Category: CBS Visitors (page 1 of 5)

Running with Iñaki Etxaniz Tesouro and the Basque Love in Reno

Not only in honor of Valentine’s Day, but to show some love from the Center of Basque Studies, one of our new visitor’s, Iñaki Etxaniz Tesouro, decided he would brave the cold weather this last weekend to benefit a local korrika -the Reno Run 4 Love.  Iñaki and I decided to partake in this run that benefited Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada and St. Vincent’s this last Sunday morning.  It was brisk weather to say the least, but with chocolate and champagne waiting for us at the end of the race, we were able to finish strong.

Here is some information about our new arrival from the Basque Country and some good memories already made from before, during, and after our race:

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you are here:

I am Iñaki Etxaniz Tesouro, graduate in History from the University of the Basque Country. After the degree, like many other history students, I decided to do a Master’s in Secondary Education, which is necessary to be able to work as a high school teacher. After finishing this first M.A., I decided to do a second in Contemporary History. All three of my degrees were earned through the University of the Basque Country. I have gone through all three campuses of this university, but if I had to choose, I would stay with Araba’s (Vitoria-Gasteiz) campus, to which I keep a special affection and in which I made great friends.

After finishing this second Master’s degree, I had to decide if I wanted to start as a high school teacher, or if I wanted to do a PhD. I decided to start with a PhD., and in January 2015, the University of The Basque Country granted me with a pre-doctoral contract for the realization of my research. I am in the last year of my PhD program, and hope to present my thesis titled, “The labor crisis and employment policies during the Second Republic: The case of public works in Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa and Araba”, around mid-December.

What brings you to the Center for Basque Studies?

Currently (January 31-April 30), I am doing an international stay at the Center for Basque Studies, at the University of Nevada, Reno where I have coincided with some great PhD students. During the stay at the Center, I will make a comparative analysis between New Deal policies and the employment policies initiated by both the city and provincial councils of Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa, and Araba.

What are some of your hobbies, or things you like to do in your free time?

I will say that my hobbies are mountain climbing, running and reading a good novel (quite typical). Not forgetting to be with friends and people whose company I enjoy. I suppose I will also have to include History among my hobbies.

It’s great to have your energy and enthusiasm here at the Center for Basque Studies, Iñaki (and as a running partner!)  Ongi etorri!

 

 

 

Asier Barandiaran: America in Basque Literature

What kinds of representations and discourses emerge in Basque literature about America and Basque Americans?

On December 7, Asier Barandiaran gave a talk at the CBS Seminar Series about the Basque diaspora in America through Basque literature. Asier has visited the Center for the fifth time in order to work and use the Basque library collection for his research purposes. Asier is Associate Professor at the Department of Education and Sport at the University of the Basque Country (EHU-UPV). He is also affiliated with the Department of Language and Literature and serves as vice president of the Basque Studies Society (Eusko Ikaskuntza).

Asier’s lecture departed from the presumption that literature does not only create texts but wider representations and discourses as well. What kinds of representations and discourses emerge in Basque literature about America, and Basque Americans? Asier made three distinctions in this regard: Basques traveling to the US, Basques living in the US, and Basque diaspora and identity maintenance in the diaspora. From improvisational poetry (bertsolaritza) to novels, a host of Basque authors have contributed to the creation of a particularly Basque imaginary in the American context: the sorrows of immigration and leaving one`s home; reminiscences about childhood and nature; the difficulties of settlement (including obtaining visas); the lonely life of sheepherders; an assortment of indigenous animals exotic to the Basque imagination; the Basque language, and the California sun have equally entered Basque literature. Eskerrik asko, Asier!

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

“Revitalizing Indigenous Languages” Lecture by Dr.Jon Reyhner at the CBS

 

Jon Rehyner bilaketarekin bat datozen irudiak

Dr. Jon Reyhner

Last Tuesday, November 21, we welcomed to the Center for Basque Studies Dr. Jon Reyhner. Dr. Reyhner is a Professor of Education and coordinator for the bilingual multicultural education program at  Northern Arizona University.

His interesting and passionate lecture was focused on the importance of revitalizing Indigenous languages in the United States. According to his discussion, revitalizing Indigenous languages is necessary to heal the wounds of colonialism, to improve student’s behavior, as well as improve academic success. Language is the most important tool for cultural identity and memory and gives the ability to preserve one’s heritage while also allowing one to assimilate with other cultures without alienation or loss of one’s uniqueness.

Language can also bring together multiple generations and allows one to feel connected to their roots and ancestors.  Dr. Reyhner had multiple interesting accounts of his time as a teacher working with Indigenous languages.  From his own perspective and life experiences, he discussed the struggles and triumphs of these various programs promoting bilingual education.

This presentation was extremely interesting and very relevant for us at the Center for Basque Studies.  Minority languages although at times have difficulty surviving, individuals such as Dr. Reyhner and others continue to strive and dedicate their time and hard work to their preservation and growth.

Thank you so much for your time and presentation, Dr. Reyhner!  

Eskerrik asko!

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

If you are interested in some of his writings you might enjoy reading Language Rights and Cultural Diversity. This book analyzes the official status of many minority languages, as well as their cultural, political, and legal situation, showing the worldwide linguistic diversity and cultural richness.

The William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies 50th Anniversary

Photo credit: Josu Zubizarreta

During the darkest days, when we were denied our language, our culture and our identity, we were consoled by the knowledge that an American university in Nevada had lit one small candle in the night.

-Lehendakari Jose Antonio Ardanza, March 1988

Photo Credit: Iñaki Arrieta-Baro

Last week, on November 8, the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies celebrated its 50th anniversary with CBS faculty, students, and staff as well as countless members of the Basque community and supporters of the Center. Held at the Jon Bilbao Basque Library, the space was packed quickly. There was food and drink and a wonderful atmosphere. People reconnected with old friends and new ones at the lively event. Here’s some background on the CBS ‘s History and Mission:

History

Originally called the Basque Studies Program, the Center was created in 1967 as part of the Desert Research Institute at the University of Nevada, Reno. At that time, the DRI was creating new programs to reach various aspects of the Great Basin’s inhabitants and history. The idea for studying the Basques was proposed since Basque-Americans have long formed a prominent minortiy in the region and have contributed a great deal to its development. Bill Douglass served as the Program’s director from 1967-1999, when he retired to become Professor Emeritus in Basque Studies. The Basque Studies Program was renamed the Center for Basque Studies as a result of a program review conducted in 1999.

CBS Mission

The primary mission of the CBS is to conceive, facilitate, conduct, and disseminate the results of interdisciplinary research on the Basques to a local, regional, national, and internation audience, and by extension to draw attention to the human experience of small ethnic groups. The Center seeks to maintain excellence in all its endeavors and to achieve its goals through high quality research, publications, conferences, active involvement in scholarly networks throughout the world, as well as through service and teaching.

Channel 2 News was present and recorded a short news video on the event, available online. In it, they interview Xabier Irujo, the CBS director, and Dr. Sandy Ott, one of our professors. The video definitely captures the mood of the event.

Photo Credit: Iñaki Arrieta-Baro

President Johnson of UNR was given the word first, and he spoke of the history of the CBS and its impact on the UNR campus. He has taken a few trips to the Basque Country with the advisory council and genuinely enjoys our culture! Next up came William A. Douglass, our namesake and one of the founders of the CBS, as well as a pioneering researcher on Basques in the U.S. Douglass reflected on the center’s history and his own place within it. Dr. Irujo then spoke about both the CBS and Basque Studies in a global context, providing jokes and anecdotes. We were then honored by Jesus Goñi’s bertsoak celebrating the Center’s place in Basque history.

Photo Credit: Iñaki Arrieta-Baro

Photo Credit: Gemma Martín Valdanzo

Overall, it was a great event that gathered so many voices from the Basque community and academia. To 50 more years of the CBS!

 

 

 

 

 

CBS Seminar Series: “The Basque Swastika”

CBS Seminar Series Presents Santi de Pablo`s “The Basque Swastika”

Santi de Pablo is professor of Contemporary History at the University of the Basque Country. He specializes in history of the Basque Country and in film history. His last book is Creadores de sombras: ETA y el nacionalismo vasco a través del cine (Originally published in English by the CBS as The Basque Nation on Screen: Cinema, Nationalism and Political Violence in the Basque Country). He enjoyed the opportunity of being William Douglass visiting scholar at our Center in 2009-2010, and now he is researching in the CBS thanks to a USAC grant.

On October 17th he presented in the Center the documentary The Basque Swastika (Una esvástica sobre el Bidasoa), a film produced in 2013 by the Basque film-company EsRec Productions, and directed by Javier Barajas and Javier de Andrés. Santi himself worked as historical advisor to the film, along with professor Ludger Mees.

He explained that the origin of the movie was an academic paper he wrote in 2008 together with a professor of the Universidad Carlos III in Madrid. One day he received a phone-call at his University office from the aforementioned film-company proposing to make a movie about the topic of the paper. Two years later, the film premiered in the San Sebastian Film Festival, one of the most prestigious cinema festivals in Europe.

It’s quite unusual for an academic paper to become a film, but in this case the topic of the article inspired curiosity. The authors had discovered in the Berlin Film Archive a German Nazi documentary from 1944 about the Basque Country (Im Lande der basken), which nobody knew of until that moment. This discovery was stunning because it disclosed the interest of Nazis in Basque culture during the Second World War.

On the one hand, The Basque Swastika is cinema about cinema, as it uncovers the story of Im Lande der basken. On the other hand, it’s a film about the history of the Basques, the Nazis and the Second World War. The documentary recalls that the Basque Government and its president Aguirre and the Basque Nationalist Party fought for the Allies and against the Nazis during World War Two, but also that there were some contacts with occupation forces in France. Both the filmmakers and the historical advisers were aware of the controversy surrounding this topic, but they attempted to explain it in an unbiased way. Actually, both Spanish and Basque public televisions co-produced the film, which was well received, and obtained awards at such international documentary film festivals as Nantes (France) and Guadalajara (México).

The screening inspired a fruitful and interesting debate with the audience. Many thanks, Santi, and zorionak!

 

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!

Interviews with Naiara and Virigina, USAC Visiting Scholars

This summer, we had quite a few visiting scholars at the CBS, thanks to USAC stipends for professors to research abroad. First up, I’d like to introduce Naiara Ozamiz and Virginia Guillén Cañas, professors at the University of the Basque Country.

Naiara Ozamiz is a Doctor in Psychology and Professor of Medical Psychology at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of the Basque Country. She has worked as a psychotherapist in different day units with patients with personality disorders and psychosis. She has mainly specialized in group psychotherapy, although she has also performed individual and family psychotherapies. In 2013, she defended her dissertation on Personality Disorders in the DSM-5. She has published several articles on attitudes towards treatments, personality disorders, psychiatric emergencies, and the elderly.

Virginia Guillén Cañas has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and has researched eating disorders. Although she studied Psychology, she is not a therapist, although she is versed in Gestalt Therapy. She is a Professor of Psychology and Communication Skills to medical students, as well as dentistry and physiotherapy students, in the Faculty of Medicine and Nursing, Department of Neuroscience, in the area of Psychiatry. Spending most of her time in the Basque Country working on research and other scholarly projects, she researches health improvement and enjoys teaching healthy habits about addictions and gender empowerment, working with children and women.

We took a minute to catch up with them, giving them a chance to reflect on their experience at UNR and Reno more generally.

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

Naiara: The University the Basque Country offers USAC scholarships every year to be able to go to universities in the United States. I was interested in learning about the University of Nevada and requested the scholarship. Before going, Iker Saitua, (Ph.D. who carried out his doctoral dissertation at the Center for Basque Studies) recommended me to approach the Center. I was also interested in UNR’s Medical School and the Psychology Faculty.

Virginia: I stayed in Reno and UNR for a month thanks to a USAC grant. I chose Reno because of the existence of the Center for Basque Studies.

 

What was the goal of your research?

Naiara: One of the objectives of getting to know the different faculties at the University of Nevada has been to learn about the way they teach, their investigations and their clinical work in different areas.

Virginia: My objective was to search for  opportunities to meet with other colleagues, and I knew that the Center for Basque Studies could assist me in planning my research abroad. I wanted to acquire and refine my medical and scientific knowledge and then apply it through medical education and evidence-based treatments for people, especially those with mental illnesses.

 

What did you accomplish?

Naiara: In the area of teaching, I have been able to see the teaching curriculum of the Medical School, and their teaching methodology. I have been fortunate to be able to attend medical classes. With the methodology and material that the faculty has shown me, I will be able to apply it in the classes of psychology that I give in the Faculty of Medicine.

Virginia: We have worked in the translation of the three questionnaires for measuring communication skills:  a Cognitive and Affective Empathy Test and one on Social Abilities. It was a good chance to adapt and publish these scales into English, since they are only validated in Spanish and Basque. We hope to carry out this research at UNR and University of the Basque Country.

Naiara: As far as research is concerned, the Medical School has given me several ideas to investigate, and maybe, in the future, we will do joint research. Furthermore, the Writing Center has helped me to write scientific articles. As far as the clinical area is concerned, the University of Nevada, Reno has a psychology service for teachers and students, and I found its operation very interesting. At the University of the Basque Country, there is a similar service but in Nevada, they have many more resources, and I would love to take that magnitude to our university.

Virginia: We will go deeper in optimizing the clinical cases given to students after analyzing UNR’s organization of medical curriculum.  Also, their website has additional information about the curricular structure, http://med.unr.edu/ome/curriculum/structure, and about the cases of the week, http://med.unr.edu/ocf/involvement-opportunities/case-of-the-week. Melissa Piasecki has a very interesting book that we will try to translate into Spanish, so we will keep in touch. We will look into congresses about suicide in Europe, where she will attend and collaborate with other groups in preventing suicide.

I have revised three publications at the Writing Center. One publication is about Communication Skills, another one about eating disorders, and last one about Diabetes. I hope to publish them in the next months. The Writing Center is very helpful for Spanish speaking people like myself to write correctly in English.

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

Naiara: Above all, I have been helped by the workers at the center. They informed me of different resources that the University has, and of Nevada in general. I have learned about Basque and American culture, and I took several excursions with them. There is nothing like getting to know the country and its history, especially with historians! I am very grateful and they are excellent people.

I have felt more comfortable at the Center for Basque Studies since it has been like being at home. They have taught me about the Basque studies that are being done at the Center and I have learned a lot about Basque history in the Basque diaspora. At the moment, I’m dedicating myself to translating psychology questionnaires into Euskera and I’m trying to write the maximum possible articles in Euskera. The workers at the Center have inspired me to continue doing this work, since their great knowledge in history gives meaning to the work being done in favor of Basque.

Virginia: Visiting the Center for Basque Studies has been very useful because of resources such as the Writing Center, Savitt Medical Library, Summer sessions and the Nevada Historical Society. Also, it was a place where I could share research projects where Basque-speaking people are compared to Spanish and English speaking ones.

I would not have gone to Reno without the help of the Center for Basque Studies. I felt at home, and Edurne and Iñaki explained to us political and social aspects about the way of living and we had conversations comparing American and Basque people. This is very important for adapting there.

I will keep in contact and inform the Center if any research fulfills the objectives of the Center and the University of the Basque Country.  There are three possible projects to collaborate on: Sport in the Environment of National Minorities, Communication Skills in Medical students: Bilingualism and Gender Differences (Third sex), and Adapting a test for measuring eating disorders in Basque, Spanish and English males with eating disorders.

 

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

Naiara: I had a great time in Reno. I have learned a lot and I have loved meeting the people there. The USAC workers have treated me very well. It is an excellent organization. I did not miss anything.
Although the Reno casinos are a bit scary, Reno has some fabulous places. The whole walk along the river with its atmosphere, Louis’ Basque Corner, the Basque monument … and the surroundings are wonderful: Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake, and all the trekking that can be done around Reno…
It has been wonderful, just remembering it gives me much joy and I feel like coming back. I feel very grateful for all the people I have met there, they could not have treated me better.

Virginia: Reno and the surrounding areas provide unlimited indoor and outdoor recreational activities. The most impactful aspect is that Reno has a great area full of casinos Downtown but the rest of the city is like any another one. Anyway, the distances are big so USAC offered us bikes and the bus timetables. I would recommend anyone to use them and also Uber, Taxis and UNR’s Campus Escort. The weather has been spectacular.

I liked Lake Tahoe a lot, and next time I would like to share a car or a van to visit the deep countryside of Nevada…for biking, camping, and mountain climbing. I also went to Colorado so I visited the mountains, and I would recommend that trip to everyone!

 

What did you miss the most?

Naiara: Nothing, I did not want to go back to the Basque Country. The only thing that made me go back was to meet my newborn nephew.

Virginia: Nowadays I miss my friends there. My stay was perfect!

 

We do hope you come back and visit!

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.

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