“Russia and Its Empires, East and West” is one of the Carolina Seminars, a scholarly cooperative supported by the Massey-Weatherspoon Fund, which was established in 1984 by three generations of the Massey and Weatherspoon families. Their primary purpose is to build bridges between scholars and researchers on campus and elsewhere, creating a sense of community among those whose work often keeps them separate.

Because the Piedmont boasts a high concentration of interdisciplinary scholars in Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern European Studies, including a large number of outstanding graduate students, this seminar gives the area’s universities and scholars the time and place to share their research as they are in the process of writing. Conducted basically as a workshop, it offers the particular benefit of giving participants the opportunity to cross disciplinary boundaries while they are still in the middle of their projects. In addition, one or two scholars from outside the region are invited to present work-in-progress that overlaps with that of area scholars.

The seminar meets 8 times per year, with an emphasis on “cross-fertilization,” be it geographical or interdisciplinary. For example, some meetings provide a forum for graduate students to present their dissertation research, and other sessions would allow the faculty in the area to present work-in-progress. Papers are circulated electronically in advance of meetings, so that the time at seminar can be spent most profitably on responses to the author.


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The Carolina Seminar: Russia and Its Empires, East and West is co-sponsored by the Carolina Seminar Program, the UNC Department of History, and the Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies. Please note that the participants will give an overview of their projects, but will not read a formal paper. Instead, papers or book chapters will be sent upon request to those who are interested in attending and participating in the discussion.