The average American would likely be able to draw a rough portrait of, or at least locate the United States on a map. Skip across the Atlantic and ask them to at least name the countries of Western Europe, if not their capitals, and they will likely be able to do so. Move further to the east, however, and the chances of success rapidly diminish. Of course, knowing exactly where the west ends and central Europe begins has long been a troublesome issue for professional historians and diplomats alike.
The problem was made immeasurably more difficult in 1989 when fifteen newly independent countries arose within the formerly stable borders of the Soviet Union. The diversity of these states -their different pre-Soviet histories, political ideologies, and national identities - made for a fascinating array of political systems in the post-Soviet era. In some cases, states with no prior history of sovereignty gained their independence, and began the challenging process of state- and nation- building.
Since 2007, members of the department have been trying to gain a better understanding of the political and social dynamics of this intriguing, if seldom recognized, part of Europe. Collaborators include colleagues from Belarusian State University and Vytautas Magnus University (Kaunas, Lithuania).
Publications and Presentations:
Lithuanian and Belarusian National Identity in the Context of European Integration. Forthcoming. Steven M. Hoffman and Renee Buhr, editors. Vytautas Magnus University Press. Kaunas, Lithuania.
“An Empirical Comparison of Belarusian and Lithuanian University Students.” Forthcoming. Steven M. Hoffman, Marharyta Fabrykant and Renee Buhr. In Lithuanian and Belaruisian National Identity in the Context of European Integration. Steven M. Hoffman and Renee Buhr, editors. Vytautas Magnus University Press. Kaunas, Lithuania.
“The Measure of a Nation: Lithuanian Identity in the New Century.” Forthcoming. Renee Buhr, Marharyta Fabrykant and Steven M. Hoffman. Journal of Baltic Studies.
“Neoliberal Economics, Nationalism and Feelings of Individual Obligation in East European States.” 2013. Renee Buhr and Marharyta Fabrykant. Presented at International Studies Association (ISA) Conference.
“Belarus, Energy Security and Global Uncertainty” (ЭНЕРГЕТИЧЕСКАЯ БЕЗОПАСНОСТЬ ДЛЯ БЕЛАРУСИ: НОВЫЙ ПОДХОД). 2012. Steven M. Hoffman. Development: Journal of International Relations and Law. International Society for Research and Educational Programs. Belarusian State University. Number 1: 80-89.
“Language as a Determinant of National Identity: the Unusual Case of Belarus.” 2011. Renee Buhr and Steven M. Hoffman. Language in Different Contexts. Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Philology. Volume 4, No.2: 60-72.
"Belarus: An Emerging Civic Nation?” 2011. Renee Buhr, Victor Shadurski and Steven M. Hoffman. Nationalities Papers. Volume 39, Number 2. Pp. 387-403.
“Youth and Identity in the Post-Soviet Sphere: A Comparison of Lithuania and Belarus.” 2012. Renee Buhr, Marharyta Fabrykant and Steven M. Hoffman. Presented at the Association for the Study of Nationalities.
"Nationalist Futures in Post-Soviet Europe: A Comparative Assessment of Lithuanian and Belarusian Identities.” 2011. Renee Buhr and Steven M. Hoffman. Presented at the Minnesota Political Science Association Annual Meetings.
“Language, Identity and the Belarusian Diaspora.” 2011. Renee Buhr and Steven M. Hoffman. Presented at the Third International Scientific Conference on Language and Intercultural Communications. Vilnius, Lithuania and Minsk, Belarus.
“The Independent State and the Diaspora: Effects on Belarusian Identity Formation.” 2011. Renee Buhr, Victor Shadurski and Steven M. Hoffman. Presented at International Studies Association Conference.
“Constructed and Primordial Identity on the Edge of Russia: Belarus, Ukraine, and Lithuania in Comparative Perspective.” 2010. Renee Buhr, Victor Shadurski and Steven M. Hoffman. Presented at the Association for the Study of Nationalities.
“Post-Soviet Nationalism and an Emergent Russia: the Case of Belarus.” 2009. Renee Buhr, Victor Shadurski and Steven M. Hoffman. Presented at the International Studies Association-Midwest/Central Slavic Conference.