Student Working Groups

REEESNe is currently accepting proposals to fund at least one new Working Group that will begin meeting in early fall of 2024 and ideally run for the entire academic year. Working Groups are structured around particular themes, interests, and/or professional pursuits related to Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies. Each student Working Group should meet online regularly (roughly every other week throughout each of two semesters) and is also encouraged to gather in person independently; additionally, once a year REEESNe will fund an in-person meeting for each group that brings students together with faculty and/or non-academic professionals to discuss professionalization and careers, workshop projects and ideas, and network with others who share their professional interests. Such a meeting may take place at Yale University, in coordination with one of the other Centers that share REEESNe’s institutional home, or it may take place at a member institution where there are personnel and resources suitable for hosting. Groups whose proposals are accepted will receive funding for these trips, a couple of honoraria (usually $250 per person) to put toward bringing in guest speakers, and logistical support from REEESNe. Please download and read the full guidelines before applying.


In academic year 2023-24, REEESNe announced four new working group projects for the 2023-24 academic year:

Romani Culture and History. The members of the study group have joined forces with different areas of interest in studying Romani culture and history and we will work together to create a common platform that allows studying together with interests and expertise in different areas and disciplines. The study group will plan to meet at least 10 times. There will be one session moderated by each participant based on their own research and study interest and we will plan to invite at least 1 outside lecturer and 1 faculty member to give a talk, including at a funded in-person meeting for all participants at Yale University in spring 2024. To apply, please send an email outlining your relevant interests and experience, as well as your ability to commit to this in 2023-24, to
Tamizdat. The Tamizdat Project is a public scholarship initiative and a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization devoted to the study of banned books from the former Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc. The project deals with state censorship in Russia and Eastern Europe during the Cold War and focuses, in particular, on the resulting stories of circulation, first publications, and reception of clandestine manuscripts from behind the Curtain abroad. Since at least 2014, and especially after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, tamizdat and political emigration have again become a reality. In this context, Tamizdat Project aims to build ties between the young generation of scholars, students, writers, and intellectuals united by their antiwar stance. It facilitates the students’ active engagement in making a change across borders by drawing lessons from the past and focusing on their resonance in the present through the study of banned books, East European diasporas, and extraterritorial publishing. Volunteers interested in joining may get started by downloading the application questionnaire here.

Advanced Professional Russian. The working group represents a unique opportunity for students who have taken advanced language classes at their institutions, and wish to increase proficiency at a further specialization level not often proposed by Northeast academic institutions. This group will aim to fill gaps (e.g. in professional language conventions, argument organization phrases, complex grammar structures, and field-specific jargon) by fostering self-paced and topical learning of international affairs, economics, and business in Russian – with topics of discussion chosen and led directly by students. The focus will not be specifically on Russian affairs and politics, but on Russian-language coverage of worldwide events and issues, as well as universal technical concepts and ideas which form each discipline. Students will have the chance to meet in person in spring 2024 at one of the northeast institutions involved. All spots for this group have been filled.

Baltic StudiesThe anchoring concept for this working group is the spatiality of the Baltic countries—Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. The group will explore how the shared proximity and location on the borderlands of Europe have converged the histories and futures of the Baltic states. Under this regional umbrella concept, the working group will delve into the topics relevant to the Baltic region and aligned with the interests of participating students. Each biweekly meeting will focus on one of the following topics identified after an initial survey of interests: 1. Social, economic, and political disruptions in the Baltics following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine;  2. Social, political, and economic consequences of the post-Soviet transition; 3. Literature and poetics in the Baltic states and their diasporas; 4. Education and Labor Market reforms in the post-Communist Baltic states; 5. Baltic Film (Soviet and Post-independence); 6. National/ethnic minorities (language politics) in the Baltics; 7. Human rights (Migrant, LGBTQ+ rights).



Past Working Group: 

The 2022-23 Working Group on Protest in Russia & Ukraine curated a vitrine on late-Soviet unofficial and activist artists, contributing to the exhibition Art, Protest, & the Archives, which opened in August 2023 at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library and will remain on view through early January, 2024. The working group is continuing in fall 2023 in a smaller yet dedicated, student-run format, including a return visit to Yale to view the exhibition.

The first working group, dedicated to the topic of “Protest in Russia & Ukraine,” started in Fall 2022, with undergraduate and Master’s students students from Columbia University, Hunter College, Princeton University, Rutgers University, UMass Amherst, University of Maine, University of New Haven, University of Pittsburgh, and Yale University connecting to explore their shared interests in protest cultures, art, and movements. The biweekly sessions with Yale faculty, instructors, and staff have included opportunities both to reflect upon recent and emerging instances of protest coming out of Ukraine and Russia and also to engage in more rigorous discussions of readings and media relating to protest in the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. In Fall 2022, the Working Group collaborated with the Curator of Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library’s Art & Protest exhibition (scheduled to open in Fall 2023) on preparing exhibition materials from collections of work by exiled poet Joseph Brodsky and rock/protest/arts photographer Viktor Nemtinov. Emphasis during the Fall 2022 meetings was on the late-Soviet period, while in Spring 2023 the focus shifted to protest in post-Soviet Russia and Ukraine, with students taking an active role in determining the structure and materials for the second half of the year.  

In addition to participating in twelve hourlong virtual sessions spread over the course of the 2022-23 academic year (six in the Fall and six in the Winter/Spring), students met in person at Yale University during Yale’s Fall semester for a visit to work with the Beinecke Library’s collections. The online meetings took place on roughly every other Wednesday from 4:30 to 5:30 PM during Fall 2022. There was no cost for participating in the Working Group, and REEESNe covered travel expenses and meals for the on-campus meeting. This is a non-credited opportunity, though REEESNe will do its best to provide nonfinancial support for academic recognition at students’ institutions (for instance, through an independent study sponsored by a faculty member); students who stay in good standing as active participants in the Working Group will also receive a REEESNe certificate of completion, a credit line recognizing their contributions to the 2023 exhibition, and the opportunity to continue the Working Group beyond Spring 2023.

(Photograph by Ian MacMillen: “Liberators/Occupiers” - transformation of Sofia’s Soviet Army Monument in protest of Russia’s war on Ukraine, 3/11/22)