December 2013 Events

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DLS and Center for the Humanities Present: Orhan Pamuk


When: Monday, December 2, 7:30pm

Where: Union South, Varsity Hall

Sponsors: The Center for the Humanities, Distinguished Lecture Series


About the Speaker: Orhan Pamuk is a Turkish novelist whose books, including the critically acclaimed Snow, have been translated into 46 different languages. In 2006, he became the second-youngest person ever to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. He is well-known for his attempts to highlight issues relating to freedom of speech in the country of his birth.


For more information, click here.


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Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Information Session


When: Wednesday, December 4

Where: 206 Ingraham Hall


Undergraduate Applicant Session 2:00-3:00pm

Graduate Applicant Session 3:30-4:30pm


For more information, visit the FLAS website.

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"Dousing the Olympic Flame: Russia’s Anti-Gay Legislation and the 2014 Winter Olympics"


When: Wednesday, December 4, 5:00pm

Where: Masley Media Room, Red Gym

Sponsors: The LGBT Campus Center, The Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA), and The Department of Slavic Languages and Literature, The Russian Flagship Program


About the Panel: In June 2013, Russia’s national parliament unanimously approved a law criminalizing distribution of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations”. While the law, which was signed by the Russian president Vladimir Putin, does not overtly mention “homosexuality”, its intent is clear: it is effectively a ban on the gay rights movement in Russia and any public expression of homosexuality.


The law has led to the arrest and persecution of LGBT citizens and activists as well as a surge of hate crimes against LGBT people. The legislation has been condemned by international human-rights organizations, the United Nations, the European Parliament, and Western democratic governments. It has sparked discussion and protest around the world.


In February 2014, the Russian city of Sochi hosts the Winter Olympics. Calls have been made to boycott – or relocate – the Olympic Games, and the International Olympic Committee has come under intense pressure to guarantee that athletes, media representatives, and spectators will not be subject to harassment under the terms of the law.


Our panel of UW experts will discuss the separate but related issues of Russia’s anti-gay legislation and the upcoming Olympic Games.   

The discussion will be moderated by David Danaher, Professor of Slavic Languages at the UW-Madison and Gabe Javier, Assistant Dean and Director of the UW’s LGBT Campus Center.


About the Panelists:


Kathryn Hendley is William Voss-Bascom Professor of Law and Political Science at the UW-Madison. Her research focuses on the legal system in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia with an emphasis on how ordinary Russians experience the law.


Cecilia Leugers is a Master's student in the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia at the UW-Madison. She became acquainted with participants in local LGBT organizations during a year of undergraduate study in St. Petersburg, which spurred academic research on the evolving political and social climate surrounding Russia's LGBT community.


Jessica Mason is a doctoral student in the Anthropology Department at the UW-Madison. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Moscow from 2012-2013, her research explores conflict and solidarity-building among radical left, feminist, and LGBT activists.


Ryan Prinz is a 2012 graduate from the UW-Madison with degrees in Russian Language and Civilization and International Studies (Global Security). While in Russia, he worked with Russian LGBT activists and organizations and continues to do so in his current position at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, DC.  

Irina Shevelenko is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature at the UW-Madison.

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"Aesthetic and Political Transpositions: Music under Hitler and Stalin"

Friedrich Geiger, Professor of Historical Musicology, University of Hamburg


When: December 5, 4:00pm

Where: 206 Ingraham Hall

Sponsors: CGES, Department of German, CREECA, Department of Slavic Languages and Literature


About the Speaker: Dr. Friedrich Geiger is a professor of musicology at Universität Hamburg and the author of "Musikkulturgeschichte Heute: Historische Musikwissenschaft an der Universität Hamburg."









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"Understanding Where We’re Coming from and Where We’re Going: Unearthing 200 Years of Land Use History in the Carpathians and their Importance to Current Land Change"

Cătălina Munteanu, PhD Candidate, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison


When: Thursday, December 12, 4:00pm

Where: 206 Ingraham Hall

Sponsors: The Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA)


About the Lecture: It is hard to figure out where to go, when you do not know where you are coming from. Humans have altered the face of the planet dramatically over the past 200 years including grasslands and forests being converted to crops, wetlands being reclaimed or forests is expanding over abandoned fields. Effects of such past and more recent changes are reverberating throughout the ecosystem, affecting the climate, water cycles, ecological diversity and human wellbeing. But we still do not know exactly how much of the land changed in the past, nor how such past land uses are reflected in recent land changes. This makes land use planning a difficult task: Where to grow future crops? What areas to deforest? And where enhance nature protection? My goal is to examine land change patterns and processes, in Central and Eastern Europe over the past 200 years and understand of the role of past land uses in determining current change. In Eastern Europe agricultural land-use increased during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but dropped sharply during and especially after the collapse of the Socialism. The highest rates of abandonment occurred between 1990 and 2000. The region experienced the shift from decreasing to increasing forest cover between the two World Wars, and the forest expansion trend persisted after the collapse of socialism. Urban development and wetland loss are other prominent processes since the 18th century. The timing and magnitude of these processes depends on the land use histories of the areas in which they occur. For example, forest recovered faster in areas which were under shorter agricultural use only during Soviet times, than in those areas already converted to agriculture in the time of the Habsburg monarchy. Institutional and economic factors were most influential in shaping deforestation and agricultural expansion, while socio-demographics and institutional shifts were the key drivers of land abandonment. Results show that past processes are important in shaping current land changes. The Eastern Europe example, with its impressive historic land use records and its history of multiple socio-economic and institutional changes, allowed me to explore multiple land use legacies over two centuries.


About the Speaker: Catalina Munteanu is originally from Romania, where she studied Geography and Foreign languages at the Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca. She holds an MSc in Geography of Mountain Regions from the Leopold-Franzens-University (Austria) and is now pursuing her PhD degree in Forest and Wildlife Ecology at the UW Madison. Before coming to Madison, Catalina worked in fields related on environmental protection, cultural landscapes and development of mountain areas. In her dissertation project, she is looking at historic and recent land use and land cover change in Eastern Europe and how it relates to past land use decisions. The Carpathians are highly diverse region both ecologically and socio-economically and she aims to understand the implications of the regions past has for current changes.

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Russian Folklore Materials

Russian Folklore in Art and Illustration


When: Until the end of December 2013

Where: Entry Lobby, Memorial Library


About the exhibit: The exhibit features 28 images, some reproduced in large scale. Also included are excerpts from the texts of several well-known Russian folktales and epic poems, as well as detailed explanations of the historical background and cultural significance of specific images in the exhibit. The exhibit was created to draw attention to the excellent and beautifully illustrated existing Russian collections that our campus libraries have.


For more information.

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Early Russian Photography of Central Eurasia

Heather S. Sonntag, PhD


When: Thursday, December 19, 7:30pm

Where: Tamarack Club House, 110 S Westfield Rd, Madison

Sponsors: ASSR (Artists, Singers, and Songwriters of Russia in Madison)


About the Speaker: Heather S. Sonntag is a cultural historian specializing in the early photography of Central Eurasia and is an Honorary Fellow in the Center for Russia, East Europe and Central Asia (CREECA), UW-Madison. Her ongoing research focuses on photographic histories that represent Central Asia and the Caucasus in the late imperial period in state commissioned albums and specific collections attributed to individual photographers. Beginning with the 1850s, she explores Russian photography as a technology developed by the state and professionals, who deployed it to the borderlands for various practical, symbolic and commercial applications. Taking a comparative approach, she considers Russian and global practices to better comprehend social and political shifts that defined image production, use and meaning. Earning a doctoral degree in 2011, her research has benefited from an internship at the Library of Congress (2005) where she translated all text in the Turkestan Album 1871-1872 for the digital preservation project, online catalog and her dissertation topic, as well as from a Fulbright fellowship (2006-07), an NCEEER grant (2012), and numerous university grants. She has presented at major national and international conferences and workshops. Dr. Sonntag’s recent projects on historical photography are: 1) “Picturing Russian Colonial Central Asia (ca. 1888): Photography by Orden from the Anahita Gallery Collection” which was displayed at the UW-Madison Pyle Center, 2013; and 2) “Native Lands,” a commission by the US Embassy in Kazakhstan utilizing digital collections from the Library of Congress that will be displayed permanently in the Embassy in Astana, the Consulate in Almaty and six American Corners in Kazakhstan (installation in 2014)

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Megitza (singer & bass player) & Andreas Kapsalis (10 string acoustic guitar virtuoso & percussionist)


When: Friday, December 20, 8:00pm

Where: The Brink Lounge, 701 East Washington Ave, Suite 105 Madison, WI 53703

Sponsors: Mad-Pol, WORT. FM


About the Duo: Maggie Babiarz (Megitza), a native of Poland, and Andreas Kapsalis, are both co-founders of Megitza Quartet. The band performs a mix of folk music standards and original songs written by the duo. Megitza sings in Polish, English, Romani, Slovak, Serbian and Ukrainian. The band resided in Chicago and visited Madison several times over the years until Megitza relocated to Poland 2 years ago. They recorded 4 albums together, including the latest "MAK DUO" (2013). This is a rare chance to see them perform live again during Megitza‘s brief visit to the US. This is their only Wisconsin appearance during this tour.


Tickets: or 608-661-8599 || $10 in advance or $13 on the day of the show || No credit cards accepted on the day of the show


For more information, visit Megitza's website:

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