Tag: UNR (page 1 of 3)

The William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies 50th Anniversary

Photo credit: Josu Zubizarreta

During the darkest days, when we were denied our language, our culture and our identity, we were consoled by the knowledge that an American university in Nevada had lit one small candle in the night.

-Lehendakari Jose Antonio Ardanza, March 1988

Photo Credit: Iñaki Arrieta-Baro

Last week, on November 8, the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies celebrated its 50th anniversary with CBS faculty, students, and staff as well as countless members of the Basque community and supporters of the Center. Held at the Jon Bilbao Basque Library, the space was packed quickly. There was food and drink and a wonderful atmosphere. People reconnected with old friends and new ones at the lively event. Here’s some background on the CBS ‘s History and Mission:

History

Originally called the Basque Studies Program, the Center was created in 1967 as part of the Desert Research Institute at the University of Nevada, Reno. At that time, the DRI was creating new programs to reach various aspects of the Great Basin’s inhabitants and history. The idea for studying the Basques was proposed since Basque-Americans have long formed a prominent minortiy in the region and have contributed a great deal to its development. Bill Douglass served as the Program’s director from 1967-1999, when he retired to become Professor Emeritus in Basque Studies. The Basque Studies Program was renamed the Center for Basque Studies as a result of a program review conducted in 1999.

CBS Mission

The primary mission of the CBS is to conceive, facilitate, conduct, and disseminate the results of interdisciplinary research on the Basques to a local, regional, national, and internation audience, and by extension to draw attention to the human experience of small ethnic groups. The Center seeks to maintain excellence in all its endeavors and to achieve its goals through high quality research, publications, conferences, active involvement in scholarly networks throughout the world, as well as through service and teaching.

Channel 2 News was present and recorded a short news video on the event, available online. In it, they interview Xabier Irujo, the CBS director, and Dr. Sandy Ott, one of our professors. The video definitely captures the mood of the event.

Photo Credit: Iñaki Arrieta-Baro

President Johnson of UNR was given the word first, and he spoke of the history of the CBS and its impact on the UNR campus. He has taken a few trips to the Basque Country with the advisory council and genuinely enjoys our culture! Next up came William A. Douglass, our namesake and one of the founders of the CBS, as well as a pioneering researcher on Basques in the U.S. Douglass reflected on the center’s history and his own place within it. Dr. Irujo then spoke about both the CBS and Basque Studies in a global context, providing jokes and anecdotes. We were then honored by Jesus Goñi’s bertsoak celebrating the Center’s place in Basque history.

Photo Credit: Iñaki Arrieta-Baro

Photo Credit: Gemma Martín Valdanzo

Overall, it was a great event that gathered so many voices from the Basque community and academia. To 50 more years of the CBS!

 

 

 

 

 

In her own words: Iratxe Antonio-Agirre

Iratxe Antonio-Agirre was among the visiting scholars we had at the CBS this summer. For this introduction, we have the chance to read about her experience in her own words.

My name is Iratxe Antonio-Agirre. I was born in Legazpi, a little village located in the southern area of Gipuzkoa, but I have been living in Vitoria-Gasteiz since I was a child. I am a professor of Educational Psychology at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) where I try to convey my passion for teaching to my students.

I was granted a mobility scholarship for a five-week research stay at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) by the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC). Knowing of the existence of the large Basque American Community residing in Nevada, it seemed natural for me to contact the Center for Basque Studies at the UNR in order to better understand the Basque diaspora.

Along with Prof. Dr. Estibaliz Ramos-Díaz, a colleague from the University of the Basque Country, we collected data about the emotional and resilience strategies used by undergraduate students to promote their school engagement. I truly believe that this collaborative research between the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of the Basque Country will lead to a broader knowledge of the well-being of future students. We hope to establish the different processes involved in feeling more engaged in university academic tasks both in U.S. and in the Basque Country.

As a part of my research stay in the UNR, the Center for Basque Studies played a key role in establishing contact with other faculties and researchers interested in our study, as well as in helping us communicate some preliminary findings to the local scientific community. And not only that, the hospitality of the Center for Basque Studies staff made us feel like home, always helping us with everything we needed, always making us welcome.

Of course, I enjoyed the U.S. and Reno! No doubt about it. I remember with much affection the riverside, the dips in the Truckee during hot days, Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake, some meaningful conversations in the company of good friends, The Lincoln, Gardnerville, Pub N’ Sub, that improvised lunch at Louis’ Basque Corner, the incredible views of the Sierra… But in the end, what I miss the most is all the people I have had the chance to meet.


Eskerrik asko, Iratxe for writing this beautiful reflection. We had a blast having you around and can’t wait to see you again. Zorte on with everything!

Ongi Etorri to the 2017-2018 academic year at the Center!



We are so excited for the beginning of the 2017 Fall semester at the William Douglass Center for Basque Studies! This year we will continue offering undergraduate and graduate classes in many aspects of Basque culture. We would like to welcome Mariann Vaczi, who is joining the faculty and will be teaching a course on Basque Transnationalism in the United States. More about Mariann joining us will come in its own post, but in the meantime we for sure want to say welcome!

This semester, we are offering 5 courses:

 

Elementary Basque

Instructor: Kate Camino

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.

 

Contemporary Basque Politics

Xabier Irujo

History and legal status of Basque Politics within Spain and the European Union with particular emphasis on Post-Franco nationalist movements and party development.

 

Museums, Architecture, City Renewal: The Bilbao Guggenheim

 Joseba Zulaika

Introduction to the complex architectural, museistic, local/global, artistic, political and epistemological issues presented by the first global museum in its first franchise.

 

Basque Culture

Sandy Ott

Survey of the culture of the Basque, including occupations, cultural institutions, oral traditions and art, as well as their transformations in emigrant settings such as the American West.

 

Basque Transnationalism in the United States

Mariann Vaczi

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.

An Interview with Irati Urkitza, the New Basque Library Intern

The Jon Bilbao Basque Library recently welcomed a new intern, Irati Urkitza, who has arrived from Getxo (Bizkaia), a town neighboring Bilbao on the coast. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and a Master’s in Teacher Training from the University of the Basque Country, giving her the qualifications to teach high school philosophy. We took a moment to interview Irati so that we could introduce her to you, our readers. We look forward to having her around here at the center and library, as she is a welcome addition to our little community.

What brings you to the Center for Basque Studies and how long will you be here?

I am here on a grant called Global Training, which is given by the Basque Government, and I will stay here for six months, until July.

Tell me a bit about the Global Training program

Every year some Basque organizations and entities, with the help of the Basque government, offer several internship programs in foreign companies. The aim of these programs is to give the intern an opportunity to get some work experience abroad and then to come back and somehow enrich the Basque Country in their new jobs.

How did you learn about the Center for Basque Studies and its Basque library?

While I was reading the list that the University of the Basque Country offered for the Global Training program, I saw the name of the Jon Bilbao Basque Library. It immediately caught my attention and I researched a little bit about it. I found it really interesting and I decided that it was the place that I wanted to go.

What are you working on at the Jon Bilbao Basque Library?

I will be mainly working in the archives with Iñaki Arrieta and Shannon Sisco. We want to transfer all the information about the Basque collection to a new management system that will improve the access to them, so anyone from the main library can have access to the information in the archives.

What are your interests and hobbies?

I have various interests, but most of them are related to social and cultural issues. In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching films and TV shows, and taking walks or hiking.

Are you enjoying the U.S.?

Yes, although it is cold and dry, I am having a very good time here.

What are you looking forward to in your stay here in Reno and in the United States in general?

I am willing to learn more about American culture and about the Basques in the States. I would like to travel around to visit some other important places for the Basque diaspora and, certainly, I would love to travel to the wonderful National Parks you have here.

What have you missed the most since youve been here?

I have only been here for a week, so I haven’t had enough time to miss lots of things, but I believe that what I will miss the most will be my boyfriend, family and friends, and, of course, the food and the sea!

 

New exhibit at the Basque Library

The Jon Bilbao Basque Library now has a new window exhibit!

Basque Culture has been  characterized as an oral culture for a long time, in which orality plays a strong role in cultural transmission. The best known oral cultural activity is Bertsolaritza or Basque improvised poetry.

Bertsolaritza is a form of sung improvised poetry and an important cultural expression for the Basque people. Improvisers (Bertsolari in Basque) are well known by the population and they often perform at all kinds of festivities. Bertsolaritza is the Basque contribution to improvised poetries around the world. Basques have been able to preserve, modernize, and publicize bertsolaritza worldwide.

The exhibit includes explanatory texts, a shortened version of the documentary Bertsolari by the well know Basque director Asier Altuna, photographs of Bertsolariak in the Basque Country and the US, and a selection of our books about Bertsolaritza.

The Basque Library at the University of Nevada, Reno is now part of Kulturartea, a network of academic organizations working together in the field of improvised poetry including Basque Bertsolaritza and other similar activities around the world. This exhibit is our first visible effort to increase awareness about Bertsolaritza in Nevada and beyond.

Bertsolaritza exhibit at the Jon Bilbao Basque Library

The Center for Basque Studies will kindly provide all of our visitors with complimentary copies of the work Voicing the Moment: Improvised Oral Poetry and Basque Tradition. This volume brings together contributions by leading scholars in the field of orally improvised poetry. It includes, on the one hand, essays on improvised poetry and, on the other, essays in which leading practitioners of bertsolaritza study their own poetic art and its techniques.

The exhibit was designed by Iñaki Arrieta Baro and Shannon Sisco, and put in place by Shannon and our student workers Vivian Lewis and Annabel Gordon. It will be on display until April 2017.

New Exhibition at the Bizkaia Aretoa: “Amerikanuak. From North to South: Artists in residence in America by students from the Fine Arts Department of the University of the Basque Country”

An exhibition on the American experience by students of the University of the Basque Country began on September 19 and will take place until the 26th of the same month in Bilbao. The central theme of these artists is cultural understanding and we are happy to have been a part of it.

flyerThree students have spent time at the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies during the past two years, thanks to the collaboration between our institution and the University of the Basque Country. Manuel Diego Sánchez, Leire Baztarrica, and Oihane Sánchez Duro brought their different projects and perspectives to Reno, taking part in courses offered by the Fine Arts Department as well as networking. Their work varies in its medium, but focuses on the migration of Basques in the West and images of Nevada.

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Sánchez (Madrid, 1993) compiled a photographic archive through the lens of historic memory and the uprooting experienced by migrants. His contemporary interpretations help shed new light on this experience.

Baztarrica (Vitoria-Gasteiz, 1992) focused her work on images of Reno, with help from Will Durham, contrasting the kitsch of the casino world with her own photographic portraits of the people she came across on her visit.

Sánchez Duro (Sestao, 1991) researched the representation by migrants to recreate familiar spaces, reminiscent of their homelands. She presents this as an architecture of memory signified by the dualism between the local and the global.

This exhibit also features the work of Teresa Jareño Querejeta (Donostia, 1987) who spent time in Antarctica. She wishes to recreate the experience through a multimedia form of visuals and sound.

We look forward to having more students come and be a part of the CBS, as their artistic residencies help broaden our views of Basques through artistic contemplations.

For more information about the exhibit, please read their flyer, available here:  http://www.ehu.eus/ehusfera/bbaa/files/2016/09/AMERIKANUAK-DIPTICO.pdf

Center publications that explore art-related themes include Beyond Guernica and the Guggenheim: Art and Politics from a Comparative Perspective, edited by Zoe Bray; and Learning from the Bilbao Guggenheim, edited by Anna Maria Guasch and Joseba Zulaika, which can be downloaded for free here.

Sapling from the Tree of Gernika planted on UNR campus

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This sapling from the Tree of Gernika takes up its new home at UNR. 

On Friday, May 20, 2016, the sapling from the Tree of Gernika was planted on the UNR campus. Here are some photos from this great and momentous event. May you live long and prosper young sapling!

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Technicians from the Nevada State Arboretum plant the sapling.

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Professor Joseba Zulaika presents the significance of the tree. All photos courtesy of Iñaki Arrieta Baro.

Xabier Irujo to speak on Basque language, writing and exile at the Sabino Arana Foundation

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Andima Ibinagabeitia, Jokin Zaitegi, and Nikolas Ormaetxea, Orixe. Source: Center for Basque Studies Archive.

Dr. Xabier Irujo will speak on the situation of the Basque language from the Second Carlist War until after the Spanish War of 1936-1939. Beginning from the premise of writers like Miguel de Unamuno, who relegated Basque to a second tier, Xabier will lead the audience through the Basque renaissance that happened following the Second Carlist War that continued through the 1936 war, at which time the major impetus for the preservation fell upon the Basques, exiled from the Francoist dictatorship, who carried on this important work in exile, usually in Latin America. Among many others, Zaitegi, Ibinagabeitia, Orixe and Ametzaga were some of the Basque writers and patriots in exile. In this conference, Xabier will treat the importance of translation of these authors who lived in exile in París, Casablanca, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, México and Caracas, and, in general, on the importance of Basque.

The conference will take place at the Sabino Arana Foundation in Bilbao on Thursday, May 19 at 7:30 pm.

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Readers interested in this subject should check out Xabier’s Expelled from the Motherland, and for a bit of a different story of exile, A Basque Patriot in New York by Inaki Anasagasti and Jose Erkoreka.

The Reno Basque Monument

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It has finally come to the time of semester when projects and deadlines are are among us and the end is in sight.  I, along with a few other students in the Center for Basque Studies, are preparing to head to the Basque Country.  Iker Saitua has graduated (and is now Dr. Saitua), Ziortza is returning home for the summer to be with family, and I am heading over for some intensive language learning in the small town of Lazkao, Gipuzkoa.

In addition to getting out with my dog Mowgli in the nicer weather we’ve been having here lately, I thought it would be appropriate to visit the Reno Basque Monument in preparation to bridge the gap from where I’ve been living and studying for the last year and a half, and the real deal.  On the way to hiking to the “N” which can be seen from many parts of Reno,

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I stopped to see the map of settlements, the monument itself and the list of names …

IMG_1508basque in us

 

Nestor Basterretxea Arzadun was the Basque artist who helped design the Basque Monument titled Solitude.  He also worked closely with other Basque artists, largely on the topic of emptiness within Basque culture and identity.

Emily Lobsenz captured Nestor’s story shortly before his death, on video in her film Song of the Basques.

 

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Living in Reno and seeing the local Basque-American culture has prepped me for the next year when I finally am able to experience first-hand all that I’ve learned since starting the program here at the Center for Basque Studies.  While I expect there to be many similarities between the two spaces, I know there will be a world of difference.

Here’s to the Basque Country-see you soon!

 

 

 

Center featured in KNPB’s Arteffects

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The National Monument to the Basque Sheepherder, Rancho San Rafael, Reno, NV.

Episode 113 of KNPB‘s show Arteffects, which aired on April 29, included a feature on Basque art with the Center’s own Joseba Zulaika speaking about Basque immigration, Nestor Basterretxea’s Monument to the Basque Sheepherder in Reno’s San Rafael Park and Orreaga in the UNR library (be sure to check out the blog tomorrow, Friday, May 6, for a feature on Basterretxea), the history and development of the CBS as well as the arborglyphs or tree carvings made by Basque sheepherders and the importance of art in the Basque Country in general as a key part of its cultural legacy. The show also featured Kelly Reis, Executive Director of the Sparks Museum & Cultural Center, discussing the temporary exhibit titled “Hidden in Plain Sight: The Basques,” covered in an earlier post.

Check out the show (with the report on Basque art at approx. 19m 30s) here.

basque tree carvings

Basque tree carvings.

If you’re interested in Basque art, check out Beyond Guernica and the Guggenheim: Art and Politics from a Comparative Perspective, edited by Zoe Bray.

See also Speaking Through the Aspens:  Basque Tree Carvings in California and Nevada, by Joxe Mallea-Olaetxe. And check out Joxe’s site dedicated to this fascinating piece of Basque-American social and cultural history here.

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