"Dispatches from Europe" Blog Contest

Did you travel to the European Union this summer? Submit a post to be featured on our Across the Pond blog and win prizes!

Videos of Previous Lectures

Missed an EUC-hosted lecture? Our blog's video tag has archived previous EUC-sponsored lectures.

EUCE's 2014 Outstanding Outreach Activity Award Winner

The University of Pittsburgh's "Conversations on Europe" is this year's winner for the European Center of Excellence's 2014 Outstanding Outreach Activity Award

The EU's Big Bang and Beyond: A Decade After European Enlargement

The European Union Center hosted a roundtable discussion featuring Consuls General from Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania on February 26, 2014.

School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics Spring 2014 Newsletter

SLCL's Spring 2014 Newsletter highlights many EUC-sponsored events and accomplishments of EUC-affiliated staff

Perspectives on Ukraine

To learn more about the recent unrest in the Ukraine, visit the "Ukraine" tag for blog posts and recaps of events that took place during the 2013-14 academic year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Five Illinois Scholars Awarded NEH Fellowships

This blog was originally published on the Illinois News Bureau webpage on December 9, 2014.
Antoinette Burton is an EUC-affiliated faculty member.

History professor Antoinette Burton is one of five Illinois professors awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships for 2015.
Photo courtesy Department of History
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Five University of Illinois scholars have received National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships for 2015. The U. of I. is the only institution to be awarded more than three of the fellowships for the coming year.

The grant recipients from the U. of I. are Antoinette Burton, a professor of history, Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies, a professor of gender and women’s studies and interim head of the department of sociology; Robert Morrissey, a professor of history; Timothy Pauketat, a professor of anthropology and of medieval studies; François Proulx, a professor of French; and Valeria Sobol, a professor of Slavic languages and literatures.

“Congratulations to all five of our NEH award recipients,” Chancellor Phyllis M. Wise said. “These grants are among the most prestigious and competitive scholarly funding opportunities in the nation – in any discipline or field. These scholars stand out both on our campus and across the country for their academic achievements, and it is gratifying to see them recognized for their excellence.”

The U. of I. fellowships were among 233 humanities grants, totaling $17.9 million, announced Monday (Dec. 8) by the NEH. The fellowships, one category of NEH grants, are awarded to university and college faculty and independent scholars for advanced research.

In the past five years, according to the NEH website, the fellowships program has received an average of 1,252 applications per year, and it has made an average of 88 awards – a 7 percent funding ratio, making it one of the most competitive humanities awards in the country.

“To have one faculty member receive one of these awards in a year is a high point for any university in the country,” Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Ilesanmi Adesida said. “To be home to five such outstanding scholars in a single year is a mark of the highest distinction and a clear message that Illinois truly is a comprehensive public research university. All five of these distinguished scholars deserve the congratulations of the entire campus community.”

The faculty members and their projects:

Burton: “Wars Against Nature? Environmental Fictions of the First Anglo-Afghan Wars.” Burton’s history is the first to argue that representations of Afghanistan’s difficult terrain served as a strategic fiction that allowed the British to blame their limited success in subduing the region in the 19th century on its hostile environment, rather than on Afghan fighters – making it the “the graveyard of empires” in the Victorian imagination.

Morrissey: "The Illinois and the Edge Effect: Bison Algonquians in the Colonial Mississippi Valley.” Morrissey’s project is the first ethnohistory and environmental history of the Illinois Indians and their neighbors from 1200 to 1850. He tells the story of the rise and decline of the Illinois as “bison Algonquians” who mastered this important and contested region at the center of the continent.

Pauketat: “Spirits, Birds, and Luminous Beings: Reconceptualizing Ancient Urbanism.” Pauketat reimagines the future of urbanism by looking back at some of the world's most ancient cities, using new theories and even newer archaeological evidence from the ruins of cities and citylike places from Neolithic China, to Africa, and the Americas before 1492.

Proulx: "Reading and French Masculinity at the Fin de Siècle.” Proulx investigates young men’s reading habits as a subject of grave social concern in fin-de-siècle France. He considers how excessive reading was blamed for the declining virility of French youth in the late 19th century, and details what was at stake in representations of the young male reader by novelists of the era from Jules Vallès to Marcel Proust.

Sobol: "Visions of Empire in Russian Gothic Literature, 1790-1850.” Sobol investigates the connection between the Gothic elements of many Russian literary works and their imperial context. She argues that the persistent presence of Gothic tropes is not just a tribute to a fashionable Western literary trend, but exposes the Russian empire’s anxieties about its borders, identity and colonial power.

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent federal agency, and one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Thirteenth Annual EU Day Announced

The European Union Center is pleased to announce the Thirteenth Annual EU Day event on March 12, 2015.

European Union Day at the University of Illinois is a celebration of transatlantic relations and strives to promote a better understanding between the peoples of the United States and the European Union. The highlight of the celebration is the address by the Ambassador of the country that holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union.

This year, the annual "State of the European Union" address will be delivered by His Excellency Andris Razāns, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Latvia to the United States.

EU Day is open to the public and provide our citizens with the opportunity to learn about the importance of the European Union to the United States and its role in promoting international relations. Invited guests and dignitaries will include members of the Diplomatic Corps from Washington, DC, members of the Consular Corps from Chicago, business leaders, state and local government officials, and faculty and students from universities and high schools throughout Illinois.

More information about EU Day is available on our website.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

1914 Revisited? The EU-US-Russian Triangle

The European Union Center of Excellence at the University of Pittsburgh held a roundtable discussion entitled "1914 Revisted? The EU-US-Russian Triangle" as part of their Conversations on Europe series on  October 21, 2014. The EUC had one panelist participate in this discussion -- Mark Steinberg, Professor of History at the University of Illinois. The other panelists who participated were Carol Saivetz (Harvard); Gregor Thum (University of Pittsburgh); Frank Furedi (author of First World War: Still No End in Sight); and Andrew Konitzer (University of Pittsburgh).

From the abstract for the roundtable:
The centenary anniversary of the Great War has invited numerous  commentators to make comparisons between the events leading up to the outbreak of war in 1914 and the current Ukrainian Crisis. This session of the EUCE’s virtual roundtable series asks experts to comment on these comparisons. Can we learn anything about effective conflict prevention from that earlier period? Or are such comparisons too facile, and deceptive? 

The video can be viewed on YouTube or below:


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Five Faculty Members Named CIC-ALP Fellows

This blog was originally published on the Illinois News Bureau webpage on November 6, 2014.
George Czapar is an EUC-affiliated faculty member.

Five U. of I. faculty members have been named 2014-15 fellows of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation’s Academic Leadership Program.

The program provides leadership development for accomplished faculty members who are interested in learning more about academic administration. It is designed to introduce faculty members to issues and challenges in higher education and offers them opportunities to meet with leaders at CIC member institutions. Fellows are selected by each CIC campus; the CIC comprises the Big Ten universities and the University of Chicago.

“The CIC Academic Leadership Program is a great development program,” said Elabbas Benmamoun, the vice provost for faculty affairs and academic policies and the campus CIC liaison. “The selected fellows, who come from different colleges on campus, get the opportunity to interact with each other and with more than 60 peers from across the CIC.

“In addition to on-campus meetings, the fellows attend seminars covering various topics at the forefront of higher education, such as affordability and access, diversity, globalization, budgeting and public engagement,” he said. “The fellows learn from experienced and effective leaders from various CIC institutions, and hear their insights about leading their complex organizations and dealing with different types of challenges. The feedback we consistently get from former fellows is that the experience was valuable and enriching. Some of our former fellows have gone on to become leaders on our own campus and at other universities.”

This year’s fellows:
Carla E. Cáceres is the director of the School of Integrative Biology and a professor of animal biology at the U. of I. Her research is focused at the interface of population, community and evolution ecology, and addresses questions such as how biodiversity influences community assembly and the spread of infectious diseases. In addition to her research funding from the National Science Foundation, she also is a co-principal investigator on two NSF training grants, one for graduate students (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) and one for undergraduate students (BioMath). She has been recognized for excellence in both research and teaching, including a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and the Lynn M. Martin Award for Distinguished Women Teachers.  She earned her B.S. in biology from the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University.  She joined the U. of I. faculty in 2001.

George F. Czapar is an associate dean and the director of U. of I. Extension and a professor of crop sciences. He earned his B.S. and M.S. in agronomy from the U. of I. and his Ph.D. in agronomy from Iowa State University. His research and Extension programs focused on interdisciplinary projects that address the environmental impacts of agriculture. He also teaches in the Campus Honors Program. He led a Strategic Research Initiative in water quality for the Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research (C-FAR) and helped establish the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices (C-BMP). He previously was the director of the Center for Watershed Science at the Illinois State Water Survey at the Prairie Research Institute and water quality coordinator for U. of I. Extension. Czapar received the Campus Award for Excellence in Public Engagement and the Award for Excellence in Teaching and Outreach from the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

Jan Erkert is the head of the department of dance at the U. of I. As artistic director of Jan Erkert and Dancers from 1979-2000, she created more than 70 works that toured nationally and internationally. Erkert and company have been honored with numerous awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Ruth Page Awards for choreography and performance. She has received a Fulbright Scholar Award and is serving on the Fulbright Review Panel. She wrote “Harnessing the Wind: The Art of Teaching Modern Dance,” which was published in 2003, and she has been a master teacher at universities and colleges throughout the United States, Mexico, Europe and Asia.  As a professor of dance at Columbia College Chicago from 1990-2006, she garnered many awards including the 1999 Excellence in Teaching Award, and she was a nominee for the U.S. Professor of the Year sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation.

Kevin T. Pitts is a professor of physics at Illinois. He earned his Ph.D. in 1994 from the University of Oregon and after a postdoctoral position at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, moved to the U. of I. in 1999. Pitts has been active in high-energy physics research at Fermilab continually since 1994. His research thrust has been heavy-flavor physics and Higgs boson searches with the CDF Experiment operating at the Fermilab Tevatron. Pitts was awarded a U.S. Department of Energy Outstanding Junior Investigator Award in 2002, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2004, a Xerox Award for Outstanding Research in 2007, and was named a University Scholar in 2013. Pitts is now a member of the Muon g-2 experiment, which is slated to run at Fermilab later this decade. As an educator, Pitts has developed a number of new courses aimed at teaching physics and critical thinking to nonscientists. He received the Arnold Nordseick Award for Teaching Excellence in 2014. Pitts served as the associate head for undergraduate programs in physics from 2010-14 and became the associate dean for undergraduate programs in the College of Engineering in 2014.

Michaelene M. Ostrosky is a Goldstick Family Scholar and the head of the department of special education in the College of Education. She has a strong track record of grant management, scholarly activity and student mentorship. Since arriving at the U. of I. in 1991, Ostrosky has been the principal investigator or co-PI on research, training and technical assistance, leadership and personnel preparation grants totaling more than $20 million. Additionally, she has mentored more than 30 doctoral students, and she has received college and campus awards for her teaching and research. Ostrosky has been involved in research and dissemination on inclusive education, social interaction interventions, social emotional competence and challenging behavior. As a former editor of the Division for Early Childhood’s practitioner journal, Young Exceptional Children, Ostrosky has much experience translating research into user-friendly materials for practitioners. Her more than 100 publications are evidence of her scholarly and applied work, particularly with preschool-age children with disabilities and their families.