Dear CEERES Friends and Associates,
As 2022 comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the Center’s activities of the past few years, and also let you know how you might help to support the Center. As we reported in our welcome letter in October, CEERES was unfortunately not successful in our application for Title VI NRC and FLAS funding for the 2022-2026 cycle. As promised, we have continued to support the vital research, teaching, and events of our affiliated faculty and students. While we explore options for the futures, CEERES will continue to produce the same compelling programming that our community has come to expect.
Here at CEERES we have always been invested in providing our community with the broader context to better understand the major events happening in the region. That has been especially true following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. CEERES has leveraged its unique position in the University to coordinate a multi-disciplinary response across divisions, schools, and departments. We partnered with the Pearson Institute on a series of roundtables focusing on the most immediate issues and events related to the war (the most recent roundtable can viewed here). This programing has also been supplemented by lectures and roundtables on broader issues in Ukrainian culture. CEERES will continue to focus on Ukraine in the new year. In partnership with CMES and CEAS, our annual International Education conference will focus on the global impacts of the Russia-Ukraine War. Please keep an eye on our eBulletin or our website for more information on this event (Beyond the Headlines: The Russia-Ukraine War and Its Global Impacts) which will take place on Friday, February 3.
Over the past few years, CEERES has worked to showcase the viewpoints of people closest to the main events taking place in the region. We organized roundtables covering the 2020 protests in Belarus and the 2021 protests in Russia, as well as a roundtable on the politics of COVID-19 vaccines created in Russia and China. At the core of our professional development events for educators in recent years have been current issues involving Russian disinformation campaigns, impact of COVID on immigration in the region, and democratic backsliding. This connection has continued into this year with the “Belarus: Faces of Resistance” exhibit which featured the work of nine artists, photojournalists, and filmmakers from Belarus, chronicling the popular protests of Summer 2020.
CEERES has also maintained its continued support of conferences and lectures on those issues that might not be in the headlines but are of vital importance to those seeking a more complex understanding of the region. Our CEERES Director’s lecture series has showcased scholarship at the intersection of area and disciplinary studies. COVID has made traditional conferences more challenging in the past few years. But we have continued to support that deeper exploration of important topics, such as with the conference series “Deglobalization and Anti-Globalism in Central Europe” which examined issues of globalization and its opponents from various disciplinary perspectives. This year has seen the return to more traditional in-person or hybrid conferences with “Global Anti-Gender and Anti-LGBTQ+ Politics: Historical Continuities, Transnational Connections, Contested Futures” in October 2022 which examined the social movements and political campaigns challenging women’s rights and LGBTQ+ equality that have mobilized publics across the globe, from West Africa to Central and Eastern Europe, South Asia to North America.
Finally, a discussion of recent CEERES events would be incomplete without mentioning CEERES of Voices, which has been one of the most popular series since its inception in January of 2017. This author-centered series of readings and conversations on books from or about Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Central Eurasia, and the Caucasus has brought a wide array of authors and genres to Chicago (in person and virtually). Serihy Zhadan, Dubravka Ugresic, Nina Jankowicz, Masha Gessen, among others have discussed their books at the Seminary Co-op (and you can find their interviews on our YouTube channel). In recent years our series has moved into the virtual space, but it has continued to highlight the work of UChicago faculty, novels, and children’s books. The series will return on January 12th with a conversation focusing on Emily Greble’s Muslims and the Making of Modern Europe (register here).
It has been a productive few years. Despite the challenges to come as we explore Center life without Title VI funding, we are looking forward to the years to come. Indeed, given the tragic events of the past year, the importance of critical thinking and accurate information about regional issues has never been more evident. If you are able, we ask that you consider supporting the Center in its future activities with a tax-deductible financial contribution. We wish you all the best for the coming year and hope to see you in person or on Zoom for one of our upcoming events.