Author: mvaczi (page 1 of 4)

Interview with Eneko Tuduri on Medieval Painting in Navarre

Interview by Xabier Irujo

How did you start studying Navarrese Medieval paintings?

I was at a Aranzadi Society of Science workshop in 2014 in the village of Gallipienzo (Navarre) when I learned about the paintings for the first time. The workshop was called Erdi Aroko mugak Nafarroan (Middle Ages borders in Navarre), and it focused on archeology and history for university students. Then, I was studying art history at the university of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), and I already had several courses about Medieval art and iconography.

The church of San Salvador, where part of the paintings are, was being restored at that time with scaffoldings. Thanks to the permission of the mayor, Carmele Iriguibel, I could visit the paintings with some other students, and took good detail photos of them.

Later, back at the university, I started studying these paintings (lineal gothic style paintings painted around 1360-1380), because they were not studied deep enough, and finally I turned the project into the TFG (final degree paper), under the guidance of Soledad de Silva y Verastegui, Professor of Medieval Iconography.

Why is it relevant to study these paintings, and what is their artistic significance?

Well, in the case of San Salvador de Gallipienzo paintings, there is a double problem. First, part of the paintings, the ones in better condition, were striped off the walls in 1949 with special techniques, and moved to the Museo de Navarra in Pamplona. The rest of the paintings, which were in worse condition, were “abandoned” in the church. These paintings were barely studied, always under the higher quality wall paintings of the same period from Pamplona and Olite, capitals of the old Kingdom of Navarre.

When I studied the paintings I realized that it is important to study them as a whole, not fragmented, or decontextualized from the source. Also, it is important to give the same importance to all the artistic and historical heritage, regardless of their beauty or importance, and focus on the small villages as well, not only on the capitals or cities.

You published a book last year on this topic. Can you tell us about it?

After finishing the final degree paper about the topic, I kept researching about these paintings, trying to publish it in some academic journal. Then, in 2016, when I was an intern in the Basque Museum and Cultural Center, I thought of the possibility of publishing the research as a book with Ekin, the Argentina based Basque publishing house since 1942. After almost two years of work it turned into a beautiful 200-page book with a lot of pictures, which makes it very helpful for an art history book.

What are your next projects? Are you planning to write a new book?

Right now, I am curating a temporary exhibition in the Carlism Museum in Lizarra-Estella, Navarre. The exhibition will feature how the Carlist movement was pictured in cinema. I think it could be very interesting, because most of the times historical cinema doesn´t reflect historical reality. Rather, it reflects the spirit of the time when the film was shot, creating myths to justify the present.

CBS Graduate Student Edurne Arostegui Receives Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship

CBS graduate student Edurne Arostegui receives Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship!

The Graduate Student Association offers the Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship to outstanding, full-time graduate students. The scholarship is judged based on a faculty recommendation letter, a personal statement, scholarly work, and extracurricular activities completed during enrollment in a degree program as a University of Nevada, Reno graduate student. The Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship is for $1,000. Applicants for this scholarship must be registered, full-time graduate students in good academic standing at the time of application. Applicants must be enrolled for the upcoming Fall semester in order to receive the scholarship.

Edurne also just completed her Comprehensive Exams, and as ABD, ready to go for fieldwork, and write her dissertation. Zorionak Edurne!

 

CBS Graduate Student Horohito Norhatan Successfully Defends PhD Dissertation

CBS grad student Horohito Norhatan defended his PhD dissertation yesterday! The title of his dissertation was “The Roles of a Basque-inspired Cooperative in the Community-based Economic Development in Cleveland, Ohio.” Based on mixed methodology including interviews and content analysis, Hito investigated how the Cleveland-based Evergreen Cooperative used the elements of the Mondragón cooperative for its various operations. The PhD committee was chaired by Xabier Irujo from the Center for Basque Studies. Other committee members included Aleksey Kolpakov (Political Science), Xiaoyu Pu (Political Science), Johnson Makoba (Sociology), Mariah Evans (College of Business), and Joseba Zulaika (CBS).

Hito will pursue another PhD degree at the Department of Political Science at UNR. Zorionak Hito, and best of luck in the future!

 

 

Interview to Kiaya Memeo about the Ardi Baltza Dantza Taldea

Interview to Kiaya Memeo 

By Xavier Irujo

When was The Ardi Baltza Dantza Taldea created and how did this initiative happen?

Ardi Baltza was created in 2013 with the purpose of inspiring younger generations to be more connected and involved with the Basque culture.

What is the aim of the group? Why was it created?

The aim of our group is to simply instill passion and create a lifelong love of the Basque culture, whether people are Basque or not.

Weaving emotion and story-telling into their performances, Ardi Baltza aims to capture the mysterious essence of Basque folklore. How is this?

Basque history is both rich in content and at times, mysterious. But, without a connection to it, we lose our sense of Basque identity. Through the various performances Ardi Baltza stages, there is always an underlying Basque story being told, whether it’s telling folktales of the old Pagan religion or more specific historical events, such as the bombing of Gernika. All members find it incredibly important in learning and passing down these stories, creating a strong emotional tie to the Basque culture.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

The group pulls choreography from both traditional and contemporary Basque dance, along with other classical dance styles, right?

Correct, over the years we have built a bridge into Basque dancing with styles that encourage more youth participation in the U.S. We always respect the “traditional” steps, but are not afraid to put our contemporary twist on things. We have included modern, lyrical, contemporary and ballet in most of our performances.

Ardi Baltza endeavors to inspire future generations to continue the perpetuation and evolution of Basque dancing. How have you thought of promoting the evolution of Basque dancing? What kind of changes or innovation does Ardi Baltza suggest?

We see Basque diaspora in the U.S. as being locked down within a certain time-period that corresponds with the large Basque immigration to the states, while the Basque County itself has naturally been able to evolve over time, including dance and song. While keeping traditional dances in-tact to preserve their history is necessary, these dances will die out if they fail to connect to the younger generations. Ardi Baltza suggests that by constantly learning new dances and songs, marrying traditional with contemporary, along with constant research and knowledge of Basque history, we may find a way to both preserve and perpetuate.

Ardi Baltza has been able to promote these ideals through example, simply having the courage of performing something different than what Basque diaspora in the U.S. deems “traditional” and even “Basque” itself.

Where has Ardi Baltza been featured?

Ardi Baltza has been featured at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, on the TV series “State Plate”, Basque Cultural Day in San Fransisco, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Boise’s 2015 Jaialdi, and multiple Basque Festivals in the U.S.

What are your plans for the future?

We definitely have our sights set on traveling outside of the U.S. to further our understanding of the Basque culture. We want to experience as much as we can together as a group. Through education, observation, participation and even humanitarian efforts, Ardi Baltza looks forward to an ever-evolving future!

Where can we see Ardi Baltza perform next?

Ardi Baltza will be putting on a fundraiser performance during the NABO convention in Winnemucca on June 8th, 2018. The performance is entitled: Etxea, Memoirs of Gernika. The show features multiple eyewitness accounts of the tragic bombings of Gernika paired with the contemporary and lyrical dance styles of Ardi Baltza. For tickets and more information please visit us on our Facebook page. @ardibaltza 

 

CBS Professor Sandy Ott receives Outstanding Service Award from the College of Liberal Arts

Dr. Sandy Ott received Outstanding Service Award from the College of Liberal Arts for her service activities during the 2017/18 academic year. Besides her multiple commitments at the Center for Basque Studies including Director of Graduate Students, Sandy also served as Interim Chair at the Department of Communication. Zorionak Sandy!

 

Dr. Ott was recently interviewed about her new book Living with the Enemy: German Occupation, Collaboration and Justice in the Western Pyrenees, 1940-1948. You can find her podcast here:

http://newbooksnetwork.com/sandra-ott-living-with-the-enemy-german-occupation-collaboration-and-justice-in-the-west-pyrenees-1940-1948-cambridge-up-2017/

 

Book review by Xabier Insausti: Wilhelm von Humboldt eta Euskal Herria

By Xabier Insausti (EHU-UPV, Philosophy)

Iñaki Zabaleta Gorrotxategi (professor, University of the Basque Country) has published a book on Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) and the Basque Country: Wilhelm von Humboldt eta Euskal Herria (UPV/EHU). The basis of the work is the two trips that Humboldt made to the Basque Country in 1799 and 1801. The first trip was brief–he was passing by on his way to Madrid–but he was so enchanted with the language of the Basque Country that he returned for a longer stay two years later. In his second stay he traveled widely through the country, leading him to review his reflections on the relationship between anthropology and the language of a country. Finally, from his travels he established a new paradigm: the idiosyncrasies of a people are largely determined by their language. A country cannot be understood without its language, and it is a language, not a political decision, that makes a nation (Although bad policy can ruin a nation.)

Zabaleta divides the work into two parts. In the first he analyzes Humboldt’s two trips in remarkable detail, specifically highlighting the relationships between popular culture, idiosyncrasies and politics; definitively, Humboldt’s anthropological and humanist project. In the second part, Zabaleta focuses on Humboldt’s reflections after his visits (throughout the second part of his life) that led him to conclusions related to language theory, primarily based on the analysis of the Basque language.

The current importance of this research is unquestionable. Humboldt has no qualms about linking the concepts of language and country (patria). If the language is lost, the homeland is lost. Ultimately, a nation is a linguistic community. Although the political meanings differ greatly, the words of Heidegger seem to echo here: language is the house of being.

The Basque language (euskera) is a pre-Indo-European language. This characteristic makes the language especially interesting to those who have learned to appreciate it, such as German linguists and philosophers, unlike the arrogant Spanish philosophers who despise and ignore it. Even Heidegger became interested in the Basque language, without even knowing what it was.

Although Humboldt says he learned a lot from the Basques, it is no less true that we can learn much from him. Zabaleta’s representation of Humboldt’s experiences and philosophies is academically without blemish, thoroughly documented, and philosophically illuminating. In short, it is an indispensable book in understanding the complex political present.

CBS professor Mariann Vaczi interviewed by New York Times for report about upcoming King`s Cup final, and its whistling controversies

‘Why does the Spanish national anthem have no lyrics?’ a joke went before the 2015 Spanish King`s Cup final between Athletic Bilbao and FC Barcelona. ‘Because it’s whistled!’ Jeering the Spanish royal family and the national anthem at soccer games catalyses spectacular debates over sovereignty, state–region relations, and the freedom of expression.

CBS professor Mariann Vaczi, who has published about sport and nationalisms in Spain, was interviewed by the New York Times for a report about the upcoming King`s Cup (Copa del Rey) final between Sevilla and FC Barcelona, and the championship`s whistling controversies in a tense political climate of Catalan secessionism. See the report here:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/sports/barcelona-copa-del-rey-final.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fsports&action=click&contentCollection=sports&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=4&pgtype=sectionfront

The report also drew from Vaczi`s research article titled “Football, the Beast and the Sovereign,” from which the following are excerpts:

Tension was palpable as we were roaming the streets of Madrid in May 2012 before the Spanish King’s Cup final between the Basque Athletic Bilbao and the Catalan FC Barcelona. This championship always represented Spain’s centralist powers, and now it would be played between two teams from regions of marked Republican and secessionist aspirations. King Juan Carlos himself was not going to show up for the final that bore his name, as he was resting off the hip injury he had procured at a safari in Botswana. Instead, his son Prince Felipe represented the royal family. Fifty-five thousand Basque and Catalan football fans packed into Madrid’s Calderón stadium. The Spanish national anthem was reduced to a mere 27 seconds to mitigate the embarrassment of its furious whistling, but that was not the only highlight of the anti-monarchy protest. Basque and Catalan fans were jumping and waiving pro-independence flags, savoring the moment as they sang together the well-known children’s song to mock the king’s wild game hunt:

“An elephant was balancing

On a spider’s web

And as he saw he didn’t fall

He called another elephant.

Two elephants were balancing

On a spider’s web

And as they saw they didn’t fall

They called another elephant

Three elephants…”

It went on and on, insistently, all the way to 15 elephants. With the seventh, I almost pitied the future king Felipe, who endured the insult with unimpassioned face. With the 10th, the elephants turned into a haunting specter:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quf8AjhX0gs#action=share

The first notable football game whistling goes back to 1925 to the regime of Primo de Rivera, who had just overthrown the constitutional government in 1923 with a military coup d’état. The military dictatorship suspended the 1876 constitution, dissolved the Spanish Parliament, and banned political parties and regional governments. The friendly match between FC Barcelona and C.E. Júpiter took place in June 1925 in Catalonia. At half time, when the Royal Marines played the Spanish Marcha Real, fans whistled the anthem so furiously that the Marines, confused as to why the ‘Spaniards’ whistled ‘their own anthem’, switched to their God Save the Queen. To their further bafflement, the British anthem met with enthusiastic applause. The event had major political repercussions. The stadium was shut down for three months, and the president of FC Barcelona was exiled from Spain. According to anecdote, the Les Corts stadium would be re-opened only after 12 religious practitioners blessed it in order to exorcise the ‘malevolent separatist spirits’ that had contaminated it

The post-dictatorship tradition of king jeering started in 2009, when Athletic Club and FC Barcelona qualified for the King’s Cup final. As King Juan Carlos emerged in the VIP booth of Valencia’s Mestalla stadium, the Spanish national anthem would be played, but it was not heard: 55,000 Basques and Catalans were standing, holding innumerable Basque and Catalan national flags high, whistling the anthem and the royal family. The state-owned Radio Televisión Española reduced the sound of the whistling and amplified the anthem to audible levels, which stirred a political controversy over censoring an act of free expression.

 

In spite of the National Court decision that declared that whistling fell within the category of free expression, pro-monarchy voices continued to call for the criminalization of whistling each time the Basque and Catalan teams qualified for the Cup Final. ‘Eighty-seven years later’, an article went before the 2012 King’s Cup final, ‘[Madrid province president] Esperanza Aguirre evokes the ghost of the dictator Primo de Rivera, who shut down Barcelona’s Les Corts stadium’, as Aguirre called for the cancellation of the final if fans whistled.

 

‘Where shall we put these 70,000 pigs, because pigs they are, these Basque and Catalan football fans who attend the King’s Cup final to insult and profane the symbols of Spain?’ a TV show host of La Ratonera declared in March 2015. ‘I would not even call them Basques and Catalans’, a caller added in a tone symptomatic of the tensions the game generated. ‘They are separatists, separratas “separatist rats”, there is no other way to call them’.

By 2015, whistling the national anthem was anticipated as the great subversive moment of the year. Ninety-five thousand Basques and Catalans packed in Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium and produced a decibel that the press called ‘monumental’, ‘stratospheric’, and ‘thunderous’. Spain’s ruling conservative People’s Party qualified the incident as ‘horror’ that ‘offends us’, declared that the whistling demonstrated ‘the disease part of the society suffers’ and reiterated the proposition that insulting Spain’s symbols should be punishable. The State’s Anti-Violence Commission issued a fine of 123,000 Euros for the clubs, and the General Attorney launched an investigation about whether the whistling constituted punishable offense to the monarch, and insult to national symbols.

For more, check out the essay here:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00141844.2017.1321564

 

CBS professor Sandy Ott`s new book gets great reception: Listen to Podcast, read review!

“Succeeds beautifully in describing and analyzing the relations between German occupiers and Basques in a place that in some significant ways stands apart from other regions in France. She brings to life the dramatic and complicated ‘hidden’ story of the German occupation and Vichy collaboration in the Basque Country. Ott`s compelling narrative and thoughtful conclusions nuance what we know about French collaboration with the Nazis during the Vichy years.” John Merriman, Yale University

CBS professor Sandy Ott`s book was recently published by Cambridge University Press, and is getting great reception.

In post-liberation France, the French courts judged the cases of more than one hundred thousand people accused of aiding and abetting the enemy during the Second World War. In her book, Sandy Ott uncovers the hidden history of collaboration in the Pyrenean borderlands of the Basques in southwestern France through nine stories of human folly, uncertainty, ambiguity, ambivalence, desire, vengeance, duplicity, greed, self-interest, opportunism and betrayal. Covering both the occupation and liberation periods, she reveals how the books characters became involved with the occupiers for a variety of reasons, ranging from a desire to settle scores and to gain access to power, money and material rewards, to love, friendship, fear and desperation. These wartime lives and subsequent postwar reckonings provide us with a new lens through which to understand human behavior under the difficult conditions of occupation, and the subsequent search for retribution and justice.

New Books in German Studies created a Podcast interview with Sandy about her work as an anthropologist in the Pyrenees, which goes back to the 1970s; the inception of the idea of the book; her methods, and her relationship with the subjects of her studies. Listen to the interview below:

http://newbooksnetwork.com/sandra-ott-living-with-the-enemy-german-occupation-collaboration-and-justice-in-the-west-pyrenees-1940-1948-cambridge-up-2017/

Furthermore, Shannon L. Fogg from Missouri University of Science and Technology wrote a great review about Living with the Enemy in German Studies Review. As Fogg concludes,

“Living with the Enemy provides a rich and nuanced view of daily life in the French Basque Country and raises interesting questions about postwar justice. Ott does not shy away from the complexity of wartime interactions and explores the complicated, multifaceted, and ambiguous motivations that lay beneath Franco-German relationships. Drawing on historical and ethnographic methods, Sandra Ott has mined the trial dossiers for what they can tell us about the past, but she is also careful to acknowledge their limits. Her own voice as an anthropologist, one who has maintained relationships with Basque locals stretching back to 1976, adds another layer to her analysis and demonstrates the enduring memories of World War II. The end result is a regional study that contributes ‘greatly to our understanding of the choices people made and the factors that motivated them’ (6), as well as to our ideas about collaboration and cohabitation during the war.”

Read the rest of the review here: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/687383

Dr. Ott also received full professorship at the University of Nevada, Reno.

ZORIONAK, Sandy, for your book, interview, review, and for your full professorship!

What is your word for Basque? CBS Advisory Board Meets in March 2018

The William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies was pleased to welcome its Advisory Board members at its annual meeting, which took place on March 31 in the Basque Conference Room at the University of Nevada Reno. A welcome dinner and cocktails were served the night before at the Louis` Basque Corner. It was great to see our board members again!

 

On Saturday, the meeting started with the introduction and acknowledgement of visitors, particularly Marc Johnson, President of UNR, and Kevin Carman, Provost. The President and Provost talked about the past achievements and future plans of the University, and the importance of the CBS and the Basque Library for the academic and  community life of the university. A round of introductions followed, whose highlight was when CBS professor Sandy Ott asked participants to say a word that they thought best described Basques in the Basque Country and beyond. Guess what words got most mentions! (scroll down to solution below, at *).

The meeting then proceeded to CBS Director`s Report by Xabier Irujo, including report on the CBS press, which fulfills an important function of publishing Basque research in English. Additional discussions included fund-raising and planned giving, a report on the Jon Bilbao Basque Library by Iñaki Arrieta Baro, questions of board membership, and elections of chairs and vice-chairs for specific task forces. It was a lively and productive meeting! Many thanks for the participants and organizers!

 

    

 

*The winning words of Basque identity were “pride,” “tenacity,” “indarra” (strength), “etxea” (house), “community,” “food, drink and party loving.” No surprise there 🙂 ! What is your word for Basque?

 

 

 

Visiting scholar Maitane Junguitu Dronda speaks about Basque animation and her work in Reno

Does Basque animation cinema exist? Sure it does. Then why don’t we know about it?

Maitane Junguitu Dronda is a PhD candidate at the department of Audiovisual Communication and Advertising at the University of the Basque Country (EHU-UPV). She currently lives in Reno, and does her internship in the Jon Bilbao Library. Her research area is Basque animation in the cinematographic industry.

Maitane`s lecture started out with the questions above, and revisited the most important episodes and figures in the development of Basque animation, with special attention to the vulnerable position of animation among the genres of cinematography. In spite of the fact that we socialize our children on animation, by adulthood we watch less of it, which is why the genre struggles to survive in both its short and feature film formats. Maitane distinguished between two approaches. Experimental animation marked the evolution of this genre in the Basque Country, used traditional methods of painting, and its main representatives were Balerdi and Sistiaga. Commercial animation developed through the foundational work of Juanba Berasategi. Maitane highlighted that, while several analyses have been published in recent years about Basque cinema, animation is painfully neglected at best, and totally absent at worst. She emphasized the role of governmental programs such as Kimuak, initiated by the Basque Government, to select, promote and disseminate the products of Basque cinematographic industry.

 

“I visited the Center for Basque Studies of the University of Nevada in 2014 as a visiting scholar. When I left Reno, I felt that I must return in the future. The Global Training Program offered by the Basque Government and the University of the Basque Country gave me the opportunity to return to the USA, and complete my international experience. Now I´m in the Jon Bilbao Basque Library learning from the Basque Librarian Iñaki Arrieta. I help him and our students take care of the collections and the archive. I also help library users, including the international scholars that are visiting us. I am very glad I had the opportunity to share my work with UNR students and faculty. In this lecture, spoke about the bibliographical resources that I use in my PhD. In fact, there are not many publications about the topic I study, that is, commercial animation cinema made in the Basque Country. My goal is to create a specific bibliography that may help people learn about certain films that are not really known either in the Basque Country, or beyond it.”

Kimuak, of which the Center for Basque Studies will publish a monograph next year, features several animation short films, some of which have earned extraordinary success. We briefly feature here two works by Begoña Vicario and Isabel Herguera.

Begoña Vicario is a most seminal figure of Basque animation not only because of the works she produces, but also because she teaches the new generations of animation at the University of the Basque Country. Vicario`s experimental animation addresses social themes such as organ traffic or common graves. Her stories are born from personal experience that push her to tell a story. Her visual imagery is characterized by a search for constant movement, textual metamorphosis, and it is combined with intense soundtrack. The objective of her work is to explore emotions.

Her animation Ask For Me (1996) won the Goya Award (something like the “Spanish Oscar”) for Best Animation Short Film in 1997. Watch it here!

 

Isabel Herguera`s visual style recovers the spirit of the schematic era of children`s drawing. It is through this innocent imaginary that she narrates profoundly human stories about blindness, madness or AIDS, and she does so as if they were a trip to another world. Her Blindman’s Bluff  (2005) was nominated for best animation short film at the Goya Awards in 2006. Watch it at the link below!

https://vimeo.com/201257616

 

 

 

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