The 2018 AABS Conference’s program is divided into 16 broad divisions. The divisions represent a wide spectrum of subject areas, each focusing on a set of topics currently relevant to corresponding fields. A detailed overview of questions each division will address can be found below.
It is customary to schedule several panels at AABS conferences to discuss the state of Baltic Studies in North America and elsewhere, as well as issues of importance to the AABS as a learned society. At the previous, Philadelphia conference, the Executive Directors of the Association for the Advancement of German Studies and the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Studies joined AABS representatives on panels that discussed the relationship of member learned societies to the American Council of Learned Societies and the publishing of association journals.
2018 will mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies. This will become the major theme of this division. We will want to focus on:
The division welcomes other ideas of what would be appropriate to celebrate the anniversary.
Professor of History, Armstrong State University
Executive Director, University of California Irvine’s Humanities Commons
The Aesthetics and the Arts division will address the theory, criticism, history, and heritage of the visual and material culture of the Baltic states. This division invites emerging and established scholars to share their current research, investigations, and/or work in progress. Proposals will be accepted from a very wide spectrum of subject areas, including painting, sculpture, decorative arts, folk arts, photography, film, theatre, architecture, urban design, and historic preservation.
The historiography of these fields, noting changes occurring since the Baltic states gained independence, is also included. Patronage, curatorship, and arts administration topics are likewise welcome. Interdisciplinary topics will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but not topics mostly overlapping with archaeology, anthropology, or history. Such proposals will be forwarded to the respective division chairs.
Associate Professor of Architecture, Arizona State University
Lecturer in Art History, Northeastern University
Archaeology is the study of the human past (and present) through the analysis of artifacts, human remains, landscapes, and other forms of material culture. Archaeological research encompasses a huge diversity of topics, places, and time periods: everything from osteological analyses of ancient hominoids to studies of the man-made debris orbiting earth can be considered archaeological research. While some authors argue that it is excavation as a research methodology that defines archaeology as a discipline, other scholars emphasize a range of other qualities, such as attention to materiality and an engagement with the objects of the past, as distinctive characteristics of archaeology.
Any scholar who understands his or her work as making an archaeological contribution to the study of the Baltics is invited to submit presentations to the Archaeology division of the 2018 AABS conference. Additionally, scholars outside of archaeology whose work thematically engages with the topic of Baltic archaeology are invited to submit proposals to this section.
Many of the presentations in this division will engage with the question “how can the study of material culture enhance our understanding of human history and culture in the Baltic region?” Examples of the methods scholars engaging with this question could draw on include: landscape studies; artifact analysis; archival research; phenomenology; bio-archaeology; zooarchaeology; lithic analysis; and experimental archaeology. Scholars addressing this question in dialogue with a variety of theoretical traditions are invited to apply. Examples include, but are not limited to: post-colonial theory, queer theory, post-humanism, critical race theory, and Actor Network Theory.
Presentations taking the emergence and development of archaeological method, practice, and institutions in the Baltic region as a subject of study are also invited. For example, presentations could consider the politicization of archaeology in nationalist or internationalist contexts, the positionality of Baltic archaeology vis-a-vis Central European, Russian, or Anglo-American archaeological “schools,” or the post/neo-colonial dimensions of contemporary archaeological practice.
JD ’16, anthropology PhD ’18, Stanford University
Chair, Department of Archaeology, Vilnius University
Associate Professor of Medieval Archaeology, University of Reading, UK
The Business and Economics division of the 2018 AABS conference welcomes submissions on a wide array of topics. Economics papers will be accepted that cover macroeconomic issues relevant to the Baltic states such as the fallout from the financial crisis, issues in Euro accession, along with papers on growth, employment, and fiscal policy.
Additionally, papers addressing individual markets (e.g. the effect of migration on labor markets) are welcome as well. Papers on most business topics related to the Baltic states are also welcome. Papers addressing the competitiveness of Baltic companies and entrepreneurship in the Baltic States are particularly encouraged.
Associate Professor of Economics, Department Chair, Millersville University
Chair of the Economics Department, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga
Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University
Director, Enterprise Estonia, Silicon Valley
The Communication, Disinformation, and the Media division of the 2018 AABS conference seeks individual, panel and roundtable submissions featuring original research on all areas of journalism, mass media, and related subjects in the Baltic states. We are particularly interested in the following.
Assistant Professor of Communication, Gwynedd Mercy University
Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution
Executive Director, Baltic Centre for Investigative Journalism
Professor of Journalism, University of Jyväskylä
Founder, Investigative Journalist, Baltic Centre for Investigative Journalism
Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies, University of Wisconsin, River Falls
Assistant Professor, Department of Culture and Communication, Drexel University
The digital is omnipresent in contemporary life, both non-academic and academic. It has cut across the humanities disciplines to an extent that is impossible to ignore, becoming a meeting place for interdisciplinary research. Digital Humanities is creating synergies and opening up new arenas of study like transmedia studies, digital folkloristics, etc. In the 21st century, digital sources are forming an increasingly larger part of contemporary culture, thus becoming research object for the humanities.
The move from analogue to digital source material has shaped the way we approach, analyze and present data. A distinction between digitized, born-digital, and reborn-digital is in order to help researchers in the process of exploration and scholarship. But the commonalities among all these aspects of digital research are as important as their distinctions.
In this Digital Humanities division of the 2018 AABS conference, we invite participants to discuss the role of the digital in their research, including daily practices, computational methods, and exploration of digital sources.
We invite researchers to share their experience on how digital practices, tools and methods have contributed to their research. What’s the contribution of computational power to humanities research, and how has it changed the way we look at and analyze our source materials? Has it opened up new methodological approaches, changed our research questions? And what are researchers’ solutions for handling digital culture, often multimedial, happening in real time, with various legal restrictions: how it can be tamed and transformed into research data?
Senior Researcher, Estonian Literary Museum
Senior Researcher, Estonian Literary Museum
Digital Humanities Librarian, Stanford University Libraries
The Education division of the 2018 AABS conference focuses on education conceived both broadly as learning beyond school and more narrowly as the institution of schooling. We strive to advance historical understandings of education in the Baltic region and strengthen our nuanced appreciation of contemporary developments. Our division welcomes a range of academic disciplines as well as research methodologies; we find this interdisciplinary focus and approach to strengthen our investigation of education in the Baltic states. Specifically, the division is open to research on all levels of education from pre-preprimary through higher education.
The division invites individual presenters and encourages the submission of panels engaging with themes including, but not limited to, curriculum, teacher education, national and global testing, student migration, minority schooling, language, rural/urban schools, school organization, and universities in the European network.
Given the independence commemorations in 2018, the division particularly encourages papers concerning the intersecting themes of schooling and national development, education and resistance (during World War II and the occupation periods), schools as sites that cultivate civic identities, and the role of directors, teachers, and students in compliance and independence.
Associate Professor of Educational Studies, University of South Carolina
Assistant Professor in Educational Administration, University of Manitoba
The History and Memory division, expected to be the largest of its kind at the upcoming conference and fulfilling in many ways a central role, will be closely connected to the conference’s most important celebratory milestone: the 100th anniversary of independent Baltic republics. The focal point of the History and Memory division will thus be the question of Baltic independence from a variety of historical perspectives, including the following, often partially overlapping fields of research:
In addition, other paper, panel and roundtable proposals in the field of Baltic history and memory which are not explicitly connected to the questions outlined above will be just as welcome.
Lecturer in Contemporary Scandinavian History, University College London
Senior Researcher, Lithuanian Institute of History
Senior Researcher, Vilnius University
Professor of History, University of Latvia
Associate Professor, Institute of Humanities, Tallinn University
Associate Professor of Soviet History, Stanford University
Associate Professor of History, University of New Haven
Jews have been present in the Baltic region since the 13th or 14th century. Over the centuries, a “Litvak” (Northern European) Jewish culture developed and flourished. This culture influenced and was influenced by the surrounding cultures. Jews played a crucial role in the region’s economy, in politics, in the arts, and in other aspects of culture. By the end of the 19th century, emigration reduced the Jewish population of the region. The 20th century saw an increase in anti-Semitism, the Nazi era, and the annihilation of the vast majority of the region’s Jews in the Holocaust. During the Soviet era, the region’s Jewish population was further reduced.
In the 21st century, the Baltic region faces the challenge of preserving Jewish memory in the absence of a sizeable population of Jews, and Jewish communities and individuals outside the region debate what relationship they should seek to the land of their ancestors.
Scholars of Baltic and Jewish studies have traditionally worked in isolation from one another, yet connections are now being forged, both within AABS and elsewhere. The Jewish Studies division of the 2018 AABS conference seeks to strengthen these connections and to foster dialogue about future scholarly collaborations.
Paper and panel proposals are solicited for the following topics:
Independent Scholar; Author of We Are Here. Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust
Assistant Professor of History, Vytautas Magnus University
Professor in Jewish Studies, Stanford University
In 2018 the Baltic states will achieve an important milestone in their histories as states – 100 years since the establishment of the Republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. At the same time more than 25 years have already passed since the renewal of independence of the Baltic states. As we pause and look back at these 100 years of our history we cannot be on the border between centuries and not have to look at the future as well, as the Baltic states enter their next 100 years.
Memory institutions are by nature always on the brink between the past and the future – preserving the past, but having to face all the challenges of the modern, ever-changing world and the coming unknown future. Celebrating the first centenary and entering the next 100 years of Baltic history – what in this situation is the role and place of memory institutions?
To search for this role and place of memory institutions, presentations on the following topics (but not limited only to these) are welcome:
President, Baltic Heritage Network; Chief Archivist, Museum of Estonians Abroad (VEMU)
Researcher, Latvian Academy of Sciences Baltic Center for Strategic Studies
Head of the Lituanica Department, Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania
ScholarWorks Librarian and Associate Professor of University Libraries, Western Michigan University
The Literature and Language Studies division of the 2018 AABS conference welcomes proposals for papers, panels and roundtable discussions in the fields of Baltic literature, folklore, and linguistics. We are casting a wide net in all three subject areas to include traditional and contemporary approaches as well as those pushing the boundaries of current theory and scholarship.
In literature, traditional approaches might include those focusing on the form, style, or structure of a specific literary work or on the life of a particular author. Contemporary approaches might examine fiction, poetry, memoir, or drama from cultural, gender, historical, psychoanalytic, or post-colonial perspectives. Topics that have gained in popularity at recent AABS conferences include those that touch upon transnationalism, memory and trauma, cultural hybridity, and immigration literature. Papers dealing with Jewish literature in the Baltics are welcome, as are those focusing on publishing and translation.
There is frequently an overlap between topics in literature and those in folklore. Two paper titles from previous AABS conferences that show this intersection are “An Old Folktale in New Forms: Rainis, Kalnaellis and the Traditional Tale of the Glass Mountain” and “Kristiina Ehin’s Poetry: Folklore and the New Estonian Woman.” Possible topics for folklore include those dealing with Baltic pagan beliefs and customs, storytelling traditions, folk art, festivals, proverbs, riddles, and material culture.
In linguistics, subject areas might include general linguistics (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics), comparative linguistics, and applied linguistics. Papers on sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, and intercultural communication are also welcome.
Professor of English, Eastern Illinois University
Professor in Lithuanian Studies, University of Illinois- Chicago
The Musicology division of the 2018 AABS conference will include sessions and panels that focus on the continued study of Baltic composers, historians, performers and performance practices as well as have a renewed focus on how we can collectively promote and represent this important area to the rest of the musical world.
In addition to individual papers, the Musicology division would like to include panels that focus on collaborations between archival and marketing scholars to encourage discussion about how to proceed with future cross-subject projects, such as multi-media presentations, song festivals and exhibitions.
The Musicology division would also like to encourage performances for participation in the form of lecture-recitals, demonstrations and also audio and video examples to highlight their work.
Possible events include:
Artistic Director, Mägi Ensemble; Affiliate Assistant Professor of Baltic Studies, University of Washington
Founder, Baltic Choral Music Foundation; Impresario
Associate Professor of Baltic Studies, University of Washington
Principal, Sky Films Inc., co-filmmaker of “The Singing Revolution” and “To Breathe As One”
The Political Science and Regional Security division of the 2018 AABS conference is devoted to a broad range of topics concerning the political and legal developments in the Baltic countries. These topics should cover both contemporary issues and historical experiences – especially, in the context of the 100th anniversary of Baltic statehood. The main aim of this section is to identify as much as possible those concepts and trends in political science, international relations, and law, where the Baltic experiences could serve as significant and thought-provoking examples for further development in these disciplines.
In the field of political science, comparative perspectives are encouraged, as well as innovative approaches to the analysis of Baltic politics. Political systems, public administration, political parties, and developments in political culture are among the most relevant fields. However, we would also strongly encourage applications on topics less researched in the Baltic context, like democratic innovations, green politics, or political geography.
In the field of regional security, the impact of international organizations, security policy, foreign policy analysis, and security studies are among the most relevant topics. There is a place also for topics like assymetric threats, energy policy, and, last but not least, the armament/disarmament issues. In this section, a special attention should be given to the ‘societal’ dimension of the international relations, welcoming topics like the rise of international extremism and radicalism, the impact of international migration and social movements, as well as to the role of social media.
In addition, we welcome applications on a wide range of issues concerning the legal developments in the Baltic countries. They may include topics on the constitutional history and theory, minority rights and human rights, developments in European and international law. Presentations on topics like privacy and minority rights are welcome.
Associate Professor in Political Theory, University of Latvia
Professor, Department of Political Science, Stanford University
Professor at Department of Regional Studies at the Faculty of Political Science and Diplomacy, Vytautas Magnus University
Elmar Tampõld Chair of Estonian Studies, University of Toronto
The Religion division of the 2018 AABS conference aims to analyze religion in the Baltic States in its full complexity, taking into account the history and the current religious situation. Religion in the Baltic region is a multidimensional phenomenon, with its own institutions, rituals, communities and debates.
Geographically, institutionalized religion can be approached from a very secularized and religiously diverse North to a more stable and religiously homogenous South. However, the diversity of religious worldviews and the spirituality outside conventional religious institutions is certainly characteristic to all Baltic societies and therefore poses a valuable task for researchers.
The Religion division is open to papers and panels on a variety of topics, which show the religious diversification of the Baltic societies in the past and present times.
Research Fellow of Church History, University of Tartu
Associate Professor, Sociology Department, Vytautas Magnus University
Researcher of Cultural Studies, Institute of Cultural Research and Arts, University of Tartu
Professor extraordinarius of Comparative Religion, Theological Institute of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church
Professor of Church History and History of Religions, University of Latvia
The Anthropology and Sociology division of the 2018 AABS conference invites research papers analyzing political, economic, and sociocultural processes in the Baltics from World War II to present. We welcome interdisciplinary papers as well as comparative approaches.
The topics of this section will include, but are not limited to, war and security, migration and mobility, ethnicity and nationalism, authoritarianism, populism, and the radical right, regionalism and globalism, citizenship, sovereignty and the state, borders and borderlands, media and communication, memory and politics of history and identity.
Associate Professor of Anthropology, Miami University
Professor, Department of Public Communication, Vytautas Magnus University
Lecturer, Tallinn University
Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Latvia
Visiting Scholar, University of California, Berkeley
The Baltic Sea region is considered to be one of the leaders and top initiators of ground-breaking initiatives in the field of technology. The Baltic Sea Region as an Emerging Tech Powerhouse division of the 2018 AABS conference will focus on cutting-edge ideas and developments that have emanated from the Baltic sea region in general, and from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in particular. The division will also highlight the growing role of Baltic-Nordic partnership in these initiatives, as well as the Baltic region’s ties to Silicon Valley.
The division will focus on the region’s cyber security and e-society initiatives as well as the economic and political ecosystem that favors creativity and startup culture. The division welcomes paper, panel, and roundtable proposals on a variety of topics that touch upon the “tech powerhouse” phenomenon, including, but not limited to, e-governance, e-services, e-residency, cyber security, and start-up culture.
Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution
CEO and founder, TechHub Riga
VP of Engineering, Twilio, Inc.
VP of Sales, Plumbr; Former Govergment CIO, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications for Estonia
VP of Strategic Projects, Intertrust
VP of Product, Employees and Marketplace, MOVE Guides