September 20, 2007

All About Macedonia

This comics panel is from the new graphic novel "Macedonia, What Does is Take to Stop a War?", written by Harvey Pekar (of American Splendor, both the comics and the reknowned film) and Heather Roberson (that's Heather in illustrated form to the left), and illustrated by Ed Piskor. I just found out about this book and am very excited to read it, and this leads me to the theme of my post today. It's All About Macedonia, and for some reason it's converging on us here in Chicago.

That's great news for people who want to learn more or teach about a small republic of the former Yugoslavia that is little known, gets little media attention (which is sometimes good if that means that there's nothing too bad happening to report about), and whose language is little studied outside of its borders - a LCTL, or a Less Commonly Taught Language, in Education's parlance.

But a lot seems to be happening here in Chicago, and at The University of Chicago.

This is one of the few institutions where a student can actually receive instruction in the Macedonian language, one of the south Slavic languages that are in fact all LCTLs, and many of which are taught here.

Next Friday, September 28, 2007, we have the opening of a photo exhibit called "Time and the Sacred". It's a collection of photographs by Pance Velkov, a Macedonian photographer and cultural preservationist, who has documented sacred spaces and frescoes that often date back to the 11th century, and in many cases have been used alternately by Muslims and Orthodox Christians throughout their histories. The exhibit has found an impressive and appropriate home at the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel on the U of C campus, and will run from Sept. 28 until Dec. 24, 2007. On Sept. 28, the artist will join us for the opening, and will give a talk on "Photographing Heritage: Art or Documentation." The picture above is one of the 37 images on display. The opening is open to the public, as is the Rockefeller Chapel every day of the exhibit from 8am-4pm.

This past spring, CEERES convened a workshop "Rethinking Crossroads: Macedonia in Global Context", which offered a venue for the new research being conducted in and on the Republic of Macedonia. The idea behind the title is that, often, Macedonia is defined externally, by the notion that it is a crossroads of other cultures and peoples and their attitudes; rather, the conveners of the workshop sought to address how is Macedonia defining itself, situating itself in its own global context. Paper titles and presenters at the March 31, 2007 workshop can be found here.

In the past, we've sponsored a showing of Macedonian film-maker Milcho Manchevski's Oscar-nominated film "Before the Rain" at Doc Films. The buzz is that he has a forth-coming film "Senki", or "Shadows", and once it's out, I'll bet we'll try to get it shown on campus.

If you'd like find out more about the Republic of Macedonia for the sake of personal interest, or if you're looking for resources to supplement classroom instruction on the region and the language, I suggest you start with SEELRC's Webliographies, which are available for 24 of our region's languages and countries.

Be sure to keep checking back here for more news about Macedonian-related events and resources. First, I'm going to pick up "Macedonia" by the Heather Roberson and the legendary Pekar and give it a read...

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