Tag: CBS (page 1 of 5)

Iker Saitua – Life after a Ph.D. in Basque Studies

Iker Saitua received his Ph.D. in Basque Studies here at the CBS last spring, so we’ve decided to catch up with him and see where life takes you after doctoral studies. His dissertation, “Sagebrush Laborers: Basque Immigrants in Nevada’s Sheep Industry, International Dimensions, and the Making of an Agricultural Workforce, 1880-1954,” explores the ways in which the Basque labor force in Nevada evolved from an object of discrimination into a stereotyped prized sheepherder. It then turns to the immigration policies that allowed Basques to continue supplying the labor force, even after the 1924 Immigration Act, through an analysis of U.S.-Spanish relations during the beginning of the Cold War. Impressive indeed and worth reading every bit! But for now, let’s turn to Dr. Saitua…

  1. What have you been up to since graduation?

Keeping busy. After graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno in May 2016, I returned to the Basque Country. Having returned home, I presented my dissertation at the University of the Basque Country, getting a second Ph.D. that received summa cum laude honors in History. While looking for an academic position, I am currently finishing a Master’s Degree in Education at the International University of La Rioja. Concurrently, I am revising my dissertation into a book manuscript. During this time, I have also attended various courses and workshops, including the training course for “Teaching of the Basque Language Abroad,” jointly organized by the University of the Basque Country and the Etxepare Basque Institute. I have also acted as an assessor for the interdisciplinary scholarly journal Sancho el Sabio. Revista de cultura e investigación vasca, among other things.

  1. Have you published any articles?

Yes. My article “Becoming Herders: Basque Immigration, Labor, and Settlement in Nevada, 1880-1910” has been recently published in the journal Montana: The Magazine of Western History (Vol. 66, No. 4, Winter 2016). Please see the following link: https://mhs.mt.gov/pubs/magazine/Current-Issue). Also, I am pleased to announce that the Montana Talking Book Library (a regional library of the National Library Service for the blind and physically handicapped) is recording this article for its collection. Besides this, some of my latest articles on Basque immigration in the American West will be published soon in various peer-reviewed journals. Coming soon!

  1. Do you have any new research interests?

Lately, I have become increasingly interested in the pedagogy of teaching history and social sciences. Besides that, I continue with my research in western, labor, social, legal, and environmental history of the Basques and sheep grazing in the Far West.

  1. What do you do to keep busy?

I keep busy writing history articles, researching, and reading new publications on the North American West.

  1. What do you miss the most from the U.S.?

Lots of things. I miss my colleagues and friends there. I miss those midday coffee breaks with other grad students. I miss those family gatherings too. And of course, Reno, Nevada, and the Great Basin! I miss the West and its wide open spaces.

  1. What is it that you were most excited to return to once back in the Basque Country?

Family and friends. Glad to be back home among them.


As you can see, Iker doesn’t seem to have taken a chance to take a breath post-Ph.D! I must say I look forward to reading his upcoming work and wish him the best. He may miss the West, but I’m sure the West misses him too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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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New books for Durangoko Azoka 2016

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Just a quick reminder to all our readers in the Basque Country who may be thinking of attending this year’s Azoka in Durango, the great book and record fair that turns into one huge celebration of Basque culture in general (with just a wee bit of good old-fashioned partying involved as well), this year’s publications by the Center will be at our stand. This is the 51st year of the Azoka, taking place this time round between December 2 and 6. For full details check out the official website: http://durangokoazoka.eus/eu/

New 2016 Releases

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Part of the Center’s Migration Studies Series, Basques in Cuba, edited by William A. Douglass, is an ambitious attempt on the part of a variety of scholars from different disciplines and countries to chart the impact of Basque immigration in Cuba, and the effect of this back in the Basque Country.

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The Basques by Jacques Allières, part of the prestigious Classic Series, is a work originally intended as an introduction to Basque history and culture, with a special focus on the Basque language, for a Francophone public. It is published here for the first time in English and serves as a unique perspective on the Basque Country by the renowned French linguist.

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Multilevel Governance and Regional Empowerment by Karolina Borońska-Hryniewiecka is a timely addition to the growing scholarship on the multiple layers of government within the European Union. In an age marked by the Scottish independence referendum of 2014, the movement in favor of a similar vote in Catalonia, and the Brexit referendum of 2016, this work reminds us of the importance of understanding such multiple power structures.

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Iban Zaldua’s This Strange and Powerful Language is a must for anyone interested in a general and accessible introduction to Basque-language literature. Zaldua’s easy-to-follow and often humorous prose guides readers through the decisions that writers make to publish in the Basque language, while offering a general introduction to the major literary work in the language.

If you can’t make it to Durango, don’t forget that you can shop for all our books online here: http://basquebooks.myshopify.com/

“Europe, Barandiaran and Values” series

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the notable Basque anthropologist, ethnographer, archeologist, and priest José Miguel de Barandiaran’s death. The Barandiaran Foundation has organized a series of five roundtable discussions in his honor entitled “Europe, Barandiaran and Values,” being held in various Basque capitals from October 20 to December 15.

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Last Thursday, November 17, our professor and colleague Xabier Irujo participated in the event that took place in Donostia-San Sebastián at the Koldo Mitxelena Kulturunea. Professor Irujo spoke about Barandiaran and exile via Skype, and members of the CBS and UNR attended, making it an international affair. He was joined by a panel composed of Asier Barandiaran, Argitxu Camus Etchecopar, Gaspar Martinez, and Ixone Fernandez de Labastida, who spoke about various topics including Barandiaran and Europe; Barandiaran’s values in contemporary society; Barandiaran, science, and faith; and lastly Barandiaran and Basque society. This group of scholars have participated in all of the events and are at the heart of this discussion series, traveling from city to city to present to and answer questions from the wider community.

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The following are a series of quotes by the participants on what Barandiaran as a researcher represents in various fields:

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ASIER BARANDIARAN- Barandiaran’s values in contemporary society

“Barandiaran was rooted in Christian values. However, on the other hand, he offered different visions by being in touch with diverse cultures and was always committed to people. He would often say ‘I hope I will be remembered as a person who has loved love’. Kindness, sharpness, honesty, solidarity, truth, justice, work well done, and a long chain of values are what define Barandiaran.”

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ARGITXU CAMUS- Barandiaran and Europe

“José Miguel de Barandiaran was a convinced European. He learned French, German, and English on his own. When he was very young, he opened himself up to European science. He studied the most famous anthropologists, ethnologists, and linguists of the time. He went to the very sources of science in order to compare them to his own ideas. And since then, the Ataundarra took part in numerous courses in diverse universities throughout Europe, as a student and professor. The work of Barandiaran has contributed a great deal to European ethnology.”

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GASPAR MARTINEZ- Barandiaran: Science and faith

“Barandiaran was primarily a priest. In addition, he was also an archaeologist, anthropologist, ethnologist, historian…that is, a man of science. Even so, he was able to reconcile religion and science. A difficult exercise, considering the strict postulates of the Catholic Church of the time. Even though the studies carried out to clarify his doubts were based on research by people of faith, Barandiaran, in order to achieve absolute tranquility, wanted to place his ideas at the same level as other researchers of different beliefs.”

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IXONE FERNANDEZ DE LABASTIDA-Barandiaran and Basque society

“One of the most studied facets of José Miguel de Barandiaran is that of him as an anthropologist. However, with the passage of time and in light of the historical context in which he developed his work, Barandiaran could also be considered a social activist. Thanks to his particular methodology and its object of study, this anthropologist contributed not only to mitigation of the discourse on the race coming from Europe but also to the reconstruction of social ties and the feeling of shared cultural identity in Euskal Herria.”

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XABIER IRUJO- Barandiaran and Exile

“Joxe Migel Barandiaran lived for 17 years in exile in Iparralde, in Miarritze first and later in Sara. During these years, he collaborated and at times led the group of vascologos and euskaltzales who met in these early years of exile, and most fundamentally after the liberation, who then received the name ‘Los caballeritos de San Juan de Luz’. Among the most outstanding works of Barandiaran in exile are the creation of Ikuska, Eusko Jakintza and the ‘Jakin Bilerak’, which helped to consolidate the network of Basque scholars of the diaspora in America.”screen-shot-2016-11-20-at-2-57-52-pm

Overall, the event was a fantastic way to learn more about Barandiaran and his work, making it a fitting homage to the prolific and wide-ranging scholar who did so much for Basque culture and history.

 

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To learn more about the series, visit the Barandiaran Foundation’s website: http://www.barandiaranfundazioa.eus/index.php/es/

See, too, the Selected Writings of José Miguel de Barandiarán: Basque Prehistory and Ethnography, edited by Jesus Altuna.  This is a marvelous introduction, in English, to Barandiaran’s published work and the various fields in which he researched, from Basque prehistory and mythology to essays on the importance of the household and hunting in Basque culture.

An Interview with Cristina Fernández, visiting artist at the CBS

You may have read our post on Monday on one of our visiting artists, but it’s now Cristina Fernández’s turn in the spotlight. Cristina is a native of Seville, where she received her BA in Fine Arts from the University of Seville. She then moved to the Basque Country and obtained an MA in Contemporary, Technological, and Performative Arts last year from the University of the Basque Country. We are very pleased to introduce her as part of our visiting artists residency program.

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  • What brings you to the Center for Basque Studies? The Center for Basque Studies is linked through a collaborative project to the university where I studied.  I will be here for two months.
  • What is the goal of your project? The goal of my project is artistic practice. My research in Reno has to do with the city and how we experience it through the images that people upload onto social websites, so the aim of this project is to somehow define how the city itself participates in these networks.
  • What makes your research unique? My work focuses on physical behavior and how we glance at images when we look through the web and begin to create labels. I try to analyze the use of the internet and multimedia files as recycled material for artistic creation, displaying the accumulated empowerment that we have come to associate with images since the very establishment of social websites in 2002.
  • Accordingly, I have created categorizations and labels to effectively sort groupings of data, reaffirming the idea of the disintegration of the relationship between the actual image from the labels we have come to associate with them.
  • What have you accomplished since you arrived? I am still sorting and organizing images. This month, I will develop the final images.
  • Has the Center for Basque Studies helped you in any way (library resources, people)? They have helped me and are friendly people, making us more comfortable here.
  • Are you enjoying the U.S.? Yes, everything is new for me. There are different and interesting people everywhere and the place is very attractive. It is a new experience.
  • What have you missed the most since you’ve been here? Definitely food. I think the dishes in Spain are more elaborate and attractive with fruits, vegetables, meat, fish … quality. But it is nice to try other kinds of food.

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If you’d like to see some of her work, please visit her website: mcristinafernandez.com

 

 

An Interview with Julen Agirre Egibar, visiting artist at the CBS

Julen Agirre Egibar is one of two visiting artists at the CBS this semester. Originally from Azpeitia, a town in the middle of Gipuzkoa, he received his BA in Fine Arts from the University of the Basque Country (EHU/UPV) and is now finishing his PhD dissertation, set to defend next spring.

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  • What brings you to the Center for Basque Studies? How long will you be here?

The reason that I´m here at the moment is because I obtained a grant from the Fine Arts Faculty (EHU/UPV) in order to do an artistic project in the city of Reno at the Center for Basque Studies. The University of the Basque Country and the CBS at the University of Nevada, Reno have a collaboration program for artist residencies. I´m staying in Reno for two months, having arrived at the end of September and returning at the beginning of December.

  • What is the goal of your project?

My artistic project’s name is ZENTER, and it is connected to my dissertation. I’m carrying out an analysis of Reno, more concretely, I am interested in the urban space that is between the city´s center – downtown in this case – and the periphery. The ZENTER project focuses on this intermediate place, because, in my opinion, these spaces still are not active in a sense, and contain a lot of tensions. This study matches the conclusions in my dissertation. I hope to create an archive and material, in order to bring it into my sphere of work.

  • What makes your research unique?

I don´t know if my research is necessarily unique, but I know that it is a very concrete research field. I am interested in investigating the concept of disturbing strangeness, and, in a sense, I try to demonstrate this concept in places like houses, cities, and non-spaces (suburbs). 

  • What have you accomplished since you arrived?

The city of Reno, precisely its downtown area, is very well adapted to my research criteria, and this feature is very important to the development of my artistic project.

  • Has the Center for Basque Studies helped you in any way (library resources, people)?

For a start, I have a very appropriate space at the Center for Basque Studies to carry out my work, so I am grateful to Joseba Zulaika and the rest of the people at the center. All of its resources, in general, are useful for me.

  • Are you enjoying the U.S.?

This is the second time that I have stayed in the U.S. and  I am obviously enjoying it. I mention the U.S. in my dissertation many times. On the one hand, I analyze the city of Los Angeles, and on the other, I have introduced some American artists, among whom the filmmaker David Lynch, whose work takes up the main idea of my dissertation, stands out.

  • What have you missed the most since you’ve been here?

I don´t know, I think that I haven’t missed anything since I got here, quite the opposite, this is an excellent experience for my artistic career.


We are happy to have Julen here with us and hope he enjoys his stay. He is a welcome addition to our center.

October 10, 1799: Humboldt’s first visit to the Basque Country

On October 10, 1799 the renowned Prussian philosopher, linguist, and statesman Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) set foot in the Basque Country for the first time. It was the beginning of an association with the Basque people, their land, their culture, and especially their language, which would demarcate much of his later thought on the relationship between language, culture, and identity.

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Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835). Lithographic print by Franz Krüger. Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Humboldt is a key figure in the academic study of language, in which he was among the first linguists to contend that languages are systems governed by specific rules, and is considered a forerunner of the linguistic relativity hypothesis (namely, that the structure of a language affects its speakers’ worldview). These ideas fitted in with his own thoughts on the nascent discipline of anthropology, which for him could only be understood in comparative terms. What’s more, in his later capacity as an educational administrator, he also devised a holistic concept of education that sought to ground students in both the sciences and the arts through a comprehensive general education: a system that survives to this day in many aspects of Western education.

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In the introduction to Humboldt’s Selected Basque Writings, Iñaki Zabaleta Gorrotxategi describes this first encounter between Humboldt and the Basques:

Humboldt’s first visit to the Basque Country lasted no more than one week: specifically, from October 10–18, 1799. This short stay was part of a longer “Spanish tour” that he took with his entire family, and that lasted more than seven months. It should be borne in mind that, by that time, the fundamental principles of his comparative anthropology had already been formulated, and that this is what led him to give tangible expression to his project by means of an extended trip through southern Europe. Humboldt’s initial plan was to visit Italy, but a variety of circumstances led him to design a new tour that mainly involved travel within Spain. It is important to note that Humboldt’s encounter with the Basques during this first trip was by no means accidental or undertaken as a result of some perceived external obligation. Instead, the visit had been carefully planned and eagerly anticipated by Humboldt. In fact, as part of his meticulous preparations for this trip in Paris, Humboldt developed a specific interest in the Basques, and especially in their language. This interest is reflected in a letter that he wrote to Schiller on April 26, 1799: “At the very least, one can safely say that it is the only country in Europe that has a genuinely original tongue. . . . And the grammar of this language is of supreme interest.” Some six months later, Humboldt set foot in the Basque Country for the first time and, despite the brevity of his visit, the land, and its people and their language, made a deep impression upon him. But the most important impact of his trip was that it led to Humboldt’s appreciation of the link between “human beings” and “human language” (that is, between nations and their respective languages) and to the beginnings of a reorientation of his anthropological research toward linguistic matters. On December 20, 1799, Humboldt wrote to the philologist Friedrich August Wolf from Madrid: “I think that, in the future, I am going to devote my energies even more exclusively to the study of language.”

Humboldt’s Basque experiences are documented in detail in his highly evocative Selected Basque Writings: The Basques and Announcement of a Publication. If you are interested in Basque history and culture, do check out this book. Humboldt’s fine eye for detail, coupled with a lively writing style, makes this work a wonderfully stimulating account of not just Basque culture a s whole, but also many individual Basques, on the cusp of a social transformation into the modern era: it is, arguably, one of the most important documentary accounts of Basques.

Dale Erquiaga, CBS board member and new President and CEO of Communities in Schools

Dale Erquiaga, a member of CBS advisory board, is relocating to Washington D.C. to take up the post of President and CEO of Communities in Schools, an organization dedicated to student achievement, keeping kids in school and aiding educators by providing resources.

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A native Nevadan and Basque-American, Erquiaga has served on our board for several years. He has been the Chief Strategy Officer for Governor Brian Sandoval and the State of Nevada since 2015, with prior experience in education as Superintendent of Public Instruction and various consultancy jobs in policy development and communications. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science here at UNR and a Master’s in Leadership from Grand Canyon University.

It is great to see Basque-Americans taking up major posts at a national level. He is sure to contribute his extensive experience to this organization and we look forward to hearing more news about this new chapter in his career.

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To learn more about Communities in Schools, visit: https://www.communitiesinschools.org/

For more information about Erquiaga’s new post, read the following press release: https://www.communitiesinschools.org/press-room/resource/communities-schools-names-dale-erquiaga-president-and-ceo/

 

 

Dean Moddelmog visits the Center

Last Thursday, the new Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Debra A. Moddelmog, made a visit to the Center. It was a fun affair, showcasing the culinary talents of our small department. She was interested in meeting each of us, both students and staff, as we discussed our research and activities.

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Before coming to UNR, Dean Moddelmog worked for 29 years at Ohio State as professor and chair of the English Department. She is an expert in the work of Ernest Hemingway, which is a neat connection to our Center, as Hemingway spent time in the Basque Country, publishing The Sun Also Rises (based on his experiences there) in 1926. Moddelmog also established a Sexuality Studies interdisciplinary program at Ohio State, among many other leadership roles. She clearly has big ideas and we look forward to seeing her develop them here at UNR.

We welcome Dean Moddelmog to UNR and hope she enjoyed her visit to the CBS.

 

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