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Summer Research Lab to draw scholars from around the world

Melissa Mitchell, Arts Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — As they have each summer since 1973, scholars soon will converge on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from all compass points to participate in the annual Summer Research Laboratory on Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia.

Perhaps best described as an intellectual summer camp for scholars, the Summer Research Lab is hosted by the U. of I. Russian, East European and Eurasian Center. The lab runs from June 13 through Aug. 5.

The primary draw for many of the faculty members, graduate students and independent scholars who participate each year is the opportunity to conduct advanced research and interact formally and informally with colleagues in a resource-rich setting.

“The Summer Lab provides a unique opportunity for specialists to conduct research with the greatest ease and access to materials and information, and to share their expertise with other scholars and the public,” said REEEC assistant director Lynda Park.

A major attraction for participants, she said, is full access to the U. of I. Library, which houses the largest Slavic collection west of Washington, D.C., and the attentive assistance of Slavic reference librarians.

“Many scholars have told us that the U. of I. Library is the best place to conduct research in our field,” Park said.
Highlights of this year’s program include:

The Ralph and Ruth Fisher Forum, an international conference that will take place June 24-25.

The forum, focusing on the theme “Commodity, Consumer, Entrepreneur?: Women and the Marketplace,” is named in honor of the summer lab’s founder, U. of I. professor emeritus of history Ralph Fisher, and his wife. The Association of Women in Slavic Studies is co-organizer of the forum.

The Summer Symposium, “Slavery in the 21st Century: Trafficking of Women and Children in Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia,” June 25.

The Balkan Studies Training Workshop for Junior Scholars, June 21-23. The theme of the workshop, which will be moderated by Robert Hayden of the University of Pittsburgh, is “Thinking and Writing Balkan Studies: Policy and Paradigms for the 21st Century.

“The aim of the workshop – which is being offered this year for the second time – is to train the next generation of scholars in the field to think deeply about the relationship between scholarly research and policy,” Park said.

Other events include workshops on research practicum and on Slavic digital text, and film and lecture series.