Prof. Dev: Language Learning and Language Competencies for Field Research in Eurasian Studies Workshop

Deadline: March 10, 2023

Greetings and warm wishes from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Center and the Slavic Reference Service invite faculty, graduate students, language workshop participants, early career scholars, and independent researchers to participate in the upcoming workshop, Language Learning and Language Competencies for Field Research in Eurasian Studies, on June 15th-16th, 2023. Scholars will be able to participate in person and virtually through Zoom.

Dr. Timothy K. Blauvelt (Ilia State University) and Dr. Naira Sahakyan (The Armenian Genocide Museum and Institute) will be leading this workshop as co-moderators.

In recent years, there has been soul searching in ethnography about the challenges of “researching multilingually,” including calls for more reflection and openness about language learning and language competences for fieldwork. In this workshop, the participants will be invited to explore a potential range of such questions: how to go about gaining language skills (especially for the less commonly taught languages); what level of proficiency is sufficient for which kinds of research; how might technology assist with research-related language challenges; what are the distortions of interpretation and translation (including machine-assisted translation) relative to distortions introduced by varying levels of language fluency; when and how is a lingua franca (especially Russian, the former imperial/colonial idiom of the Russian/Soviet empires) still useful for research; what are the trade-offs and inequities of opportunities involved in language acquisition; and many others. 

This workshop is a part of this year’s Summer Research Laboratory (SRL) in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The priority deadline for SRL applications is March 10th.

For questions about the Summer Research Laboratory, funding, and information on other workshops, please contact us at

This year’s SRL is made possible by generous support from the US Department of State through its Program for Research and Training on Eastern Europe and the Independent States of the Former Soviet Union (Title VIII).