Tag: joseba zulaika (page 2 of 3)

Joseba Zulaika receives Euskadi Prize

November 19: We are so proud to share the news that Joseba Zulaika received the Euskadi Prize for an Essay in Spanish at the Europa Conference and Exhibition Center in Vitoria-Gasteiz for his Vieja luna de Bilbao. Crónicas de mi generación.

Joseba was awarded the prize by Cristina Uriarte, the Basque Government Minister for Education, Linguistic Policy, and Culture in a ceremony that also included the prizewinners in several other of this year’s categories: Literature in Spanish (Martín Olmos, Escrito en negro), Children’s and Young Adult Literature in Basque (Yolanda Arrieta, Argiaren alaba),  Literary Translation into Basque (Juan Garzia Garmendia, Sonetoak, by William Shakespeare), Illustration in a Literary Work (Ana G. Lartitegui, El libro de la suerte), and Essay in Basque (Joxe Azurmendi, Historia. Arraza. Nazioa).

Listen to Joseba speak about the work (in Spanish) on Radio Euskadi (at approximately 5 minutes 30 seconds) here.

Check out the English language version of Joseba’s book: That Old Bilbao Moon: The Passion and Resurrection of a City.

Zorionak Joseba from everyone at the Center!


Joseba Zulaika awarded Euskadi Prize!

We are proud to share the news that the Center’s very own Joseba Zulaika has been awarded the prestigious Euskadi Essay Prize, the top literary award in the Basque Country, for his Vieja luna de Bilbao. Crónicas de mi generación, published by the Nerea publishing house.

Vieja luna de Bilbao


The jury’s statement read: “Joseba Zulaika carries out a revision of Basque modernity through Bilbao’s recent past, combining the biographical perspective with a historical approach to build a text of great literary efficacy.”


Joseba Zulaika

This is the Spanish-language version of That Old Bilbao Moon: The Passion  and Resurrection of a City.

“Joseba Zulaika’s  That Old Bilbao Moon is imbued with a deep and layered intelligence, and a soft and sure voice, that makes it not only pleasurable reading, but brilliantly sets a new standard for books about cities”—-Mark Kurlansky, author of The Basque History of the World and Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World.

“Fascinating, occasionally infuriating, utterly unforgettable”—-Paddy Woodworth, author of The Basque Country: A Cultural History and Dirty War, Clean Hands.

Zorionak Joseba from everyone at the CBS!

Want to Learn More? Download Basque Textbooks for Free!!!


There is just about nothing better than giving something away for free, and even better yet when it is knowledge about our great shared culture. The Center for Basque Studies is very proud to disseminate many of our publications for free, and as part of this mission we’ve recently made our entire corpus of Basque Textbooks available for free PDF download by clicking here, or by visiting our website, under books, and clicking on Books in Print/downloads. Enjoy the best of Basque scholarship this weekend including authors such as: Bill Douglass, Mari Jose Olaziregi, Joseba Zulaika, Cameron Watson, and many, many more!

Frank Gehry and that Old Bilbao Moon

Last month the Canadian-born architect who first moved to Los Angeles in 1949 was covered in the news quite extensively.  NPR, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post have all featured Gehry and his life’s work in some fashion or another.  One of the most mentioned works of architecture is, of course, The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.  It was in 1997 that the museum was built in effort to bring an appreciation of culture to the Basque city that had been lying in industrial ruin.  This “ship-wreck” was the viewed as a “promise of a new city” as described by Dr. Joseba Zulaika.  Gehry’s work and its contribution to Bilbao is a main theme of Prof. Zulaika’s class, “The Bilbao Guggenheim,” in which I’m enrolled this semester.  I knew nothing of the back story involved in terms of  why and how the building of the Guggenheim came to be, but by reading That Old Bilbao Moon: The Passion and Resurrection of a CityProf. Zulaika’s book on the transformation of the city and its people, I am finding out about the struggle and importance of building this museum.

Click on the book link provided above for your own copy, or check out the story from NPR’s Susan Stamberg below:

Frank Gehry’s Lifelong Challenge: To Create Buildings that Move

Here are a few of Frank Gehry’s famous works, with the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao at top

guggenheim pic Walt Disney concert hall Weatherhead school of management dancing house prague


Gehry Zubia in Bilbao

The great architect Frank Gehry, whose Guggenheim Bilbao Museum became the landmark building of the turn of the century and turned Bilbao into the worldwide paradigm of a city recreated by architecture, has designed a second work for the city: a bridge connecting Zorrotzaurre with Deusto that will be named after him: “Gehry Zubia” (literally, Gehry Bridge). Gehry has never shied away from expressing his “love” for the city that made him internationally renowned as the master artist and a household name. The bridge was opened to pedestrians at its official inauguration yesterday, September 14 (with traffic access scheduled for next year, upon completion of work on the Deusto Canal). For more information on the inauguration, click here.


Aerial shot of the Deusto Canal (2010), with the future islet of Zorrotzaurre in the center, by Fernandopascullo, via Wikimedia Commons

Recently Joseba Zulaika published his ethnography/memoir about Bilbao entitled That Old Bilbao Moon: The Passion and Resurrection of a City, in which he discusses at length the impact of Gehry’s masterpiece on the city and turns such a glorious “shipwreck” (as Gehry described it) into the emblem of his generation.

Zulaika co-presents petition to free Basque activist

On Wednesday, July 15, Joseba Zulaika took part, alongside writer and professor Laura Mintegi, in the presentation of a list of a list of prominent American scholars and public figures who support the freeing of Basque nationalist leader Arnaldo Otegi from prison as a means to encouraging the ongoing Basque peace process.


CBS Faculty Member Joseba Zulaika

As well as Zulaika, the list of figures asking for Otegi’s release also includes CBS Emeritus Faculty Member William A. Douglass, together with Angela Davis, Alice Walker, Noam Chomsky, William Ramsey Clark, Peter Coyote, Mike Farrell, Cornel Ronald West, Haskell Wexler, Mark Kurlansky, Dave Boling, Rosalinda Guillen, Cindy Lee Miller Sheehan, Jeffrey St. Clair, William (Bill) Gerald Fletcher, Jr., Eva Golinger, James Petras, Rick Halperin, Jihad Abdulmumit, Peter Bohmer, John Catalinotto, Dr. James D. Cockcroft, Sara Flounders, Nozomi Ikuta, Matt Meyer, David H. Price, and Simona Sharoni.

The event was reported in Gara (in Spanish) here, in Berria (in Basque) here, and in Mediabask (in French) here.

For more information on the campaign, including a full list of global figures who endorse it, click here.

Auzolan: A Form of Social Innovation Rooted in Traditional Basque Culture?


Basque women engaged in traditional communal work. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

In Basque Culture: Anthropological Perspectives, William Douglass and Joseba Zulaika discuss the importance of the auzoa, the neighborhood or local district, in traditional Basque culture:

Within the householdcentric auzoa, neighborhood ties and obligations constitute primary networks of social and economic relations, including the special relationship that a household maintains with its closest or “first” neighbor(geographically defined), the relationship that the household maintains with three or four of the physically most proximate households, and the relationship that the household maintains with all other households within the auzoa. . . . Traditionally, every household depended on another for first-neighbor obligations. The first neighbor was the initial outsider to be informed whenever there was a crisis . . . The importance of the first-neighbor relationship is eulogized in refrains and reflected in the common statement that it was more important to be on good terms with one’s closest neighbor than with a brother.

The same authors then go on to cite an example of these first-neighbor relations as described in Sandra Ott’s The Circle of Mountains: A Basque Shepherding Community, whereby a loaf of “blessed” bread was circulated around the village of Santa Grazi (Zuberoa) in a clockwise direction as a means of social solidarity and binding ties in the community.

When extended to the second level of relations, auzolan (neighborly or communal work) became especially important at key times of the year: close neighbors assisted one another at harvest time, for example, or during the traditional ritualized slaughtering of household pigs, with perishable meat rationed out to those assisting (and of course the favor returned when it came time for these neighbors to kill their own pigs).

Many of you out there from a rural background, as I am, will probably be familiar with friends and neighbors helping out during harvest time, and returning the favor when called on to do so. And I wouldn’t suggest that such communal ties are specific to traditional Basque culture alone. Indeed, I’m sure they exist all over the world. Nor, indeed, would I say that such traditional bonds need necessarily be just evident in rural life. Indeed, even if we haven’t experienced them first-hand, I’m sure we’ve read books or seen movies set against a backdrop of tight-knit urban communities, whether in small towns or big city neighborhoods.


New World Basques enjoy a break from communal work. Photo from Basque Library archive

What does fascinate me, though, is the idea that these kinds of local community relations and communal ties, so ritualized in the Basque context and rooted in traditional, rural society, may serve as the basis for more contemporary forms of social innovation. Douglass and Zulaika, for example, go on to mention the claim that the strength of urban industrial cooperativism in the Basque Country, as exemplified by the Mondragon Corporation, is down to traditional forms of economic cooperation in Basque agricultural and fishing practices.  They also qualify the idea, however, by pointing out some of the flaws in this argument.

But whatever the case of this particular argument, I think modern studies of social innovation could benefit from studying these traditional practices in Basque society, practices that predate the strong cooperative movement in  the Basque Country. In 2009, the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation (SICP) was created to engage the social sector (individuals, communities, non-profit organizations, foundations, social enterprises, faith-based organizations, and so on), as well as business and government, in finding new solutions to the challenges facing American society today. This office recognizes the importance of new, bottom-up, grassroots, solutions to such challenges as well as the communal, shared responsibility in finding these solutions. We speak and hear a lot today about the importance of “community” and its associated values. Do we have something to learn from traditional Basque culture? Or is that society too outdated, too rigid? Does it offer little to a contemporary urban society that privileges global movement, flexibility, and change and sees little to learn from traditional rural society? Surely the root of human innovation lies in the very practice of agriculture itself, the techniques and implements developed by humans to work the land. What do you think?

If you’re interested in the subject of innovation, social or otherwise, see Innovation and Values: A European Perspective, by Javier Echeverria, an ambitious attempt to combine different perspectives on innovation in one single work that argues for a “philosophy of innovation.” that addresses different types of values (economic, technological, social, legal, political, and so on), assessing these values in terms of the effects and consequences of innovation processes on their advocates and other agents concerned with them.

See, also, two books in the Center’s Current Research series in partnership with the University of the Basque Country: Implications of Current Research on Social Innovation in the Basque Country, edited by Ander Gurrutxaga Abad and Antonio Rivera; and Innovation: Economic, Social, and Cultural Aspects, edited by Mikel Gómez Uranga and Juan Carlos Miguel de Bustos.



Zulaika book reviewed in Uztaro

The Spanish-language version of That Old Bilbao Moon: The Passion and Resurrection of a City by Joseba Zulaika, titled Vieja luna de Bilbao. Crónicas de mi generación (Donostia-San Sebastián: Nerea, 2014) is reviewed by Jexux Larrañaga Arriola in the latest edition of Uztaro (no. 93, April-June, pages 115-20), a journal specializing in the human and social sciences.

Vieja luna de Bilbao

For Larrañaga, the book represents an attempt on the part of the author to reclaim the ideal world he dreamed about in his youth through new ways of thinking about the events of that time. In fact, he suggests, Zulaika revisits the idealism of his youth with a new kind of realism and that highly subjective sense of recovery allows him to make some kind of sense of his past failures.

This starting point actually constitutes, in Larrañaga’s opinion, the subjective sense of a whole generation’s failures, and it is out of this very acknowledgement of failure (whether personal or collective) that, by the end of the work, Zulaika salvages the promise of the future in his vision of the “new city.”

To download the article (in Basque), click here.

To shop for the book in English, click here.

To shop for the book in Spanish, click here.

Alan Lomax’s recordings of traditional Basque music and bertsos

Alan Lomax (1915-2002) was one of the great American collectors of twentieth-century folk music. A scholar, writer, and activist, he was one of the main architects behind the folk revivals of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, blazing the trail for the likes of Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez (who of course sings a memorable version of the traditional Basque song Txoria txori), and many others.

Alan Lomax in front of American Patchwork video, c. 1984. From the Cultural Equity website.

Together with his father, the folklorist and collector, John A. Lomax, he also recorded thousands of songs and interviews for the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress. Today, the Lomax Family Collections are housed at the American Folklife Center. To get some idea of the range of his activity, see the Alan Lomax Archive here.

In 1952-53, Lomax spent some time in the Basque Country, where he recorded many traditional songs as well as bertsos (improvised oral poems). The Association for Cultural Equity was founded by Lomax to explore and preserve the world’s expressive traditions with humanistic commitment and scientific engagement, and it generously posts Lomax’s Basque recordings here.

As well as making up a historical archive of incalculable value, these recordings serve to capture a time and place in Basque history in which public cultural expression in the Basque language was strictly limited by the Franco dictatorship.

Lomax’s Basque recordings include work songs (sung by both women and men), religious songs, sea shanties, and bertsos, including  some by two of the great bertsolaris of their day, Basarri (Inazio Eizmendi) and Uztapide (Manuel Olaizola),

Basarri and Uztapide. Photo by Indalezio Ojanguren. Image at the Department of Culture and Euskara, Provincial Government of Gipuzkoa


This is a truly invaluable resource for anyone interested in Basque culture in general or, more specifically, traditional Basque music and bertsolaritza. It is a fitting tribute to the life and work of Alan Lomax, and the Association for Cultural Equity is to be applauded for its efforts in posting these recordings online.

If you’re interested in these topics, the CBS publishes Alejandro Aldekoa: Master of Pipe and Tabor Music in the Basque Country, by Sabin Bikandi. Ostensibly a biography of one of the most renowned Basque taborers and dance masters, this work actually involves a wider description and discussion of the relationship between music and dance in the Basque tradition. What’s more, it is accompanied by a DVD that includes, among many other things, historic footage of Basque ritual dances in the 1920s, archive images of traditional Basque instrument makers and performers, and recordings of two different types of bertso performances (in both a formal championship and a less formal “bertso dinner” setting).

On bertsolaritza, more specifically, although the work that also includes a chapter on the musical  foundations of the genre, see Voicing the Moment: Improvised Oral Poetry and Basque Tradition, edited by Samuel G. Armistead and Joseba Zulaika. This book is available free to download here.

Author Biography of Dr. Mariann Vaczi, an Alumni of the University of Nevada, Reno


Dr. Mariann Vaczi is an associate professor in anthropology at the College of Dunaújváros, Hungary. Dr. Vaczi was born in Hungry to a physical education teacher father and an English teacher mother. Dr. Vaczi grew up in a small town of Dunaújváros, 70 km south of Budapest. Dunaújváros was a socialist model town in terms of architecture, community ideology, and everyday life. During her childhood she experienced the democratic transformations in her home town and the fall of the Hungarian Iron Curtain Communist regime in 1989.

Dr. Vaczi has been acquainted with sports since her early childhood. Two of her brothers were elite track and field athlete champions in the Hungarian decathlon and pole vaulting. Dr. Vaczi herself was a professional basketball player. Dr.  Vaczi had great opportunities to study abroad with scholarships, while she was working as a professional basketball player and coach.

The inspiration of a college professor during her undergraduate studies at the Saint Vincent College, as well as her multicultural experiences, made her choose a very apt career as an anthropologist. Dr. Vaczi earned her PhD in Basque Studies and Anthropology from the University of Nevada, Reno. Under the guidance of Dr. Joseba Zulaika, she was a very successful student who was able to demonstrate her ability to write and publish high-quality work in anthropology.

Dr. Vaczi’s familiarity with sport is reflected in her research interests in the areas of the anthropology and sociology of sport, games, and folk performances. Her  latest publication is a book titled Soccer, Culture and Society in Spain: An Ethnography of Basque Fandom, published by Routledge.

Dr. Vaczi also edited the CBS publication, Playing Fields: Power, Practice, and Passion in Sports, a collection of conference papers exploring multiple dimensions of popular sports in both the Basque Country and beyond.

Older posts Newer posts