Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 10)

Etxea: Memoirs of Gernika this Friday!

Ardi Baltza Kontalari

Etxea: Memoirs of Gernika is this Friday (Nov. 2nd)! The performance starts at 7:00 pm in the Wells Fargo Auditorium (MIKC 124) of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center.  Stop by to learn about and commemorate the bombing of the Basque market town, Gernika, by Hitler’s Condor Legion and Mussolini’s Italian Air Force. Admission is free.

Click here for a clip of Ardi Baltza’s performance of Etxea: Memoirs of Gernika in Elko, NV:  https://youtu.be/YfIqQDsIY5Y

 

Basque Books Round-Up 2018

It has been another busy and exciting year for Basque publishing! The year started out with our attendance at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. Our booth there was very well-attended and we launched local Elko author Gretchen Skivington’s novel (a past winner of our Basque writing contest) Echevarria. In addition to selling the book at our booth, we also hosted an event at which the work of Joan Errea was read by your Basque books editor, Florence Frye read from her stories about growing up in Gerlach, David Romtvedt read from Zelestina Urza in Outer Space, and Gretchen presented from her new book as well. The spring continued with the publication of our director Xabier Irujo’s short history on the bombing of Gernika, The Bombing of Gernika: A Short History. The publication was celebrated in Winnemucca in conjunction with the Basque festival and NABO convention held there with another booth and with a wonderful dance performance about the bombing of Gernika by Lamoille, Nevada dancers Ardi Baltza. Ardi Baltza continued presenting the dance and the book at events in Gooding, Idaho, and Elko, Nevada, among other places.

It was with great pleasure this year that we published At Midnight by the late Javier Arzuaga. This tremendously interesting story recounts the experiences of a young Basque priest counseling to condemned prisoners in the aftermath of the 1950s Cuban revolution. It is a tremendously powerful story about doubt, faith, human kindness, and the confrontation with the eternity. In a masterful translation by Cameron J. Watson, this book is a must read!

Bertsolaritza has also been a theme of the year, with Basque bertsolariak also attending the Elko Poetry Gathering and a book forthcoming with shared articles on the oral poetry form and the experience of poetry in the Western United States. In addition, we published World Improvised Verse Singing, edited by Xabier Irujo, a collection of articles on improvised and other oral poetries from around the world.

The tenor changed with our next publication, Stories of Basque Mythology for Children, by Bakarne Atxukarro, Izaskun Zubialde, and illustrated by Asun Egurza. This delightfully and colorfully illustrated children’s book runs the gamut of classical Basque mythological tales, all translated by students from the USAC program in Donostia-San Sebastián.

In addition, a collection of article based on the conference that was held in Iceland regarding the massacre of Basque whalers there hundreds of years ago was presented, Jon Gudmundsson Laedi’s True Account and the Massacre of Basque Whalers in Iceland in 1615, edited by Xabier Irujo and Viola Miglio. The story not only talks about the Basque whalers, however, but also the Icelanders, including especially Jon Gudmundsson Laedi, who rejected their countrymen’s violence and sought to present the truth about the events far out in the Atlantic. And it will continue to be a busy fall, with the current launch of a new kind of book for us, Meggan Laxalt Mackey’s, Lekuak: The Basque Places of Boise, Idaho, this richly illustrated book tells the story of Basques in Boise from their roots in trans-Atlantic migration and the sheepherding industries to their modern contributions to the city of Boise and the state of Idaho, an influence that will continue to be felt deeply into the future. And in production is the next installment of the Basques in the United States, with many more names added; Asun Garikano’s Kaliforniakoak, a history of Basques in California; a collection of articles on German and Nazi influence in the Basque Country and Catalonia during the Civil War and World War II, and our classic, the first English translation of the diaries of the first Basque lehendakari, Jose Antonio Agirre, in a richly annotated edition, and much more.

             

CBS Faculty News 2018

Xabier Irujo participated in the commemoration of the 81th anniversary of the bombing of Gernika. As part of the events, he collaborated with the City Council of Gernika to inaugurate the “Itinerary of Memory,” a route through the most affected scenes of the raid. This consists of a tour of the eleven most significant points of the bombing, marked with several testimonies of survivors and photographs. It was an initiative that combined three paths: historical research, the testimonies of the survivors, and the possibility to see what Gernika was like before the bombing through QR. Dr. Irujo also participated in the conference “Experiment Stuka” on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the war experiments carried out by the Condor Legion in Alt Maestrat. He also co-organized three international seminars with the University of the Basque Country, the University of Barcelona, and the Public University of Navarre. Dr. Irujo addressed the Parliament of Uruguay as part of the events that took place during the III. Seminar on Basque Studies in Montevideo. He gave thirty lectures during the spring and summer semesters. His 2018 book 778 on the battle of Rencesvals/Errozabal had a wide media impact this summer in the Basque Country. He was invited to give the keynote lecture on this topic by the Orreaga Association in Pamplona and in Errozabal.

In 2017, William Douglass published an article on immigration policy (“Gizon bikarti baten mamuak”) in a book on the Trump administration (Trump amesgaizto amerikarra) edited by Arantxa Elizegi Egilegor. In 2018 he was interviewed by Las Vegas Public Television for a “Basques of Nevada” program in their Nevada Outdoors series. On May 18, 2018, he presented former Basque President, Jan José Ibarretxe, as the lecturer for the Second Annual William A. Douglass Annual Lecture in Basque Cultural Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. On August 22 he addressed the 25thannual dinner of the Estate Planning Council of Northern Nevada at Louis’ Basque Corner, Reno, on the subject of “Basques in Nevada.” He was also interviewed by Yvonne Gonzalez for her article entitled “Q+A Expert Discusses Basque History, Culture in Nevada” that appeared in the August 25 issue of the Las Vegas Sunnewspaper. On September 7 he gave an address on immigration in Agnone, Isernia (Italy) on the occasion of the book presentation of the second edition of his work L’emigrazione in un paese dell’Italia meridionale: Agnone tra storia e antropologia(Isernia: Cosmo Iannone Editore, 2018). While in Agnone, Douglass was interviewed by Radio Euskadi (via Skype) for its coverage on September 8 of the Day of the Diaspora in the Basque Country.

During the Spring semester Joseba Zulaika has been on sabbatical with the purpose of finishing his manuscript on drone warfare. Hehas published the following articles: “What Do You Want? Evidence and Fantasy in the War on Terror,” in Mark Maguire and Ursula Rao, eds. Bodies as Evidence. Yale University Press);  “La última cena,” “Cenizas y rosas,” In Carles Guerra, ed., La paz aplazada. Documentos y ensayos en torno a una exposición. Barcelona: Fundació Antoni Tàpies; (with Anna Maria Guasch), “The Gaur Group in the Context of Post-War Basque Art: The Test of Modernity,” in Jacques Battesti, Gaur, 1966: L’Art Basque sous le Franquisme—Resistance et Avant-Garde. Bayonne: Musee basque et de l’histoire de Bayonne; “Self-Fulfillling Prophecy,” Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, 2nd Edition. During the months of February and March, Zulaika taught a course on the Bilbao-Guggenheim Museum at the University of Liverpool. On March 8, he gave a public lecture on “City, Architecture, and Labyrinth” at the University of Liverpool. On May 14, he lectured on “The Architecture of Borderless Drone Warfare” at a symposium on “The City and Other Policies” organized by Tabakalera, San Sebastian. On June 22, Zulaika also gave a public lecture in Itziar, “The Beginning and End of ETA,” with the occasion of 40 years after he began his fieldwork on Basque political violence.

On July 1, 2018, Sandy Ott was promoted to full Professor at UNR. In 2018, she published two book reviews: The Pyrenees in the Modern Era: Reinvention of aLandscape, 1775-2012 (London & New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018), 276 pp., for H-France Review, and a review of Diary of the Dark Years, 1940-1944 by Jean Guéhenno (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 304 pp., for H-France Review. She did two podcasts about her book, Living with the Enemy: German Occupation, Collaboration, and Justice in the Western Pyrenees, 1940-1948 (Cambridge University Press, 2017): one for Historica (which focuses on the history of Spain) and another for the German Studies Review. She continues to serve as Interim Chair of Communication Studies (since July 2017).  In the Spring of 2018, she received the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Service in the College of Liberal Arts. This Fall, Ott is teaching a course on “Basque Culture” with 32 students—none of whom has any Basque connections. They have learned a few Basque words and later this month will be treated to some singing by Louis Irigaray. Students will also hear about his experiences growing up as a Basque American in California. As Sandy says to her students, “since I can’t fly you all to the Basque Country, I’ll do my best to bring Basque culture into our classroom.” During the summer, Ott started a new research project in the Departmental Archives of Baiona and in the National Archives in Paris: the experiences of Jews in Iparralde and Bearn during the German Occupation and in the post-liberation years. She is working on the spoliation of Jewish property by Vichy and the Germans and the attempted restitution of such property by Jewish survivors of the Holocaust in the post-liberation years.

Mariann Vaczi`s recent publications include “Football, the Beast and the Sovereign: The Politics of Joking Relationships in Spain” in the journal of anthropology Ethnos, where she addresses fan protests against Spanish state symbols at soccer games. Given the salience of anthem protests at sport events in the US as well, the New York Times interviewed Dr. Vaczi in April 2018 for its cover of the Spanish King`s Cup final. She has served as editor to a monographic special issue titled Sport, Identity and Nationalism in the Hispanic Worldat the Journal of Iberian and Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies(SIBA), including two of her own contributions in a roster of 13 authors. In 2018, Dr. Vaczi finalized additional publication projects about sport in the Basque Country and Eastern Europe, forthcoming and published in the journals Revista de Dialectología y Tradiciones Populares, and Communication & Sport. Dr. Vaczi`s book review of CBS colleague Sandy Ott`s Living with the Enemy (2017) is forthcoming at the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. At the invitation of Routledge, Dr. Vaczi is editing a volume with the title Sport and Secessionism with Alan Bairner from Loughborough University, convoking 17 authors from diverse contexts across the globe. Most importantly, she is eager to finish her second ethnographic monograph, this time on sport and the Catalan independence movement. Besides her classes about Basque culture and transnationalism, Dr. Vaczi has also developed a course called “Sport and Society from a Global Perspective,” which she will teach in Spring 2019.

 

From Cataluña to Euskadi: An interview with Mikel and Fatima

Ever wonder what life is like on a vineyard in the middle of a mountain in the Basque Country?
A Catalan interviewer spent a couple days with Fatima and Mikel to find out what their lives are like living in a baserri on a vineyard that produces the Basque wine, txakoli. Conducting the interview mostly in Spanish, he introduces viewers to the couple’s lives as they talk about how they met, what life is like together in their baserri, the work that takes place in the vineyard, and how a meal is prepared inside a gastronomic society.
This interview is especially meaningful to me as I spent a couple months of my research year living with Mikel and Fatima in a tiny neighborhood up the hill from the town of Elorrio. While I was conducting interviews and learning Euskara, they allowed me into their lives, sharing their home, language, food, and knowledge with me during my stay. This couple has an amazing story and they are generous enough to share it with so many people.
So, kick back with your coffee (or Basque beverage of choice) to enjoy the first 30 minutes of this segment that gives us a peek into the lives of two people who continue to open their home, sharing what life is like for them in the Basque Country.

At Midnight: Book Review by William A. Douglass

A few years ago I was co-organizer in Havana of a conference that eventuated in the publication of the book entitled Basques in Cuba (2016).  My collaborator was a famed political exile and extraordinary figure in Basque letters, Joseba Sarrionandia. In addition to our conference we were working on an English-language translation of his poetry. That anthology is now completed and should be published within the next several months (our working title is “Prisons and Exiles”). But that is another story.

Joseba insisted at the time that I consider arranging for English translation and publication by the Center for Basque Studies a book entitled A medianoche by a Basque former priest Javier Arzuaga. I read it as a favor and was dumbfounded. Arzuaga was the priest of the parish that included La Cabaña fortress, presided over by Che and the site of show trials, brief imprisonment and then execution of certain officials in the army and government of Fulgencio Batista. For the first four months of the process, Arzuaga was permitted to accompany condemned men for the few hours before their extermination. He was present at fifty-five executions before suffering a nervous breakdown.

Arzuaga describes his encounters with Che and Fidel, as well as his own evolution as a supporter of the revolution to critic of it. He provides extraordinary human profiles of the revolutionary officials conducting the proceedings, as well as of several of the condemned men. Particularly riveting was his internal crisis of conscience, since Arzuaga had become estranged from the Catholic hierarchy (he eventually left the priesthood) and doubted the very message of redemption and an afterlife that he employed to console the doomed men.

As a 78-year-old writer in the twilight of a lengthy career, I cannot begin to estimate how many books I have read—certainly thousands. Yet I can say that none has been more disturbing or memorable than At Midnight.

Paul Laxalt Dead at 96

Paul Laxalt, born in Carson City, Nevada, on August 2, 1922, died on August 5, 2018 at the age of 96. Laxalt served as both the Governor of Nevada (1967-1971) and a United States Senator (1975-1987), and was involved in politics throughout his life, serving also as a chairman of Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaigns and working with Reagan to clean up Lake Tahoe.

Laxalt went to college at Santa Clara University in California, then enlisted in the Army in World War II as a medic. Under the G.I. Bill, he went on to the University of Denver to earn his law degree. In 1950, Laxalt was elected Ormsby County’s (in northwestern Nevada, which contains Carson City) district attorney and served for one term. Laxalt was elected lieutenant governor in 1962.

10/6/1983 President Reagan Nancy Reagan Paul Laxalt Bob Michel Corrine Michel and Carol Laxalt watch the Performance by Oak Ridge Boys during the Barbecue for Members of Congress on the South Lawn by Reagan Presidential Library via Wikimedia Commons

10/6/1983 President Reagan Nancy Reagan Paul Laxalt, Bob Michel, Corrine Michel, and Carol Laxalt watch the Performance by Oak Ridge Boys during the Barbecue for Members of Congress on the South Lawn by Reagan Presidential Library via Wikimedia Commons

Laxalt was the brother of Robert Laxalt, who was the author of Sweet Promised Land, a groundbreaking novel for Basque culture in the United States, and the grandfather of Nevada’s Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt, who is now running for Governor of Nevada.

 

Dr. Sandra Ott’s Living with the Enemy Featured on Historias Podcast

Dr. Sandra Ott

Dr. Sandra Ott

Dr. Sandra Ott, a professor here at The Center for Basque Studies, was a guest on the most recent episode of Historias, a podcast about Spanish history hosted by Foster Chamberlin, who holds a PhD from University of California, San Diego in modern European history. This episode of Historias is about the subject of Nazi occupation in the Basque Country during World War II, Ott talks about her book Living with the Enemy: German Occupation, Collaboration and Justice in the Western Pyrenees, 1940-1948which was published by Cambridge University in 2017 and how the German occupation in the 1940s affected the Basque people’s way of life.  The conversation between Chamberlin and Ott is full of stories about oppression, daring resistance, and everything from political conflict to how the occupation affected family relations. It is truly a fascinating episode. To check out the episode click the following link: https://bit.ly/2D5IpDH

Diaspora Day

The very first Diaspora Day was held last Saturday, September 8th, a date designated by the Basque government because the date coincides with the first global circumnavigation in 1522 by Juan Sebastian Elkano and his crew.

People posing by Basque monument in Reno, Nevada  People gathering around

The day focuses on the Basque diaspora and different Basque organizations and communities would each find a way to celebrate. The idea is to bring more attention and celebrate the Basque diaspora. The Reno diaspora decided to do a walk from the Basque Sheepherder Monument to the Sheepherder Exhibit. To learn more about Diaspora Day and how it came into being, check out the blog post by Kate Camino on the new holiday: https://bit.ly/2CH80Tn.

Photo of Basque monument by Inaki Arrieta Baro

Photos by Inaki Arrieta Baro

Congrats to Ziortza Gandarias Beldarrain on Completing her PhD Defense!

On August 30th, the committee of Dr. Xabier Irujo, Dr. Mari Jose Olazregi, Dr. Justin Glifford, Dr. Mario Santana, Dr. Joseba Zulaika, Dr. Meredith Oda and Dr. Sandra Ott all gathered to hear PhD student, Ziortza Gandarias Beldarrain’s PhD defense. When asked to explain her dissertation, Ziortza explained “The cultural magazine Euzko-Gogoa was undoubtedly an emblematic leader in the history of the Basque press and a symbol of the resurgence of the Basque language and nation during Franco’s dictatorship. However, there is very little academic research on the contribution that Basque literature in exile made to the secularization and modernization of Basque literature, and even less research about the magazine published in English. Euzko-Gogoa, since its beginnings, played an important role in the Basque culture. The symbolic, idealistic and vocational understanding of culture, which was characteristic of the 1950’s, created such a vital and dynamic movement that it is almost impossible to talk about the Basque cultural renaissance of the 1960’s without properly examining this magazine. The impact of exile was instrumental in the process of planting the seeds for future nation building. With a country defeated and its culture outlawed, it was in the diaspora where the Basque nation could be rebuilt and re-imagined. Euzko-Gogoa created a foundation of ideas that would serve to maintain the dialogue of a desired community while maintaining and developing the Basque language and culture. This dissertation acknowledges the exceptional nature of exile and its impact in the character/identity of the magazine.” The once grad student, passed with flying colors, and is now headed to Boise State University for a lectureship.

Dr. Ziortza Gandarias Beldarrain

Dr. Ziortza Gandarias Beldarrain

When I asked Ziortza about how she chose her topic for her dissertation she said, “I admire believers, dreamers and the ones that fight for impossibilities to make a better world. I realized that the cultural projects made in exile/diaspora were many times made by these unlikely heroes that defended actions and projects that were many times bordering fantasy and reality. Their unacceptability to succumb to impositions inspire me to write about them.” Ziortza explained how she loves fantasy, specifically J.R.R. Tolkien and in her words “envisioned myself in this imagined world where I could join the fellowship in the fight for middle earth.  So when I was teaching high school in the Basque Country I felt a yearning still for more education and opportunities. I was extremely lucky to also have met Dr. Olaziregi during my masters and she was always an amazing reference and person of inspiration. So I contacted her to see if there was an opportunity to seek out more knowledge in the Basque diaspora. The dominoes started to fall and sure enough the opportunity presented itself to leave my ‘Basque shire’ and set out on an adventure to research and share the passionate story of Euzko-Gogoa, it’s creator Jokin Zaitegi, and the amazing fellowship he created…Zaitegi was a dreamer who, despite his constant defeats, created a world for the Basque language and culture, for the next generation of Basques such as myself.”

      

Congratulations once again to Dr. Ziortza Gandarias Beldarrain on all her accomplishments and we look forward to all she will accomplish in the future!

 

Getting to Know Basque Books: Selected Basque Writings

There’s a great quote by Wilhelm von Humboldt from his study Das achtzehnte Jahrhundert (The Eighteenth Century, Gesammellte Schriften vol.2, 38) that goes: “The individual can only represent the ideal of human perfection from a single angle (i.e., from his own uniqueness). However, comparative observation of many of these partial and different representations draws us closer to a clear idea of a comprehensive view of Man.” I first came across this quote while reading Selected Basque Writings: The Basques and Announcement of a Publication by Wilhelm von Humboldt. He was talking about comparative anthropology, but I enjoy the image it provokes. That we in our own uniqueness are in ourselves a variety of human perfection, but in only one interpretation, and that it takes various perspectives and “different representations” of perfection to discover what it truly means to be human. Humboldt’s view of what it means to be human is apparent in his account of his travels through the Basque Country. Just as the quote above, it shows his value not only for the study of anthropology, but for the human experience.

Being the first English translation of Humboldt’s account of his travels to the Basque Country in 1801, these Selected Basque Writings are often praised as an essential work in the study of the Basque Country and its culture.

WIlhelm von Humboldt by RaphaelQS via Wikimedia Commons

The book is broken up into chapters, each of which describe a different area in the Basque country with vivid description, from the path into mountain wilderness in Deba to the “sea with its pyramid of mountains” in Somorrosto to the industrial sights of Victoria-Gasteiz. Not only does Humboldt describe the Basque landscape in great detail, but the Basque people, as he admires their strength and independence, as well as their ways of governing themselves with a strong sense of nationalism to their homeland. Humboldt also looks into the Basque language, dress, food, dance and many other aspects of culture.

Fiestas en la localidad de Deba by Vicente Martin via Wikimedia Commons

An incredibly insightful and interesting read, it has something for anyone interested in anthropology, politics, philosophy, history, travel or just anyone looking to better understand the Basque Country and its culture.

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