Center for the Study of Europe Launches Faculty Lunch Series (Fall 2013)

Join us this fall for lunch and conversation with European Studies faculty colleagues Alya Guseva, Peter Rand, Rachel Black, and Joe Rezek. The lunch talks are open to BU faculty, staff, visiting researchers, and graduate students and to colleagues from other universities by invitation. Seating is limited, so please register in advance for the talks you plan to attend. If you have a research topic that you would like to present during our spring lunch series, please contact the series organizer Elizabeth Amrien.

Tuesday, September 17
Plastic Money: The Construction of Markets for Credit Cards in Eight Post-communist Countries

091713GUSEVAJoin us for the first in a series of upcoming lunch talks with European Studies Faculty. Alya Guseva, Associate Professor of Sociology, will discuss her forthcoming book, co-authored with Akos Rona-Tas from the University of California, San Diego. While the book covers Bulgaria, China, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and Vietnam, this discussion will center around credit markets in eastern Europe. Marc Rysman, Professor of Economics, will respond.

Alya Guseva is an economic sociologist with interests in market formation, particularly the development of new financial and consumer markets in emerging economies of Eastern and Central Europe. Her dissertation research on Russia’s emerging credit card market culminated in the publication of Into the Red: The Birth of the Credit Card Market in Postcommunist Russia (Stanford University Press, 2008).

Please register via email by Friday, September 13.

Tuesday, October 1
Conspiracy of One: Tyler Kent’s Secret Plot against FDR, Churchill, and the Allied War Effort

100113RANDJournalist and historian Peter Rand, a senior lecturer in COM’s Writing Program, discusses his new book, Conspiracy of One: Tyler Kent’s Secret Plot against FDR, Churchill, and the Allied War Effort. The book tells the story of American code clerk Tyler Kent who stole top-secret cables that he himself had encoded and transmitted from Churchill to Roosevelt seeking American help. Rand arrestingly weaves together Kent’s star-crossed love affair, imprisonment, and trial into a rich tapestry that conveys a fresh vision of the tumultuous era. Joe Wippl, Professor of International Relations, will respond.

When officers from the U.S. Embassy, Scotland Yard, and MI5 broke into Tyler Kent’s bedroom, they found the suave young American code clerk beside his unmade bed, wearing striped pajama bottoms. His mistress was wearing the matching top—and nothing else. Along with the Embassy code room keys, the men also found 2,000 smuggled documents, including top-secret cables that Kent had encoded and transmitted from Churchill to Roosevelt seeking American help. Kent had planned to give those cables to FDR’s isolationist enemies in Congress.

American ambassador Joseph Kennedy waived Kent’s diplomatic immunity and turned him over to the British, who imprisoned him until his secret trial. It was a long way to fall. Kent had used his brilliant language skills and privileged position to get ahead. His haughtiness had irked all he met, but his father’s anti-Roosevelt, anti–New Deal, anti-Semitic friends helped maintain his career. His good looks didn’t hurt, either. A black sheep with diplomatic privilege, Tyler Kent stood at the crossroads of history: Stalin’s purges, the rise of Hitler, and the Phony War.

Please register via email by Friday, September 27.

Tuesday, October 22
Cuisine des mères: Heritage, gender and the construction of culinary culture

102213BLACKJoin us for a luncheon discussion with ethnographer and gastronomist Rachel Eden Black, Assistant Professor and coordinator of Boston University’s MLA program in gastronomy. Black will discuss the case of the “mères lyonnaises,” a group of women in Lyon, France who between 1930 and 1970 reached the pinnacles of French professional cuisine, a world largely dominated by men. Black’s research offers a window onto the changing place of women in French society in the interwar and postwar years. Employing both ethnographic and historical methods, she explores the gender shifts that occurred in the construction of a national French culture in the twentieth century—in this case in the form of cuisine. She draws out the gendered discourses embedded in recipes, memoirs and oral histories of the mères in order to produce an alternative social and cultural narrative and to write women back into contemporary French culinary and cultural history.

Carole Counihan, Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Millersville University in Pennsylvania and author of The Anthropology of Food and Body: Gender, Meaning, and Power (Routledge, 1999) and other noteworthy titles, will respond.

Black’s specialty is the anthropology of food, with focus on open-air markets, wine production, culture and alcohol, urban agriculture, and the politics of sustainable food systems.

Please register via email by Friday, October 18.

Tuesday, November 12
The London Book Trade and the Making of Irish, Scottish, and American Literature

111213REZEKJoseph Rezek, Assistant Professor of English, will discuss his current book project, The Aesthetics of Provinciality, in which he argues that modern aesthetic theory was shaped by the success of Irish, Scottish, and American authors who triumphed in the London book trade, including Maria Edgeworth, Walter Scott, Washington Irving, and James Fenimore Cooper. Such authors, faced with London’s dominance of the marketplace, developed two lasting and contradictory notions about literary expression: on the one hand, that it transcends nationality and inhabits an autonomous sphere of culture and, on the other, that it reveals deep and essential truths about an author’s native land. Mary Sarah Bilder, Professor of Law, Boston College, will respond.

Rezek’s research and teaching focus on American and British literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. As a scholar with roots in Atlantic studies and the history of the book, he is interested in exploring the literary, historical, and material connections that brought the Anglophone Atlantic together into a single, though internally various, culture.

Please register via email by Friday, November 8

The discussions take place in the Eilts Room in the Department of International Relations at 154 Bay State Road (2nd floor). They begin with lunch at 12:30 PM and run until ~1:50 PM. Lunch is provided.

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