DOE Russian Studies Grant Activity

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Dr. Cynthia Bickley-Green (Art Education, School of Art, College of Fine Arts and Communications)
"Ukrainian Art Education and Interdisciplinary Connections [UAEIC]"

The purpose of this project is to gather data and review aspects of the pedagogical methods and results of art education in the Ukraine during selected periods of the Union of Soviet Socialist [USSR] Republics perestroika and later after dissolution of the USSR and the formation of the Ukraine as an independent political entity post-perestroika. Interdisciplinary Art Education is defined in the UAEIC project as the study and creation of visual images in relation to other disciplines such as history, mathematics, and language arts. The primary outcomes of the research done in the project UAEIC will fall in the categories of Curriculum Enhancement and Community Outreach. The research materials (interviews, photographs, and other documentation) collected in UAEIC will be used to form three teaching units for the current art education methods courses I teach for art education majors ART 4323 and online ART 3851 (School of Art) and for general education students ART 3850 (College of Education). Teaching Unit One will address the North Carolina Standard Course of Study and the National Art Education Standards requirement to show connections between art and other content areas. The traditional combination of art and literature in Russian serves as an example of how one culture actual demonstrates this interdisciplinary connection in the art and literature of mature artists. Teaching Unit Two will use the art of the Ukraine particularly the art pictured on the Leopolis Project website to serve as a resource for multicultural art education in these classes. The example of the Leopolis Project is a model for the dissemination of information about a culture's architectural heritage to other countries around the world. It is a great resource for art teachers in North Carolina. In this unit students will be asked to review the website and plan a similar though much smaller presentation of their own cultural heritage. ART 2870 Computers in Art Education will also participate in this learning activity. Teaching Unit Three will provide students with an opportunity to compare the visual arts curriculum of the Ukraine to the curriculum of North Carolina. This material will be augmented with information about curricula of Belize and Italy. These three very different regions of the world provide three different curricular models. Students will see how art curricula reflect the values, resources, and cultural heritage of the countries that created the curricula. A three-part program related to the three teaching units outlined above and developed from the Ukrainian research will be presented to the public in Eastern North Carolina. Teachers from the local school system, Greenville Museum members, the North Carolina Art Education Association membership, and the general public will be invited to participate in the three part program. Continuing Education Units will be offered for attendance. At this time it is possible that North Carolina state mandate for teachers to earn reading methods will be awarded for work done with the Teaching Unit One.

Dr. Carmine Scavo and Dr. Daniel Masters (Political Science, Harriot College of Arts and Sciences)

The proposed trip to Saratov State University will involve course development for three courses, International Studies (INTL) 1000, Political Science (POLS) 3236 (Soviet Successor States), and Political Science (POLS) 4307 Comparative Public Administration. There is potential spin-off benefit for the development and unbanking of POLS 3145 (Russian Foreign Policy). Course development will proceed in the following manner. For INTL 1000, the goal is to gain cooperation from Saratov State University to add them to a growing list of overseas institutions participating in a global interactive course on Globalization. This spring the course will include students from East Carolina University interacting with students from SooChow University in China, students from Gambia, and Switzerland. Saratov State University would be an excellent complement to this group for a course in the future. For POLS 3236 the goal is to develop the course and to keep the content timely by developing cooperative studies on Russian Civil Society and democratization, which would enhance current course content on the ever changing political landscape in Russia. For instance, many scholars place emphasis on the observed centralizing tendencies of Vladimir Putin's presidency in Russia. Little notice has gone to the decentralizing tendencies seen on places like Tyumen Oblast where new laws have been passed to create the position of city manager, thus removing everyday administrative duties from elected politicians and handing power to professional administrators. There is emerging interest in the meaning and importance of non-governmental organizations and democratization at the grassroots level. Such developments require investigation and should be included in courses on Russian (post-Soviet) politics to ensure course materials are accurate to current conditions. POLS 4307 focuses on comparative/international public administration. The proposed trip to Saratov State University would allow the instructors to develop a module for the course on the state of Russian public administration in the Post-Soviet period to ensure course content is timely. As mentioned, this trip could have spin-off value to unbanking a course(POLS 3145) on Russian Foreign Policy. While this is not the primary purpose of the trip, we will explore the possibility of developing this course.



Professor Carl Billingsley (Director, Sculpture, School of Art)
"On-Site Studio Component for Summer Sculpture Program Abroad"

During the summer of 2004, I plan on researching the possibility of developing an on-site studio component for the summer abroad course that I have been conducting in Eastern Europe and Russia for the past eight years. Although I have been quite successful in developing individual and institutional contacts in Estonia, Latvia, & Hungary where sculpture studio and site work has been conducted, I have not been able to establish such a site in Russia. One reason for this situation has been that I have never had the opportunity to travel without students to Russia. Meeting artists and fellow faculty members of institutions and exploring the possibilities for site/studio work has been almost impossible while engaged with students. Our activity in Russia has been an important component of the program. Several visits to the Hermitage during each visit to St. Petersburg, exploring the many other museums and historic sites in and around that great city and meeting artists and students from various institutions have all added to the value of the experience for both faculty and students. However, I have long wanted to find the resources (both time and funding) to develop an on-site studio experience in Russia as a way to expand upon the impact of the program. This grant will provide the funding, and I will forgo taking students this summer in order to have the time to develop this component of the Summer Sculpture Abroad Program .

Travel to Russia will allow me to meet with my friend and colleague Vladimir Gorislatsev with whom I have worked for many years. Vladimir will act as my guide, translator and contact person with people and institutions in both Moscow and St. Petersburg. I have already had preliminary discussions with Vladimir about this research and he has indicated his interest in helping me. I will be happy to pay Vladimir for his time and assistance from my own pocket if necessary . Vladimir is a member of the Union of Artists and has many contacts in both cities and with a wide range of individuals and institutions. He is adept at finding his way through the layers of bureaucracy and confusion which surround most institutions in Russia.

Dr. Bob Edwards (Sociology, Harriot College of Arts and Sciences)

Dr. Edwards plans to travel to Lithuania this summer to 1) Formalize a student exchange program between the Sociology Department at ECU and the Law University of Lithuania; 2) Develop greater familiarity with the region to support East European modules in new and existing sociology courses; 3) Establish preliminary contacts needed to assess the potential for and begin to plan an East European study abroad program for ECU students; 4) Enhance his emerging research interest in East European environmental movements by interviewing representatives of stakeholder groups in Vilnius and in rural communities like Balninkai.

He will also travel to Croatia (Zagreb and Split) where he has developed contacts at universities. While there he will investigate Croatian environmental NGOs and policy especially related to coastal development issues. He will also travel to Belgrade and Novi Sad in Yugoslavia. He is consulting with staff in the Cultural Affairs section at the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade and the Yugoslav Author's Agency to arrange for him to speak at one or two events in conjunction with the Serbian translation and publication of my book Beyond Tocqueville: Civil Society and the Social Capital Debate in Comparative Perspective.

Dr. Michael Bassman (Director, University Honors Program)
"Jewish Life in Poland Between the Two World Wars"

Before World War II, Poland was the largest and most important center of Jewish creativity, scholarship, and culture in the world. Jews had lived in Poland since the twelfth century, and in 1939 Poland's 3.5 million Jews comprised about one-fifth of the population. The centers of Jewish life in Poland were located in Warsaw, Cracow, Lodz, Wilna (now Vilnius in Lithuania), and Lvov (now in Ukraine). It is my intention to visit these cities in order to accomplish on-site research. I plan to see what remains of the Jewish quarters and, as well, to conduct research at the archives of the following institutions: a) The Social and Cultural Society of Jews in Poland, Warsaw; b) The Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw;c) The Great Synagogue on Tlomackie, Warsaw;d) Urzad Stanu Cywilnego Warszawa Srodmiescie, Cracow, Lodz;e) The Central Historical Archives, Lvov;f) The Jewish Archives of YIVO, Vilnius.


Dr. David Harrison (Social Work, College of Human Ecology)
"Life Narratives of Lithuania's First Generation of Professional Social Workers."

The proposed project is a continuation of a study I began in 1996 entitled "Life Narratives of Lithuania's First Generation of Professional Social Workers." This project was based on my experience as the master's thesis vadovas (leader) for the first two groups of professional post-Soviet social workers in Lithuania. I collected life narratives of this group two years after the completion of the theses, and after I had begun to coordinate a project to bring selected graduates and others to the United States for PhD degrees. The narratives have led to presentations and publications, most recently the theme being "Social Work as the Expression of Freedom," concerning the idealism and romanticism that led many physicians, engineers, and other professionals to enter the field of social work after the Soviet occupation. I have remained in contact with many of these participants over the years, and it is apparent that now, eleven years after the establishment of the social work profession and social work education, that the participants' lives and their profession have evolved differently than they expected through the rapid social transformations that continue. This project is to document and interpret the last ten years' experience of the personal and social transformation. Participation would also allow me to extend successful work on bi-lateral relationships between ECU and Lithuanian universities. I have engaged six other ECU faculty members to do serious projects in Lithuania. We have prepared the first bi-lateral student exchange agreement, with the Law University of Lithuania. I hold appointments at Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas University of Technology, and I am working as consultant to new social work programs at both Kaunas Medical University and Kaunas College. We should be able to offer a range of linkages, including linkages of particular value to the medical campus. Additionally, I have discussed the project in detail with Michael Bassman of the Honors Program. We plan to offer a cross-listed course in Ethnic Studies and Social Work entitled "The Personal Experience of Social Transformations." This course will use the narrative from this Russian Studies project as one of the primary units of the course offering examples of narratives of transition, along with other first-person narratives of the personal, lived experience of major transitions in society. This course will provide these examples of narratives of transitions, along with methodological sessions, before students collect, analyze, and interpret individuals' personal accounts of important social changes. Examples of student projects could include desegregation in local communities, adapting to changing sex and gender roles in the workplace, and the experience of immigrating to North Carolina. Each will be done in the context of the interpreted narratives of Lithuanians that this grant would help me complete.


Dr. Gail Kenyon (Social Work, College of Human Ecology)

I plan to travel to Lithuania, in June of 2004 to continue development of the use of live client simulation in social work and related professional education at Kaunas Medical University (KMU). I have been working with Dr. Ruta Butkeviciene, Director of Social Work Education at KMU to develop the use of this teaching technology at their University. I plan to work with Dr. Butkeviciene and other social workers in Kaunas to develop culturally relevant case scenarios for use in social work and medical education there and here at ECU. The increase in Eastern European and Post Soviet country immigration makes knowledge and experience with this population an asset for social work, nursing, and medical students. As well, this is an excellent vehicle to use to increase students knowledge, understanding and appreciation of this region. Dr. Butkeviciene and I hope to collaborate on an article on the application of this teaching technology in post soviet social work educational development. While I am there, Dr Butkeviciene will assist me in meeting with medical and nursing educators at the University to promote an inter-university agreement similar to the agreement we will have with Lithuania Law University in the near future. With this agreement we hope to promote faculty and student collaboration and exchange. During my last trip to Kaunas in 2003, I was able to visit several social work services. This knowledge has informed my teaching and practice of social work upon my return. I plan to use the opportunity to continue my education about the development of social services and social work in Post Soviet Lithuania. The knowledge and materials I gain in my activities in Lithuania will be used in my existing courses which focus on child welfare practice and policy. This knowledge will allow me to give comparative information to my students about the US, Canada and Lithuania as an independent state of the former soviet union. The case scenarios that I plan to develop in Lithuania will be used in teaching my child welfare practice course. As well, they will be made available to any medical or social work faculty for teaching practice skills, through the Center for Clinical Skill Assessment and Education at the Brody School of Medicine thereby infusing knowledge about Lithuania into the respective curricula.


Mr. Gil Leebrick (Director, Gray Gallery, School of Art)
"Russian Artists from St. Petersburg"

I propose to curate an exhibition of work by Russian artists from St. Petersburg culminating in an exhibit in the Wellington B. Gray Gallery. Colleague and artist Vladimir Gorislautsev who lines in St. Petersburg and is knowledgeable of the art scene in the area would assist. Studio visits would college images and information, the first step in the process of an exciting contemporary exhibition of Russian art. All media would be considered. The Wellington B. Gray Gallery programs are part of the curriculum in the School of Art. Unlike other classes in academe where books play a major roll in our students' education, the true experience of visual arts can be had only by direct involvement. As director of the Gray Gallery, I work closely with School of Art faculty to insure that the exhibitions and visits artist program fulfill needs in the curriculum.


Jacqueline Leebrick (School of Art, College of Fine Arts and Communications)

This grant will initiate a Russian Studies unit in my Advanced Digital photography class ART 4240 that will establish a visual dialog and exchange of images and ideas between ECU undergraduate digital photography students and students of digital photography from an area in or around St. Petersburg, Russia. This interchange will give students from both countries the opportunity to compare their corresponding contemporary cultures, artwork and icons, examining both similarities and differences. Digital photography is an ideal media for this project because images are easily transported over the internet. It is my hope that the project will result in the development of a better understanding of our global connections as mediated through technology. In summer 2004 I will visit digital artists/educators connected with a Russian institution with an interest in exchanging ideas, images and technology between students in our two countries. Prior to my visit, I will contact professors through the Ministry of Culture in St. Petersburg involved in the Baltic Photoschool Project ( and establish contacts with university professors and professionals of digital photography. I will select a site with a program of equal quality and objectives to our own in the School of Art. During my visit I will dialog with professors and artists to explore topics of interest to both cultures and develop a mutual understanding of our artwork and aesthetic. I will document my visit to Russia with the digital camera and share these interchanges with my students. During the school year, I will set up communication between students of our two countries via e-mail with the goals of sharing digital images and ideas about art making, photography, technology and culture.

Jami Leibowitz (Anthropology, Harriot College of Arts and Sciences)
"Dracula Tourism in Roumania"

Currently in ANTH 4000, Cultures of Europe, there is a module on Tourism. I would like to use this opportunity to further enhance that module, focusing on cultural tourism in Romania. The commodification of culture is a key issue in anthropological research on tourism. The question raised becomes what impact does packaging "culture" for export to tourists have on the culture itself. I would like to explore this issue using the specific example of Bran, a small village in the Romanian countryside. Bran has become a primary tourist destination based on its fictional association with Dracula. Bram Stoker falsely identified the castle at Bran as Dracula's even though the real Dracula, Vlad Tepes, only spent one evening in the castle. This fact, however, does not deter the throngs of tourists from visiting and purchasing all the Dracula themed products offered in the market, nor does it deter the locals from offering these products. My interest is to what extent locals are negotiating and adjusting the true story of Dracula to fit the expectations of the tourists who visit. To accomplish this, I would like to spend time in Bran primarily interviewing the locals to elicit their Dracula stories to determine if and to what extent the fictional account imported by the tourists has altered the locals' accounts of Dracula and look for themes in the ways in which the true story is being altered to mesh with the tourists' conceptions of this piece of Romanian history. Although everyone living in Bran benefits from the tourism industry to some extent, I expect that those individuals most closely linked to the tourist industry and the tourists themselves are most likely to alter their telling of the Dracula story to match the popular history as understood by tourists. If time permits, I would additionally like to evaluate the economic impact of tourism in Bran by conducting household surveys. Having previously lived in Romania for a year as a Fulbright scholar, I should be able to organize and conduct this research with ease. I already have trained research assistants in place and am familiar with both the language and life in Romania.

Eva Roberts (Communication Arts, School of Art, College of Fine Art and Communication)

I plan to travel to Russia in order to build connections with contemporary graphic designers and artists, particularly those who produce posters or other materials concerned with social or political issues. Russia has a strong history of using graphic communication to influence the socio-political environment. Not only has this work been recognized as effective and visually powerful, but Russian graphics continue to influence contemporary design. So far I have identified 12 designers for whom I have a Moscow address, though I cannot be certain that my information is current. Constantin Boym, a Russian designer who now lives in New York city, published New Russian Design in 1991. Mr. Boym and I have exchanged emails, and he has indicated interest in this project and provided me with some contact information. This trip would allow me to contact individuals and identify those who are producing significant work. My goal from such conversations would be to organize an exhibition at some point in the future. Obviously an undertaking of this sort would require time to collect, plan and schedule. However, such an effort would benefit our students, our university, and our community. With cooperation and coordination, other cultural activities might coincide with an exhibit. Theater, dance, or music performances could be arranged; lectures providing an historical perspective or contemporary context may be possible. An expanded knowledge of contemporary Russian design would influence all the studio courses, which I teach. Though Russian design and its influence are not a formal part of my curriculum, it is a topic that comes up frequently. From the Bolshevik era on, powerful graphic posters have been used to inspire the Russian people. El Lissitzky and other Russian Constructivists believed in the potential for bringing about social and political transformation through visual communications. Social and political commentary via graphic design is ongoing in Russia and my hope is to find strong examples of such work being created today.

Related Grants and Projects

Dr. Chris Bremer
Family Medicine

Greenville Noon Rotary Club Project in Czech Republic