Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer Activities

This summer is turning out to be pretty quiet. Nothing exciting has happened so far in Bishkek since my last batch of students graduated. Almost everybody except me is on holiday. I am still working as always. Right now I am preparing my classes for next semester. I am almost done with the syllabus for Political Violence and Terror in Central Asia.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Two new publications coming soon

In August and September I have two new journal articles coming out in print. The first is "Volk auf dem Weg: Transnational Migration of the Russian-Germans from 1763 to Present Day," scheduled for publication in the next issue (volume 9, no. 2) of Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism. The second article, "'In our Hearts we Felt the Sentence of Death': Ethnic German Recollections of Mass Violence in the USSR, 1928-1948" I co-wrote with Eric J. Schmaltz and Ron J. Vossler. It is scheduled to be published in the next issue (volume 11, no. 2) of Journal of Genocide Research. I will post the abstracts after their publication.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lazy Weather

Bishkek is now really hot and humid. This combination of weather is sapping my energy and making me lazy. Fortunately, I do not have as much to do during the summer. But, this weekend I spent all Sunday doing nothing productive what so ever. It is very unusual for me to have a whole day where I do not get any work done. Today I am trying to make up for it at the office.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another faculty member leaves

It seems that the number of foreign faculty at AUCA is rapidly declining and along with it the number of PhDs. I just found out that my friend and colleague Werner Bigell who taught in the American Studies Department across the hall has decided not to return next year. That means I will be the only person with a doctorate teaching any American Studies courses next year.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Then there was one

My friend and colleague Okon Akiba has left the International and Comparative Politics Department of AUCA to return to the US. These pictures were taken at his apartment in Bishkek. He is the tall guy wearing the turtleneck. It was a great pleasure and honor to work with Dr. Akiba during the two years I have known him. He combined both serious scholarship and good natured collegiality in just the right proportions. I will greatly miss his presence in the office and wish him the best of luck back in the US. Now that Okon is gone I am the only person remaining in my department with a PhD.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Interview with Walter Richmond on Circassians

Circassian World has an interview with my good friend Walter Richmond on the history and politics of the Circassians. This brief interview is extremely informative and brings a much needed humanistic and objective viewpoint to the past and present political situation in the Northwest Caucasus. He also has some very nice things to say about me.

"Although he has not written on the Circassians, J. Otto Pohl's tireless and uncompromising defense of all repressed peoples has been a great inspiration to me as well."

Walt has done a lot of fantastic work on the Circassians and other peoples of the Northwest Caucasus. It is a great honor to know that I helped inspire him in that scholarship. I urge all my reader to check out the interview.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It gets light early here

This morning I had to be somewhere I had not been before at nine am. That being the case I started walking there at seven am. So I set my alarm at six. But, I actually woke up at five and thought that the alarm had failed to go off because it was already light outside. I then went back to sleep until six thirty. Yes, I slept through the alarm. The walk was quite nice since it is still cool in the morning. I also found the state archives by accident. If things go well in the next couple of months I may try and get access to some of their holdings.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Summer Time

Summer has finally arrived. This last weekend was graduation. Since then the weather has been nice, no more rain or hail storms. But, it has been quite hot. I will be spending the summer in Kyrgyzstan again this year.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Hail Storm

Today there was a short, but intense hail storm in Bishkek. The hail stones were quite large. Fortunately, I was inside at the time.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Sunday Times Book Review of Remember Us

The Sunday Times in London has published a review of Ruth Derksen Seimens, Remember Us: Letters from Stalin's Gulag (1930-1937) (Kitchner, ON: Pandora Press, 2007). The review can be viewed online at the URL below.


Eyewitness accounts of the Surgun

The International Committee for Crimea has recently added a new section called "Surgun Stories" to the page "Surgun: Deportation of Crimean Tatars (18 May 1944)." This section consists of six personal accounts of the deportation and exile of the Crimean Tatars as well as a story by a Turkish journalist of Crimean Tatar heritage about meeting returning deportation survivors in Crimea. Four of these narratives are by survivors of the deportation including one by a Crimean Tatar soldier in the Red Army. The series also includes an eyewitness account of the deportations by one of the NKVD soldiers involved in the operation and a short memoir by a Russian woman who lived in a mixed Crimean Tatar - Russian village and witnessed the events of 18 May 1944 first hand. I hope this section will be expanded to include more accounts by survivors in the near future.