November 2012 Events

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From Revolution to Reform: Soviet Cold War Propaganda Posters

Wisconsin Veterans Museum Exhibit


When: October 5-December 31, 2012
Where: Wisconsin Veterans Museum, 30 W Mifflin Street Madison, WI 53703


About the collection: Selected from the collection of David Olien, these Cold War-era posters reflect the changing cultural and political movements that characterized the Soviet regime. From hardline communist themes at the height of the Cold War to those reflecting a gradual movement toward greater openness and interaction with the United States, these posters provide a glimpse into the former Marxist-Leninist propaganda machine.


About the collector: David Olien grew up in an era when the Soviets represented the principle existential threat to the United States. A child of the post-World War II period, Olien experienced the grim realities of the Cold War, including the incessant saber rattling from the Soviet Union and its proxies throughout the world. This collection features a number of propaganda posters purchased by Olien from 1975-1989. Covering a range of topics, these posters represent the ideological struggles between the U.S.S.R. and the United States during the Cold War leading up to the celebration of perestroika in the later pieces.

The collection will be on display at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum through December 31st. More information can be found here at the museum's posting about the exhibit.


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“City of Concrete and Felt: Negotiating Cultural Hybridity in Mongolia's Capital of Ulaanbaatar”

Alex Diener, Assistant Professor of Geography, University of Kansas


When: Thursday, November 1, 2012; 4:00 pm
Where: 206 Ingraham
Sponsors: CREECA, American Center for Mongolian Studies (ACMS), and the Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS)


Funding for this activity was provided by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) through a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

About the Speaker: Alexander C. Diener is an Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Kansas. His research interests revolve around questions of identity and territory allowing him to work on topics relating to borders, mobilities/immobilities, diasporas, transnationalism, urban landscape, and security. He possesses regional expertise in Central Asia, Mongolia, and Islamic Borderlands of Eurasia.  He has held fellowships at George Washington University’s IERES Program in the Elliott School of International Affairs, at the Kennan Institute of Woodrow Wilson Center, and as the Regional Research Fulbright Scholar for Central Asia. Professor Diener is the author of One Homeland or Two?: Nationalization and Transnationalization of Mongolia’s Kazakhs (Stanford University Press and Woodrow Wilson Center Press 2009) and Homeland Conceptions and Ethnic Integration among Kazakhstan's Germans and Koreans (Mellen Press, 2004). Professor Diener also co-authored Borders: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press 2012) and co-edited the volumes Borderlines and Borderlands: Political Oddities at the Edge of the Nation State (Rowman and Littlefield 2010) and Urban Change after Socialism (Nationalities Papers - Taylor and Francis 2013)


About the Lecture: Coming Soon!

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Uraneck"Breaking through Stereotypes on the Silk Road"

Madeline Uraneck

When: Monday, November 5, 2012; 3:30-5:00 pm
Where: Sequoya Library, 4340 Tokay Boulevard, Madison WI, 53711

About the Speaker: Madeline Uraneck, International Educator, has worked and traveled in countries on four continents.
She was the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's first International Education Consultant, promoting
world language learning and global content in grades 1-12.


About the Lecture: A 20-month journey through the mountains of Tajikistan, the ancient cities of Uzbekistan, the nomadic routes of Kyrgyzstan,
and the deserts of eastern Turkey helped the speaker replace stereotypes of Central Asia with dynamic, modern images.  Her
job in the isolated country of Turkmenistan led to some delightful encounters learning new languages and cultures.


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Livanos"Soviet Poetry and the Greek Left: Giannes Ritsos as Translator and Reader of Blok, Mayakovsky, Ehrenburg, and Esenin"

Christopher Livanos, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, UW-Madison


When: Thursday, November 8, 2012; 4:00 pm
Where: 206 Ingraham

About the Speaker: Christopher Livanos is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at UW Madison.  His research examines Greek poetry and the history of Greece's intellectual relations with the "Great Powers."


About the Lecture: Coming Soon!






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Kunichika "How a Modernist Artifact Is Made: Poetic Stone Women and Russia's Indigenous Cubism"

Michael Kunichika, New York University


When: Friday, November 9, 2012; 4:00 pm
Where: 254 Van Hise
Sponsor: Dept. of Slavic Languages


About the Speaker: Michael Kunichika is an Assistant Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University.  He received his B.A. from Reed College, and both his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.  Michael Kunichika's research interests include Russian modernism, with a particular emphasis on the relationship between painting and literature; Russian cinema and visual culture; literary theory, rhetoric, and Russian archaeology. In 2008, his essay "Landscape and Vision and the White=Baltic Sea Canal,"was featured in the book Picturing Russia: Explorations in Visual Culture.  He is currently at work on a book examining the creation of an indigenous antiquity during the Russian modernist period.


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Dominykas Madison Vilnius Sister Cities Presents:
"Dominykas Vysniauskas, jazz trumpeteer"


When: Saturday November 10
Where: Capitol Rotunda at Noon; Capitol Lakes Grand Hall  (333 West Main Street) at 7pm 


About the Performance: Dominykas Vysniauskas hails from Vilnius, Lithuania, where, even at his young age, has become a well-respected musician in Europe for his jazz artistry, especially as a trumpeter. When it comes to his music, Dominykas says, "With my music, I feel it is imperative to reveal my life experiences - a history that I create with sound.  Sometimes I relay actual events, and at other times, emotions as well as prayers prevail.”


Dominykas will perform his own works and improvisation from the heart in these two Madison concerts.  Recent compositions will include a soundtrack he recorded for a film about the Franciscan Brothers in America, directed by D. Kancleryte.


Just prior to performing in Madison, Vysniauskas will play with his quartet as part of the Umbrella Music Festival 2012, “European Jazz Meets Chicago”, on Wednesday, Nov. 7 @ 7:15pm at The Chicago Cultural Center, 78 Washington St., Downtown Chicago – FREE!  Other musicians performing that evening hail from Austria, Germany, and France.



To learn more about this event, please see or listen to tunes by Mr. Vysniauskas by visiting


For further info, please contact Daina Juozevicius, 608-334-2086.


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Language for Life: Languages and Business

Featured speakers: Jillian Bau, Steve Feldman, Mia Johnson


When: Tuesday, November 13,, 2012; 6:00-7:30pm
Where: 4151 Grainger Hall


Interested in putting your knowledge of languages to use in a career in business? Come hear how three UW-Madison alumni used their languages to start and develop careers in a variety of fields.


Language for Life is a program of the Language Institute that gives current students the opportunity to meet with alumni who studied a foreign language and are using that language in their professional or personal lives in inspiring ways. See past Language for Life Programs.


Jillian Bau (2008, Economics and Russian) is a senior consultant with Ernst & Young LLP’s transfer pricing practice in Chicago. In this role, she assists multinational companies with developing inter-company pricing strategies for international business flows to optimize effective tax rates. Throughout the duration of a typical engagement, she conducts fact finding sessions with clients to identify their most significant transactions in terms of volume and risk, interviews departmental heads to understand the value drivers within their supply chain, and researches financial data and market transactions.


Steve Feldman (BBA 1993, Marketing and Management) spent 7 years in Japan after graduating from UW-Madison, where he started his own Japanese Trading company, doing business throughout the US and Asia. Fluent in Japanese, Steve has been working with Japan and other parts of Asia for 20 years. Import/export, translating, movie licensing, and consulting are some of the current businesses he oversees now from his office at Big East, Inc. in Los Angeles.


Mia Johnson (2010, Economics and International Studies) graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison two years ago and has worked and lived in three different countries and one territory. She now lives permanently in France and works as an active travel guide. Languages are one of her passions and studying Russian and Spanish at the UW was just the beginning of a multicultural life.


Please note that Steve and Mia will be participating remotely.


This event is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the Language Institute and the Wisconsin School of Business office of Undergraduate Academic Services, with Language Institute funding from the College of Letters and Science Anonymous Fund. For more information: Michael Kruse, (608) 890-4629.

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The 2012 Annual Polish Film Festival
Marquee Cinema, Union South


When: November 16-18, 2012

Where: Marquee Theater, Union South

More info: Click Here for the Film Festival Website


About: The Polish Students Association is presenting "The Annual Polish Film Festival."


A selection of five contemporary Polish films will provide an excellent representation of the current spectrum of the Polish cinematographic scene.

All screenings with English subtitles are FREE and will take place in the Marquee Cinema at the Union South, November 16, 17 and 18, 2012

November 16, 7 pm

80 Million (2011) dir. Wlademar Krzystek, 110 minutes

Historical thriller about the anti-communist movement Solidarity struggle. The movie is set in the autumn of 1981, ten days before the proclamation of martial law in Poland. Three members of Solidarity take out 80 million zlotys from the organization’s bank account, just before it is blocked by the authorities. This money, that is thus almost miraculously saved, will then serve to support Solidarity in its opposition to the government. (English subtitles)


November 17, 1 pm

Rose(2011) dir. Wojciech Smarzowski, 90 minutes

Almost unbearably brutal yet hauntingly romantic drama.  Rose reveals a little-known chapter of Polish history: the post-WWII persecution of the Mazurians, indigenous residents of what is now north eastern Poland. Considered as traitors by everyone, they are chased off their land by soldiers of the Red Army, in the immediate post-war period. Amongst them is Rose, a woman who has suffered rape and basest humiliation at the hands first of the Russians and later the Poles. (English subtitles)


November 17, 3 pm

My name is Ki (2011) dir. Leszek Dawid, 93 minutes
Ki is a young woman who refuses to play the part of a tired single mother. She wants to live a fast-paced and colourful life. Will her difficult relationships with men help her become mature enough to embrace love and responsibility for herself and her son? (English subtitles)


November 18, 1 pm

The Courage (2011) dir. Grzegorz Zglinski, 85 minutes

A sibling rivalry and a random act of savagery provide the backdrop to explore primal themes of cowardice, guilt and redemption. The film tells a story of two brothers, Alfred and Jerzy, who witness a helpless girl being mugged on a suburban train. (English subtitles)


November 18, 3 pm

Elles (2011) dir. Malgorzata Szumowska (Poland-France-Germany), 100 minutes

The story of Anna, a journalist writing an article about prostitution among university students. While working on her piece, she meets two young women, Charlotte and Alicja, who bring her into the world of love for sale. A world that is appalling, yet at the same time - to Anna's own surprise - somewhat appealing. (English subtitles)


All screenings are FREE and with English subtitles

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Institute for Research in the Humanities Seminar:
"The Rise of the Legend of the City of Kitezh in Russian Literature"

Lisa Woodson, Slavic Languages and Literature, UW-Madison


When: Monday, November 26, 2012; 3:30 pm
Where: University Club Building, Room 212


About the Lecture: Little known outside of Russia, the Legend of the City of Kitezh describes an ideal city hidden from the profane world around it. In some versions of legend, the city became invisible to protect it from invading infidel armies; in others, it sank to the bottom of a lake or was hidden underground. According to the legend, only a select few from the profane world are ever counted worthy enough to glimpse this city as it becomes momentarily visible, or better yet, to leave the world behind and enter Kitezh forever. The legend, which claims to date to the 13th century, was virtually unknown in Russian culture before its "discovery" in communities of a persecuted religious sect in the mid-1800s. Within 70 years, the legend attained immense popularity in Russian culture, appearing widely in literature, music, and painting. One of the remarkable features of the appropriation of the legend was the great flexibility with which different writers used it to illustrate variety of ideological, artistic, and philosophical positions. This talk will focus on how the legend went from unilaterally negative to largely positive interpretations between 1860-1910, paving the way for the explosion of excitement about the Kitezh legend in the next decade.


About the Speaker: Lisa Woodson, a Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow, is a graduate student in Slavic Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She has taught Russian language, literature, and intellectual history at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Missouri. A Madison native, Lisa returned to Madison for graduate school after living abroad in Russia and Canada for several years, where she continued her studies and worked in the Russian environmental movement. She also holds a master's degree in spiritual theology from Regent College in Vancouver, Canada, and a bachelor's degree in Russian Area Studies from Wellesley College in Massachusetts.


Click here for more information.

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Listening Comprehension for Web 2.0

Richard M. Robin, Professor of Russian George Washington University

When: Tuesday, November 27, 2012; 3-5:00 pm
Where: 254 Van Hise Hall


About the Lecture: The opportunities available in Web 2.0 make the learner-centered acquisition of skills in listening comprehension in a technology-mediated environment a reality for the first time. In this session we will discuss how the features of Web 2.0 can be made to further the development of listening skills. We will examine raw sources, the instructional attenuation of those sources, and the results one can expect from using web-based resources.


Important Information: This is a tech-driven presentation. Once we have dealt with the basic concepts, we will examine each technological possibility from the standpoint of ease of use (how to…) and then by its potential place in a learning agenda: its plusses and minuses from the standpoint of L2 listening comprehension theory and practice. Afterwards, we’ll take a look at the bigger theoretical implications of listening in a Web 2.0 environment.



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Gehlbach"Does Reform Prevent Rebellion? Evidence from Russia's Emancipation of the Serfs"

Scott Gehlbach, Professor of Political Science, UW-Madison


When: Thursday, November 29, 2012; 4:00 pm
Where: 206 Ingraham

About the Speaker: Scott Gehlbach is Associate Chair and Professor of Political Science, Lyons Family Faculty Fellow, and Romnes Faculty Fellow at the University of Wisconsin–Madison; Senior Research Fellow at the International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development at the Higher School of Economics, Moscow; and Research Associate of the Centre for Economic and Financial Research at the New Economic School in Moscow. A specialist in Russia, Professor Gehlbach has made fundamental contributions to the study of economic reform and other questions in political economy.


Known for employing a wide range of research methods in his work, Gehlbach is the author of the forthcoming textbook Formal Models of Domestic Politics, the award-winning monograph Representation Through Taxation: Revenue, Politics, and Development in Postcommunist States, and numerous articles in top journals, including the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, and the Journal of Politics. His work has been supported by two Fulbright-Hays Fellowships and many other grants. Professor Gehlbach received his Ph.D. in political science and economics from the University of California–Berkeley.


About the Lecture: Contemporary models of political economy suggest that unrest and revolution can be prevented by reforms that target excluded groups, but little is known about the actual effect of such reforms on social stability. Using a new dataset on peasant disturbances in 19th century Russia, Prof. Gehlbach studied the impact of reform on rebellion. Using a difference-in-differences design that exploits the timing of various peasant reforms, a large increase in disturbances in former serfs was documented following the Emancipation Reform of 1861, a development completely counter to reformers' intent.


Click here for a PDF of Prof. Gehlbach's paper on this topic.

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