Category: Academic Conferences and Congresses (page 1 of 6)

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Musikene and the CBS Compile the History of Basque Music

The Center for Basque Studies and the Higher School of Music of the Basque Country, Musikene, have organized a conference on the history of the Basque music from Prehistory to the present times. The conference took place on June 28 and 29 at Musikene in Donostia-San Sebastian and the pianist and professor Jokin Okiñena offered a piano recital.

After a concert Prof. Okiñena gave in Reno in 2016, he and Xabier Irujo spoke about the existing void in relation to the history of Basque music since the publication of Arana Martija’s work in 1987. To carry out this task, the Center for Basque Studies signed an agreement with Miren Iñarga, director of Musikene.

The resulting volume coordinated by professor Okiñena will be published by the CBS. The project, which emerged thirty years after the publication of the last historical analysis of Basque music by Jose A. Arana Martija, will systematize the history of the Basque music from prehistory to the present and will include a separate section on the contribution of women to this relevant aspect of the Basque history. This is a novel project whose first sketch emerged in 2017 with the signing of an agreement between Musikene and the Center for the celebration of a conference and a piano recital and the publication of a book.

The conference has brought together nine experts on different aspects of the Basque music. Prof. Elixabete Etxebeste lectured about the history of the Basque music from Prehistory to the Middle Ages; Prof. Sergio Barcellona talked about Renaissance and Baroque; Prof. Jon Bagüés about Enlightment; Prof. Isabel Díaz about Basque Music in the 19th century; Prof. Iosu Okiñena about Basque music and Nationalism, Itziar Larrinaga lectured about the Basque music during war and dictatorship (1936-1978) and Mikel Chamizo about contemporary Basque music (from 2000 to the present.) Finally, Prof. Patri Goialde and Mark Barnés lectured about Basque jazz and Prof. Gotzone Higuera focuses on the contribution of Basque women to music.

Program

June 28:

10:00 Opening

10:30 Prof. Elixabete Etxebeste. Prehistory, Antiquity and Middle Ages

11:30 Prof. Sergio Barcellona. Renaissance and Baroque

12:30 Break

13:00 Jon Bagüés. Basque music and Enlightment

14:00 Lunch

15:30 Isabel Díaz. Basque music in the 19th century

16:30 Gotzone Higuera. Basque music and women

17:30 Break

18:00 Patri Goialde y Mark Barnés. Jazz in the Basque Country

20:00 Piano recital by Josu Okiñena

 

June 29

10:00 Josu Okiñena. Basque music and nationalism

11:00 Itziar Larrinaga. Basque music during war and dictatorship (1936-1978)

12:00 Break

12:30 Mikel Chamizo. Basque music in the 21rst century

13:30 Conclusions

14:00 Lunch and meeting of the scientific committee

 

Presentation of the book “A Basque cry for freedom in New York”

          Josu Erkoreka, secretary of Public Governance and Self-Government of the Basque Government and Iñaki Anasagasti, former Basque senator and Xabier Irujo, director of the Center for Basque Studies have presented a book on José Luis de la Lombana.

           On the 80th anniversary of the speech given by a young non-anglophone Basque at the Madison Square Garden in New York, a book about Lombana has been presented at the Sabino Araba Foundation in Bilbao.
Both authors underlined that the book collects “the incredible trajectory of José Luis de la Lombana, a young activist of the Basque Nationalist Party, born in Gasteiz within a Basque nationalist family, which during the years of the 1936 war and the subsequent dictatorship carried out a great anti-Franco activity calling for peace in Europe and the Americas and for Basque freedom”.
          Erkoreka and Anasagasti -authors of recommended monographs on the contemporary history of Euskadi and the Basque Government, with the collaboration of Xabier Irujo- have detailed during the presentation Lombana’s life trajectory, from his education in Madrid, his participation in the anti-Franco resistance, his incarceration in Gasteiz, his departure to exile in France, his activism in Barcelona where he worked as an editor for the Basque nationalist newspaper Euzkadi, supporting the Basque Government in exile, and, finally, his long years of exile in Colombia.
          The book focuses on Lombana’s intervention at the Second World Youth Congress for Peace that took place in New York in 1938 where he argued against the pro-Franco propaganda in the United States. Lombana was one of the delegates of the Basque Nationalist Party in the World Youth Congress for Peace and during his period of activism in the United States, he made “innumerable observations about American society and the American Basques, establishing bridges between different North American groups and the Basques. All this within the framework of a complex and tumultuous period both in the United States and in the rest of the world.”
          In New York, Lombana who at the time was only 27 years old found a society that was not so uninformed about the war and the Basques. The Americans had followed through the press the ups and downs of the war and had a fairly clear criterion around the Basque reality. But in the end Lombana outlined a rather “pessimistic” approach. In his opinion there was little to be done from America to help Europe in general and Spain or the Basque Country and Catalonia in particular. Very little. Both geographically and intellectually, the United States felt alienated from Europe and its social, cultural and political problems.
          The book also analyzes the first years of the delegation of the Basque Government in New York, three years before the arrival of Lehendakari Agirre escaping from the Nazis in World War II. There are also reports on the efforts to support the Basque Government in France and the United States and letters on the propaganda effort both in favor of Basque nationalism and the rebels and their international allies, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
Xabier Irujo

Joseba Zulaika returns to Itziar to talk about his classic Basque Violence

In June 22 Joseba Zulaika gave a talk in Itziar, his home town and the place of the ethnographic work for which he is best known, Basque Violence: Metaphor and Sacrament. Almost forty years ago, having concluded his fieldwork, Zulaika was asked to give a talk in Itziar and he said that this one, now that ETA is ended, felt like a repetition of that one—when he had to face his village neighbors and explain what he had “discovered” about the place.

Zulaika repeated his argument about the Homeric plot underlying “The Tragedy of Carlos”—the two “milk brothers” and close friends Martin and Carlos who later became political antagonists in the eyes of the community and when Carlos was killed by ETA Martin didn’t approve of it. Zulaika later applied the Homeric scheme to the painful history of ETA in Itziar—the plight of the hero who falls into a tragic error. The tragic error is really an error, yet it is the sort of error a good man would make. It is thus an act both free and conditioned. It is not forced upon him, but he makes it under conditions so adverse that we watch him with compassion. There could be many readings of Itziar’s events but Zulaika emphasized that, far beyond the current “terrorist” all encompassing discourse, only an ethnographic approach could make justice to the actual histories of the pople. Zulaika said that giving his talk in Itziar was unlike giving it anywhere else—because he was in the presence of the protagonists of his ethnography and this implied a “repetition” in the deeper sense that the presence of Martin and Carlos and the former ETA activists wasn’t just a memory of past events, but an affirmation of the present and future realities of Itziar in this post-ETA era.

The Civil War in Enkarterri

Enkarterri Museoa inaugurated on June 2 an exhibition with 70 illustrations of newspapers of different ideologies during the War of 1936, and held a conference about this period in Bizkaia.

The president of the parliament of Bizkaia, Ana Otadui, opened the exhibition “Cartoonists at war. 1936-1939”. Historian and illustrator Aline Soberon, and historian Txema Uriarte are the authors of this exhibition that aims to “reflect the warlike conflict from another point of view”. Each of the 70 illustrations was redrawn by Aline Soberon, following the original technique. The exhibition will remain open until October 14.

   

At 11:30, the museum hosted the conference titled “Civil War in Enkarterri”, organized by the Enkarterri Museum with the presence – among others – of researchers Aitor Miñambres, Xabier Irujo and Jone M. Gil, who spoke about the War of 1936 in this region of Bizkaia. Xabier Irujo spoke about the German, Italian and Spanish air forces’ terror bombing campaign in Enkarterri.

The conference schedule was the following:

11:30 Inauguration of the exhibition “Cartoonists in war. 1936-1939 “and congress” Civil War in Las Encartaciones “

12:30 Aitor Miñambres. Civil War in Enkarterri

13:15 Jone M. Gil. Patrimony of the Civil War

13:30 Xabier Irujo. Terror Bombing Campaign in Enkarterri

14:15 Break

15:00 Juan T. Sáez Iturbe “Pikizu”. Enkarterri. Historical memory

15:30 Txomin Etxebarria. Balmaseda. 1936-1937

16:00 Nagore Orella. Galdames. Summer rain

16:30 Javier de la Colina. Sopuerta The war according to their dead

17:00 PM Break

17:30 Josu Gallarreta. Zalla A battle of ten days

18:00 Tasio Munarriz. Portugalete. War and postwar

18:30 Koldo López Grandoso. Barakaldo. Eleven months of resistance

19:00 J.I.R. Waiter. Ortuella. Victims of war

Basque culture, Basque books, and bertsoak bloom in Elko at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

The Center’s booth at the Western Mercantile

It was our pleasure here at the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies to be invited to participate in the 34th annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering held annually in Elko, Nevada. This year’s festival was focused on the contributions of Basques in the West and included sessions on Basque arborglyphs, Basque poetry, Basque writing, the experience of Basques in ranching—featuring the insight of longtime Nevada resident and stalwart of Winnemucca’s Basque community, Frank Bidart—only 95 years young!

Portrait of beloved Basque sheepherder and owner—and shepherd of generations of 4-H sheep program participants in the Reno area—Abel Mendeguia, by Linda Dufurrena, on display in the Western Folklife Center

One of the highlights of the whole show was the participation of berstolariak, especially those from the Basque Country including reigning champion Maialen Lujanbio, as well as Oihana Iguaran Barandiaran and Miren Artetxe! The Basque bertsolariak were also accompanied by US Basque improvisers Jesus Goñi from Reno and Martin Goicoechea from Rock Springs, Wyoming. From Buffalo, Wyoming, Center author and musician David Romtvedt participated in many musical venues playing generally with his daughter Caitlin, and they were also a common sight to be seen playing after hours, usually in the company of Ardi Baltza accordionist Anamarie Lopategui. Basque-American author and Elko native Vince Juaristi was also in attendance with his stories of growing up Basque in the US. There were also dance performances by Elko’s Ardi Baltza and Elko Ariñak dancers, the latter being accompanied by Mercedes Mendive and Melodikoa. Popular Basque musical group Amerikanuak played, led by Jean Flesher from Salt Lake City, a true pioneer of Basque culture in the US (as many of the people mentioned here are), with members from as far away as Berlin, Germany in attendance! The Basque show on Thursday night was hosted by the Center’s own Kate Camino. Center friend and author Joxe Mallea presented on aspen carvings and artist Zoe Bray painted portraits of Basques and presented her portraits at the Western Folklife Center. The session on Basque writing featured the readings from My Mama Marie by Joan Errea, Florence Larraneta Frye, David Romtvedt, who read from Zelestina Urza in Outer Space and Elko’s own Gretchen Skivington who presented on and read from her brand new novel Echevarria. And I’m sure I’m forgetting someone or many people, the numbers of Basque participants was truly a wonder to behold.

The Center also participated in the show’s vendors with stand in the Western Mercantile. After hours, the Basque party continued at Elko’s Ogi Deli and the Star Hotel!

We have come a long ways from when cowboys and sheepherders fought range wars in this same part of northern Nevada. It was such a pleasure to be included and for Basque contributions to be recognized by all the cowpunchers! 😉

Kerri Lesh presents a panel on Basque “terroir” for the American Anthropological Association

Before heading across the better half of the continental USA, I had a chance to reintegrate with a little action in Washington DC just a couple of weeks ago. I was nervous and excited to chair, present, and  co-organized, alongside Anne Lally, the panel “Taste and Terroir as Anthropological Matter” at the annual American Anthropological Association meeting. My panel was titled “The sociolinguistic economy of terroir: constructing and marketing identity in the Basque Country”. In this paper I discussed how the concept of terroir was directly and indirectly translated into Basque within various gastronomic contexts. The result was to show how this multi-faceted concept of terroir provides a lens for looking at which components become most salient to Basques in the process, and what that in turn shows about the values portrayed in social, linguistic, and gastronomic production.

It was an amazing opportunity as I was luckily enough to secure Amy Trubek, one of my academic idols and author of “Taste of Place;  A Cultural Journey into Terroir”. It was well attended with questions to follow that provide further food for thought. Afterward, it was everyone to the bar for a round of drinks, which was my favorite part-not because I love wine, but because it is at these AAA meetings that I feel I have found my academic family. Cheers, and stay tuned to see what becomes of the panel! Rumor has it, it’s not over yet…

Dr. Xabier Irujo presents at the 52. Durangoko Azoka

While wrapping up my fieldwork after spending a year here in the Basque Country, I took a day to travel from Bilbao to Durango to see the famous Durango Book Fair. Aside from getting to travel with a friend to this happening scene, with numerous publishers, book stores, and new media, I was able to see a familiar face. Professor Xabier Irujo was presenting his book titled “The Verdad Alternativa“, which discusses the lies and propaganda regarding the catastrophic effects of the bombing of Gernika.  The session was well attended with standing room only, with several from the audience providing follow-up questions.

Congratulations Professor Irujo!  Look forward to seeing you and everyone else at the Center for Basque Studies in January!

 

Rakel Ezpeleta: Visiting Scholar

Late this summer, we had the pleasure of hosting Rakel Ezpeleta, a visiting scholar from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. She is an actress and singer born in Vitoria-Gastiez and based in Barcelona since 2001. She has a BA with Honors in History of Art from University of Basque Country (UPV/EHU) and an MA in Performance Studies from Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and Theatre Institut (IT).

For several years she has combined professional work as performer with theoretical or academic research projects: In 2007 and 2009 she was awarded grants from KREA Expresión Contemporánea to conduct a study on contemporary Basque theatre history in relation to postmodern theory; during the 2012-13 academic year, she was a Research Assistant to Dr. Henry Daniel (Simon Fraser University-Vancouver) for research/creation Project Barca: New architectures of Memory and Identity. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Theatre Studies at UAB with a trans-disciplinary project about Identity Configuration in Contemporary Experimental Basque Theatre. Her project conflates historical, anthropological and sociological approaches to contemporary theatre in Basque Country, a case study of some current mise-en-scènes, and her own artistic practice.

Rakel started studying theatre at the age of 13 in her hometown in Basque Country and she started working as a singer and actress when she was 17. After having lived in Long Island (NY) and Paris (France), she moved to Barcelona in 2002 for artistic specialist training in Musical Comedy and Meisner Technique. Since then she has launched several performing projects such as Plataforma l’Específica, Bacaret, Quasi (Maine), Pau?, La Quadra Màgica, and Confussion and Funkytown bands. Meanwhile, she has also collaborated in many short and long films, commercials and music recordings, as an actress, as a singer, and with voice-overs.

She enjoys traveling and discovering other cultures and people. Luckily for her, she has performed in many places in Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Buenos Aires and Vancouver. Her latest research/creation, Erbeste (so very eager to please), has brought her to many cities and towns in Basque Country, Catalonia, and Spain, and she is willing to also bring her work to the USA.

Without further ado, here’s our interview with Rakel:

1. What brought you to the Center for Basque Studies and UNR? 

I was here for 5 weeks conducting one part of my current Ph.D. research. I wish I could have stayed longer. I really appreciated my time there! My thesis project is entitled “Identity Configuration in the Contemporary Experimental Basque Theatre Scene” (“Configuración de la identidad en la escena experimental vasca actual”). It investigates performance practice in relation to identity and contemporaneity within the Basque Country’s community during the period between 2000 and 2015. The research, on the one hand, provides a foundation for the analysis and history of contemporary Basque theatre, and, at the same time, establishes a methodological framework that is responsive to the nature of these practices and the context in which they operate.

I came to the CBS mainly to meet Joseba Zulaika and to work with him on contrasting some conceptual aspects of my research, i. e. the anthropological perspective of “contemporaneity”, the anthropological approach to “identity” and to performance, and the contemporizing of tradition.

2. What is the goal of your research?

I aim to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in two ways: first, by offering a contextualized and analytic overview of the scenic reality of Basque Country in the 21st century. Bibliography on contemporary Basque theatre is scarce and there are no thoughtful studies on the analysis of experimental staging and the correlation between these stagings and the socio-cultural context in which they are produced. Secondly, I aim to contribute to the development of methodologies for interdisciplinary and artistic research by virtue of a procedural structure specifically created to adequate this vibrant subject. The strategy to achieve these goals consists of a multi-disciplinary methodology that conflates a historical base, a sociological/anthropological approach, an analysis of significant theatre works, and my own artistic practice created to, first, explore a staging of a specific identity, and, second, test the perception of this Identity and its staging among various audiences.

3. What makes your research unique?

The transdisciplinary methodological approach, which I am creating specifically for this project, attending to the particularities of the subject. And the subject itself, in my opinion, of course, is thought-provoking and exciting, since it deals both with past and present, and both with cultural and subjective identities.

4. What did you accomplish?

I wrote the first chapter of my dissertation here and I discussed it with Prof. Zulaika. He gave me good pieces of advice on how to continue my dissertation, on the specific issues that I could approach, some references… He encouraged me to follow my natural-previous inclinations and to put more of my professional experience as a performer within my dissertation. He was very helpful and very encouraging. I am thankful for that. I also found and read some books that will be very helpful for my work. It was good to meet other researchers who were temporarily staying here and share and interchange information with them. I got to reconnect with a former teacher of mine, Prof. De Pablo, and find out that one of his books can inform my dissertation. Besides, I gave a seminar about the theme of my research. I had to write in English an overall view of my advances, and that helped me realize how much I had already accomplished. Finally, I additionally had the chance to participate in a seminar about the current political situation in Catalonia. This is not related to my thesis project but it’s certainly of great interest to me, and it is very much related the questions of identity and performativity.

5. Did the Center for Basque Studies help you in any way?

Definitively. Everyone was kind and helpful, both in personal and academic matters. For instance, thanks to Iñaki Arrieta Baro, director of the library, I am now in contact with the Publication Service of UPV/EHU, which is interested in publishing my previous research essay; Edurne Arostegi helped me a lot by reviewing my English writing; Kate Camino is helping me try to bring my theatre work “Erbeste”, a research/creation done as part of my thesis project, to UNR next year, and Xabier is also willing to help with that; Shannon gave me great tips for my trip to San Francisco; Amaia did so too for our trip to Yosemite; Xabier offered his camp tent; he and Iñaki offered to drive me home or to the supermarket; we went out to have a drink a couple of times with Amaia and Edurne… They are all great companions and it was fantastic to meet them.

6. Did you enjoy U.S.? What about Reno!?

I did! I enjoyed my stay in here very much. I was lucky to have the chance to travel with some new friends I made (another two girls, María and Gemma, who were here with the art program/scholarship from University of Basque Country, and a “local” boy from Florida). We visited Lake Tahoe and climbed the Tallac Mountain. I loved it! It was a wonderful day, it was a tough climbing but we got to see gorgeous sights and places. We also made a four-day road trip to Yosemite Park and L.A. That trip was very casual, unorganized, and crazy fun!  Another weekend I went on my own to San Francisco. There, the beauty of the city and the kindness of its people overwhelmed me.

I believe Reno is a very nice and convenient place to study. It’s calm, sunny (which I appreciate very much) and well communicated. I mean, there are many interesting places to visit around. So you can easily take a weekend off to discover a new place. I was staying in a hostel downtown, just a 10-minute bike ride to the campus. So, it was very easy to get there and stay focused on the studies during the day. At that hostel, the Morris Burner, there is lively community activity so it was also very entertaining to be there in the evenings, we kept socializing, and it felt like ‘coming home’ every day after school.

7. What did you miss the most about the Basque Country?

I missed having a phone number with international calls and Internet access plan. It wasn’t always easy to stay communicated. Also, because of the time difference of 9 hours. I didn’t get the correct phone plan-tariff before I came, and once here, it wasn’t that easy. So, for the next ones coming: you might want to check that! Besides that, I don’t recall missing anything: I found nice food (vegetables, organic and whole grain products, good cheese…), I went to the mountain, I had dinner once at the Basque Corner, I saw the snow, I enjoyed the sun, I felt like in Gasteiz with the cold, I didn’t miss the rain, I biked and walked, I socialized, I drank some nice red wine, and I spoke more Euskara than I usually do in Barcelona!

 

Older posts