Category: Center Grad Student Research Topics (page 1 of 2)

Basques abroad

It is hard to believe I am finally here in the Basque Country.  I’m tempted to say that I’ve waited a long time to get here to Euskalherria to start my fieldwork, but that wouldn’t be a completely accurate statement.  I could even say with some certainty that this year’s work and life in the Basque Country will represent both a reduction and culmination of my life’s interests and experiences, however, that would be limiting to the extensions of those same interests which lead me here:  languages, culture, wine, travel, food, diversity, and making connections with people around the world.  So, before sharing the amazing experiences I’ve already had while studying here, I would like to highlight those which were had before my arrival to the Basque Country this January.

Knowing I would be conducting fieldwork here for a whole year, I wanted to take advantage of the time and opportunity to travel to South America with my father.  In 2014, I spent an amazing time learning about the production and wine-making process in Casablanca, Chile.  With so much Basque heritage there, I was delighted to discover that the Basque diaspora still held its roots firmly planted in this South American country.  Finding the popular Basque wine called Chacoli was an adventure I won’t forget (see previous blog to read more about Chacoli in South America), discovering the ways in which a culture can change and be maintained across the globe.  But before returning to Chile, my dad and I checked out some Basque culture in Argentina.

I had come to know of a Basque restaurant from a man who had wandered into the Center for Basque Studies  before my departure.  He told me about his family and how one of them had started a restaurant in Buenos Aires.  I mentioned I’d be heading there soon, so he gave me the information to find Leiketio.  The food and drink which combined aspects of both Basque and Latin American cuisine were amazing. However, the most satisfying part of the meal was being able to use the little Basque I had acquired from the previous summer to speak to a server who had recently moved from the Basque Country.

My second encounter with Basque culture in South America happened after my dad had returned to the US, and I had moved on for my second visit to Chile.  I was in the beautiful, historic town of Valparaiso, listening to music and enjoying the warmer weather when a couple had passed me speaking Basque.  I started talking to them and found out they were the band Niña Coyote and Chico Tornado (and very well known I might add in the Basque Country! See below for a clip of their music).  Also turns out the family of one of the members lived on the same street that I currently live now here in Euskalherria!

Just goes to show that si, el mundo es un pañuelo! Hau bai mundu txikia! It’s a small world!

I hope to keep making these cross-cultural connections over the next year here.  Stay tuned for more adventures in fieldwork from here in Euskalherria!

 

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

Fall 2016 Basque Multidisciplinary Seminar Series

We would like to invite you to attend the Center for Basque Studies’ Fall 2016 Basque Multidisciplinary Seminar Series. It is usually held every Wednesday at 5:00 PM at the Basque Studies Conference Room (MIKC 305), located at UNR’s Knowledge Center. We are delighted to present graduate student and faculty research interests, recent publications, and upcoming graduate dissertations.

The first two lectures were held on October 10 and 12, kicking off the series with Edurne Arostegui’s presentation on “The Creation of Basque-American Identity,” which is part of her dissertation topic. Dr. Louis Forline, professor of Anthropology at UNR, then gave a talk on “Anthropological Perspectives on Race and Identity in Brazil and the U.S.” As you can see, the topics are varied in content, giving graduate students and faculty the chance to present on research in progress. It’s a great way to get to know what we’re up to at the CBS and in UNR’s community more broadly.

Tomorrow, October 19 at 4:30, Dr. Pedro J. Oiarzabal will be giving a talk entitled “The Fighting Basques Project: Basques of Nevada in W.W.II,” based on research by Guillermo Tabernilla, a military historian from the Sancho de Beurko Association. It deals with Basque participation in the U.S. armed forces during World War II, and has  recently been published in Saibigain, available at the following website: http://www.fightingbasques.net/en-us/Saibigain-Magazine

Dr. Oiarzabal is a researcher at the Pedro Arrupe Human Rights Institute at the University of Deusto and holds the Jon Bilbao Research Fellowship on the Basque Diaspora at UNR. He also coordinates, alongside Nerea Mujika, the director of the Institute for Basque Studies at Deusto, the “Ondare Bizia” or Living Heritage Project. For more information visit:  http://dkh.deusto.es/en/community/ondarebizia

Check out the poster for upcoming lectures. We look forward to seeing you there!

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CBS students presenting at the Galena Creek Visitor Center: Don’t miss out!

Join CBS students Amaia Iraizoz, Kerri Lesh and Edurne Arostegui at the Galena Creek Visitor Center (http://www.galenacreekvisitorcenter.org/) this Sunday, October 16, from 10-11AM,  as they present on various aspects of Basque migration, return and diaspora. The event is open to the public and will give attendees the chance to not only learn more about the Basques, but also get an inside look into three of the Center’s graduate students’ research.

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Arostegui will kick off the presentation, talking about Basque migration in general, but focusing on the Basque experience in the West and how they got there. Iraizoz will then speak about certain cases of return migration to the Aezkoa Valley, in Navarre. Lesh brings the presentation to the present, discussing aspects of cultural maintenance in the diaspora through Basque gastronomy. All three bring their expertise on these subjects, as they are pursuing them for the doctoral dissertations.

For more information, please visit: https://allevents.in/reno/the-history-and-culture-of-basque-sheepherders-in-the-great-basin/303664853352059

The Reno Basque Monument

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It has finally come to the time of semester when projects and deadlines are are among us and the end is in sight.  I, along with a few other students in the Center for Basque Studies, are preparing to head to the Basque Country.  Iker Saitua has graduated (and is now Dr. Saitua), Ziortza is returning home for the summer to be with family, and I am heading over for some intensive language learning in the small town of Lazkao, Gipuzkoa.

In addition to getting out with my dog Mowgli in the nicer weather we’ve been having here lately, I thought it would be appropriate to visit the Reno Basque Monument in preparation to bridge the gap from where I’ve been living and studying for the last year and a half, and the real deal.  On the way to hiking to the “N” which can be seen from many parts of Reno,

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I stopped to see the map of settlements, the monument itself and the list of names …

IMG_1508basque in us

 

Nestor Basterretxea Arzadun was the Basque artist who helped design the Basque Monument titled Solitude.  He also worked closely with other Basque artists, largely on the topic of emptiness within Basque culture and identity.

Emily Lobsenz captured Nestor’s story shortly before his death, on video in her film Song of the Basques.

 

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Living in Reno and seeing the local Basque-American culture has prepped me for the next year when I finally am able to experience first-hand all that I’ve learned since starting the program here at the Center for Basque Studies.  While I expect there to be many similarities between the two spaces, I know there will be a world of difference.

Here’s to the Basque Country-see you soon!

 

 

 

Two Center Grad Students Win UNR Graduate Student Scholarship Awards

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Center graduate students Kerri Lesh (left) and Ziortza Gandarias (right) are all smiles after receiving Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship awards!

We are proud to announce that not one but two of the Center’s graduate students, Ziortza Gandarias and Kerri Lesh, were awarded Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarships by the Graduate Student Association of the university. The Graduate Student Association offers the Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship to outstanding, full-time graduate students. The award is judged strictly upon a personal statement, scholarly work, and extracurricular activities completed during enrollment in degree programs as a University of Nevada, Reno graduate student.

Zorionak!!!!

Amaia Iraizoz presents on “The Diaspora and the Perception of the Basques in the American Press”

On February 25th, Amaia Iraizoz, a grad student at the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies, presented at the Universidad de Navarra‘s Tecnun campus in Donostia-San Sebastian (that has an exchange with the University of Nevada, Reno).  She spoke on the Diaspora and the Perception of the Basques in the American Press.

The presentation was given within the class of Basque Language and Culture, which is offered by the Department of Basque Language and Culture at the University.

Amaia will be returning to write her dissertation next school year after completing her fieldwork.  We miss you Amaia and hope you are doing well!

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CBS students and faculty to participate in the Annual CLAGS symposium

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This weekend, February 26th and 27th, both students and faculty will be involved in the College of Liberal Arts Graduate Symposium (CLAGS).  The presentations will focus on “Re/Considering (In)humanity/ies”. All four of us, Iker Saitua, Ziortza Gandarias, Horohito Norhatan, and myself will be presenting while some of the faculty will help in moderating the panels.  This is an exciting year for the symposium as we have Prof. Beauvais Lyons as the Keynote, presenting  “Prank Theory” on Friday night from 7:00-8:00 pm (reception prior to and following presentation) which is open to the public.  He will also be putting on a workshop Saturday morning from 10:30-11:30 am on the main floor of the Knowledge Center.

Check out the weekend schedule and more information by visiting:

CLAGS homepage

 

Getting ready to “Euskaraz Bizi” in Lazkao

This semester, I have entered the second year of coursework at the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies.  Part of my current goals before finishing the PhD program are to learn the Basque language.  So, this semester, I have started making plans to spend the summer in Lazkao, which is in the Goierri region of the province of Gipuzkoa, located in the Southern Basque Country.  It is here where I will spend approximately two months trying to “Euskaraz bizi”.  This is a phrase that, according to The Hammer of Witches author Begoña Echeverria ( in her article titled “For whom does language death toll?  Cautionary notes from the Basque case”), means “Live in Basque,” is something that I am approaching with optimism, but also a little anxiousness.  After all, as the schedule reads, I will be spending approximately eight hours a day learning Basque in an immersion-style house called a barnetegi.  I will also eat, sleep, and hopefully start to dream in Euskera.  As of right now, I am using some of the Center’s books for learning Basque, including our English-Basque and Basque to English dictionary.

Maizpide

Maizpide Basque School, Lazkao, Gipuzkoa.

While there, I hope to travel north about an hour (depending on mode of transportation) to visit Donostia-San Sebastian, seeing as how it is a European Capital of Culture for 2016. Hopefully I will be able to share my experiences upon my return…wish me luck!

The ethnic bonding of Basque immigrant workers in the American West

In my paper for the recent 50th Conference of the Western Literature Association in Reno, under the title “From ‘Black Bascos’ to ‘White’ Subjects: Basque Sheepherders and Racial Narratives in the American West,” I explored how Basque immigrants learned their place in the new country. From experiencing exclusion and discrimination to an assimilation and legitimization process between the interwar and post-WWII periods, Basque ranch workers in the sheep business consciously pursued adaptive strategies that emphasized their identity with the Anglo-population. In this paper (part of my present doctoral dissertation that I will complete next Spring 2016), I analyzed how the increasing importance of race became a crucial element in the transformation and consolidation of the Basque immigrant community in the West.

You can follow my research on Academia and LinkedIn.

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A Basque sheepherder. Dangberg Ranch, Douglas County, Nevada. 1940. Source: Library of Congress

 

 

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