Kruzhok Spring 2023

Thanks to everyone who joined the initial semester of the CUNY Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies Kruzhok, and we’re pleased to announce the new dates for the Spring 2023 schedule. Join us on select Fridays at 12:30 pm via Zoom.

We invite researchers working on the history, politics, societies, and cultures of Eastern and Southeastern Europe and Eurasia, whether you are in the United States or abroad, to participate in this workshop. Not only are scholars from New York-based institutions welcome, but so are scholars from anywhere in the world. This includes independent scholars.

Several years ago, there was a Balkan/Eastern European history Kruzhok in New York City, organized by CUNY Faculty and housed at Columbia’s Harriman Center. At different points, there was a good group of scholars from Columbia, CUNY, New York University, and Rutgers, as well as graduate students from those institutions. In order to rebuild interest in Eastern and Southeastern Europe and Eurasia and provide a forum for researchers to present their work for discussion, we restarted the Kruzhok.

For most of the sessions, we will pre-circulate unpublished papers so that we can read them in advance and have a fruitful discussion with the authors. We hope this will help expand the horizons of our knowledge beyond our specializations and help authors develop their ideas.

SCHEDULE RSVP for all sessions via Zoom

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

Susanna Weygandt, Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian, Sewanee: University of the South

In 2002, 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. Since then, this method has spread to Belarus, to the Belarus Free Theatre, and in 2015 to the Theatre of Displaced People in Ukraine. This article focuses on productions of three plays from the repertoire of Teatr.doc (Moscow): September.doc (2003), Motovilikhinskie Workers (2009), and Uzbek (2012). Each of these productions engages audiences in a confrontation with “the Other” and thereby stages a participatory practice. Susanna Weygandt documents and analyzes performance theories indigenous to Russia and East Europe that have not yet been documented.

February 10Crossing the Bridges: From Lvov Across the Steppes to Asia to London’s Doodlebugs, One Woman’s Wartime Odyssey

Eva Hoffman Jedruch, author, will give a talk about her book via Zoom and in person in room 5203 at the Graduate Center, CUNY

In September 1939, Poland was invaded by both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Overnight, Zofia’s existence was shattered. Alone, with an 18-month-old toddler, in the midst of mass arrests and deportations of civilian population, how could she cope with this new harsh reality for which her sheltered life had not prepared her? Eva Cristina Hoffman Jedruch was born in the city of Lwów, Poland, months before the outbreak of the Second World War. After the war she lived in England, Argentina, and since 1969 in the USA. She is a chemical engineer by profession, graduate of the state university of Buenos Aires and holds a D.Litt. (Doctor of Letters) degree in medieval studies from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.

March 10Ukrainian leftist press and World War, 1917-1918

Johannes Remy, Wilfrid Laurier University

Ukrainian leftist public discourse on the world war is studied on the basis of the newspapers Robytnicha Hazeta and Borotba. At first, the two newspapers supported the idea of revolutionary defensism: while the front must be held, peace must be concluded without annexations or reparations. However, in summer and fall, the Ukrainian leftists wrote on the war in increasingly critical tone. They also demanded participation of the representatives of Ukraine in the peace conference. Johannes Remy is Instructor at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON.

March 17 Biography and history of Alexander Weissberg-Cybulski (1901-1964) 

Irena Grudzinska Gross, Institute of Slavic Studies at the Polish Academy of Science

This research concerns the life of Alexander Weissberg-Cybulski (1901-1964), an Austrian-Jewish physicist, writer, businessman, communist, then anti-communist and gambler. He is best known for the book on his imprisonment in the USSR (The Accused, 1951), and for his testimony at the Paris trial of David Rousset vs. Lettres Françaises (1951), both instrumental in spreading knowledge about the Gulag. In the last part of his life, he addressed the issues of war in his second book, written as a first person narration of Joel Brand, the man who in 1944 unsuccessfully negotiated with Adolf Eichmann for the lives of Hungarian Jews (Advocate for the Dead, 1958). Irena Grudzinska Gross emigrated from her native Poland after student unrest of 1968. She studied in Poland, Italy and in the United States; she received her PhD from Columbia University in 1982. She taught East-Central European history and literature at Emory, New York, Boston and Princeton universities. She is now a professor in the Institute of Slavic Studies at the Polish Academy of Science and a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow.

April 21Paradoxes of the Czechoslovak Sokol Association after the First World War

John Paul Newman, Maynooth University

The Czechoslovak Sokol Association, which became a mass movement in the interwar period, received and also gave fulsome support to the national institutions of the state, and its impressive organisation and public pageantry were routinely put on display both at home and abroad in the movement’s large synchronized gatherings, so-called ‘Slets’. This paper explores some of the paradoxes of this golden age of Sokol. Dr John Paul Newman is Associate Professor in Twentieth-century European History. His first book, Yugoslavia in the Shadow of War: Veterans and the Limits of State-Building, 1903-1945, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2015.

If you are interested in presenting an unpublished work-in-progress at a future point, write to Please include a bio, a short summary of your project, and a working title of your paper.