College of Staten Island/Graduate Center, CUNY), Merrill Sovner (EU Studies Center, Graduate Center, CUNY) and Lukasz Chielminski (Baruch College/CUNY Baccalaureate). It meets on selected Fridays at 12:30 pm ET during the semester. Email cunyreeeskruzhok@gmail.com to join the mailing list or express interest in presenting.

Workshops Return for Fall 2023!

Our two workshops focused on Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia return for the Fall 2023 semester! Join us for any of the following events:

Friday, September 8, 2:00 pm: Bénédicte Santoire (University of Ottawa) presents new research on “Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Long-term Protracted Conflicts: Exploring the Cases of Moldova and Georgia“. Register via Zoom registration link 

Friday, September 29, 12:30 pm: Megan Buskey shares her book on Ukraine Is Not Dead Yet: A Family Story of Exile and Return, in discussion with Brigid O’Keeffe (Brooklyn College, CUNY). This will be a hybrid event at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and online via Zoom registration link.

Tuesday, October 10, 2:15 pm:  Kristen Ghodsee (University of Pennsylvania) in conversation with journalist Liza Featherstone on Everyday Utopia, ​​“You and Me and Baby Makes Misery: Expanding Our Networks of Love and Care,” and Alexandra Kollontai. This is a hybrid event held at the Woody Tanger Auditorium, Brooklyn College Library, and via Zoom with this registration link 

Friday, October 13, 2:00 pm: Kenneth Yin (LaGuardia Community College, CUNY) presents research on the Dungan literature and culture of Central Asia. Online only: Zoom registration link.

Friday, October 27, 12:30 pm: Yana Primachenko (Princeton College and Institute of History of Ukraine, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine) presents new comparative analysis on the “Great Victory” in Soviet and Russian memory culture. Online only: Zoom registration link.

Monday, October 30, 2:15 pm: Cynthia Enloe (Clark University), launches her book, Twelve Feminist Lessons of War, in person at Women’s Center, Brooklyn College, CUNY, in coordination the new Institute on Gender, Law, and Transformative Peace at CUNY Law. In person only. 

Friday, November 10, 2:00 pm:  Ivan Simic (Charles University, Prague) presents research on “Gender Policies Towards Muslim Men in Socialist Yugoslavia and Bulgaria”. Online only: Zoom registration link 

Friday, November 17, 12:30 pm: Jane Sugarman (Graduate Center, CUNY) presents new research on musical activism in post-war Kosova. Online only: Zoom registration link.

Friday, December 8, 12:30 pm: Nicholas Boston (Lehman College, CUNY) presents new research on “The Amorous Migrant: Polish Gay Men in the United Kingdom, 2004-2020“. This will be a hybrid event at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and online with this Zoom registration link.

The Gender and Transformation in CEEE Workshop is sponsored by the EU Studies Center. The CUNY REEES Kruzhok is co-sponsored by the EU Studies Center and the History PhD Program of the CUNY Graduate Center.

Timothy Garton Ash at NYU on September 12

On Tuesday, September 12, at 4:00 pm, the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies and the Deutsches Haus at NYU host a presentation of the book Homelands: A Personal History of Europe by the renowned British historian Timothy Garton Ash. In his new book, Ash gives a unique account of the history of Europe since 1945, drawing on his extensive personal notes from 50 years of events witnessed, places visited, and historymakers encountered (from Margaret Thatcher to Vladimir Putin) to chart the rise and then faltering of the quest for a ‘Europe whole and free’.

In this lecture, Professor Garton Ash will extend the analysis in Homelands to offer an interpretation of how Europe progressed from the post-War period (famously analysed by Tony Judt) to what he calls the post-Wall period. And why it then regressed, in a ‘downward turn’ after 2008, culminating in Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 – beginning the largest war in Europe since 1945. What did Europe get right? Where did it go wrong? Why?

For in-person attendance, please RSVP here.

About the book:

Timothy Garton Ash, Europe’s “historian of the present,” has been “breathing Europe” for the last half century. In Homelands he embarks on a journey in time and space around the postwar continent, drawing on his own notes from many great events, giving vivid firsthand accounts of its leading actors, revisiting the places where its history was made, and recalling its triumphs and tragedies through their imprint on the present.

Garton Ash offers an account of events as seen from the ground—history illustrated by memoir. He describes how Europe emerged from wartime devastation to rebuild, to triumph with the fall of the Berlin Wall, to democratize and unite. And then to falter. It is a singular history of a period of unprecedented progress along with a clear-eyed account of how so much went wrong, from the financial crisis of 2008 to the war in Ukraine. From the pen of someone who, in spite of Brexit, emphatically describes himself as an English European, this is both a tour d’horizon and a tour de force.

About the author:

Timothy Garton Ash is professor of European studies at the University of Oxford and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His books include The Magic Lantern, his eyewitness account of the revolutions of 1989; The File: A Personal History, based on reading his own Stasi file; and History of the Present. He lives in Oxford, England.

New books on Dungan studies by Kenneth J. Yin, LaGuardia Community College/CUNY

Kenneth J. Yin teaches modern languages, literatures, and linguistics at LaGuardia Community College, CUNY. He researches the literature and culture of the Dungan people, Central Asian Sino-Muslims. The Dungans today are spread out across Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and eastern Uzbekistan, and their folkloric narrative tradition is a vibrant and fascinating tapestry of Chinese, Islamic, and various Central Asian cultural elements.

His book, Dungan Folktales and Legends (Peter Lang, 2021) is the most comprehensive collection of folk narratives of the Dungan people, translated from a classic Russian-language edition that includes an in-depth structural and comparative analysis of the folk narratives. His newest book, Mystical Forest: Collected Poems and Short Stories of Dungan Ethnographer Ali Dzhon (Peter Lang) was just published January 2023.

Kenneth Yin has given invited lectures on the Dungan folk narrative tradition at Yale University, the University of California at Berkeley, Indiana University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the George Washington University, and the University of Washington Seattle. His research interests include the Dungan literature and culture of Central Asia, as well as the Tungus literatures and cultures of North Asia—namely Siberia and the Russian Far East—with a focus on Udege, Nanai, and Evenk. More details are available on his professional website.

Events on Ukraine, one year later

With the upcoming one year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, be sure to check out these upcoming events around CUNY:

Thursday, February 23, 12pm EST – “The Russian Invasion of Ukraine: A Year of War and Genocide

With an avowed goal of de-Ukrainization, Russia rejects the idea of Ukrainian statehood and has declared genocidal goals in Ukraine. With Eugene Finkel, Kenneth H. Keller Associate Professor of International Affairs, Johns Hopkins University. The author of several books, including Ordinary Jews: Choice and Survival during the Holocaust (2017) and Bread and Autocracy: Food, Politics and Security in Putin’s Russia (2023), Finkel is a scholar of genocide, mass violence, and politics in Eastern Europe. In conversation with Elissa Bemporad, Professor of History and Ungar Chair in East European Jewish History and the Holocaust at Queens College and CUNY Graduate Center. Moderated by: Natalya Lazar is the Program Manager, The Initiative on Ukrainian-Jewish Shared History and the Holocaust in Ukraine, at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Register for this Zoom webinar.

Thursday, February 23, 12pm EST“One Year Later: Russia’s War in Ukraine and Germany’s Policy Pivot

Join Metin Hakverdi, Member of the German Bundestag, for a discussion of Germany’s Zeitenwende and its implications for Transatlantic relations. In conversation with Ralph Bunche Institute Director and Graduate Center Presidential Professor John Torpey.

This is a hybrid event. Join in person in room 5318, ARC Seminar Room, at the Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Ave, New York, NY 10016. Or register to attend via Zoom.

Friday, February 24, 2pm EST“Here is our front”: Hybridization of Normative Femininity During Russia’s War on Ukraine

Ukrainian women’s responses to the Russian full-scale military aggression against Ukraine as well as the Ukrainian society’s perception (reaction) to those responses are striking. Women’s self-mobilization for defense efforts manifested itself in two seemingly different ways: on the one end – large scale voluntary enrollment to the military to serve at the battle front, on the other end – simultaneous massive grass-roots volunteer movement of humanitarian nature at the home front. As different (or even opposite) as they may appear at first glance, these two women’s ways of engaging with defense efforts share an important common feature: both claim their rootedness in Ukrainian normative femininity with direct references to national historical legacy and folk traditions. Oksana Kis, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Ethnology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, visiting professor, the New School of Social Research in discussion with Olena Nikolayenko, Professor of Political Science, Fordham University, and Karyn Grossman Gershon, CEO, Project Kesheer.

This is a hybrid event. Join in person in room C201, the Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Ave, New York, NY 10016. Or register to attend via Zoom.

Wednesday, March 1, 12:15 pm EST – “Russia’s War on Ukraine: One Year Later”

The Departments of History and Political Science at Queens College, CUNY, present this panel discussion on the occasion of the anniversary of Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, with Professors Elissa Bemporad, History, Julie George, Political Science, Igor Kuskovsky, Physics, and Thomas Ort, History. Moderated by Peter Liberman, Political Science.

Register for the Zoom webinar: bit.ly/UkraineWarOneYearLater

CUNY REEES Events in January and February 2023

Workshops, panel discussions and book talks are lined up for the new year – check them out!

January 27 – EphemeREAL: Migrant Labor and Russian-Chechen Conflict Revealed when the Document Hits the Stage

The CUNY REEES Workshop hosts Susanna Weygandt, Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian, Sewanee: University of the South, to present new research on a subgenre of New Drama (Novaia Drama) known as docudrama emerged specifically to voice “direct utterance” from marginal contemporary social groups in Russia about social problems.

Join the workshop via Zoom on Friday at 12:30 pm.

February 8Cultivating Food Security in Ukraine: A Local and Global Perspective

Join a virtual panel discussion with experts studying the impact of the war in Ukraine on agro-food systems. Participants include Vitalii Dankevych (International Economic Relations and European Integration, Polissia National University, Ukraine), Natalia Mamonova (Institute for Rural and Regional Research (RURALIS), Norway), and Susanne Wengle (Political Science, University of Notre Dame, US). The panel will be moderated by Diana Mincyte (Sociology, City University of New York-City Tech) and Renata Blumberg (Nutrition and Food Studies, Montclair State University).

Register to join this event via Zoom on Wednesday at 12:00 pm.

February 10 – Crossing the Bridges: From Lvov Across the Steppes to Asia to London’s Doodlebugs

Eva Hoffman Jedruch, author, will give a talk about her book about her mother’s wartime odyssey between Lvov, Asia, London and Argentina.

Join this talk on Friday at 12:00 pm virtually via Zoom and RSVP to attend in person at the Graduate Center, CUNY at eusc@gc.cuny.edu

February 24 – Biography and history of Alexander Weissberg-Cybulski (1901-1964) 

The CUNY REEES Workshop hosts Irena Grudzinska Gross, Institute of Slavic Studies at the Polish Academy of Science and Guggenheim Fellow, to share new research concerns the life of Alexander Weissberg-Cybulski (1901-1964), an Austrian-Jewish physicist, writer, businessman, communist, then anti-communist and gambler.

Join the workshop via Zoom on Friday at 12:30 pm.