Category: Center Faculty Staff News (page 1 of 6)

James Beard Award goes to The Oxford Companion to Cheese

We are proud to announce that The Oxford Companion to Cheese has received the James Beard Award for “Reference and Scholarship” this year. You may ask, are Basques just that obsessed with cheese to write a post about it? Well yes, we are, and I  am definitely the definition of a cheese eater: “A person who eats cheese; a person who appreciates or routinely consumes cheese.” However, the reason we are sharing this news is because Professor Sandra Ott was among the 325 contributors to the book (a whopping 888 pages), hailing from over 35 countries! Zorionak Sandy!

For those of you who are familiar with Dr. Ott’s work, you may not be surprised that she was asked by the editorial board member Heather Paxson, author of The Life of Cheese: Crafting Food and Value in America and professor of anthropology at MIT, to contribute. Ott’s The Circle of Mountains: A Basque Shepherding Community, an ethnography of Santazi (Zuberoa) and its people, is a Basque Studies classic. Part Four of the book comprises three chapters on cheese and cheese-making: 1. The Olha: A Pastoral Institution; 2. Rotation and Serial Replacement in the Olha: Past and Present; 3. Shepherding and Cheese-making. Perhaps the most striking chapter, however, is Part Five: The Concept of Conception. After years living in Santazi, and now decades returning to do fieldwork and maintain lifelong friendships, Professor Ott participated in the town’s traditions and work. It was through this labor, as well as talking to residents, that Ott learned much about Santazi’s cheese-making, the significance of the olha (the sheepherding syndicate’s hut high in the mountains where cheese is made exclusively by men during summer transhumance), and finally the connections between human and cheese conception. Here are Ott’s own words:

Santazi, Zuberoa

These examples show the historical depth and spatial distribution of an analogy that is central to the Sainte-Engrâce notion of human conception–namely, that rennet : cheese : : semen : infant. The modern existence of the cheese analogy of conception in one French Basque community is itself an interesting phenomenon … an attempt by men … to fulfil symbolically the female procreative role and to re-enact symbolically the physical creation of children in a male domain from which women are excluded. In Sainte-Engrâce, this also involves a reversal of male and female sociological roles, i.e. the cheese-making shepherd performs the socio-domestic role of the female head of household and recreates the ideologically female domain of the house in the male domain of the mountain herding hut.

The Circle of Mountains, pg. 212

Professor Ott’s contribution to The Oxford Companion to Cheese deals with the significance of the olha and cultural theories of cheese curdling. Paxson also includes this anecdote in her own book:

When I first visited Major Farm and was explaining to David my early thoughts about an anthropological research project, he asked, “Oh, you mean like Sandra Ott?” and pulled down from a bookcase in the kitchen, shelved next to the Moosewood Cookbook, a copy of Ott’s ethnographic monograph, The Circle of Mountains.

The Life of Cheese: Crafting Food and Value in America, pg. 52

Although Professor Ott’s new book Living with the Enemy (Cambridge University Press) is set to be released very soon, we can gather that her interests are wide in scope, and who wouldn’t love cheese! As a matter of fact, she has presented numerous times at the American Cheese Society Conference! She sets an example for students like myself in her ability to balance many topics in-depth, while still having time to think about gazta!

We leave you with a review, in case you want to know more. This is what The New York Times had  to say about this doorstopper:

For the Cheese Lover, the Ultimate Reference Book

This new guide to cheese from Oxford University Press is authoritative, but what is surprising is how local it gets. Calandra’s Cheese on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx is listed, along with such revered fromageries as Androuet in Paris. And just to show how American cheesemakers are at the forefront of the artisanal resurgence, the book was edited by Catherine Donnelly, a professor of nutrition and food science at the University of Vermont, with a foreword by Mateo Kehler, a founder of Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont. Hundreds of writers from 35 countries contributed to this 888-page doorstop of a reference book, with entries arranged alphabetically and covering topics like regulations, techniques, history, cuisines, types of rinds, Mexican cheeses (there are some 60 varieties), Chinese cheeses and cheese museums: “The Oxford Companion to Cheese,” edited by Catherine Donnelly (Oxford, $65).

Dr. Irujo’s new book: Gernika, 26 de abril 1937

This Wednesday, April 26 marks the 80th anniversary of the bombing of Gernika, during which the Nazi Luftwaffe and fascist Italian forces carried out a devastating aerial bombing of the market town for Franco’s forces during the Spanish Civil War, leaving thousands dead. Our own Professor Irujo has published extensively on the topic, and today we’d like to share the latest fruit of his labor: Gernika, 26 de abril 1937, published by the Editorial Crítica, part of Planeta de Libros, España.

Here’s a translation of the synopsis provided by the publisher:

A necessary book to clarify many of the lies about the bombing of Gernika and its hidden aspects in the public light to this day.

The bombing of Gernika is a very complex event, combining military, strategic, ideological and political aspects, as well as personal interests. Generally, it has been studied from the point of view of its victims, that is, from below. This book is a study of the logic underlying the attack and a detailed description of the bombing’s planning, organization, and execution. It is therefore a study of the bombing from the point of view of its engineers, a study “from above.” The book answers some of the basics of this story, namely who gave the order of attack, why Gernika was chosen, what resources the perpetrators had, how Gernika was bombed, why Gernika was bombed to the point of its disappearance, and how many fatalities were caused by the bombing.

Gernika was a turning point in the history of terror bombings and also the prologue of the subsequent saturation bombings of World War II. For the first time, German air command experimented a combination of ‘carpet bombing’ and ‘chain bombing’ in Gernika. Flying from three to six degrees deep in closed formations through a narrow air corridor, successive groups of bombers unloaded a novel mixture of explosive and incendiary projectiles over the urban area of ​​Gernika that was barely 1 km2, while ground attack aircraft and fighters created a ‘ring of fire’ around the village by machine-gunning civilians from the air. The effect was devastating.

The book also addresses an issue closely linked to the history of the bombing: General Franco ordered everyone to lie about the bombing of Gernika on April 27, less than 24 hours after the attack. Specifically, Carlo Bossi’s telegram includes Franco’s order to deny the bombing and denounce “the fiery system of Reds burning all urban centers before withdrawal.” The negationism resulting from this policy of the dictatorship has given rise to subsequent historiographic reductionism. Franco’s order has made this historical fact one of the most paradigmatic frauds of twentieth-century historiographic revisionism.

For anyone interested in this tragic event, this book is a must read.

We’d also like to bring your attention to a new review of Dr. Irujo’s book Gernika, 1937: The Market Day Massacre, by Ian Patterson for The American Historical Review, it’s definitely worth reading!

Center Advisory Board gathers in Reno for 2017 meeting

Center graduate student Amaia Iraizoz presents her research project, on the return of Basques to the Basque Country after living in the United States, to the board.

This past weekend the Center’s distinguished Advisory Board came together in Reno for its annual spring time meeting. It is a very exciting time for the Center and the board with countless projects and events happening that we were proud to present to the Advisory Board members. The events started off on Friday night with dinner at Reno’s Louis’ Basque Corner and then resumed on Saturday with reports on discussions on many of the things that are going on at the Center including new initiatives, new publications, and much much more.

Eskerrik asko to all of the advisory board members who were able to make the trip, some all the way from the Basque County, and we can’t wait to see the ones who weren’t able to make it in the future!

Spring 2017 Basque Multidisciplinary Seminar Series

This semester, like almost every semester, the CBS is holding a Seminar Series. Here’s a round-up of the lectures given thus far and a sneak peak of the coming presentations!

Professor Douglass kicked off the series with his paper entitled “Basques in Cuba,” based on his research and the conference held in Havana in 2015 entitled “Euskal Herria Mugaz Gaindi.” Douglass shared many anecdotes and the audience responded with many questions, carrying on the discussion well after the hour had quickly gone by.

Next up, Saranda Frommold, a PhD candidate at the Freie Universität Berlin,  shared her dissertation findings on “The Political Relations between Mexico and Spain regarding Basque Exile to Mexico (1977-2000).” She has spent three weeks at the Center, continuing her research. The presentation was thought-provoking and also ended in a lively question and answer session. Stay tuned for our interview with Saranda. We will miss her at the CBS.

Last week, I presented a paper entitled “Memoirs of Mobility and Place: Portrayals of Basque-American Identity,” written for a literature class, so a little out of my historical comfort zone. I must say, it went well, and I was excited to recommend Mountain City, by Gregory Martin, to most of my audience. It’s definitely a good read! I compared Martin’s portrayal of Basque communities in the West to that in Sweet Promised Land, Robert Laxalt’s famed memoir.

Next week, March 29 from 12:30-1:30, our Basque Librarian, Iñaki Arrieta Baro, will be presenting on “Bertsolaritza: Kultur Artea Network.” This will be a nice addition to our showcase on Bertsolaritza. Be sure to come visit and see the exhibit!

April 5 is sure to be a busy lecture day. Ziortza Gandarias Beldarrain, a PhD candidate here, will present on “Euzko-Gogoa: Gender and Nation,” as a part of her own dissertation research. Mikel Amuriza will then follow, giving a talk about tax systems. Mikel is a visiting scholar from the Diputación de Bizkaia, and will be with us for a few more months. We’ll be sure to post an interview soon!

Professor Ott will present on April 12, giving a talk on “German P.O.W.s in Post-War France,” part of her ongoing research on the topic. I’m sure it will be full of anecdotes and more!

Lastly, we have the pleasure to have Professor Boehm from the Anthropology department, as well as Women’s Studies and GRI, present on her recently published book. Her conference is entitled “Disappearance and Displacement in an Age of Deportation,” and I’m sure it will bring up many current events and a discussion of what is going on in the world around us.

Be sure to stop by from 12:30-1:30 on Wednesdays for our seminar series. Bring your own brown bag, sit back, and enjoy!

Bill Douglass to inaugurate “Elorriaga Basque Culture Series” at Boise State University

Bill Douglass will be at Boise State University on February 8 and 9 to inaugurate the “Elorriaga Basque Culture Series,” which will endeavor to showcase various forms of Basque culture. On campus he’ll be speaking to two courses (to which others are invited) on Wednesday, February 8: From 12:00-1:15 he will speak to the “Basque Culture” course on the topic of “Basques in Cuba” and then, from 3:00-4:15 he’ll speak to the “Navigating Identity” course on the topic of migration.

The following day, Thursday, February 9, he will offer a community talk titled “A ‘Basque’ author’s reflections,” which will be an overview of his publications in Basque Studies & beyond.

Click here for more information.

Montevideo’s Euskara Eguna: An overview of the celebrations

As you may have read in our post on the Day of the Basque Language, celebrations were held around the world. Our professor Xabier Irujo took part in the festivities that took place in Montevideo, Uruguay, so we’ve decided to share the jam-packed schedule of events. The way the Basque community in Uruguay was able to organize and observe the event sets a high bar for us all!

The Euskara Eguna (Day of the Basque Language) celebrations organized by the Euskal Erria Society of Montevideo began with the re-inauguration on December 2, 2016, of the Plaza Jesús de Galíndez. Attendees, including Agurtzane Aguado, president of the Society, unveiled a plaque in honor of Galíndez, an exiled Basque nationalist, who was a victim of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic and was assassinated in 1956.

On the 3rd, an act commemorating the bombing of Gernika took place in the city’s Plaza Gernika. A lecture was given by Dr. Xabier Irujo, director of the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, while the txistulari Aitor Ormaetxe from Mar de Plata and the dantzari Martin Mendiola also performed. The event was closed with a concert by the Voces de la Plaza de Montevideo choir.

 

That evening, a meeting of three Basque-American publishers, Euskal Erria of Montevideo, Ekin of Buenos Aires, and the CBS Press in Reno was held at the headquarters of the Euskal Erria Society. There were book presentations of the many publications that came out in 2016. Dr. Irujo presented the ten titles that the CBS Press had published last year, including Basques in Cuba edited by William Douglass, which is a tribute to the book that Jon Bilbao published with Ekin in 1958. With the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, the CBS Press also published a bilingual edition of Macbeth, which was translated for the first time into Basque by Bingen Ametzaga in 1942, although this translation had remained unpublished until now. Ekin of Buenos Aires published four books in 2016: La Odisea de Xabiertxo by Koldo Ordozgoiti, Historia de Radio Euskadi by Leyre Arrieta, Contraviaje by Arantzazu Ametzaga, and Diasporako Bertsoak by Asier Barandiaran. These four authors offered a presentation of their works the same day, December 3, at the Durango Book Fair in the Basque Country. The Euskal Erria publishing house produced three works in 2016: William MacAlevey’s The Rise of Legal Professions in Bilbao, José Luis de la Lombana by Iñaki Anasagasti and Josu Erkoreka, and, lastly, Ecos Vascos del Uruguay, a selection of Basque-Uruguayan inspired poems by the former Minister of the Interior and Defense of Uruguay, Raul Iturria.

There were hundreds of attendees who enjoyed a traditional roast (asado con cuero) and a recitation of poems from Iturria’s anthology of poetry.

 

 

 On Monday, December 5, during the afternoon,  Dr. Irujo gave another lecture at the CLAEH University’s headquarters, during which he spoke about the episodes of genocide that struck Basque soil between 1936 and 1945.

The celebrations culminated at the Parliament’s House of Representatives with an homage to the reception on October 8, 1941 that said House made to the Lehendakari Jose Antonio Agirre. The Deputy of the Partido Nacional, Pablo Iturralde, promoter of the tribute, spoke first, referring to the speech that the lehendakari offered before the House of Representatives. He ended by saying: “Today we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the episode that for both Agirre and the Uruguayan Basque community was so significant and moving, because in our country and especially in this House, the national representatives of that moment had the courage to contradict the powerful voice of international fascism that slandered the Basque people with impunity, even accusing them of the genocide in the town of Gernika that they themselves had bombarded with unknown brutality. That is why the descendants of those immigrants today have appealed to us so that, making use of the representation that Uruguayan citizens have conferred upon us, we pay homage to those men who in such dignified fashion came before us.”

 

After Deputy Iturralde’s speech, the president of the Basque Parliament Bakartxo Tejería’s message was viewed on screen, which made reference to the message that Lehendakari Agirre made to the Uruguayan Parliament. Afterward, the Deputy of the Frente Amplio Party Jorge Pozzi, who is of Basque descent, spoke about his spiritual connection to the Basque world and culture. He was followed by Germán Cardoso of the Partido Colorado, Daniel Radio of the Partido Independiente, José Luis Hernández of the Movimiento de Participación Popular (Frente Amplio), and, finally, José Arocena of the Partido Nacional. All of them referred to the noble and hardworking spirit of the Basques and the contribution that these people had made to the culture and history of the country, as well as to the desire for the independence of the Basque people. The MPP representative made public his support for the struggle for recognition of the Basque nation’s right to self-determination.

At the end of the session, which turned out to be very emotional and warm-spirited, the attendees went to the Acuña Figueroa of the legislative palace where the representative of the Euskal Erria publishing house, Mr. Alberto Irigoyen, and the President of the Parliament, Gerardo Amarilla, intervened. A facsimile of Lehendakari Agirre’s diary was given to the latter, as well as a copy of the history of the Euskal Erria Society and a history book on the Basque government-in-exile. The president of the Euskal Erria Society, Agurtzane Aguado, said that there are many Uruguayan figures who have referred to the contribution of the Basques to Uruguay, and recalled the words that Dr. Alberto Guani, President of the Supreme Court of Uruguay in 1941, said of the honor given by that institution to the Lehendakari Agirre: “For the first time in the history of the High Court of Uruguay, a meeting of this nature has been held in honor of a politician; And this has been so because when humanity fights a decisive battle between freedom and slavery, perversion and honesty, justice cannot remain blind to the drama and has the duty to put the sword that it carries as a symbol for the service of human dignity, represented by men like Mr. Agirre, defeated in the first part of the battle in which the forces of good triumphed.” Dr. Irujo closed the act by referring to the deep gratitude of all exiled Basques and immigrants to the American nations that provided asylum to these people when they suffered persecution and oppression in a war-torn Europe. Finally, the choir Voices of the Plaza concluded by singing “Agur Jaunak.”

 

CBS Graduate Student News

UNR’s spring semester began on Monday, and the grad students at the CBS are busy preparing for their coursework, working on their dissertations and embarking on fieldwork. Here’s a look at what they’ve been up to this past year and their plans for the year ahead.

Amaia Iraizoz

After completing her comprehensive exams in May 2015, Amaia Iraizoz went to the Basque Country to carry out fieldwork. She did research in the notarial protocols section of the Royal and General Archive of Navarre, as well as in the municipal archives of towns in the Aezkoa Valley. In December 2015, Amaia participated in the Amerikanuak 40 Urte conference. From April 8-9, 2016, she attended the IV Krakowska Konferencja Latynoamerykanistyczna, Migraciones y diásporas de la América Latina contemporánea conference in Krakow, Poland. There, she presented a paper on “La emigración de retorno en un valle del Pirineo Navarro.” Amaia also gave a lecture at the Catedra de Lengua y Cultura Vasca of the University of Navarre and at the Migration Museum of La Rioja (Spain). Last August, she returned to UNR and is now writing her dissertation on the influence of migration and return in Aezkoa, Navarre

What have you been up to this semester? 

Just writing and working on my dissertation, which takes up all of my time! As I did archival research this past year, I’ve had to go through all of the documents I gathered, which number in the thousands.

Have you attended any other conferences or have any future lecturing plans?

I presented at the CBS’s Fall 2016 Basque Multidisciplinary Seminar Series, with a talk entitled: “Returning Home: Marriage Strategies of Aezkoa’s Migrants in the Nineteenth Century.” I also had the chance to present with Edurne and Kerri at the  Galena Creek Visitor’s Center. I’m currently planning my trip to the Southern American Studies Association’s 2017 conference in March, which I’m attending with Edurne.

Do you have any new research interests?

I have enough with my dissertation!

What are your plans for next semester?

After defending my dissertation, I’m looking forward to moving back home and taking it easy while I look for positions as a history professor in the Basque Country. I’m going to start taking part again in Etniker Nafarroa, a group which works on ethnography of the Navarrese region.

Ziortza Gandarias

In the fall of 2015, Ziortza presented a paper for the Basque Lecture Series in the Center entitled: “Behind the Imagined Community of the Basque Diaspora.” She also presented a paper at a conference at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, in Brussels. The paper, “Basque Exile and the Translation of World Literature into Basque: A Postcolonial Approach,” dealt with the importance of translation for understanding minority languages. In the spring of 2016, she presented a paper, “The Perfect Womanhood: Basque Women Behind the Basque National Textual Body,” for the College of Liberal Arts Graduate Students’ series. The paper analyzed the importance of women in the maintenance of Basque identity in diasporic communities. In April, she gave another paper, “Basque Exile: More Than a Geographical Concept, an Engagement Movement,” for a conference on Exploring Diversity and Equity Through Access, Retention & Engagement at UNR. This fall Ziortza is doing dissertation-related research in various Basque archives. She has also started to interview contemporary Basque writers and intellectuals to enlighten the main focus of her doctoral research: What is the impact of the diaspora on the Basque Country’s hegemonic cultural establishment?

What have you been up to this semester?

I was in the Basque Country in the fall, doing archival work. I visited different archives such as those at Euskaltzaindia, the Sabino Arana Foundation, and the Basque Historical Archive. I also spent some time interviewing diverse people that work around my dissertation topic.

What projects are you carrying out or have you finished? 

Now that I’ve returned, I’m trying to put together all of the documentation I found in the Basque Country as well as using the Jon Bilbao Basque Library’s resources to expand upon my work.

Any future conference plans?

I’m part of a panel with Amaia, Edurne, and Iker Arranz, a former student at CBS, for the UNR Diversity Summit in March. I’m also submitting paper topics for various other conferences.

Do you have any new research interests?

When I was in the Basque Country, I realized that what I’m studying for my dissertation is truly what I enjoy. I didn’t necessarily open my research interests, but I was able to understand how important my research is to me and hopefully the wider public will think the same.

What are your plans for next semester?

Reading and dedicating myself completely to my research.

Horohito Norhatan

Horohito Norhatan is a doctoral candidate in Basque Studies and Political Science. His research interests include global political economy, international relations, comparative politics, cooperative movements, and community based economic development. While pursuing his Ph.D., Horohito has been working at the Center for Basque Studies as a Graduate Assistant. During the Fall 2016 semester, Horohito has begun his third year field research in Cleveland, Ohio, where he is conducting a comparative analysis between the Mondragón Cooperative in the Basque Country and the Evergreen Cooperative in Ohio. His research draws on survey inquiry, administrative data, and micro-simulation of policy process and analysis.

What have you been up to this semester? 

I have been traveling back and forth from Reno to Cleveland, Ohio, and Chicago. The purpose of my trips to both cities was to obtain permission to investigate the cooperative in Cleveland. The founders of this cooperative are professors at different universities across the nation.

What projects are you carrying out or have you finished? 
I am writing my research prospectus. This prospectus is crucial for my data collection. Once approved, I can start inquiring into and investigating the cooperative in Ohio.

Do you have any new research interests?
My research interests have been the same for some time. My research has always been related to economic development, community development, public policy, political economy, comparative politics, international relations, and the cooperative movement.

What are your plans for next semester?

I will teach PSC 211 Comparative Politics at UNR.

Do you have any news from the Basque Country or on the Basque Diaspora you’d like to share with the wider public?

Check out this fun newspaper article I came across about California Congressman Garamendi:

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-garamendi-basque-roots-20160702-snap-htmlstory.html

Kerri Lesh

Last summer Kerri spent two months studying the Basque language in a barnetegi in Lazkao, Gipuzkoa. This fall she started her second year of graduate level coursework at UNR. She passed her comprehensive exams in December. In January 2017, Kerri will return to the Basque Country to begin a year of fieldwork in which she will study the intersection of language and Basque gastronomy. In the fall of 2016, Kerri served as a teaching assistant in Sandy Ott’s “Basque Culture” course. She also attended the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Minneapolis, where she expanded her academic network.

What have you been up to this past semester?

Studying for my Comprehensive Exams, spending my first semester as a TA, preparing to live abroad, and improving my salsa dancing skills.

What projects are you carrying out or have you finished?  

I finished my first poster on the Basque language for a class and have worked with the GSA and the BOAS anthropology grad group for the Winter Clothing Drive, as well as working on my visa application. In addition to all this, I have been studying for the Certified Specialist of Wine exam, which I will take next year.

Do you have any new research interests? 

Yes, always!  I have expanded my interests in indigenous cultures and have started comparing their language revitalization efforts to those of Basque.

What are your plans for next semester? 

I will be living in Euskal Herria and improving my knowledge of the Basque language.

Do you have any news from the Basque Country or on the Basque Diaspora you’d like to share with the wider public? 

Lots will be happening for the Basque subregion of the Rioja Alavesa this next year.  I might also be visiting South America over break and gathering more information about how cultural identity is retained there through gastronomy.

Edurne Arostegui

As the newest addition to the graduate student cohort, Edurne has been “learning the ropes,” keeping up the CBS blog, and focusing on her classes. She has also found time to kick off the CBS’s Fall 2016 Basque Multidisciplinary Seminar Series, in which she spoke about her current research interest: the creation of Basque-American identity through theories of representation and recognition. Together with fellow students Amaia Iraizoz and Kerri Lesh, she gave a talk at the Galena Creek Visitors’ Center. She was thrilled to see so many people from outside the academic world who had come out to learn about their research and the Basques in general. Lastly, and perhaps her most favorite activity to date, Edurne led a class on the Athletic Club of Bilbao and “soccer madness” in Sandy Ott’s “Basque Culture” course. Edurne has found a family and a home here at the Center and in Reno.

What have you been up to this past semester? 

It took some time to adjust to my new life here in Reno, but I have been pleasantly surprised. I took three classes last semester in different departments and am looking forward to my classes this year. I basically spend all my time in my office, which is my second home!

What projects are you carrying out or have you finished? 

Besides my coursework, I’m reading for my dissertation and trying to network with the Basque community in Reno and beyond.

Any plans for future conferences?

I’m going to Virginia in March for the Southern American Studies Association’s 2017 conference with Amaia. We are also planning on getting in contact with some of the Euskal Etxeak on the East Coast to visit during our trip. I’m also going to present on a panel with Amaia, Ziortza, and Iker Arranz at the UNR Diversity Summit.

Do you have any new research interests?

More than new research interests, I have rediscovered how much I enjoy theoretical writings on diverse subjects, and that has led me to spend my time revisiting the classics as well as new thinkers. Although I’m a historian, Professor Boehm’s seminar on cultural anthropology really opened my eyes to new theories and I look forward to applying them to my own research.

What are your plans for next semester?

This semester will be as busy as the last. Besides my classes and conferences, I’m working with Hito to organize a conference series at the CBS. I’m also thinking ahead to different opportunities to research during the summer.

Do you have any news from the Basque Country or on the Basque Diaspora you’d like to share with the wider public?

I was surprised to hear that Miguel Zugaza, the former director of the Prado Museum in Madrid, had decided to return to Bilbao and its Museum of Fine Arts. Although I love the Prado, Zugaza has good taste: who wouldn’t want to go back to Bilbao! The Museum of Fine Arts was one of my favorite places to spend time in when I was living in Bilbao and I look forward to returning and seeing what changes he makes. For more information, check out the following article, in Spanish:

http://cultura.elpais.com/cultura/2016/11/30/actualidad/1480510027_504389.html

On Anboto

 

anboto_pano

The distinctive limestone peaks of the Urkiola Range, Anboto is the peak farthest on the right. From the hamlet of Urkiola.

It’s December again and I can’t believe it has been a whole year since I was last in the Basque Country! Since I wasn’t able to go this year, I’ve been fondly remembering my last time there, especially my last day there, a Sunday when my coworker and his partner offered to take me on a long-desired visit to Anboto. The mountain dominates the skyline of Durango and, just as a hiker looking up at it on breaks from the Azoka Stand, I’ve always wanted to make a shot at it, so I jumped at the chance. Although Anboto is actually lower in elevation than Reno at around 4,370 feet (Reno stands, according to Google, at 4,500 feet), it stands out from the landscape as an overpowering juggernaut. It is an immense mass of limestone, with cliff faces of 1,000 meters (roughly 3,000 feet) over Atxondo Valley. Anboto is one of the most known and most characteristic summits of the Basque Country.

anboto_01

Looking south from Urkiolamendi Pass at the beginning of the true peak ascent. It is easy to understand the grip the mountain has had on the Basque imagination.

With its distinctive shape, Anboto is not only easily recognizable but it has always played a role in Basque mythology, most famously as the home of Mari, the Basque goddess who is said to control the weather. She is said to live in a cave on the front face of the mountain. She is also known as Anbotoko Mari (“the Lady of Anboto”), She and the god Sugaar were (also known as Sugoi or Maju) connected her to the weather. When she traveled with Sugaar hail would fall. And in general her tos and fros across the sky brought storms or droughts.

anboto_02

Mari was said to control the weather from her cavern on Anboto.

We left the car at the hamlet of Urkiola, in the Parque Natural de Urkiola, alongside the Sanctuary of Urkiola, a Roman Catholic temple that famously celebrates the Day of Saint Anthony of Padua on June 13. This saint helps those looking for lost objects and for love, but we needed nothing as we started off on a crisp December morning with mountains dotting in and out of thick fog. The walk is a popular one and we passed many other strollers and even some Basque ponies or pottoka.

anboto_03

A wild Basque pony, clearly used to passersby and photo opportunities, similar to Reno’s local mustangs.

It was so pleasant walking and talking with my coworker and his companion, who have also become my good friends over my years working as your Basque Books Editor. Once we get past the fog layer the day is clear and bright, an anomaly for the Basque Country in this time of year and we soak it in. At Urkiolamendi Pass my companions, having been here many times before, decided that they would forsake a summit attempt and they sent me on alone. Now the trail became braided into various use trails and, with the beautiful day and with the Basques’ love for the outdoors, hiking, and mountain climbing, there were many people on the pass. Climbing up through steep limestone, at first the trail remained in the treeline, but it was truly stunning when it emerged and you could see how very steep this mountain really is.

anboto_04

That is a long way down!

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The peak in sight now, sharing the trail with lots of visitors

I emerged onto the top of the ridge to a sublime panorama of what seemed to be the entire Basque Country. Durango in the valley below me, farther away toward the coast where Gernika was, and then, over there, even where Bilbao would be although it remained out of sight.

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Emerging onto the highest ridge, looking toward Durango and Bilbao.

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The last climb to the summit, dotted with people.

I started climbing the last, narrow, very steep climb to the summit. I think that maybe Mari go to me, or Sugaar, because I started to get really nervous. My more or less street shoes didn’t seem to be finding the traction they should on the still dew wet grass and the number of people (in Nevada it is much more common to hike alone) made me feel claustrophobic. Particularly one couple, with the man convincing an increasingly reluctant woman that she should continue while younger, fitter people clambered all about us. I was probably only meters from the summit when I realized that it didn’t matter so much, that I had done what I had set out to do and that it was time for me to get off of the mountain without officially having stood on its summit. My companions, a txakoli, and lunch would be awaiting me down at the bottom, while there was only the wind and myth and fate left on the summit. So I retraced my steps. Rejoined my companions for an excellent lunch in Urkiola, and left Anboto behind for another year. I’ll be back!!!

Happy holidays and New Year to all of our blog readers. Thanks so much for following along with us and for staying abreast of what is happening at the Center and in Basque culture. Here’s looking forward to 2017!

Agur!

Your Basque Books Editor

Sandra Ott: Faculty News Roundup

Our faculty here at the CBS sure is an inspiration when it comes to work ethic, and Professor Ott is no exception. This semester, she has taught the “Basque Culture” capstone course to 38 undergraduates and two graduate students, myself included. This course really helps to spread awareness of the Basques throughout our campus community, and the students are both engaged by the material and also participate actively. Dr. Ott is also supervising her graduate student, Kerri Lesh, and coordinating an independent study course with her on the anthropology of food.

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Stemming from her research interest in German POWs in postwar France, particularly the POW camp at Polo-Beyris in Baiona, Dr. Ott has been reading French sources on the POWs who were sent to Iparralde and neighboring Bearn from May 1945 onward, to work in local town halls, to clear German mines on the Basque coast, and to work on farms. She is interested in this episode of Franco-German relations in the postwar period, when many of these young Germans longed to escape across the Pyrenees into Spain and make their way back home. Next semester, she is planning to continue working on this research project, in preparation for archival research during the summer in both Pau and Baiona.

On top of these new interests, her manuscript, Living with the Enemy: German Occupation, Collaboration and Justice in the Western Pyrenees, 1940-1948, is now being proofread for publication by Cambridge University Press, which issued a contract for the book in November 2015. It is set to come out in 2017, in both paperback and cloth editions.

Professor Ott has also found the time to present and publish several papers during the past year. In November 2015, she presented a paper on “Creating a Realm of Memory for the ‘Swallows’ of Maule: Spanish Female Factory Workers in the Pyrenean Borderlands” in Chicago for the annual conference of the Western Society for French History.

In March, she talked about Basques in occupied France at the University of San Francisco, as well as presenting another paper, entitled “Double Think in Occupied and Liberated France: A Test Case from the Western Pyrenees,” for the annual conference of the Society for French Historical Studies in Nashville, at Vanderbilt University.

During the summer of 2016, to mark her 40th anniversary in the province of Xiberoa, Dr. Ott gave a public lecture in Maule on her early years of fieldwork in Santazi (1976-1977) and her current research interests (the trials of suspected collaborators in liberated Pau). More than eighty people attended the event, including three generations of one Santazi family and several people who had experienced the German occupation of Iparralde.

In September 2016, Oxford University’s journal, French History, published her article, “Cohabitation and Opportunistic Accommodation in Occupied France: A Test Case from the Western Pyrenees.”  She also had the chance to spend a wonderful weekend with members of the Chino Basque community—thanks to Advisory Board member Mike Bidart—and presented her 1985 documentary film, “The Basques of Santazi,” at the Chino Basque Club, alongside the screening of Amama. The event was attended by more than 50 spectators.

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Professor Ott with director Asier Altuna at the Chino Basque Club in September

In November 2016, Professor Ott’s presentation, “A Pro-Vichy Mayor and His Indiscreet Ladies: Cohabitation and Accommodation in a Basque Village under German Occupation,” was filmed for H-France in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for the annual conference of the Western Society for French History.

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A view of Santazi

For those of you who have read Dr. Ott’s Circle of Mountains, an ethnography of a Basque sheepherding community in Santazi in the province of Xiberoa, you will appreciate the amount of fieldwork she carried out for the endeavor. Professor Ott has visited the community and her host families every year since 1976, as celebrated last summer. In October of this year, a terrible, rapid fire completely destroyed the farmhouse of her closest friends in Xiberoa, whom she had known for nearly forty years. Luckily the fire began in the evening and not in the middle of the night. Both family members and all livestock survived the blaze. The community and the province rallied behind the family in extraordinary ways that reflect core rural Basque values, especially mutual aid. Local people at once took food, clothing, and household items to the town hall for the family’s use. The community also opened a bank account for them to which many donations have been made. Local people also organized a kantaldi, or singing festival, for the family in a nearby village. The spirit of the lehen aizoa, first neighbors, endures!

Professor Ott is quite the inspiration for us all. We look forward to reading your new book and the fruits of your new endeavors.

For now, check out War, Exile, Justice, and Everyday Life, 1936-1946,  edited by Dr. Ott: http://basquebooks.myshopify.com/collections/books-by-title/products/war-exile-justice-and-everyday-life-1936-1946

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Joseba Zulaika: Faculty News Roundup

Professor Zulaika has been busy this semester! Although he is currently working on a book on drone warfare, he has had the time to publish several articles. “The Real and the Bluff: On the Ontology of Terrorism” was published in the Routledge Handbook of Critical Terrorism Studies, while “El ogro de la realidad” was written as an Epilogue to P. Eser and S. Peters, El atentado contra Carrero Blanco como lugar de (no-) memoria. In Anthropology News’ June edition, he produced “A Tale of Two Museums.”  Finally, his paper “El mapa y el territorio: Cuestiones epistemológias y ontológicas sobre terrorismo” came out in Relaciones Internacionales.

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In the past year, Dr. Zulaika gave the keynote address “The Passion and Resurrection of a City” at the Conference titled Euskal Hiria, in Bilbao, on November 22, 2015. He then gave a talk to the Department of Anthropology at the University of the Basque Country (Donostia-San Sebastián) on January 27, 2016, entitled “The Passion of the Real.” In March, he gave a talk to the anti-drone protesters at Creech Air Base, with whom he has established  relationships for his research, entitled “Truth and the Lunatic Fringe.” He presented the paper “Images, Fantasy, and the Law: The Limits of the Nation-State and the Manufacturing of Terror” at the conference on Law and Image held in Birkbeck, University of London, in June. At the Summer University of the Basque Country (Donostia-San Sebastián), he presented “Mundu txikia mundu handitik nola ikusi eta alderantziz” at the conference on Basque Nationalism in the 21st Century.

He then took part in the ceremony establishing the William A. Douglass Chair in Basque Cultural Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with the talk “Writing Basque Violence.” For more information about this event, check out our blog post from  September.

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As part of our Fall 2016 Basque Multidisciplinary Seminar Series, Dr. Zulaika presented on his current research, comparing drone warfare to hunting and desire, talking us through his research methods and theories, and providing a captivating analysis of the way warfare is experienced. We look forward to reading your work Professor Zulaika!

Don’t forget to check out That Old Bilbao Moon for a fascinating look at the city of Bilbao.

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