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210 Ingraham Hall
1155 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1397

Phone: (608) 262-3379
Fax: (608) 890-0267



News & Highlights




Professor Sally A. Kent


It is with great sadness that we share the news that Sarah Anne ‘Sally’ Kent— a colleague, friend, and member of the CREECA community— died on February 3, 2015. Kent was a professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point from 1987-2014 and had also served as the coordinator of international studies at UWSP.  A valued and generous CREECA associate, Kent’s love of teaching and her expertise in the history, politics, and culture of the former Yugoslavia enhanced several workshops and conferences. In 2011 she participated in a conference on Yugoslavia and in 2009 led a session at a teacher workshop, titled “The Wars and Post-War Period in the Former Yugoslavia.” She will be greatly missed by her friends, colleagues, and students.

Friends of Sally are invited to a memorial service to be held on the UW-Stevens Point campus on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 from 3:00-5:00 pm, Dreyfus University Center, Alumni Room, UW-Stevens Point.


View Sally Kent's full obituary here.


The Winter 2015 Edition of 'CREECA News' is Here!


Take a look at the latest issue of 'CREECA News,' our printed newsletter. In this edition we take you into 'Day in East and Central Europe (DECE)' our largest K-12 outreach event for high school students. We also remember the life and works of Alexander Rolich, longtime Bibliographer for Slavic, East European, and Central Asian Studies. Our featured student Nicole Butkovich Kraus completed her Ph.D. in Sociology and a Graduate Certificate in REECAS in summer 2014. She is now an assistant professor of Sociology at Rutger-Newark. See updates from the CREECA community, news of CREECA events and much more!


Read it here and see past newsletters on the archive page.



Filmmaker Anna Ferens Returns to CREECA with Documentary, "The Essence of Life"


On December 8, 2014, Polish filmmaker Anna Ferens presented her documentary “The Essence of Life,” on the life of UW-Madison geneticist Waclaw Szybalski. The screening was followed by a discussion with Ferens and Szybalski, moderated by Richard Burgess, professor emeritus of oncology. This premiere was organized by the Polish Heritage Club of Madison, Wisconsin and sponsored by the Morgridge Institute for Research, the McArdle Labratory for Cancer Research, and CREECA.


The film takes its title from DNA, the essential building block of all life, which also serves as the foundation of Szybalski’s long and prolific career.  His work has been influential for many Nobel prize-winning scientists; at 93, the professor emeritus of oncology continues to publish in his field. The film traces Szybalski’s career and life experiences, from an early brush with science, when as an 11-year-old he met Marie Curie, to his subsequent education, laboratory work, and research, his escape from Soviet-occupied Poland, and his long scientific career at UW-Madison.


A video of the question and answer session with Farens, Szybalski and Burgess is available to view here.


Irena Fraczek of the Division of Continuing Studies and the Polish Heritage Club captured many wonderful moments from the event in her photographs. The complete album is found here. [All photos by Irena Fraczek.  Any use of the photos beyond viewing the album (e.g. copying or reposting) requires express permission from the photographer; ifraczek@wisc.edu or ifraczek7@gmail.com].


Images: (Top Left) Waclaw Szybalski at the screening of ‘The Essence of Life.’ Richard Burgess is seen in the background. (Bottom Right) Richard Burgess (left) and filmmaker Anna Ferens (right). Photos by Irena Fraczek; used with permission.


Explore Our Spring 2015 Courses



‘Behind the CREECA Lecture Series’ is Back!


We sit down to a conversation with Ekaterina Mishina, who specializes in Russian constitutional law.

Mishina is a visiting professor at the University of Michigan and is an assistant professor of law at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia. She has held positions both in the public and private sectors in Russia.


A Conversation with Ekaterina Mishina from CREECA Communications on Vimeo.


One question we could not get to was the similarities and differences of working in the public and private sectors in Russia. Here’s what Mishina had to say:


“When I worked for the Constitutional Court in the 1990s it was a different court, a different time and a different political regime. The level of politicization of the Constitutional Court at that time was minimal, given the circumstances of 1993 when the court got too much into politics and its activity was eventually suspended. Those who practice law in the government cannot stay away from politics. Another problem is that if you have a position with the government, eventually the supremacy clause stops working for you. Acts of administrative bodies and instructions of superior officials are sometimes considered more important sources of law than the legislation or the Constitution.


Certain branches of legal profession (especially prosecutors, investigators and judges) experience professional deformation. They stop thinking like lawyers and begin thinking like governmental officials.


Practicing law in the Russian private sector always looked more attractive to me; it was more interesting and more risky, at the same time. Interestingly, now jobs in the government are more sought after than in the private sector.”


Mishina’s CREECA lecture, 'Long Shadows of the Soviet Past' focuses on the transformations in Russian criminal justice and legal reform in the post-Soviet era. (Full audio of the lecture can be heard here.)


CREECA Receives Federal Funding to Promote Area Studies Programming and Language Instruction


CREECA was among seven area-studies centers within the International Institute to collectively receive over $3.4 million in annual Title VI federal funding (For full news release visit: http://www.news.wisc.edu/23185).


CREECA will use the National Resource Center (NRC) funds to support the teaching of advanced Polish, advanced Turkish/Azeri, and elementary- through advanced-level Kazakh.


Funding will also go to support -


Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships will be awarded to graduate and undergraduate students for instruction in Slavic, East European, and Central Eurasian languages. Other centers awarded Title VI funding are: African Studies Program, Center for European Studies, Global Studies, Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program, Center for South Asia, and Center for Southeast Asian Studies. Each center prepared and submitted individual grant applications earlier this year. Together the centers received nearly $13.7 million for a four-year period, ending in 2018.


Welcome to our New REECAS M.A. Students


This fall, CREECA welcomes four students to the M.A. program in Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies (REECAS).
Our students come from diverse backgrounds and have a variety of interests. Here’s a little bit more about them. If you see them around campus, please say hello and introduce yourselves!


My Image
Clockwise from the upper left: Lauren Schulte, Brian Kilgour, Alexander Gran and Mike Panaro.


Lauren Schulte is from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. She recently graduated from Lawrence University, where she majored in history and Russian, with a minor in gender studies.
Lauren is interested in the Caucasus, specifically Chechnya. She hopes to examine the ways in which the intersections of race, gender, and religion shaped and influenced conflicts in Chechnya and former Yugoslavia during the 1990s. Her future goal is to work for an NGO in Russia or Eastern Europe.


Brian Kilgour graduated from Carleton College in 2011 with a double major in Russian and international relations. He was a Fulbright Graduate Student Researcher in Ulan-Ude during the 2011-2012 academic year, where he focused on culturally sustainable tourism development in Buryatia.
Brian returns to academia after working for a time at Epic. He intends to pursue his interest in ethnic communities in Russia's borderlands and their relationships with both Moscow and bordering neighbors. Upon completion of the M.A. program, Brian hopes to continue his academic career and earn a Ph.D.


Alexander Gran was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he studied history and Russian. He is interested in Soviet history and Soviet foreign policy during the Cold War era. Alexander hopes to pursue academic research at the Ph.D. level.


Major Mike Panaro holds a B.S. in International Politics from the United States Military Academy (2000). His interests include military transformation and modernization efforts, particularly in Russia and Ukraine. He was most recently assigned as the Country Desk Officer for the Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan at the Headquarters of U.S. Army Central.
MAJ Panaro has traveled extensively and participated in FAO internships in the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. He has also served as a Cavalry Troop Commander and a Tank Company Commander in Iraq, and has held numerous other military assignments in the United States, Germany, and Kosovo.




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