Author: mvaczi (page 1 of 7)

Faculty, Students and Friends of CBS Plant the Tree of Gernika on UNR Campus

Faculty, students and friends of the CBS planted the Tree of Gernika on the UNR campus last week. The event was a commemoration of the sacred tree of the Basques as we sang Gernikako Arbola, and wished the best for the young tree that is now planted right outside of our offices, between the Knowledge Center and the Student union. Many thanks to all who took care of the tree, and enabled its new life on campus!

Visiting Scholar Haritz Monreal Zarraonandia Speaks about Basque Mountaineering at CBS Lecture Series

Hiking and mountaineering associations have important social and political trajectories in the Basque Country. Visiting Scholar Haritz Monreal Zarraonandia (EHU-UPV) presented his research project titled “Basque Mountaineering During the Interwar Period” at the CBS Lecture Series. The lecture covered the interwar period, and detailed how the Basque mountaineering movement both reflected and constructed contemporary political and cultural moods. It also covered the activities and publications of contemporary mountaineering journals such as Jagi-jagi, Mendigoxale, or the Journal of the Basque Mountaineering Federation Pyreneica. Dr. Monreal traced the social motivations behind Basque mountaineering back to the ritual and religious dimensions the practice might have had in the Middle Ages, and situated it in European, particularly French hiking traditions.

2017-06-22, Donostia. Haritz Monreal idazlea, mendiari buruz.

Religious and ritual mountaineering

Cultural hiking: Miguel de Unamuno

The beginnings of mountaineering as a sport

Mountaineering clubs and political parties 1.

Mountaineering clubs and political parties 2.

Mountaineering clubs and political parties 3.

Zorionak to Dr. Kerri Lesh on successful PhD defense!

“If you can’t market in your own language, what you are communicating implicitly then is that Euskara is only worth something when used to market traditional, historic, old products… this is inadmissible, it tramples on the rights of any language that you want to revitalize” (Estitxu Garai, May 12, 2017).

On May 1 2019, CBS graduate student Kerri Lesh defended her PhD dissertation titled “Through the Language of Food: Creating Linguistic and Cultural Value through Basque (Euskara) Semiotics to Market Local Gastronomic Products.” Kerri’s work met with unanimous appraisal from her committee and the audience. Zorionak, Dr. Lesh!

Kerri’s dissertation committee consisted of Sandra Ott (Center for Basque Studies, UNR) and Jenanne Ferguson (Department of Anthropology, UNR) as co-chairs, as well as Ian Clayton (English Department, UNR), Agurtzane Elordui (University of the Basque Country), and Begoña Echevarria (University of California, Riverside).

Kerri spent a year conducting anthropological fieldwork in various locations of the Basque Country, including intensive language immersion at barnetegis (Basque-only language schools) in order to understand the interfaces of culture, language and gastronomy. Her basic research question was:

Amid ever increasing interest in Basque gastronomy, how can value (cultural, economic, social) be created when using the minoritized language, Euskara, to market gastronomic products in working toward language normalization?

In order to answer this basic question, Kerri conducted dozens of formal and informal interviews with actors in the sectors of gastronomy and language maintenance: Michelin-star chefs, gastronomic societies, milk, cider, Txakolina, Rioja Alavesa and beer producers, Basque professors and sociolinguists, NGOs and interest groups.

In her dissertation talk, Kerri discussed the commensality of Basque gastronomic societies or txokos, and their role for Basque culture and language maintenance against the backdrop of changing gender relations. She talked about the “battle of milk” between the producers Kaiku and Euskal Herria Esnea, and the role of products for social reproduction through language. The Basque sagardotegi or cider house is another gastro-space where Basque “authenticity” is produced and consumed. The audience learned the ways “txakoliscape,” as part of the Basque “semiofoodscape,” is a landscape of value, identity, experience, and political and social contestation.

Kerri concluded that further research should be done in order to learn more about what is valued and why, through food and wine products and commensality, in the Basque Country and beyond. She argued that further effort must be made for language maintenance, and tools related to product marketing may continue to be useful in the effort. Finally, she highlighted the antagonisms between authenticity and integrity versus the commodification of language and goods.

 

  

Below are some of the revealing quotes Dr. Lesh presented from actors involved with food, wine and language in the Basque Country. Once again, congratulations, Kerri, and thank you for sharing the results of what seems to have been an intoxicating fieldwork experience!

 

Kerri’s dissertation committee: Sandy Ott, Jenanne Ferguson, Joseba Zulaika and Ian Clayton. Others attended via video conference.

 “We want to demonstrate that we are committed to a civil activity, to the defense of the products. A defense of territory also exists…many times businessmen cannot compete with products that come from outside, often with poor salaries. When defending a local product, we are defending the local producer.” (Luis Mokoroa, Presidente de la Cofradía Vasca de Gastronomía de San Sebastián (President for the Basque Fraternity of Gastronomy of San Sebastian), Terrigastro, February 13, 2018).

“Internationally I am proud and don’t fear retaliation [for using Basque] …but within Spain, you have to be brave to use Basque on the label” (Itxaso Compañon, text message, Oct. 24, 2017).

 “The label is not important, what’s important is the essence and experience you give…it would be an error to lose the essence and think that you have to translate everything”“focusing on key words would be helpful if one wanted to use a language to market” (Agirre, November 24, 2017).

“The women, in the world of Txakolina back then, as well as in other activities, were limited to doing the manual work often, cleaning bottles, labeling them, selling the Txakolina, and dividing up the money…And now, there are a lot of women in the world of Txakolina, things continue evolving.” (Iratxe Zabala, email to author, August 30, 2018).

Zorionak, Joseba! Dr. Zulaika Retires

By Sandy Ott

Joseba Zulaika and I met thirty-six years ago in Donosti. In 1983, he had just joined the faculty at the University of the Basque Country. I had recently become the director of USAC’s first study abroad program in Donosti. Kate Camino was among that first cohort of pioneering USAC students. Little did any of us know that our professional paths would eventually find us all in Reno as colleagues at the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies.

Joseba joined the UNR faculty in 1990, twenty-three years after Bill Douglass became the first coordinator of the Basque Studies Program. When Bill retired in December 1999, Joseba became the Center’s first Director. He has played an integral role in the transformation of the Center, now often described by UNR President Marc Johnson as “a jewel in the crown.” During Joseba’s directorship (2000-2005) the number of faculty doubled, in large part owing to the support of Bill Raggio, Joe Crowley, and Bill Douglass and to skillful lobbying by our longstanding Advisory Board member, Pete Ernaut. Joseba was also closely involved in the creation of that Advisory Board, in response to friendly pressure from the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Bob Mead. The Advisory Board held its first meeting in January 2001, with John Echeverria as its first Chair and Bill Douglass as its Vice-Chair.

As Director of the Center, Joseba also recognized the need to secure support from Basque public institutions. Our Advisory Board and its leadership under John and Bill helped us obtain financial support from the Basque Government and the Diputación de Bizkaia. Joseba’s efforts, as well as Bill’s, resulted in a $60,000 grant from the Basque Government and an annual agreement to support the Center’s development of online courses, publications and conferences. That ongoing support by the Basque Government and other Basque institutions has proved fundamental to the Center’s record of excellence. Joseba’s close involvement with the developing CBS Press began with textbooks for online courses and expanded into various distinguished series, such as the Classics Series, the Basque Literature and the Basque Diaspora Series. Joseba also played an instrumental role in developing the Basque Library as an integral component in our collective mission to generate and disseminate knowledge about the Basques.

During his long and distinguished career, Joseba has received several awards and prizes, most notably among them the coveted Euskadi Prize for his outstanding memoir, That Old Bilbao Moon. The memoir is an “ethnography of desire, an essay tracking a generation’s consciousness.” Its opening paragraph gives the reader a flavor of the amazing journey ahead: “It was the spring of 1999 and a Carnival Monday morning when I returned for a visit to San Felicísimo (“Saint Happiest”)—the Bilbao monastery where in the 1960s, as a teenager and for almost a decade, I tried hard to become a saint, but was finally expelled, an atheist and suicidal (That Old Bilbao Moon, 2014, p. 9).”

Joseba has long tackled daunting topics in his research and writing. Internationally known for his works on terrorism, Joseba will crown his academic career later this year with the publication of his riveting (and admittedly disquieting), forthcoming book, Killing from Las Vegas: Drone warfare and the American Dream (under contract with the University of California Press).

Joseba, we all wish you every happiness and continuing success in your retirement in July. Thank you so much for everything you have done for the Center.

Sandy Ott

Professor of Basque Studies

CBS Conference on the Work of Basque American Author Frank Bergon

The Center for Basque Studies and the Basque Library organized an extremely successful conference on March 13-14 honoring the work of Basque American author Frank Bergon.

How does the work of a Basque-Nevadan author and professor relate to both his Basque heritage and Western American literature? How has his writing changed over time, confronted the struggle between fact and fiction, and dealt with the nuclear apocalypse? The title of the conference was “Visions of a Basque American Westerner.”

     

The conference gathered ten scholars and writers from the United States and Europe to discuss Frank Bergon’s novels, essays, and critical works from multiple perspectives. Participants included William Heath (Mount Saint Mary’s University), Monika Madinabeitia (Mondragon University), Joseba Zulaika (UNR), Sylvan Goldberg (Colorado College), Zeese Papanikolas (San Francisco Art Institute), Iñaki Arrieta Baro (UNR), David Rio (University of the Basque Country), Nancy Cook (University of Montana), David Means (Vassar College).

The two-day event also featured book presentations, music recitals and dance performances, all open to the general public.

    

CBS Graduate Student Eneko Tuduri Discusses Medieval Art at Lecture Series

 

Eneko presented his talk titled International and Political Influences in the Kingdom of Navarre 1194-1425 through Art.

Since its formation, the kingdom of Pamplona (824) has had a lot of  international influences. By the end of the 12th century, this kingdom turned into the kingdom of Navarre after conquering Tudela (the most important Muslim city in the north after Saragossa). It was then when real “international” connections started. They were especially remarkable with the French territories and with the English crown.

The Church of San Zoilo de Caseda, Navarre, 14th century.

It was through the Saint James way that the Romanesque art entered the north of the Iberian Peninsula. European styles also spread from French settlements in the kingdom of Navarre, or through the dynastic marriages with Basque and English royal families.

A good example of how cultural influences were coming down the Saint James Way was the “Viking” or Northern European symbol on the facade of the church of Santa Maria de Sangüesa. The story of Sigfrid was sculpted in stone, with two scenes depicting how the hero gets the magic sword from the dwarf smith, and how the hero kills the dragon. This representation is typical of northern European countries, as we can see in the carvings from Hylestad stavekirkein Norway.

The dynastic marriages allowed that the high-quality art of Europe would reach Navarre to all the different fields. The Lemoges enamel art or the “champlevé” was already in Navarre for the marriage between Richard the Lionheart and the princess Berengela of Navarre. The magnified altar piece of the monastery of San Miguel de Aralar (end of the 12th century) is one of the most impressing examples of Lemoges enamel art. According to some experts, the altarpiece was the present for this weeding.

Finally, during the 13th and 14th centuries, the new French artistic style gothic art spread in Navarre thanks in part to the French origin of the kings of Navarre. One of the best examples is the Barbazana chapel in the Cathedral of Iruña-Pamplona, the burial place of the bishop Arnauld of Barbazan in power from 1318 to 1355. The chapel is covered with a star shaped-vault, which has an origin in England, most specifically in the Cathedral of Southwell, according to some experts. This is something not very surprising because in the construction site of the cloister, just where this chapel is located, we can find the trace of several European master builders as Guillermo Inglés (William the English).

The Pyrenaic kingdom will stay for the next century as an important European kingdom, in some cases with art at the same level of the best European capitals.

 

The Greenman of San Juan Bautista de Eristain, Navarre, locally known in Basque as Basajaun (“the lord of the forest”).

CBS Welcomes New Graduate Student Nerea Aizagirre

Meet new CBS graduate student Nerea Eizagirre Telleria!

Nerea was born in 1992 in Zumaia, Gipuzkoa. She studied in the Public School of her hometown until she finished High School. She got an “academic excellence” competitive award for her high school transcripts and her performance at the standardized competitive tests. Due to the award, the Basque Government financed her university studies. During high school, Nerea won literary prizes for young writers: Azkue Saria(Euzkaltzaindia) and Urruzuno Saria(Basque Government). In 2009, she moved to Barcelona to start her undergraduate studies in Literature at the Universitat de Barcelona. After finishing her BA, she moved back to the Basque Country again. She studied for an MA in the Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea EHU-UPV (University of Basque Country), at the faculty of Sarriko, Bilbao. She earned an MA in Globalization and Development, focusing on international conflicts and peace building processes. She wrote her MA thesis about the Syrian war, focusing on Kurdish women. While she was studying her MA in Bilbao, the City Hall of Bilbao selected her for the “Solidary Youth” program. The City Hall of Bilbao provided Nerea an apartment to live in during a year in the multicultural neighborhood of San Francisco in Bilbao. Her role was to volunteer in the neighborhood, participate in different forums, and teach Basque to children in the Public School called Miribilla Eskola. Next year, she moved back to her hometown Zumaia, and studied for an MA in Teacher Training for Secondary Educationat in the EHU-UPV Donostia. Between the periods of 2017-2019, she worked as a High School Language teacher (Basque, Spanish and English). She served as a teacher in the Basque Public Secondary Education System in the localities of Leioa, Azpeitia, Barakaldo and Berriz. She left her last job in Berriz just a couple of weeks before coming to Reno.

Nerea just started her PhD in Basque Studies in World Languages and Literatures. The following years she will write a dissertation about Basque literature and exile, analyzing the literary work of Joseba Sarrionaindia. Her academic fields are Basque Literature, Comparative Literature, Gender Studies and Multicultural Studies.

    

CBS Welcomes New Graduate Student Eneko Tuduri

Please join us in welcoming one of our new graduate students Eneko Tuduri, who tells us about his interest in Basque Studies, and his first experiences at the CBS, in Reno and the USA. Ongi etorri Eneko!

“I grew up in Donosti, although I was born in Donibane Lohizune in the French Basque Country. I studied Art History for my Bachelor’s degree, and earned a degree in Digital Photography in Gasteiz. After that, with the Global Training program of the Basque Government, I did an 8-month internship in the Basque Museum and Cultural Center of Boise, Idaho. There I worked on the project of Basque Musicians in the West, and the Basque Radio programs broadcasted for sheepherders. Before that, I had already focused my interest on the world of museums, and I completed another internship in the San Telmo museum. After Boise, I studied for a Master’s degree in Museum Studies at the Universidad a Distancia de Madrid. Last year I curated an exhibition on Carlism and cinema. I also worked as a tourist guide in San Sebastian for several years.When I was finishing my Art History degree, I wrote my senior thesis about 14th-century Gothic paintings in a church building in San Salvador de Gallipienzo in Navarre. The paintings were very fragmented and damaged, but they captured me and, ever since, I’ve tried to understand what they might have looked like originally. What I found is that many other similar Navarrese paintings of the same period from the 13th to the 15th century were barely studied. I realized that this research topic could be a very good one for a Ph.D study program. I find the Medieval period in the Basque Country fascinating.

Paintings of San Zoilo de Caseda, Navarre, recently restored with the funding of a local historic association (Asociación cultural ermita de San Zoilo). Dated by style to the middle of the 14th century.

The freedom the tutorial Ph.D of the CBS can give me was very attractive, and it is not something I can find easily at European universities. Also, with the collection of the CBS library and the resources of the UNR library, it is not necessary to be in the Basque Country to do the bibliographical research. I will focus on those paintings that remained under-studied or barely researched.  These paintings are mostly in rural areas and small villages, they are barely known and difficult to access. Some of these paintings are in danger of disappearing. I would like to have an overall understanding of the wall painting art of XIII, XIV and XV century Navarre. This was the most common decoration in most European kingdoms, but sadly, we do not know much about Navarrese masters and workshops. It is obvious they were distinctively Navarrese painters and workshops with their own style, but their importance has been overshadowed by international styles and painters.

I had already lived in the USA for almost a year with the Basque community of Boise. However, Reno was a totally different city than Boise, which has its own positives and negatives. One of the best things are the University, which i find amazing. I have only spent three weeks here, but I feel I will need much more time to discover all the activities the University has to offer.

The apse of San Juan Bautista de Eristain, Navarre from the 13th or 14th centuries.

Visiting scholar Iñaki Sagardoi Leuza discusses controversial Altsasu Case at CBS Lecture Series

Iñaki Sagardoi Leuza (Public University of Navarre) spent a month in Reno at the Center for Basque Studies to conduct research for his PhD dissertation in Sociology and Social Anthropology. In his lecture, he analyzed how seven years after ETA was dissolved, the paradigm of “Basque terrorism” is still present in Spanish political discourse. He presented a case study in which this discourse is invoked in the context of a 3 am bar fight in a small town in Navarre.

The bar fight that took place in Altsasu (Navarre) in the early hours of 15 October 2016 made news in practically all of Spain. Accordingto  the first news  of  the most  relevant  Spanish newspapers,  a  couple of of Spanish policemen (known as Civil Guards)  and  their partners had  been “attacked” by about 50 people linked to the Basque radical nationalist left. They basically featured the version of the Spanish Government delegation in Navarre, which also reported that two of the aggressors had been arrested. Pascale  Davies, journalist  for The  Guardian, subtitled  her story  about  the “Altsasu Case” as follows: “Spanish high court to rule on whether pub punch-up with off-duty police was drunken scuffle or terror attack” (The Guardian, April 14 2018). Less than a month later, following a complaint of “terrorism in connection  with a  hate  crime” by  COVITE or Basque Victims  of  Terrorism Association in the National Court, eight  people  were arrested on November 14, 2016. The trial began on 16 April 2018. The Public Prosecutor’s Office maintained its position and argued that the incident was   “low-intensity  terrorism,  heir to  the  terrorism that  attacked the Basque  Country and  Navarre,”  and that  the  young people  of  Altsasu were  “heirs  to a  political ideology.” This  conclusion was very  much in  line  with the  attestation  and the  reports  drawn up  by  the Civil Guard which, curiously, had been charged with investigating the aggression against two of its agents. Finally, the court rejected the accusations of terrorism, considering that  the terrorist purpose had not been proved. The maximum sentence  of 79  years  for crimes  of  “attacking”  authority agents,  “injuries,  public disorder  and threats” were issued.

Besides working on his dissertation, Iñaki found time to learn more about American culture and Reno. “My month in Reno has served me not only to get to know the city and its beautiful outskirts, but also to immerse myself in a university system remarkably different from ours. When landing in this steppe of neon lights, it is impossible to deny an initial culture shock. But once you overcome it, you feel that you begin to know something more about American culture. It has been surprising, too, to feel the warmth of this small Basque island on the other side of the ocean.”

 

                      

 

 

A unique case in the world of football: Athletic Bilbao women’s team attracts record stadium attendance

On Wednesday, the quarterfinals of the Spanish Cup between Athletic Club and Atlético de Madrid made sport history for record attendance in Bilbao`s San Mamés stadium. 48,121 fans attended the game, and Athletic Club`s women`s team broke its own record of sixteen years ago, when 35,000 spectators showed up to cheer their team to its first Super League title against Híspalis. Bilbao`s women’s  soccer attracts by far the greatest number of fans in Spain, and probably in Europe, as this new record shows. By comparison, the Spanish national team game against the United States attracted 9,182 fans in Alicante only a few days before.

Record attendance of 48,000 in San Mamés stadium

There is much to celebrate about Bilbao`s penchant for women`s soccer in a country where men dominate the game.

“Twenty-first century Spain. You are born a woman, and you can become whatever you want: you can be a hunter pilot, a marine captain, a minister – but can you become a soccer player?” Cuestión de Pelotas, 2010

The question of a 2010 documentary on women’s soccer was rhetorical. That year, the film argues, women were still not granted professional status by the Spanish Football Federation. They were unable to make a living even if their clubs were willing to pay them, which lead to semi-legal minimum wage-like benefits for female athletes. “In Spain, things happened,” coach Vicente del Bosque said after the men’s national team won the 2010 World Cup. “We have become a modern country, and that is also reflected by our sport.” By men’s sport, that is. Women’s sports in Spain are still thwarted by institutional inequalities, social disinterest and almost no media visibility.

The 2003 game in Bilbao was a milestone for women’s soccer. It turned women’s play into a sport of mass spectatorship, and conquered fans. The prospect that women’s soccer can attract such attendance sent new energies through the frustrated ranks of this sport. Athletic Bilbao coach Iñigo Juaristi said that the turnout in Bilbao “should be a wake-up call for the Spanish Football Federation to take women’s soccer seriously.” La Puebla coach Isidro Galiot said that Bilbao “set the standards very high,” and contributed to the overall development of women’s soccer in Spain. Híspalis coach Sebastián Borras hoped that this was just the beginning of a new epoch in women’s sport: “I would like everyone in Europe to see what Athletic has achieved. I would like this not to stop here.” Fermín Palomar, then responsible for Athletic Club women’s soccer, spent that month responding to a flood of congratulatory phone calls and messages. “They want to know how we managed to attract 35 000 spectators for women’s soccer. I myself had to breathe deep not to break out in tears.” On Wednesday, Atlético de Madrid coach José Luis Sánchez Vera and his players left the field happy with their 0-2 victory, but even more perplexed by the crowd in the stadium. “This is a memory for all my life. It is something unforgettable to beat Athletic with 50,000 spectators on the stands.”

“It should be a medium-term plan that we play in San Mamés regularly,” Athletic Club player Garazi Murua said after the game.

There is perhaps one last thing for Athletic Club to kick off a new era in women`s soccer: play all women`s games in San Mamés. It`s hard to overestimate the legitimizing effect of place.

“How do you remember your great jump into the town square?” first ever female bertsolari champion Maialen Lujanbio was asked in an interview in 2009. “I started to be known by everyone,” she answered. “Because they put us… where we didn`t belong.”

Will San Mamés become the town square where female players belong for regular league games too? The magic of the Cathedral is such that it would turn women`s play into a serious adventure for those who still dismiss it as “anti-aesthetic,” or ni fútbol, ni femenino.  In May 2003, when Athletic femenino debuted by winning their first Superliga title, coach Iñigo Juaristi was thrown in the jacuzzi. Eskerrik asko he said at the press conference, dripping with water. “This can only happen in Bilbao.” When Bilbaínos first turned up by the tens of thousands to cheer their women players in San Mamés, arguments that women’s soccer can’t mobilize masses no longer counted. Bilbaínos had always thrived on challenges, and now they sent a powerful message. They were ready for their greatest bilbainada yet: turning women’s soccer into a mass spectator sport in a country where men monopolize it. If anywhere in Spain or indeed in Europe, it could happen in Bilbao. And there would be yet another reason to call Athletic un caso único en el fútbol mundial.  

The 2003 champion team

 

 

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