Kerri Lesh talks “Txakolina” on Academic Minute and NPR podcast

Just before the Thanksgiving weekend on November 20th, Academic Minute featured a series of pieces about various drinks, to include beer and caffeinated beverages. Among the academics featured, Kerri Lesh presented on Txakolina–“a hard to define wine.”

As a cultural and linguistic anthropologist and Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW), Kerri’s research examines the use of the Basque language, Euskara, in the creation of value for marketing local gastronomic products.  Her dissertation, divided into chapters on various Basque beverages, analyzes how each product distinctly functions in various markets when using Euskara to promote it.  One of her chapters looks at the various ways in which the traditional Basque wine, txakolina, is advertised and commodified to create value for the product as well as the Basque language.

Her piece that is featured can be found here on Academic Minute and on NPR’s podcast, discusses the uniqueness of this locally produced Basque wine, and the uncharacteristic ways in how it is defined. Aside from her love of food and wine, the aim for Kerri’s dissertation is to demonstrate ways in which value is created for the Basque language in contribution to language normalization.

Kerri plans to defend her dissertation this upcoming May, and to teach a course during the first session of summer titled “Consuming Identities: Food and Drink as Cultural Heritage.”

 

Mariann Vaczi presents at the 117th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association

CBS professor Mariann Vaczi presented her current research at the 117th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. The title of her presentation was “Catalonia`s Human Towers: Nationalism, Associational Culture, and the Politics of Performance” focusing on the political deployment of physical culture in the current Catalan sovereignty process. Vaczi`s current research project is based on 1,5 years of fieldwork as a human tower performer in Barcelona, and draws parallels between alternative routes to nationalist mobilization through sport in the Basque and Catalan contexts. The panel, titled “Commemorating and coming to terms with the past” was chaired by James Deutsch from the Smithsonian Institution, which hosted both Basque and Catalan cultural projects at their summer festivals.

Dr. Vaczi`s anthropological work focuses on the interfaces of sport, politics, culture and society in the Basque and Catalan contexts. Her main work Soccer, culture and society in Spain: An ethnography of Basque fandom (Routledge 2015) gained positive critical acclaim internationally, and is now being translated into Spanish.

 

   

“Spanish soccer is on top of the world, at international and club level, with the best teams and a seemingly endless supply of exciting and stylish players. While the Spanish economy struggles, its soccer flourishes, deeply embedded throughout Spanish social and cultural life. But the relationship between soccer, culture and national identity in Spain is complex. This fascinating, in-depth study shines new light on Spanish soccer by examining the role this sport plays in Basque identity, consolidated in Athletic Club of Bilbao, the century-old soccer club located in the birthplace of Basque nationalism.

Athletic Bilbao has a unique player recruitment policy, allowing only Basque-born players or those developed at the youth academies of Basque clubs to play for the team, a policy that rejects the internationalism of contemporary globalised soccer. Despite this, the club has never been relegated from the top division of Spanish football. A particularly tight bond exists between fans, their club and the players, with Athletic representing a beacon of Basque national identity. This book is an ethnography of a soccer culture where origins, nationalism, gender relations, power and passion, lifecycle events and death rituals gain new meanings as they become, below and beyond the playing field, a matter of creative contention and communal affirmation.

Based on unique, in-depth ethnographic research, this book investigates how a soccer club and soccer fandom affect the life of a community, interweaving empirical research material with key contemporary themes in the social sciences, and placing the study in the wider context of Spanish political and sporting cultures. Filling a key gap in the literature on contemporary Spain, and on wider soccer cultures, this book is fascinating reading for anybody with an interest in sport, anthropology, sociology, political science, or cultural and gender studies.” Routledge, 2015

 

 

CBS Book “The Basque Nation On-Screen” Inspires Prestigious Award

The book Creadores de sombras: ETA y el nacionalismo vasco a través del cine by Santiago de Pablo received the 2018 Muñoz Suay Prize awarded by the Spanish Arts and Film Academy. The award recognizes the best works of historical research on the Spanish film industry. A previous version of this book was published by the Center for Basque Studies in 2012 with the title The Basque Nation On-Screen: Cinema, Nationalism, and Political Violence. Professor De Pablo enjoyed the opportunity of serving as William Douglass Visiting Scholar in Reno during the academic year 2009-2010, researching on the relationship between cinema, Basque nationalism, and ETA.

Since its creation in 1997, the prestigious Muñoz Suay Award has supported research on the history of cinema in Spain. Well-known authors such as Ian Gibson, Manuel Gutiérrez-Aragón, or Vicente Sánchez-Biosca received this prize in previous years. The president of the Academy, filmmaker Mariano Barroso presented the prize to Santiago de Pablo in Madrid on November 212018.

The jury emphasized De Pablo’s “great knowledge of the subject, and his unbiased viewpoint of the very controversial subject of the representation of Basque political violence in contemporary Spanish cinema.”

Santiago de Pablo is Professor of History at the University of the Basque Country (Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea). He specializes in the history of Basque nationalism, and the relationship between history and cinema. He is author of several books, among Tierra sin paz: Guerra Civil, cine y propaganda en el País Vasco, La patria soñada: Historia del nacionalismo vasco desde su origen hasta la actualidador, and Diccionario ilustrado de símbolos del nacionalismo vasco.

https://www.academiadecine.com/2018/11/21/santiago-de-pablo-recibe-el-premio-munoz-suay-2018/

 

       

November 24, 1912: False fire alarm leads to multiple deaths in Bilbao theater stampede

On November 24, 1912, forty-six people, almost all of them children, died in the Ensanche Circus Theater of Bilbao as the result of a stampede of spectators attempting to flee the building. Someone had shouted out a fire alarm, which ultimately proved to be false.

The Circus Theater, located close to what is today the Plaza Elíptica, had been constructed in 1895 on the site of what had been a circus. While dedicated mainly to popular entertainment shows it was also a sports venue, and by the second decade of the twentieth century it was also showing movies.

On Sunday, November 24, 1912, the theater schedule included a continuous screening of movies between 3:00 pm and midnight, at prices accessible to people of all social classes and children old enough to go to the movies on their own.  Shortly after 6:00 pm a voice shouted out “fire!” This resulted in widespread panic as spectators attempted to flee the packed theater, only to encounter two of the three emergency exits locked. In total, forty-four children and two adults died in the stampede. Funerals for the victims, at which a reported forty thousand people attended, were held on November 27 and all expenses were covered by the Bilbao city council.

The theater itself was demolished in 1914 by official order on account of not fulfilling the required safety norms. In 1916, Bilbao city council constructed a mausoleum on the site where the victims had been buried.

Sources

Julio Arrieta, “Cuarenta y cuatro ataúdes blancos,” El Correo, November 18, 2012.

Una falsa alarma desembocó en tragedia,” Conoce Bilbao con Esme (blog), November 24, 2018.

Night of All Nations 2018

This month, the CBS and the Jon Bilbao Basque Library represented Basque culture at the 2018 Night of All Nations at the University of Nevada, Reno. Night of All Nations, organized by the International Club, provides the opportunity for students and visitors to learn about over 30 different cultures and people from around the world.

Volunteers from the CBS and Basque Library enjoyed a fun night educating guests about the Basque Country and Basque culture, while learning about the other cultures represented at the event. The most common questions we received were concerned about the geopolitical situation of the Basque Country and about Euskara. Towards the end of the event, pintxos were provided to give guests a taste of authentic Basque cuisine.

Kerri Lesh presents at the 117th American Anthropological Association annual meeting

Photo credit: Mariann Vaczi

Last week, Kerri Lesh returned from presenting at the 117th American Anthropological Association‘s annual meeting in San Jose, California. Her presentation titled “Size (and Shape) Matters: Creating Value with the Basque Language through Wine, Cider, and Font” illustrated the value of using language in its form and content for marketing gastronomic products. Kerri was delighted to present alongside scholars such as Martha Karrebӕk, Kathleen Riley, Richard Wilk, and Chelsie Yount-André in their panel “Food, Money, and Morals: Semiotic Reconfigurations of Value.”

Kerri is a member of the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN) as well as a member of the Culture and Agriculture groups that are part of the larger AAA. Amongst attending other events and speakers, Kerri attended the SAFN meeting where Eric Holt-Giménez, Executive Director of Food First, was the keynote.  Eric is of Basque and Puerto Rican heritage and grew up milking cows and pitching hay in Point Reyes, CA, where he learned that putting food on the table is hard work. After studying rural education and biology at the University of Oregon and Evergreen State College, he traveled through Mexico and Central America, where he was drawn to the simple life of small-scale farmers. He is the editor of the Food First book Food Movements Unite! Strategies to Transform Our Food Systems; co-author of Food Rebellions! Crisis and the Hunger for Justice with Raj Patel and Annie Shattuck; and author of the book Campesino a Campesino: Voices from Latin America’s Farmer to Farmer Movement for Sustainable Agriculture and of many academic, magazine and news articles.

 

Kerri has the pleasure of meeting Eric as the SAFN/Culture and Agriculture reception where Kerri and Daniel Shattuck were presenting Basque wine and Italian olive oil tastings. Three txakolinak were served in addition to the olive oil, both demonstrating the importance of culture in the development of taste and terroir. 

Photo Credit: Mark Anthony Arceño

If you like txakoli as much as everyone at the reception did, stay tuned for a piece on Academic Minute and NPR podcast where Kerri provides food for thought on this Basque beverage.

Photo Credit: Mark Anthony Arceño

 

 

 

November 23, 1808: The Battle of Tutera/Tudela

On November 23, 1808, during the Peninsular War (1807-1814), Napoleonic forces made up of French and Polish troops under the command of Marshal Jean Lannes defeated their Spanish adversaries under General Francisco Javier Castaños (born in Madrid, but Basque in origin on both sides of his family) at the Battle of Tutera/Tudela in Navarre.

"Battle of Tudela" (1827) by January Suchodolski, depicting Napoleon receiving the captured banners from Wincenty Krasiński. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

“Battle of Tudela” (1827) by January Suchodolski, depicting Napoleon receiving the captured banners from Wincenty Krasiński. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

An early encounter in Napoleon’s invasion of the Iberian Peninsular, following on from the Battle of Pancorbo (also on Basque terrain), this was an important point in the swift march of the Imperial French army toward Madrid, which was captured before the end of the year.

Interestingly, the Battle of Tutera/Tudela is one of the many historic French battles whose name is inscribed on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

The Center for Basque Studies had the pleasure of hosting the Ardi Baltza Kontalari from Lamoille, NV in early November. As a contemporary Basque dancing group, Ardi Baltza combines the concepts of tradition and innovation in their mission to preserve and educate about Basque culture.

During their first day at the CBS, Ardi Baltza demonstrated Basque dancing to the Basque Culture and Basque Transnationalism classes. Before each dance, their director, Kiaya Memeo, explained the meaning behind the dances and answered questions from the audience. The students were then invited to learn two dances, Sorgin Dantza, a comical dance where the women (taking on the role of witches) turn the men participating in the dance into women, and Pitx, a children’s dance. Their performance provided many of the students their first up close experience with Basque dance and culture.

See them perform a contemporary version of Makil Dantza here:

The next evening the Ardi Baltza Kontalari performed Etxea: Memoirs of Gernika. The show educated the audience about the fateful day of April 26, 1937, when the Condor Legion and the Italian Air Force, acting on the orders of Franco, dropped 31-46 tons of bombs on the Basque market town of Gernika. The dancers, using a combination of the traditional Basque and contemporary steps, illustrated the experiences of the Basque people before, during, and after the bombing, while Kiaya Memeo narrated the eyewitness accounts of survivors. Their performance served as a reminder about the importance of our history and honored the memory of the people who were in Gernika that day.

From Left: Jennifer Obieta, Amanda Shields Kerr, Franci Mendive Wilkinson, Kiaya Memeo, Olivia Memeo, Olivia Rice, & Hannah Hill

Eskerrik asko to the ladies of the Ardi Baltza Kontalari for traveling to Reno to perform for our students and the Reno community!

Sandra Ott`s Living with the Enemy Reviewed in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

CBS Professor Sandy Ott`s Living with the enemy: German occupation, collaboration and justice in the Western Pyrenees 1940-48 was reviewed in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Below are excerpts from the review, and a link to the full text. Zorionak, Sandy!

“One of the book’s great achievements is its vindication of an ethnographic approach to history. Ott fills the fragmentary evidence of trial dossiers with cultural commentary, engaging with eminently anthropological themes such as social structure, neighbourhood, and kin relationships in rural French Basque society; the shifting meanings of commensality and gift‐giving; the culture of letter‐writing; the challenges of wartime parenthood; and ritual shaming techniques such as the public shaving of the heads of women who had engaged in ‘horizontal collaboration’. She also reflects on the ethics of her own research with, and observations of, the surviving witnesses.

Duplicity and ambivalence pervade the book and provide its reigning mood. Boundaries blur between occupiers and occupied, victim and victimizer, friend and enemy. Ott applies Pierre Laborie’s concept of ‘double‐think’, and from the trial narratives there emerges an archetype that war and dictatorship breed everywhere: that of the ‘dual man, who is both one thing and the other’ (p. 18). A symptomatic aspect of the ambiguous mode of wartime existence was that clarity was almost never achievable. It was possible for a man`s status to shift several times and Ott gives the following example:

from his arrival in January 1939 as an exiled Spanish Republican (an outsider), to his entry into the French army (as a transitional insider), to his work in 1943 as a clandestine guide (an ‘enemy’ to the German occupiers, a ‘patriot’ to supporters of the Resistance), to his alleged ‘double game’ in 1943‐1944 as a passeur and a paid informer (an ambiguous status with the occupiers, a traitor to the FFI), to his victimization in 1944 by the Nazis (an adopted insider who had suffered deportation for France), to his victimization by the postwar French authorities in 1944‐1945 (a seemingly treacherous outsider who had endangered the lives of French patriots and Allied supporters), and finally his exoneration in 1946 (as a ‘loyal servant to France’ and thus more of an insider than ever). López was not a dual man; he had a multiplicity of ‘faces’. (p. 190)

‘It’s too soon to talk about the war’, Ott was told in the late 1970s, when she first conducted ethnographic fieldwork in the Basses‐Pyrénées. Almost thirty years later, they told her it was getting too late – people were dying. There is a sense in which addressing historical trauma remains chronically inconvenient, as we see in other post‐authoritarian settings such as former communist countries which struggle to come to terms with their own dual men: informers, many of whom still live alongside the informed. Living with the enemy reminds us of the urgency of catching the last witnesses before it is too late, and provides an excellent model for how to do it.”

For the rest of the review, please visit: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1467-9655.12929

 

   

November 11, 1995: Inauguration of the Bilbao Metro

On November 11, 1995 Line 1 of the Bilbao Metro–one of the emblematic features of the city–started operating on a route between Zazpikaleak/Casco Viejo (the Seven Streets or Old Quarter) in the heart of the city and the coastal town of Plentzia, approximately eighteen miles away.

Interior view of Abando station, Bilbao Metro. Photo by Mariordo (Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz). Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Interior view of Abando station, Bilbao Metro. Photo by Mariordo (Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz). Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Although plans to construct a metro service in Bilbao date back to the 1920s, it was only in the late 1987 that a construction project was finally approved. Construction in Bilbao itself began in 1987, with the inaugural Line 1 destined to connect the city center with the right bank of Greater Bilbao and the coastal communities stretching out to Plentzia. When the first part of Line 1 eventually opened for business in November 1995, twenty-three stations served this route.

The Bilbao Metro runs both under and overground. Here, a train is departing from Bolueta station toward the Etxebarri tunnel. Photo by Javier Mediavilla Ezquibela. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Bilbao Metro runs both under and overground. Here, a train is departing from Bolueta station toward the Etxebarri tunnel. Photo by Javier Mediavilla Ezquibela. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Today, there are three Lines operating in and around Greater Bilbao, with studies being carried out on potentially adding two more lines in the future. As of 2018, there were forty-one stations throughout the network, which covers 43 km (28 miles) of route. Total passenger figures for 2017 were 88,172,137.

A fosterito Bilbao Metro entrance, Bagatza station. Photo by Ardo Beltz. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A fosterito Bilbao Metro entrance, Bagatza station. Photo by Ardo Beltz. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Bilbao Metro is especially noteworthy for its fosterito glass entrances, designed by British architect Sir Norman Foster, and in 1998 Sarriko station won the prestigious Brunel Award for Railway Design.

Check out the Bilbao Metro website here.

The CBS publishes Building the Basque City: The Political Economy of Nation-Building, by Nagore Calvo Mendizabal. This original work discusses transportation and logistics as key elements of the political economy, and places the topic at the center of much ongoing debate about national identity.

See, too, more broadly on Bilbao, urban regeneration, and architecture: That Old Bilbao Moon: The Passion and Resurrection of a City by Joseba Zulaika (available free to download here), Transforming Cities: Opportunities and Challenges of Urban Regeneration in the Basque Country, edited by Arantxa Rodríguez and Joseba Juaristi, and  Building Time: The Relatus in Frank Gehry’s Architecture by Iñaki Begiristain.

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