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Grant number like: ME-50053-14

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University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA 15260-6133)
Robert M. Hayden (Project Director: August 2013 to July 2014)
Andrew Konitzer (Project Director: July 2014 to July 2016)
Dawn Seckler (Project Director: July 2016 to June 2017)

Bridging Cultures at Community Colleges
Education Programs

[Grant products][Media coverage]

$119,622 (approved)
$111,335 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2014 – 2/28/2017

East European Studies in America: An NEH Bridging Cultures Project

A partnership between the Community College of Beaver County and the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Russian and East European Studies to conduct a multi-year Bridging Cultures faculty and curriculum development project on change and adaptation in East European culture and its impact on western Pennsylvania history.

The University of Pittsburgh's Center for Russian and East European Studies (REES) works with up to twenty regular and adjunct faculty members of the Community College of Beaver County (CCBC) on a project to incorporate East European history and literature into the community college curriculum. Two REES-affiliated scholars organize all aspects of the program: Joel Brady (history and religious studies), whose expertise is in the northern tier of countries including Poland, Slovakia, and Ukraine; and Ljiljana Duraskovic (Slavic languages and literatures), an expert on the Balkans region, including Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina. These two scholars also team-teach with two CCBC faculty members a new Eastern Europe-focused section of CCBC's existing world literature survey course in Fall 2015, to be taught solely by CCBC instructors the following year. Eight workshops meet January through April in 2015 to explore texts in three areas: 1) general readings such as Tony Judt's The Past Is Another Country: Myth and Memory in Postwar Europe; 2) works that narrate histories of East European immigrant communities in the United States and especially in western Pennsylvania; and 3) country- or region-specific readings (list to be finalized). The latter could include Death in Danzig, a Polish novel by Stefan Chwin about forced population movements at the end of World War II); Burden of Dreams: History and Identity in Post-Soviet Ukraine (Catherine Wanner); and The Krajina Chronicle: A History of Serbs in Croatia, Slavonia, and Dalmatia (Srdja Trifkovic). From September 2015 to April 2016, the project cohort would attend monthly Saturday morning events involving presentations by Pittsburgh-area scholars and discussions with leaders of East European ethnic communities in the region. Saturday programs would be supported by the videoconferencing of U.S. State Department-sponsored "American Corners" events from East European nations. The products of two years of activities-the new literature course and the participants' course modules-would be presented by participating faculty at the annual professional development summit of the Western Pennsylvania Community College Resource Consortium in October 2016.