Tag: sandra ott (page 1 of 2)

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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Ongi etorri!

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Welcome back! It’s the start of Fall 2016 at UNR and the Center for Basque Studies. The center is bustling again with the return of both students and professors. The Basque Studies Department is offering two courses this semester: Basque Culture, taught by our very own Dr. Sandy Ott and Basque language, with our wonderful Kate Camino. Students from all walks of life have taken up the arduous task of learning Basque, and are coming along quite well. Dr. Ott’s class is packed with students from all fields and backgrounds, generating discussion on topics both within and beyond Basque cultural studies. Meanwhile, Dr. Xabier Irujo is teaching a course as part of the Holocaust, Genocide and Peace Studies program on Concepts in Peace Studies and Nonviolence. The bombing of Gernika and its significance is among the topics discussed in this interdisciplinary course. The start of the academic year is off to a great start!

Be sure to check out our blog for news about future events, such as our lecture series which is set to kick off soon.

Gero arte!

July 29, 1940: British government agrees to back Basque independence in event of Spanish support for Hitler

The tumultuous period between the end of the Spanish Civil War in April 1939 and the outbreak of World War II in September that same year marked a critical time in Basque history. Basques exiles who had fled into France and beyond during and after the Spanish Civil War suddenly found themselves once more prey to the advance of Fascism.

Following the fall of Poland in 1939,  Hitler’s forces swept north and westward in the spring of 1940, taking Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and, finally, France, with Paris falling to the Germans on June 14. In the less than a year most of Western Europe had fallen to the Nazis. Only the United Kingdom held out.

The charismatic leader of the Basque government-in-exile, Jose Antonio Agirre, had gotten caught up in these events and had been forced underground–ultimately in of all places, Berlin–into an incognito existence as he sought an escape from the Fascist clutches (on this, if you haven’t already done so, check out his riveting memoir Escape via Berlin: Eluding Franco in Hitler’s Europe). In his absence, the Basque government-in-exile was replaced by a Basque National Council, headed by Manuel Irujo and based in London.

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Manuel Irujo, Jose Antonio Agirre, and Jose Ignacio Lizaso, London, 1945.

It is during that time, in the interesting period before Agirre’s reappearance in October 1941, that the Basque National Council carried out a series of negotiations, most notably with both the British government and the representatives of Free France (effectively the exiled democratic French government) led by Charles de Gaulle. Most famously, perhaps, these negotiations resulted in the creation of the Gernika Battalion, made up of Basque exiles, which fought with distinction with the French army in defeating the Germans in 1945 (the story of which we covered in a previous post here).

Less well known, certainly, was a fascinating agreement brokered by the Basque National Council in London. Xabier Irujo picks up the story in his Expelled from the Motherland (p. 17):

In less than a month the Basque National Council and the British government had made their first agreement on military collaboration. Robert J. G. Boothby, representing the British government, and Jose Ignacio Lizaso, representing the Basque National Council, signed the first agreement on July 29, 1940, which spelled out that the British government was committed to defending the independence of the Basque Country if the Spanish government went to war on the side of the Axis powers.

Ultimately, and despite plenty of willing on the part of Franco, Spain did not enter the war on the side of Hitler and this agreement was never implemented; yet another example of one of those twists of fate around which history revolves.

If you’re interested in this topic, as well as the abovementioned works, see also War, Exile, Justice, and Everyday Life 1936-1946, edited by Sandra Ott, available free to download here; and, for more general background, Modern Basque History, by Cameron Watson, available free to download here.

 

William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies hosts start of major International Congress on Jose Antonio Agirre

Agirre Congress

On the occasion of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Lehendakari (Basque president)Jose Antonio Agirre’s passing through Berlin on his odyssey to flee fascism in Europe,  the Center is proud to announce its participation in a major new congress on his legacy that starts here this weekend.  This is the first step in a three-part congress, “The International Legacy of Lehendakari Jose Antonio Agirre’s Government,” running through March and June, to be held successively at UNR, Humboldt University in Berlin, and Columbia University in New York.

The congress has been jointly organized by the Center and the Etxepare Basque Institute, with the help and participation of  the Agirre Lehendakaria Center for Social and Political Studies and the Basque Government’s General Secretariat for Foreign Affairs, with the collaboration of the Mikel Laboa Chair at the University of the Basque Country.

The Center will host the first part of the congress, March 26-28, which will focus on the international contribution of Agirre, with talks by faculty members Xabier Irujo, Joseba Zulaika, and Sandra Ott, together with visiting guest speakers Ángel Viñas (Complutense University, Madrid) and Julián Casanova (University of Zaragoza). Details of the Reno gathering are as follows:

March 26, Sparks Heritage Museum, 2 pm: Xabier Irujo, “The Bombing of Gernika.”

March 28, Basque Conference Room, 305, third floor, Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, University of Nevada, Reno, 4 pm: Ángel Viñas, “The English Gold: British Payment of Multi-million Pound Bribes to Franco’s Top Generals.”

March 28, Basque Conference Room, Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, University of Nevada, Reno, 5 pm: Julián Casanova, “Francoist repression.”

March 29, Basque Conference Room, Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, University of Nevada, Reno, 4 pm: Joseba Zulaika, “From Gernika to Bilbao.”

March 29, Basque Conference Room, Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, University of Nevada, Reno, 5 pm: Sandra Ott, “Occupation of Iparralde (1940-1944).”

Then on June 1, Humboldt University in Berlin will host the second installment, addressing the exile of Agirre and other Basques as well as the formation of a united Europe, with talks by Paul Preston (London School of Economics), Carlos Collado Seidel (Phillips University Marburg), Joan Villarroya (University of Barcelona), the writer and journalist Nicholas Rankin, historian Hilari Raguer i Suñer, and Xabier Irujo.

Finally, on June 9 Columbia University will host the third and final part of the Congress, with talks by former lehendakari Juan José Ibarretxe, Ludger Mees, Mari Jose Olaziregi, Jose Ramon Bengoetxea, Izaro Arroita, and Amaia Agirre of the University of the Basque Country, as well as Leyre Arrieta of the University of Deusto.

Besides the academic gathering, the Basque Club or Euskal Etxea of Berlin will also organize a program of cultural events through May and June to commemorate Agirre’s legacy. Titled “Agirre in Berlín 1941-2016. Das Baskenland mitten in Europa” (Agirre in Berlin 1941-2016: The Basque Country in the heart of Europe), this program will pay specific attention to the effects of the civil war and Basque exile from different artistic perspectives, including publications, lectures, concerts, and other diverse events.

See the full program of the Agirre Congress here.

Dr. Sandra Ott’s Presentation of Living with the Enemy at University of San Francisco

Wednesday, March 23rd, Professor Sandra Ott from the  Center will be presenting her new book Living with the Enemy, from 2:00-4:00 pm in McLaren Conference Center at the University of San Francisco.  Professor Ott has spent significant time in Pau, France, performing research and as one of her students, I have learned much more about the Nazi occupation of France during World War II and the various roles that the Basques performed during this time period.

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We congratulate Sandy on her publication and all the work that goes into it! So please attend if in the area, enjoy some refreshments, and enjoy learning about this particular time in Basque history.

 

 

 

CBS faculty, friends, authors, and graduates front and center in Basque Yourself 1st International Summer School 2016

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The Miramar Palace, host venue for the Basque Yourself 1st International Summer School 2016 classes. Photo by Generalpoteito, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

This summer the University of the Basque Country is launching the Basque Yourself 1st International Summer School 2016.  This is a comprehensive program of classes, supported by excursions and leisure activities, specifically designed to learn about Basque culture and society.

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View from Miramar Palace looking toward downtown Donostia-San Sebastián. A spectacular setting to Basque yourself! Photo by Jaume Meneses, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Many people associated with the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies will be among those teaching these classes:

July 4: Mari Jose Olaziregi, former Center faculty member, author of Waking the Hedgehog: The Literary World of Bernardo Atxaga (available free to download here) and editor of both Writers In Between Languages:  Minority Literatures in the Global Scene and Basque Literary History, will give a lecture on “Basque Literature.”

July 6: Olatz González Abrisketa, author of Basque Pelota: A Ritual, an Aesthetic, will give a talk of the same title.

July 8: Center graduate Mariann Vaczi will give a talk titled “Local Play in Global Sport: Athletic Club de Bilbao.” She will be followed by another Center graduate, Pedro Oiarzabal, author of The Basque Diaspora Webscape and Gardeners of Identity: Basques in the San Francisco Bay Area, who will speak about Diaspora Studies and the Memoria Bizia project. Finally, this session will be wrapped up by former William A. Douglass Distinguished Scholar at the Center, Oscar Alvarez Gila, whose talk is titled “Explorer-missionaries and sheepherders: Basque emigration to the USA.”

July 11: William A. Douglass will lecture on “Reno Basque Country: The Shaping of Basque Culture in Northern Nevada.” He will be followed by Oscar Alvarez Gila, who will speak this time about  “The Basques on Screen: How Hollywood portrays the Basques.” Finally, Xabier Irujo will discuss “The Good Sheepherders: The Basque Diaspora in Nevada.”

July 12: Joseba Zulaika will lecture on “Basque Diaspora Culture: Memory, Fantasy and Identity.” He will be followed by David Río, author of Robert Laxalt, the Voice of the Basques in American Literature, who will talk about “Reno Literature: Beyond the Sin City Image.” Thereafter, Sandra Ott will discuss “Basques in the City of Mountains: The Meaning of ‘Home’ in the Almost Extinct American West of Northern Nevada.”

See a full program of classes here.

 

New Museum Exhibit in Sparks Showcases Basques

February 5: The new temporary exhibit Hidden in Plain Sight: The Basques opened in the Sparks Museum and Cultural Center.

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Communal work patterns defined Old World Basque culture

The exhibit tells of the unique origins, language and history of the Basque people, along with their contributions throughout history.  It illustrates the strong cultural connection the Basques in the United States have with their homeland.  Covering every part of the Basque culture from immigration to music and dance, boarding houses to mythology and famous Basques, this exhibit is not one to miss.  Learn about the unique Basque language, unlike any other language in the world, understand the reasons that Basques were so successful in the sheepherding industry, and explore reasons for their perseverance throughout history. Former Governor of Nevada, Paul Laxalt even makes an appearance among the many influential Basques throughout history.

If you live in Northern Nevada, or if you’re planning on visiting the Reno-Sparks area this spring, don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to see one of the best ever exhibits of Basque culture! For more information click here.

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The classic image of the New World Basque experience

See a report on the opening of this great new exhibit by KOLO-TV here.

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Old World traditions preserved in the New World

The Museum will also include a free Basque Lecture Series this Spring featuring speakers from the Center. On March 26 at 2:00 pm Xabier Irujo will present “The Bombing of Gernika” (more details here) while on April 2 at 2:00 pm Sandra Ott will talk about “Creating a Basque American Identity” (more details here).

 

Center Course Offerings for Spring Term, 2016

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Professor Sandy Ott teaches students at the Center. The Center offers a diverse set of classes on different subjects relating to Basque Studies.

 

The Center for Basque Studies will be offering five classes for the 2016 Spring semester. Come seize this opportunity with us and enjoy learning the language, culture, and history of a rich region!

Elementary Basque II (BASQ 102)

Monday — Thursday 10:00—10:50

Kate Camino

(4 units)

Introduction to the language through the development of written and conversational language skills and through structural analysis. Emphasis on Unified Basque but includes an introduction to the dialects. NOTE: Course also offered online through Independent Learning (call 775-784-4652).

 

Second-year Basque II (BASQ 204)

Tuesdays & Thursdays 11:00—12:15

Kate Camino

(3 units)

Structural review, conversation and writing. Includes further work with the unique structure of the Basque verb and system of suffixes. Completion of BASQ 204 satisfies the College of Liberal Arts foreign language requirement.

Prerequisite(s): BASQ 203.

 

Basque Cultural Studies (BASQ 220)

Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:30—3:45

Joseba Zulaika

(3 units)

Examines the representations of Basques worldwide in the media, the arts, scholarship, international politics and the Internet. (Diversity course.)

 

Identity Across Borders (BASQ 378)

Wednesdays 4:00—6:45

Xabier Irujo

(3 units)

Theories of globalization, social identity, diaspora foreign policy, identity construction, and nationalism are utilized to compare Basque individual and institutionalized ethnicity in the United States. (Diversity course.)

 

War, Occupation, and Memory (BASQ 477/677)

Tuesdays & Thursdays 11:00—12:15

Sandra Ott

(3 units)

The experiences of Basque resisters, evaders, collaborators, and Jewish refugees in World War II in the French Basque Country provide the focus for discussions about history, memory and anthropology. (General Capstone course.)

Prerequisite(s): CH 201 or CH 202 or CH 203; ENG 102 ; junior or senior standing.

Weekend Workshop for Boise State’s Basque Studies Program

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On October 17-18th, I reconnected with colleagues in Boise and taught a two-day workshop on “War, Occupation, and Justice in Iparralde” with 38 students. Great fun! And on Saturday night the Basque Studies team invited me to join them for dinner at the Basque Center on Boise’s Basque Block. As I watched the local crowd I was so struck by the camaraderie and pride in being Basque American. Special thanks to Nere Lete and John Ysursa for their hospitality and warm welcome!

Discover the Basque Country: The Kakueta Gorge

For those of you who may be lucky enough to get to visit the Basque Country sometime, we thought we’d share a few of our favorite places with you.

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Kakueta Gorge, Santazi, Zuberoa. Photo by Txo, via Wikimedia Commons

At the easternmost extent of the Basque Country, deep in the heart of the mountains separating Zuberoa (or Xiberoa) from Navarre, lies the Kakueta Gorge. For some, the explosion of flora that greets those entering into the gorge, the product of a temperate microclimate in this normally harsher mountain landscape, reminds them of the Amazon Rain Forest. For others, its turquoise lake, the vultures that habitually circle overhead, and the chance of seeing strange creatures like the Pyrenean Desman, lend an otherwordly, almost Lord of the Rings-like quality to the landscape.

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A purpose-built trail allows visitors to enjoy a 2-kilometer hike into the heart of the gorge. Photo by Havang(nl), via Wikimedia Commons

The Kakueta Gorge is in the terrain of a village known as Sainte-Engrâce (in French) or Santazi, Santa Grazi, or Urdatx (in Basque). The village and its inhabitants have been the object of study of the Center’s own Sandra Ott in her book, The Circle of Mountains. This ethnography, one of the best ever written about a Basque community, addresses multiple dimensions of Basque culture in this this small, isolated community. It demonstrates in vivid detail how people interact not just with one another but with the landscape around them.

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A constant flow of water aliments this lush landscape. Photo by Havang(nl), via Wikimedia Commons

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