Amanda Scott was our most recent visitor here at the CBS. She is currently pursuing her PhD in History at Washington University in St. Louis where she is completing a dissertation entitled The Basque Seroras: Local Religion, Power and Gender in Northern Iberia.
This was Amanda’s second visit to the CBS to continue reading from our rich anthropological and ethnographic collections that will aid her in her research. On this visit, Amanda was specifically looking at materials on witchcraft, folklore, fairy tales, and carnival for chapter five of her dissertation, which deals with gendered criticism of the vocation of serora (and most interestingly with a serora-witch from Etxalar!).
As Amanda explains:
"My dissertation is the first systematic study of the Basque seroras, a category of uncloistered religious women active throughout the early modern period in northern Iberia. Hired competitively at the parish level, seroras were church employees, enjoying social prestige and pay comparable to the male clergy. They took no vows and were free to leave the religious life if they chose, meaning that the vocation afforded them considerably more autonomy than traditional nuns or married wives. Entrusted as they were with looking after the parish church and its furnishings and with setting a moral example for the good women of the parish, seroras were at the very center of local religion. However, despite their fundamental importance to religious practice in early modern Iberia, the seroras have attracted almost no historical study.
By placing the seroras in the context of other contemporary categories of religious women, The Basque Seroras broadens the way we conceive of female religious life and opportunities in the early modern period. It also crucially revises our understanding of reform at the local level: following the reforming Council of Trent, uncloistered religious women were broadly condemned and forced to join established religious orders. These directives notwithstanding, the seroras managed to survive well into the eighteenth century. I contend that even though the Counter Reformation in Northern Iberia is often characterized as immediate and successful, the seroras demonstrate the variability of local enforcement and the ways parishes successfully pressed for leniency or reached tacit compromise with diocesan authorities. Individuals such as the seroras, who straddled secular and religious spheres, were instrumental in this process of negotiated reform."
Amanda hopes to defend her dissertation Spring 2016 and is interested in multiple second projects, including a volume of short essays possibly titled "Voices from the Basque Archives," dealing with episodes of local religious life from the early-modern Basque Country and Navarre. This year, Amanda is living in Spain where she is conducting research at church and secular archives in Pamplona, Donostia, Bilbao, Oñati, Tolosa, and elsewhere.
Visiting Scholar Katixa Agirre shares dissertation research on the Lolita myth in Hollywood cinema in presentation at the Center for Basque Studies 8/20/2009.
Katixa's project pursues the study of the filmic representations of the Lolita myth. Based on Vladimir Nabokov's infamous novel Lolita (1955), the term has run away from the book and has fueled many a mediated portrayal of young girls as inviting and willing participants in their own sexual exploitation. Biased readings of the book along with a patriarchal view have contributed to this change in the perception of Lolita. Advertisements, fashion, pop music, magazines, TV and even the porn industry have used the Lolita icon as a repulsive yet fascinating character.
Ms. Agirre has chosen to examine the film representations in which a Lolita-type character appears, and has focused on contemporary Hollywood cinema and more specifically, on what is nowadays known as postmodern cinema.
Katixa Agirre is a temporary lecturer at the Audiovisual Communication and Advertising department of the UPV/EHU in Leioa. During the summer of 2009 she has been finalizing her PhD. dissertation on the Lolita myth in Hollywood, using the resources of the Knowledge Centerat UNR.
Visiting scholar Andoni Alonso, Assoc. Professor from the University of Extremadura (History Department) was at the Center for the spring 2006 semester. Dr. Alonso's research focuses on the philosophy of technology, and he is co-author with Iñaki Arzoz of Basque Cyberculture: From Digital Euskadi to CyberEuskalherria (Reno: Center for Basque Studies, 2001). In addition to conducting research while at UNR, he also taught a class on cyberculture and offered independent study courses to our graduate students.
Calzada has worked as Project Director and Principal Researcher at the Mondragon Innovation and Knowledge Research Center (MIK), of one of the largest corporations in Spain; and MCC Group, Mondragon Cooperative Corporation. He is also an instructor at Mondragón University, teaching postgraduate courses on management, innovation, and creativity. He holds and Advanced Degree from Helsinki University (Finland) and an MBA from Deusto University (Spain).
Pete Cenarrusa visited on September 10 to discuss the final details of his memoirs that will be published by the Center in the next few months. Pete was accompanied by Cenarrusa Foundation board member Roy Eiguren.
Pete T. Cenarrusa has served fifty-two years in the State of Idaho-nine terms in the House of Representatives (1950-1967); as a Speaker of the House in 1963, 1965 and 1967; and six terms as Secretary of State (1967-2002) for the Republican Party.
Artitzar Erauskin of the Applied Economics Department, University of the Basque Country, Donostia-San Sebastián researched at UNR on a USAC stipend for a month in summer 2006. She investigated ecological economics and energy, relating to methods of transport. She was accompanied by Iban Asenjo Gar de of Education Department, University of the Basque Country, who gave a presentation at UNR on "Bilingüismo y Educación en el Estado Español: El caso vasco" on August 11.
During that time he helped Nere Erkiaga, current head of Basque Library, to improve the database of the Basque Archive. He also took part in the conference organized by the Center for International Conflict Resolution, Columbia University (NY), on October 13 on the figure of Jesus Galindez, the Basque politician who was kidnapped in Manhattan fifty years ago.
Graduate student Ainslie Ingles of the University of Melbourne visited the Center for three weeks in fall 2005, conducting research for a comparative study of Basque and Catalan nationalism. She is a research assistant for Peter McPhee, professor of history at Melbourne as well as Deputy Vice Chancellor.
Chico State Political Science Professor, James Jacob, Kathy Jacob and graduate student Amaia Larronde visit Center 3/15/2010
Dr. Jacobs paid the center a visit on May 15. He is the author of Hills of Conflict and Professor of Political Science and International Relations, and former Dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at California State University, Chico. He is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and received his Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University. He has lived in France for more than three years, including study at the Institute of Political Studies of the University of Bordeaux, and is a graduate of the Management Development Program at Harvard University. Dr. Jacob is the author of numerous works in the area of ethnic and language conflict and his current research concerns questions of European Terrorism; The Psychology of Terrorism; How Terrorism Ends; Middle Eastern Terrorism; French Politics and Society; and Problems in Cross-Cultural Communications.
Dr. Jacobs was accompanied by his wife Kathy and Chico State graduate student Amaia Larronde, daughter of Basque scholar Jean-Claude Larronde.
Education: Ph.D. Basque Studies (History), University of Nevada, Reno.
Research Interests: Basque/Pyrenean history, colonial Latin American history, Basque sheepherders in the American West, Basque arborglyphs.
Current position: Basque Researcher, University of Nevada, Reno.
Courses Taught: Basque history, Basque language, Nevada history.
Publications: Speaking through the Aspens: Basque Tree Carvings in California and Nevada (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2000).
“The Basque Connection,” Sierra Heritage, 13(2) (Sept./Oct. 1993).
“The Private World of Juan Zumarraga, Bishop of Mexico,” Revista de Historia de América 114 (1992).
“History That Grows on Trees. Basque Aspen Carving in Nevada,” Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, 35(1) (Spring 1992).
The Center for Basque Studies welcomes its first William A. Douglass Visiting Distinguished Scholar, Gregorio Monreal, to our campus. Dr. Monreal will be at UNR for the 2005–2006 academic year, researching and writing a book on the historical progression and development of Basque Country politics. He is a former President of the Universidad del País Vasco / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea.
The Douglass Distinguished Scholar Award was established in conjunction with the ministries of Education, Culture and Foreign Affairs of the Basque Government. An awardee is selected annually on the basis of his/her contribution to Basque Studies and consistent record of research achievement and scholarly innovation.
Beatriz was the recipient of the Begoña Aretxaga Memorial Research Stipend.
Visiting scholar Axier Oiarbide discusses Basque sports
Axier Oiarbide of the Department of Physical Education, University of the Basque Country gave a presentation on March 31 at the University of Nevada, Reno on “Una etnografía sobre futbol: el Ordizia Kirol Elkartea en la preferente Guipuzcoana.” Axier Oiarbide is an instructor in the Department of Physical Education, University of the Basque Country, and is finishing his doctoral dissertation based on a comparison of three physical activities: mountain trekking, aerobic exercise, and soccer (futbol). He was a visiting scholar at UNR during March, sponsored by the University Studies Abroad Consortium.
Visiting Scholar Karlos Pérez de Armiño spoke about The Failure in the Fight against Hunger 8/29/2009
In a talk at the Center for Basque Studies Dr. Pérez de Armiño shared some of the conclusions of his research at UNR during the summer of 2009. In his talk, he analyzed the underlying reasons why national and international policies against hunger are failing.
This failure should be understood as the result of a lack of political will, as we have enough theoretical knowledge, technical resources, and political experience so that hunger could be eradicated at a moderate financial cost. The persistence of hunger means moreover a violation of different international political goals to fight it and of human rights covenants.
This research gives some tentative explanations of this political failure, taken from different disciplines. It underlines that the political commitment against hunger is weakened by many perceptions of hunger as a "normal" and inevitable problem, by the lack of political power of poor people, and by the weakness of the idea of global citizenship. Some other factors are that the human right to food is neglected and not enforceable, that there is no international body to make states accountable for their commitments on hunger, and that world architecture is fragmented into sovereign states with agendas dominated by national interest and security concerns.
Karlos Pérez de Armiño is a Professor of International Relations at the University of the Basque Country , and Research Fellow at HEGOA, the Institute of Studies on Development and International Cooperation, in Bilbao.
During the month of July, the Centre for Basque Studies welcomes the visit of two professors from Paris, Maitane Ostolaza and Enric Porqueres. Both come with the two-fold mission of strengthening their contact with the CBS and making the most of the resources of the CBS library for their particular research goals.
Maitane, who is professor at the University of the Sorbonne (Paris IV) and member there of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Contemporary Iberian Worlds (CRIMIC), benefits from a Begona Aretxaga scholarship. She also belongs to the University of the Basque Country’s research team, working on “The Basque Nationalism in Comparative Perspective,” directed by Santiago de Pablo. Maitane is a historian working on education and processes of acculturation in the Basque Country of the 19th century. The Aretxaga scholarship enables her to pursue her particular interest in the oral poetic genre of bertsugintza as a cultural practice. While these poems or bertsus are traditionally improvised orally in public settings, many were noted down, or even composed by people in private. These written bertsus make up what is known as the bertsu paperak, and it is these that Maitane intends to research whilst at the CBS, since the center benefits of a rich collection of such papers. Over the last few days, Maitane has already discovered in the CBS’ library files an array of letters and notes written by Basques both in the USA, and back in the Basque Country. ‘They express’, she says, ‘very powerful notions of the self and sense of group belonging, and reflections on what it is to be Basque, religious, part of an Euskal Herria, as gender issues’. Through these bertsu paperak, Maitane has the opportunity to delve into the intimate biography and musings of nineteenth century Basques and trace their family and social networks, and thereby better understand how they made sense of their personal and collective experiences in the context of bertsu-making. ‘It would be good’, she affirms, ‘to pursue long term study on this subject, trace these people through generations and, in this way, observe how notions of personal and collective identity have evolved with time’.
As for Enric, he is professor and director of studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and member of the Laboratory of anthropology of institutions and social organisations (LAIOS). He comes to the CBS thanks to a travel grant from the EHESS and an invitation from the center. As an anthropologist who also works with history, Enric’s research has focused on evolving political and cultural notions of kinship. During his time at the CBS, Enric will investigate the question of ius sanguinis and ius soli in understandings of identity amongst Basques before and during the civil war in Spain, and how the importance of a blood link for Basque identity was increasingly replaced with an attachment to territory. His research is also from a so-called bottom-up perspective as he notes that such changing notions of Basque identity contrasted with official political discourses, which continued on the whole to emphasize the blood link, though some Basque nationalist factions were beginning then to open up to other possible criteria. ‘It is throughout the period prior to and during the civil war,’ Enric notes, ‘that there was this shift in popular cultural notions of identity, when people began to claim Basqueness by simply living in the Basque Country and militating in Basque nationalism’. In the CBS archives, Enric can delve into numerous personal accounts written by Basques during this time, some who were in exile, and others who remained in the Basque Country. These accounts reveal how Basques made sense of themselves in relation to a sense of territory, while at the same time kin links continued to form a major part of their social networks. ‘This kind of material is most often analyzed from the perspective of political, sociological or war studies; it’s very exciting to present it now through the lens of cultural studies’.
Visiting scholar Virginia Senosian spoke on international global warming policy at Center for Basque Studies 8/18/2009
According to Dr. Sensiain, global warming is not the first environmental problem in history, but it is the most important and the most global. We need global answers, and we need them now. If we do nothing, it could be too late.
The International Community has been working on this problem, led by the United Nations. It is not as simple as changing some habits. We must change our mindset and philosophy and focus on sustainable development as the only way to leave this world as a legacy to the next generations. In this context and promoted by the United Nations, the two critical international meetings, which set the principles of new Environmental Law and commitments for the nations who have ratified them: the "United Nations Climate Change Conference" of 1992, and, the "Kyoto Protocol" of 1997.
Dr. Senosian's research is based on the different perspectives of United States and European Union about global warming and consistent climate change. The ways they approach the problem are radically different: the European Union had ratified Kyoto and the United States have never ratified it, following their own environmental policy.
Dr. Senosian is a civil and criminal attorney. She teaches public international law and European Union law at the University of the Basque Country.
Seeking Simplicity: Rocío Suárez speaks on addressing multiple needs in architecture 8/18/2009
Dr. Súarez emphasized the importance of the relationship between the client's needs, the physical environment, and cultural and social conditions.
She described how her designs respond to these needs employing various materials and technologies. Her project "37LR" was used as an illustration of her vision of architecture as sculpture with formal, aesthetic and stylistic value. Dr. Súarez explained how theory and methodology are integrated into spaces to improve their quality for those who inhabit them, and endow the people who live in them with fresh perspectives. She views architecture as a point of departure for personal and social development in balance with the environment.
Dr. Súarez is an architect and part-time professor at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Puebla, Mexico.
EuskoSare representative Urruty visits the Center Idoya Salaburu Urruty, USA Representative for EuskoSare, visited the University of Nevada, Reno on April 18 in order to interview the staff and visitors at the Center for Basque Studies in conjunction with the celebration of the CBS’ 40th Anniversary. Urruty will be producing regular articles about the CBS and its projects during the next few months. EuskoSare is an initiative of Eusko Ikaskuntza, the Basque Studies Society, and promotes information exchange from and about Basques around the world.
USAC-sponsored academic guest Nicanor Ursua was with us for the summer of 2005, conducting research regarding creating and maintaining virtual ethnic identity and virtual communities. Dr. Ursua is Chair of the Philosophy Department of the Universidad del País Vasco. On September 9, he gave a presentation on his research entitled "Cultural Diversity and New Media: Identity-play Online: Questions of Tele-Identity."
Visiting scholarJosé Valderrama offered glimpse at contemporary Mexican art 8/18/2009
Dr. Valderrama spoke on the relationship between theory and practice in art. He discussed his own creative process as a point of departure for looking at works created by contemporary visual artists.
He described philosophical and aesthetic attitudes about cultural consumption of art pieces as symbolic or transcendent objects. Through the display of various slides, he analyzed the subjective and interpretive relationship between our perception and the intention of the artist. Valderrama also discussed art as an event, as a strategy of integrating the local into the global and vice versa. In conclusion, he examined the role that art plays today in many fields from education to science, and a new concept of aesthetic information.
Dr. Valderrama is a visual artist and a research professor at he Universidad Iberoamericana in Puebla, Mexico.
Visiting scholars Arantza Fernandez Zabala and Eider Goñi Palacios present psychology research at the Center for Basque Studies 8/12/2009 The study of self-image continues to be one of the greatest challenges of psychological research. A wide field of research exists in which both the physical and academic dimensions have been examined. However, very little research has been carried out on social self-image and personal self-image. Arantza Fernandez Zabala and Eider Goñi Palacios, members of Psikor, an educational psychology research group at the University of the Basque Country, are carrying out two theses in order to find out if the factorial analyses confirm a multidimensional structure of three components of social self-image (social responsibility, social acceptance and social competence) and of four components of personal self-image (self-fulfilment, honesty, autonomy, and emotional adjustment). The results obtained from two questionnaires specifically designed to measure both domains (APE and AUSO) confirm this structure for the most part. Complementary results support the fact that while women's personal self-perceptions are lower than men's, men's social self-perceptions are higher than women's; on the other hand, the tendency of personal and social self-image is to increase in accordance with age. Arantza and Eider also studied the associations between personal self-image and emotional intelligence, psychological well-being and life satisfaction, as well as the relationship between social self-image, loneliness, and social skills.