Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 8)

CBS Graduate Student Edurne Arostegui Receives Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship

CBS graduate student Edurne Arostegui receives Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship!

The Graduate Student Association offers the Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship to outstanding, full-time graduate students. The scholarship is judged based on a faculty recommendation letter, a personal statement, scholarly work, and extracurricular activities completed during enrollment in a degree program as a University of Nevada, Reno graduate student. The Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship is for $1,000. Applicants for this scholarship must be registered, full-time graduate students in good academic standing at the time of application. Applicants must be enrolled for the upcoming Fall semester in order to receive the scholarship.

Edurne also just completed her Comprehensive Exams, and as ABD, ready to go for fieldwork, and write her dissertation. Zorionak Edurne!


CBS Graduate Student Horohito Norhatan Successfully Defends PhD Dissertation

CBS grad student Horohito Norhatan defended his PhD dissertation yesterday! The title of his dissertation was “The Roles of a Basque-inspired Cooperative in the Community-based Economic Development in Cleveland, Ohio.” Based on mixed methodology including interviews and content analysis, Hito investigated how the Cleveland-based Evergreen Cooperative used the elements of the Mondragón cooperative for its various operations. The PhD committee was chaired by Xabier Irujo from the Center for Basque Studies. Other committee members included Aleksey Kolpakov (Political Science), Xiaoyu Pu (Political Science), Johnson Makoba (Sociology), Mariah Evans (College of Business), and Joseba Zulaika (CBS).

Hito will pursue another PhD degree at the Department of Political Science at UNR. Zorionak Hito, and best of luck in the future!



Interview to Kiaya Memeo about the Ardi Baltza Dantza Taldea

Interview to Kiaya Memeo 

By Xavier Irujo

When was The Ardi Baltza Dantza Taldea created and how did this initiative happen?

Ardi Baltza was created in 2013 with the purpose of inspiring younger generations to be more connected and involved with the Basque culture.

What is the aim of the group? Why was it created?

The aim of our group is to simply instill passion and create a lifelong love of the Basque culture, whether people are Basque or not.

Weaving emotion and story-telling into their performances, Ardi Baltza aims to capture the mysterious essence of Basque folklore. How is this?

Basque history is both rich in content and at times, mysterious. But, without a connection to it, we lose our sense of Basque identity. Through the various performances Ardi Baltza stages, there is always an underlying Basque story being told, whether it’s telling folktales of the old Pagan religion or more specific historical events, such as the bombing of Gernika. All members find it incredibly important in learning and passing down these stories, creating a strong emotional tie to the Basque culture.








The group pulls choreography from both traditional and contemporary Basque dance, along with other classical dance styles, right?

Correct, over the years we have built a bridge into Basque dancing with styles that encourage more youth participation in the U.S. We always respect the “traditional” steps, but are not afraid to put our contemporary twist on things. We have included modern, lyrical, contemporary and ballet in most of our performances.

Ardi Baltza endeavors to inspire future generations to continue the perpetuation and evolution of Basque dancing. How have you thought of promoting the evolution of Basque dancing? What kind of changes or innovation does Ardi Baltza suggest?

We see Basque diaspora in the U.S. as being locked down within a certain time-period that corresponds with the large Basque immigration to the states, while the Basque County itself has naturally been able to evolve over time, including dance and song. While keeping traditional dances in-tact to preserve their history is necessary, these dances will die out if they fail to connect to the younger generations. Ardi Baltza suggests that by constantly learning new dances and songs, marrying traditional with contemporary, along with constant research and knowledge of Basque history, we may find a way to both preserve and perpetuate.

Ardi Baltza has been able to promote these ideals through example, simply having the courage of performing something different than what Basque diaspora in the U.S. deems “traditional” and even “Basque” itself.

Where has Ardi Baltza been featured?

Ardi Baltza has been featured at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, on the TV series “State Plate”, Basque Cultural Day in San Fransisco, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Boise’s 2015 Jaialdi, and multiple Basque Festivals in the U.S.

What are your plans for the future?

We definitely have our sights set on traveling outside of the U.S. to further our understanding of the Basque culture. We want to experience as much as we can together as a group. Through education, observation, participation and even humanitarian efforts, Ardi Baltza looks forward to an ever-evolving future!

Where can we see Ardi Baltza perform next?

Ardi Baltza will be putting on a fundraiser performance during the NABO convention in Winnemucca on June 8th, 2018. The performance is entitled: Etxea, Memoirs of Gernika. The show features multiple eyewitness accounts of the tragic bombings of Gernika paired with the contemporary and lyrical dance styles of Ardi Baltza. For tickets and more information please visit us on our Facebook page. @ardibaltza 


Martin Hotel: Second Location in Carson City

Martin Hotel to Add Second Location in Carson City

Martin HotelThe Martin Hotel in Winnemucca will now open a second location in Carson City. The restaurant’s owner, John Arant, told the Nevada Appeal that Carson City and the Martin would make a good match. The Carson venue will feature the same menu as the Winnemucca restaurant, and the dining rooms will also be identical, including photographs by Linda Dufurrena, and paintings by Gordy Glazier and Teddy Swecker. Arant expects to employ 25 people or so at his new locale. More information about the new restaurant is available in this article in the Nevada Appeal. On Egin!

CBS professor Sandy Ott`s new book gets great reception: Listen to Podcast, read review!

“Succeeds beautifully in describing and analyzing the relations between German occupiers and Basques in a place that in some significant ways stands apart from other regions in France. She brings to life the dramatic and complicated ‘hidden’ story of the German occupation and Vichy collaboration in the Basque Country. Ott`s compelling narrative and thoughtful conclusions nuance what we know about French collaboration with the Nazis during the Vichy years.” John Merriman, Yale University

CBS professor Sandy Ott`s book was recently published by Cambridge University Press, and is getting great reception.

In post-liberation France, the French courts judged the cases of more than one hundred thousand people accused of aiding and abetting the enemy during the Second World War. In her book, Sandy Ott uncovers the hidden history of collaboration in the Pyrenean borderlands of the Basques in southwestern France through nine stories of human folly, uncertainty, ambiguity, ambivalence, desire, vengeance, duplicity, greed, self-interest, opportunism and betrayal. Covering both the occupation and liberation periods, she reveals how the books characters became involved with the occupiers for a variety of reasons, ranging from a desire to settle scores and to gain access to power, money and material rewards, to love, friendship, fear and desperation. These wartime lives and subsequent postwar reckonings provide us with a new lens through which to understand human behavior under the difficult conditions of occupation, and the subsequent search for retribution and justice.

New Books in German Studies created a Podcast interview with Sandy about her work as an anthropologist in the Pyrenees, which goes back to the 1970s; the inception of the idea of the book; her methods, and her relationship with the subjects of her studies. Listen to the interview below:

Furthermore, Shannon L. Fogg from Missouri University of Science and Technology wrote a great review about Living with the Enemy in German Studies Review. As Fogg concludes,

“Living with the Enemy provides a rich and nuanced view of daily life in the French Basque Country and raises interesting questions about postwar justice. Ott does not shy away from the complexity of wartime interactions and explores the complicated, multifaceted, and ambiguous motivations that lay beneath Franco-German relationships. Drawing on historical and ethnographic methods, Sandra Ott has mined the trial dossiers for what they can tell us about the past, but she is also careful to acknowledge their limits. Her own voice as an anthropologist, one who has maintained relationships with Basque locals stretching back to 1976, adds another layer to her analysis and demonstrates the enduring memories of World War II. The end result is a regional study that contributes ‘greatly to our understanding of the choices people made and the factors that motivated them’ (6), as well as to our ideas about collaboration and cohabitation during the war.”

Read the rest of the review here:

Dr. Ott also received full professorship at the University of Nevada, Reno.

ZORIONAK, Sandy, for your book, interview, review, and for your full professorship!

Boise State Conference 2018: Memory & Emotion.


Image result for boise state memory and emotion

Between March 15-18 some of us from the CBS attended the Conference organized at Boise State University by the Department of World Languages: the 1st International Cultural Studies Conference, organized by the professors Nere Lete and Larraitz Ariznabarreta. The Conference’s main theme was Memory and Emotion. Women Stories: Constructing Meaning from Memory.


Dr. Xabier Irujo and PhD Student Edurne Arostegi from the Center for Basque Studies

The Conference was divided into different panels and exhibitions. On Thursday, the main panels were “Autobiography as Abode,” “Bodies and Spaces of Violence” and the Exhibit “Gernika: Voices after the Bombs” that was exhibited in the Boise Basque Museum by Xabier Irujo, on loan from our very own Jon Bilbao Basque Library. Friday’s main panels were “(Basque) Diaspora and Beyond” and “Trauma and Liminal Spaces-Between Memory and Oblivion.” The weekend panel was “The Circle of Memory, Emotion, and Gender,” a panel that embraced two art exhibits such as “Step Into my Past: Life in a Basque Neighborhood” by the painter Frank Goitia, as well as Alejandra Regalado’s, “In Reference To” that was followed by a Community Panel Discussion. Later that evening, the participants celebrated the event with the Boise Basque community with dinner at the Basque Center. The last day March 18, the main panel was “History as Motif-Retelling Narratives.”.


Artists and Exhibits

Visiting scholar Maitane Junguitu Dronda speaks about Basque animation and her work in Reno

Does Basque animation cinema exist? Sure it does. Then why don’t we know about it?

Maitane Junguitu Dronda is a PhD candidate at the department of Audiovisual Communication and Advertising at the University of the Basque Country (EHU-UPV). She currently lives in Reno, and does her internship in the Jon Bilbao Library. Her research area is Basque animation in the cinematographic industry.

Maitane`s lecture started out with the questions above, and revisited the most important episodes and figures in the development of Basque animation, with special attention to the vulnerable position of animation among the genres of cinematography. In spite of the fact that we socialize our children on animation, by adulthood we watch less of it, which is why the genre struggles to survive in both its short and feature film formats. Maitane distinguished between two approaches. Experimental animation marked the evolution of this genre in the Basque Country, used traditional methods of painting, and its main representatives were Balerdi and Sistiaga. Commercial animation developed through the foundational work of Juanba Berasategi. Maitane highlighted that, while several analyses have been published in recent years about Basque cinema, animation is painfully neglected at best, and totally absent at worst. She emphasized the role of governmental programs such as Kimuak, initiated by the Basque Government, to select, promote and disseminate the products of Basque cinematographic industry.


“I visited the Center for Basque Studies of the University of Nevada in 2014 as a visiting scholar. When I left Reno, I felt that I must return in the future. The Global Training Program offered by the Basque Government and the University of the Basque Country gave me the opportunity to return to the USA, and complete my international experience. Now I´m in the Jon Bilbao Basque Library learning from the Basque Librarian Iñaki Arrieta. I help him and our students take care of the collections and the archive. I also help library users, including the international scholars that are visiting us. I am very glad I had the opportunity to share my work with UNR students and faculty. In this lecture, spoke about the bibliographical resources that I use in my PhD. In fact, there are not many publications about the topic I study, that is, commercial animation cinema made in the Basque Country. My goal is to create a specific bibliography that may help people learn about certain films that are not really known either in the Basque Country, or beyond it.”

Kimuak, of which the Center for Basque Studies will publish a monograph next year, features several animation short films, some of which have earned extraordinary success. We briefly feature here two works by Begoña Vicario and Isabel Herguera.

Begoña Vicario is a most seminal figure of Basque animation not only because of the works she produces, but also because she teaches the new generations of animation at the University of the Basque Country. Vicario`s experimental animation addresses social themes such as organ traffic or common graves. Her stories are born from personal experience that push her to tell a story. Her visual imagery is characterized by a search for constant movement, textual metamorphosis, and it is combined with intense soundtrack. The objective of her work is to explore emotions.

Her animation Ask For Me (1996) won the Goya Award (something like the “Spanish Oscar”) for Best Animation Short Film in 1997. Watch it here!


Isabel Herguera`s visual style recovers the spirit of the schematic era of children`s drawing. It is through this innocent imaginary that she narrates profoundly human stories about blindness, madness or AIDS, and she does so as if they were a trip to another world. Her Blindman’s Bluff  (2005) was nominated for best animation short film at the Goya Awards in 2006. Watch it at the link below!




Monday Movies: “Game,” and Female Film Makers in Basque Cinema

Ione Hernández  takes inspiration from an anecdote that film maker Luiso Berdejo told her from his childhood. In this story, she reflects about the belief in the weight of destiny, and the possibility of freeing oneself from it.

Lying in bed, Laura (María Vallesteros) is writing a letter to Adrián (Daniel Grao), her former boyfiend, from London. A poetic flashback takes us back to the childhood of the main character (César de Juan) and his sister Helena (Elisa Drabben), who travel in a car with their parents. To entertain them, the father (Álex Pastor) proposes a game: the next boy or girl that they see will be their future husband or wife. Roberto approaches with his scooter and passes by the car. Helena protests angrily because she doesn`t like the boy. Adrián`s look meets with that of Laura, a girl who is older than him. The action then returns to the present.

Hernández, one of the few female film makers in the Basque cinematographic industry, says this about women and cinema:

We are a minority. There are very few female directors. Besides, it seems like men`s stories generate more interest at the structural, thematic and other levels. It is difficult to direct, whether you are a man or a woman. But for us women it is a bit more complicated. If you want to direct, become a mother, and find fulfillment in life, you must make great sacrifices because of the time it requires from you. I am essentially a defender of good cinema. When you make a film, you express something very much from within. And if you are a woman, there will be an important part of this essence or this quality that will stay in your work. It is impossible not to appreciate feminine elements in the work of a woman. Nevertheless, there are also men who have this feminine quality, and women who are very masculine. In artistic creation, you have to connect rather more with your emotional side. At the end of the day, creation takes place on the basis of emotions.

Meet visiting researcher Aitziber Etxebarria Usategi from the Government of Bizkaia

The Government of Bizkaia has an collaboration agreement with the University of Nevada in order to promote, and research about the Basque Economic Agreement and its relationship with the current federal tax system in the United States. This year, Aitziber has been selected to do this research. Aitziber works for the Government of Bizkaia as an expert in tax collection. She has been working there for 15 years doing different jobs, all of them always connected with taxes. Aitziber aims to compare US estate, inheritance and gift taxes with their Basque equivalent in the light of the differences between the two countries. She plans to write an article about her research in Nevada, to be published with seven other chapters in a book edited by the Center for Basque Studies next year.

 Aitziber arrived on the 26th of February, and is leaving on the 24th of May.

All I can say is that I’ve met very friendly people who gave me a great welcome and that I’m very happy to be here. I’m having a great time in Reno! These weeks I’ve been getting to know Reno. I’ve explored, among other places, the downtown area, the casinos, and Rancho San Rafael Park. I’ve been advised to go visit Pyramid Lake, Black Rock Desert, Virginia City and, of course, Tahoe Lake. I’m also planning a trip to Napa Valley, Yosemite, San Francisco, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. They are going to be very busy days!

What I like the most of Reno is its light. It is very sunny and that light makes everything look magical. People are very friendly as well. They don’t mind being asked for help and they are always very kind and helpful. It’s a good place to live!
Ongi etorri Aitziber!

Special issue of SIBA about sport, identity and nationalism with a Basque accent

The Journal of Iberian and Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies SIBA highlights, among other sporting cultures, Basque sport and politics in its latest special issue, edited by CBS professor Mariann Vaczi.

From Marxism to fascism across the ideological palette, sport has engaged politics and power in diverse ways. Nationalism, nation-building and identity construction through physical culture has become a prominent research subject for social science.  Sport studies have integrated and complemented the most significant theoretical currents and conceptual toolkits of mainstream sociology, history, political science and anthropology. This special issue deploys these approaches in an Iberian and Latin-American context. The authors examine sport, nationalism and sub-national identities; colonialism and post-colonialism; race-relations and indigenous politics; sport in authoritarian regimes, and the use of sport to break with European roots in quest of South American nationhood and identities. The concept of “sport” is understood here quite broadly: activities that have competitive dimensions and/or involve strenuous, ritualized, rule-driven or choreographed physical activity. Crossbreeding sporting elements with other realms of culture such as art and ritual, as with the bullfight; or cognition and logic, as with chess; or folklore, as with human tower building, only yield more exciting and exact conclusions about their social and political embeddedness.

For the entire open access issue, see

Here’s a brief review of the contributions that have Basque relevance in national and sub-national political contexts.

A Panther Among Lions: Iñaki Williams, Race and Basque Identity at Athletic Club de Bilbao

By Mariel Aquino (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Basques are a heavily ethnicized people due to their ancient, obscure, and insular origins: in his 1950s BBC series “Orson Welles Around the World,” the American director presents them as “the Red Indians of Europe.”

Never, however, had Basqueness been conceived in terms of Blackness until the first prominent black soccer player was signed by Athletic Club de Bilbao.

Aquino explores the integration of Iñaki Williams in the club, and how it produced the symbolic, if not necessarily real, inclusion of African immigrant communities within Basque identity. The integration of non-white players in European national teams has gained considerable media attention for the past decade, “signaling as it does,” Aquino writes in her analysis, “the destabilization of normative white European identity.” The case of Iñaki Williams is a particular breakthrough in a club where, because of its Basque-only philosophy, the discussion of player pedigrees in Bilbao actively constructs the boundaries between Basques and non-Basques. Aquino revisits some of the special chapters of defining Basqueness through player recruitment. Each case reveals a particular idea of ethnic identity in terms of birthplace, upbringing, genealogy and national belonging have variously established ingroup and outgroup boundaries. In all its variations, however, Basque identity was white until Iñaki Williams, whose eruption in the field provoked several race related commentaries Spain and Basque Country-wide, arguing that it should be perfectly natural that Blackness and Basqueness go together. This aggressive “rhetoric of colorblindness,” however, Aquino remarks, was ultimately just as “othering:” it was precisely this loud defensiveness that revealed that Black Basqueness, instead of quotidian, remains a major breakthrough.


A Basque-American Deep Game: The Political Economy of Ethnicity and Jai-Alai in the USA

By Olatz González Abrisketa (University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU)

At the height of its game in the late 1980`s,  jai alai was a 700-million-dollar business a year, with 14 active frontons throughout the United States, which would routinely fill with gamblers and aficionados of the “world`s fastest sport.” González revisits the two golden ages of the Basque sport in the United States: the 1950s-60s, and the 1970s-80s. The author argues that these two eras were also a generation gap not only in terms of age, but the political culture jai alai players brought with them. Overwhelmingly from the Basque Country, sport migrants in the 70-80s responded very differently than previous generations to what the game had to offer in the United States. While the first generation of Basque players were relatively content with the socio-economic opportunities sport migration offered them, the author argues that the emergence of ETA, considered revolutionary, left wing and socialist back then, had an impact on how Basque players viewed their situation in US capitalist culture.

The emergent Basque political culture lent ethos and vocabulary to US based jai alai players: an ethos of resistance and struggle, the strategy of hordago or all or nothing, and deeply politicized resistance strategies like hunger strikes were borrowed from their original Basque context and deployed in  the  American one.

These resistance strategies had great success in players` struggle for greater job security and fair treatment.

Football and politics in Spain: An empirical analysis of the social base of the main football clubs

By Ramón Llopis-Goig (University of Valencia)

Complementing qualitative and historical research, Ramón Llopis-Goig offers a quantitative analysis of soccer fandom and political sentiments with regards to the four most politicized and symbolic teams in Spain: Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Athletic Club de Bilbao, and the Spanish national team. These teams have been major icons for Spanish, Catalonian and Basque identity construction throughout the twentieth century. Llopis-Goig explores the larger questions of regional nationalism, identity, and left vs. right political leanings through fans` self-identification, their following of the Spanish national soccer team, their preferences with regards to regional autonomy, and their left vs. right ideological orientation. According to this study based on representative sampling and a national survey, the fans of FC Barcelona are most left-leaning, and are most in favor of reforming the current state by increasing the autonomy of the region. This resonates with the larger social impetus of the current Catalonian sovereignty process.

The fans of the Basque Athletic Club de Bilbao have the strongest regional identification with their Basque heritage: fans identify as either only Basque or Basque and Spanish, but not exclusively Spanish.

The fans of Real Madrid are the most right-wing leaning, and most likely to define themselves as entirely or partly Spanish. Llopis-Goig`s research concludes that the symbolic import of these clubs remains important for political-ideological identifications, while radical, exclusive and homogenizing loyalties are not as prevalent as stereotypes would have us believe.


Pulling Up Stakes? Sport and Sub-National Solidarity for Catalonia`s Independence

By Mariann Vaczi (University of Nevada, Reno)

This contribution was inspired by an episode the author witnessed in Arrasate and Azpeitia in the Basque Country: Basques invited a Catalan human tower team, the Castellers de Barcelona, to build their breathtaking structures while Basque voted on a symbolic referendum about independence from Spain. This old traditional sport is an emergent symbol of Catalan nation building for the current sovereignty process, and the performance in the Basque Country expressed sub-national solidarity in Basque and Catalonian desires to vote about independence. The iconicity of tower building, and the sport`s ethos of cooperation express joint efforts in the pursuits of regional autonomy. The author takes the emblematic Catalan liberty song, Lluís Lach`s L`estaca (The Stake), which was performed at the event, as a metaphor for the agonic state-region relationships of Spain. During the Franco dictatorship, the stake was an image that tied people, and did not allow them to walk freely—a logic Basque and Catalan pro-independence actors argue they continue to feel. Pulling the stake from several sides, however, wears it out and eventually causes it to collapse.

Lluís Lach`s stake metaphor maps a particular political geography of Spain: the agonic relationship between the center (stake) and the periphery (pull away regions), as well as solidarity and united struggle among them. Sports have eminently contributed to this agonic relationship.

Vaczi examines how the two political peripheries have progressively conspired to “wear out” Spanish sovereignty through sport and physical culture, which are particularly apt to present these agonic interactions due to their physicality.





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