Category: Academic Conferences and Congresses (page 2 of 5)

An Interview with Estibaliz Ramos Diaz, USAC Visiting Scholar

Continuing with our interview series with this summer’s USAC visiting scholars, it’s my pleasure to introduce Estibaliz Ramos Diaz, assistant professor at the Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology at the Faculty of Education and Sport (Teacher Training) of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). She is from the Basque capital, Vitoria-Gasteiz (donde se hace la ley). At the same time, she works as a professor-tutor at the Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatments at the Faculty of Psychology of the National Distance Education University (UNED).

Estibaliz received her Ph.D. in Psychology with her dissertation “Resilience and psychosocial adjustment in adolescence” at the UPV-EHU. One of her master´s degree is in Psychodidactics: Psychology of Education and Specific Didactics, also from the University of the Basque Country. She also has a master´s  in Teacher Training for Compulsory Secondary Education, Upper Secondary Education, Vocational Training and Foreign Language Teaching with a specialty in educational Guidance from the UNED. As if that wasn’t enough, she also has a master´s degree in Clinical and Health Psychology from the Higher Institute of Psychological Studies (ISEP) and another in International Migration (Specialty: Research and Social intervention) from the Comillas Pontificial University, Madrid (Spain).

Before starting her academic career at the University, she worked as a psychologist in several areas of psychological intervention, such as substance abuse prevention, prison population, and child maltreatment. Estibaliz is currently teaching undergraduate courses in the area of developmental and educational psychology at UPV/EHU, as well in the area of personality, evaluation and psychological treatments at the National Distance Education University (UNED). She has been visiting researcher at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) and has collaborated with researchers from the College of Education and the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC). Her research interests focus on subjective well-being and school engagement associated with resilience and emotional intelligence, as well as with contextual variables.

What brought you to the Center for Basque Studies and UNR? How long were you here? 

I visited the UNR and the Center for the Basque Studies for two months in the summer of 2017. I was awarded a scholarship for a research stay by the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) to develop a research programme about resilience at the UNR.

What was the goal of your project/research?

The negative image of adolescence which prevailed in the field of education throughout the last century resulted in greater interest being shown in problematic behaviors and limitations than in research into and the fostering of adaptive, healthy behaviors (Oliva et al., 2010). Nevertheless, over recent years, those working in the field of educational psychology have increasingly preferred to study the positive qualities of adolescent students, rather than focus on their deficits (Froh, Huebner, Youssef, & Conte, 2011; Kristjánsson, 2012). In accordance with the belief that every adolescent has the potential to become a well-adjusted individual, this new approach highlights the need to foster psychosocial human development in educational contexts by promoting competences that enable young people to cope successfully with their personal lives and make a positive contribution to society (Madariaga & Goñi, 2009).

Many factors are involved in an individual’s successful adaptation, but during adolescence, as Lerner et al. (2013) indicate, one particularly significant indicator of psychological adjustment is resilience, a concept which has attracted a considerable amount of attention in the school field due to the key role played by these institutions as promoters of well-being (Toland & Carrigan, 2011). Many interpretations have been offered regarding this construct, which has sometimes been understood not only as a variable that facilitates adaptation, but also as an indicator of adolescent development (Masten & Tellegen, 2012). Despite the lack of consensus regarding its definition (Fletcher & Sarkar, 2013), researchers increasingly agree in defining resilience as the ability to cope adequately with the developmental tasks inherent to a specific development stage, despite the risks that same stage poses (Masten, 2014). During adolescence, young people develop a set of individual and contextual characteristics that help them cope positively with stressful life events (Wright, Masten & Narayan, 2013).

Taking into account the relevance of resilience in the psychological adjustment and school engagement of adolescents and youth, the overall objectives of my research plan are listed below:

– To carry out a bibliographic research about the efficacy of resilience training programs in a school context in order to evaluate whether they are effective in promoting personal and school skills in adolescents and youth.

– To adopt an assessment instrument to measure adolescent resilience into Basque.

– To design a psycho-educational programme to promote resilience in school-aged youth, and assess its effects on various variables: psychological well-being, school engagement, and academic outcomes.

– To get in touch with other professionals in the field of adolescent resilience promoting international contacts and enabling future investigations.

– To establish future possible collaborations between the two universities implying new research, transcultural studies, publications, international networks…

What did you accomplish?

In collaboration with USAC, I got a sample of more than 400 American undergraduate students from UNR for a pioneering cross-cultural study to compare a structural model of adolescence adjustment with a matched group from UPV/EHU. In this sense, I expect to publish scientific manuscripts, as well as present my research results in several congresses. I also got in touch with other professionals in the field of adolescent/youth resilience and arranged several meetings in order to promote international contacts and to enable future research.

I wrote a scientific manuscript in collaboration with the international researcher Margaret Ferrara to promote cross-cultural studies from the University of the Basque Country. In this sense, we hope to publish the results in a journal in the field of Educational Psychology.

I had the opportunity to spread the knowledge in the field of resilience and education and learn from experienced researchers of the UNR in the field. Lastly, I took part in the seminar entitled “The role of resilience and emotional intelligence in adolescent life satisfaction” in the Fall 2017 Basque Studies Multidisciplinary Seminar Series at the Center for Basque Studies, in collaboration with Iratxe Antonio-Agirre.

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

The Center for Basque Center Studies has been my place of reference at UNR. There I found advice for the use of databases and various resources such as the Writing Center and contacted with interdisciplinary researchers. At a personal level, I met the most significant people of my stay at UNR, and I felt supported at all times.

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

I visited Boise, Seattle, Portland, Virginia City, Carson City, Lake Tahoe, and Pyramid Lake. I loved touring the U.S, but most of all enjoying a good time with great traveling companions from the Center for Basque Studies and USAC.  Regarding Reno, the first impact of the city was negative, but the positive experience I had there changed my feelings. Now, I remember Reno as a charming city that deserves to know in depth!!

What did you miss the most?

Nothing at all!

 

We are so glad to have met you. Good luck with your publications, and see you soon, whether in the Basque Country or in Reno!

In her own words: Iratxe Antonio-Agirre

Iratxe Antonio-Agirre was among the visiting scholars we had at the CBS this summer. For this introduction, we have the chance to read about her experience in her own words.

My name is Iratxe Antonio-Agirre. I was born in Legazpi, a little village located in the southern area of Gipuzkoa, but I have been living in Vitoria-Gasteiz since I was a child. I am a professor of Educational Psychology at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) where I try to convey my passion for teaching to my students.

I was granted a mobility scholarship for a five-week research stay at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) by the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC). Knowing of the existence of the large Basque American Community residing in Nevada, it seemed natural for me to contact the Center for Basque Studies at the UNR in order to better understand the Basque diaspora.

Along with Prof. Dr. Estibaliz Ramos-Díaz, a colleague from the University of the Basque Country, we collected data about the emotional and resilience strategies used by undergraduate students to promote their school engagement. I truly believe that this collaborative research between the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of the Basque Country will lead to a broader knowledge of the well-being of future students. We hope to establish the different processes involved in feeling more engaged in university academic tasks both in U.S. and in the Basque Country.

As a part of my research stay in the UNR, the Center for Basque Studies played a key role in establishing contact with other faculties and researchers interested in our study, as well as in helping us communicate some preliminary findings to the local scientific community. And not only that, the hospitality of the Center for Basque Studies staff made us feel like home, always helping us with everything we needed, always making us welcome.

Of course, I enjoyed the U.S. and Reno! No doubt about it. I remember with much affection the riverside, the dips in the Truckee during hot days, Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake, some meaningful conversations in the company of good friends, The Lincoln, Gardnerville, Pub N’ Sub, that improvised lunch at Louis’ Basque Corner, the incredible views of the Sierra… But in the end, what I miss the most is all the people I have had the chance to meet.


Eskerrik asko, Iratxe for writing this beautiful reflection. We had a blast having you around and can’t wait to see you again. Zorte on with everything!

“Bringing Women out of the Shadows”

Basque migration to the Americas has been widely documented. From the 15-16th century Spanish colonial pursuits to the 20th century Franco dictatorship, Basques left the home country in great numbers to escape economic hardships and political turbulence in search of a better life. In the United States, the image of the lonely Basque sheepherder has become an important figure in the iconography of the American West, and Basque bars, restaurants, and cultural centers continue to thrive as descendants of the once ubiquitous Basque boarding houses.

Women, however, are conspicuously missing from the grand narratives of Basque migration, Ph.D. student Edurne Arostegui argued at her lecture at the CBS Seminar Series. “We need to make an effort to bring female immigrant experiences out of the shadows.” Even canonical works of Basque migration suffer from this lacuna, Edurne argued, while women came in great numbers, and worked just as hard as any man: they were sheepherders, boarding house managers, cooks, translators, housewives, bar tenders, and waitresses, etc. “Basque women immigrants are not given due credit as long as they are featured as mere appendices to their husbands who came to this country with no agency of their own. They did have their own dreams and aspirations about their new lives, and worked very hard for them.” Furthermore, the lecture featured pioneering women who affected gender breakthroughs by taking up traditionally masculine jobs like sheepherding or becoming pivotal figures, as leaders, in their communities. “We need to reach out to these women before their stories get lost,” Edurne concluded.

 

Frank Bergon: Adventures of a Basque American Novelist

The Center for Basque Studies Multidisciplinary Fall Seminar Series has begun with a bang. We had the pleasure of having the acclaimed novelist and professor Frank Bergon give our inaugural lecture, held on September 20 in the beautiful Leonard Room at UNR’s Knowledge Center. There was a terrific audience, much bigger than we would have ever expected, and Bergon’s presentation inspired us all in different ways.

After an introduction by Professor Zulaika and myself, Bergon talked us through his research for his novels, weaving in his own personal narrative. A native of Ely, Nevada, who then grew up in California’s San Joaquin Valley, Bergon’s maternal grandparents were from Bizkaia, while his paternal ones from Bearn. He describes himself, above all, as a Westerner, although his work has explored the presence of Basques in the West.

His lecture was beautifully combined with photographs of his family and the many places he has traveled to for research and writing. Along the way, he spoke of the many Basque characters in his work, as well as the way he finds inspiration for future novels from past characters he has created. He is now working on non-fiction by describing “America’s True West. For Bergon, Western history and literature is not myth vs. reality: it is the complicated lives of people that go beyond stereotypes, from the Marlboro Man to the small rancher.

The audience was attentive to his talk, especially due to his gift of storytelling and charismatic nature. For me personally, having the chance to meet one of my literary heroes was an experience I will never forget. He inspired me to think about new angles and perspectives of the West, as well as helping me to reflect on the writing process. Eskerrik asko, Frank Bergon, and we truly thank you for your participation and warm spirit.

Mariel Aquino: CBS Visiting Scholar

Greetings from the CBS! We’ve had quite a few visiting scholars throughout the summer, so I thought I would introduce you to them, one by one, through interviews. First up, we have Mariel Aquino, a Ph.D. candidate in US history at UC Santa Barbara. She spent a month with us thanks to the Begoña Aretxaga grant, doing research for her very interesting dissertation. A historian of the United States, she received her bachelor’s from Yale and master’s from UCSB. We look forward to reading her work!

Mariel Aquino at her lecture at the CBS

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

  • The most prominent thing that brought me to Reno was the wealth of the Basque-American archive—in very few other places are you likely to find one box on Basques, let alone the dozens I perused. I also hoped to engage with other Basque studies scholars, as there are none in my home department. I was lucky enough to receive a Begoña Aretxaga grant from the center and was able to spend four full weeks there.

What is the goal of your research?

  • The goal of my project is to understand how a Basque-American identity develops in the American West, and the ways in which both Basques and non-Basques become invested in what being Basque means. While I am not by any means the first to research identity in the Basque diaspora, I seek to integrate my story into larger narratives about the history of the West. I think looking at the Basque experience can offer us as scholars new ways to think about what ethnic identity and nationalism can mean.
  • I enjoy breaking my brain a little bit, haha. I also like thinking about my own experiences as a Basque person, and how I react to things that another scholar might be more dispassionate about. The tension between my own emotional investment in certain narratives and my deconstruction of those same narratives is really cool to experience.

What did you accomplish?

  • I was able to look at over sixty boxes of archival material—I took a truly absurd number of photos. I also gave a talk while I was at the center.

Did the Center for Basque Studies help you in any way (library resources, people)?

  • Yes! Everyone was extremely helpful, particularly Shannon, who put up with my constant requests for a new box with much grace. The department, in general, was very welcoming.

Did you enjoy Reno?

  • I did! Reno was quite lovely, and I was also included in a number of the social events with people from the Center, so my stay was quite pleasant.

Will you be back?

  • Of course!

We can’t wait to see you again! Good luck with your studies!

 

“Ulysses Syndrome” Lecture by Dr. Joseba Achotegui at the CBS

 

Erlazionatutako irudia

Prof. Dr. Joseba Achotegui

Last Monday, September 11, we welcomed the author of the “Ulysses Syndrome,” Prof. Dr. Joseba Achotegui from the University of Barcelona to the Center for Basque Studies. He is the General Secretary of the Transcultural Section at the World Psychiatric Association,  a psychiatrist, and tenured professor. He has also been the Director of SAPPIR (Psychopathological and Psychosocial Support Service for Immigrants and Refugees) at the Hospital of Sant Pere Claver in Barcelona,  and  Director of the online postgraduate course”Mental health, cultural processes and psychological interventions with immigrants, minorities, and the socially excluded” at the University of Barcelona since 1997. The purpose of his visit was to explain the “Ulysses Syndrome,” its consequences and possible solutions.

The Ulysses Syndrome has become more common in the 21st century with the increase in the migration of individuals. He explained how migrating today is becoming a process that is so intense and stressful for millions of people that they are unable to overcome these difficulties. Because of this inability to adapt to their new countries, these individuals are the candidates for the Ulysses Syndrome (with reference to the Greek hero who suffered countless adversities and dangers far from his loved ones). He argued that even though Ulysses was a demigod, he barely survived the terrible adversities and dangers of his journey. Extrapolating The Odyssey to those individuals who enter new surroundings and suffer the difficulties of integration, Achotegui has set out a diagnosis for mental health problems that are not pathological. 

The set of symptoms that make up this syndrome are now an emerging mental health problem in the host countries of immigrants. He described the most important stressors as: the forced separation of loved ones, a rupture in the attachment instinct, the feeling of hopelessness due to the failure of the migration project and the lack of opportunities, and the struggle for survival. He mentioned different steps and ways to help these migrants who go through Ulysses Syndrome, such as breathing and relaxation techniques, physical exercise, eating habits and positive thinking. All these thing can help in their adaptation process.  

Prf. Dr. Joseba Achotegui

Prof. Dr. Achotegui at the Center for Basque Studies by Inaki Arrieta Baro, Jon Bilbao Basque Library.

It was a very interesting presentation for many of us who immigrated to the United States.  Thankfully, the CBS and its team make the transition as comfortable as possible, however, there will always be challenges when facing new situations.  It definitely gave a perspective of how previous and current immigrants struggle for survival and integration in their new host countries.

From the backlist: Empire and Terror

In April 2002 the Center hosted a conference titled “Nationalism, Globalization, and Terror: A Debate on Stateless Nations, Particularism/Universalism, and Radical Democracy.” The conference was ambitious in scope, attracting globally renowned scholars; opportune in timing, coming as it did in the wake of the then relatively recent events of 9/11; and prescient in its findings in light of later international developments.

The Center subsequently published a book that included papers delivered at the conference. Titled Empire & Terror: Nationalism/Postnationalism in the New Millennium and edited by Begoña Aretxaga, Dennis Dworkin, Joseba Gabilondo, and Joseba Zulaika, we think this is a work well worth revisiting some fifteen years after it was first published.

Specifically, the issues is discusses–the nature of democracy and capitalism, the challenge of stateless nations to the established political order, and the rise of international terrorism–are as important today as they were back at the turn of the millennium, indeed arguably even more so. In broad terms, the book addresses the themes of nationalism, globalization, terrorism, democracy, and culture.

Quoting at length some passages from the introduction:

We do not see the concrete and specific cases discussed here in merely particularistic and exceptional terms. Rather we think of them as providing specific political contexts in which are dramatized crucial questions about contemporary relations of power, sovereignty, statehood, ideology, and fantasy. We see them as sites of psychic investments in the particular that nonetheless have implications for the universal dimension. Particularistic claims, such as self-determination, ultimately appeal to universal principles. Moreover, specific interests, if they are not to be merely relational or differential, invariably end up in conflict with other such interests, mediated by a field of power relations that is structured by forms of dominance, subordination, and exclusion . . .

A genuinely democratic society permanently shows the contingency of its foundations, the gap between the ethical moment and the normative order. Critical in this context are antagonisms, which have no objective meaning and which produce empty signifiers with no necessary attachment to any precise content. While authority attempts to establish an objective order of social relationships, it is subverted by antagonisms that lack a definitive ground. At the level of political subjectivity, historical analysis shows that oppositional identities are simultaneously antagonistic to and dependent on the status quo from which their opposition and hence identity is derived. Issues pertaining to antagonism and oppositional identities repose at the center of our reflections . . .

As scholars, we are concerned with issues of particularism/universalism and democracy. The spiraling circle of violence and the narrowing scope of the discussion about it likewise preoccupy us. We see this volume as a contribution to expanding that debate beyond the idea that terrorism is intrinsically evil and therefore can only be condemned, or the notion that it is part of an inevitable clash of civilizations. Situating terrorism within different historical contexts and analyzing how it functions as a stimulus for discourse are the preconditions for opening up that discussion beyond today’s stultifying polarities.

Empire & Terror is available free to download here.

 

Kerri Lesh posts on Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition blog

Kerri Lesh, a PhD candidate at the Center in sociolinguistics and anthropology, recently posted on the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN) blog. In “Size Matters: How Semiotics is Making History in the World of Wine,” Lesh discusses the recent agreement on the part of Rioja winemakers to accept a separate designation whereby the Rioja wines of the Basque province of Araba/Álava are clearly demarcated from other wines within the overall Rioja brand.

What’s more, as noted in the post, Lesh has also co-organized, alongside Anne Lally, and will chair the panel “Taste and Terroir as Anthropological Matter” at the forthcoming annual American Anthropological Association meeting, to be held this November in Washington D.C.

Read the full post here.

An Interview with Marta Requejo Fraile, a visiting scholar from the University of Valladolid

Marta Requejo Fraile is a visiting Ph.D. student here at the CBS from the University of Valladolid. After spending a few weeks in Reno, we’ve decided to interview her on her research and stay. She’s a great addition to our summer visiting scholars and we look forward to reading her work.

Marta is from Miranda de Ebro (Burgos) and has a B.A. in Journalism and a Master’s in “Research in Communication as a Socio-historical Agent” (Master en Investigación de la comunicación como agente historico-social), both from the University of Valladolid. She began her Ph.D. in 2014, within the program “Spanish: Linguistics, Literature, and Communication” at the same university. She is funded by a Spanish government grant for University Professor Training (Formación del Profesorado Universitario) and also received the Begoña Aretxaga Travel Stipend for her research stay here.

Marta has been working hard at the library and recently presented her dissertation topic at on of our seminars. Here’s a look into her background and work.

1)    What brings you to the Center for Basque Studies? 

The first time I heard about the CBS was in a scholarly article that I was reading for my doctoral dissertation. After that, I have found it cited more and more in most of the works I reviewed. So, I thought it could be useful for my research project to come here because of the Center’s resources. I am going to be here for three months

2)    What is the goal of your project?

I study the role of mass media in conflict resolution, specifically, the Basque case through the analysis of discourse in some Basque newspapers.

3)    What makes your research unique? 

I use Peace and Conflict Research theories to analyze media discourse in the Basque case, something that is not very common in Communication Studies and even less in the Spanish academic world.

4)    What have you accomplished since you arrived?

I have divided my time at the CBS between the empirical analyses of my dissertation and the study of anthropological aspects of terrorism in media discourse in some reference works.

5)  Has the Center for Basque Studies helped you in any way?

Over and above the diversity of the bibliographic resources that the Center for Basque Studies owns about Basque issues, what makes this institution unique, apart from the place in which it is located, is the people that work in it. I think that it is one of the most important forms of support that I have found here.

6)    Are you enjoying the U.S.?

It is an amazing place that makes you feel as if you were trapped in a film in continual progress. I would have never imagined this.

7)    What have you missed the most since you’ve been here?

Although it sounds like a cliché, we always miss that which is irreplaceable in our lives, like close people. And, in this sense, I think I have not been the exception.

Center publication presented at recent conference in Bilbao

At a recent conference in Bilbao, held on April 6, regarding the Economic Agreement–the principal fiscal mechanism regulating economic ties between the Basque Country and Madrid–in the media, Joseba Agirreazkuenaga presented the CBS publication The Basque Fiscal System Contrasted to Nevada and Catalonia: In the Time of Major Crises.

Read the event’s program here (in Basque and Spanish). This new publication seeks to analyze Basque fiscal systems in the context of the 2008 financial crisis. It also aimed to develop a comparative vision with the state of Nevada and Catalonia. It treats the politics of finance in multi-level public institutions during the economic crisis; long-term fiscal policies for dealing with economic downturns during the past twenty years; the development of treasuries in federal states, in non-federal states and in complex unions (Europe); taxation and citizenship in a globalized world; long-term trends for dealing with the crisis and strategies for the future in European and North American contexts (the Basque Country, Catalonia, Spain, Ireland, and Nevada). Most of the book’s contributions by distinguished scholars and public officials relate to the Basque Country, providing an analysis of fiscal policies or the evolution of public finances. A contribution on taxation and gambling is also offered. This book serves as a new contribution to studies on fiscal federalism in Europe and America. We hope that these reflections serve as a turning point to promote debate and for the formulation of future research. Fiscal analysis is now an important research line at the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies, promoted and in cooperation with the regional government of Bizkaia, with the end of promoting research in a comparative perspective.

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