REECAS NW Past Conferences


REECAS Northwest 2023

The 29th Annual Conference for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies

April 20-April 22, 2023

University of Washington

Seattle, WA USA


Free wi-fi is available for 2023 conference attendees. To access wi-fi, please log into the University of Washington network with:

UW Net ID: event0213

Password: o2z7=w5q5=w6u4



About the Conference

2022 Ellison Center Director Scott Radnitz speaking at the REECAS Northwest Conference

REECAS Northwest, the annual ASEEES Northwest Regional Conference for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies, welcomes students, faculty, independent scholars, and language educators from the United States and abroad. Established in 1994, REECAS Northwest is an important annual event for scholars and students in the Pacific Northwest and beyond, with participant and partner universities from across the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. The interdisciplinary conference is organized by the University of Washington’s Ellison Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies. Sometimes abbreviated as “REECAS NW”, the conference was recognized as the official ASEEES northwest regional conference by the ASEEES Board of Directors in 2017.

The conference hosts many panels on a variety of topics from a wide diversity of disciplines including political science, history, literature, linguistics, anthropology, culture, migration studies, gender studies, LGBTQ studies, film studies and more.

Papers on Russia and all the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia are welcome, including the Uyghur region in China (Xinxiang and elsewhere).



Call for Proposals:

The 2023 Call for Proposals is now closed. 

The REECAS Northwest Conference welcomes both individual paper proposals and also panel/roundtable proposals. Individual proposal submissions will be grouped into panels with a common theme.

  • Panel Proposals: Panel chairs should gather their individual panelist information (name, email, affiliation, presentation title) and submit that on behalf of all panelists using the Call for Proposals Form. Upon acceptance, individual presenters and chairs will be required to register separately for the conference using a distinct Conference Registration Form, which will become live after the proposal acceptance announcement date.
  • Individual Paper Proposals: Individuals who are not part of a pre-formed panel should submit their proposal using the Call for Proposals Form. Upon acceptance, individual presenters and chairs will be required to register separately for the conference using a distinct Conference Registration Form, which will become live after the proposal acceptance announcement date.

For further details and definitions, please see the conference paper and presentation Guidelines, Definitions, and Best Practices webpage.



Key Dates and Deadlines:

  • Call for Proposals Deadline: February 24
  • Notification of Acceptance: March 1
  • Panels Announced: March 10
  • Final Papers to Chair: April 6


Conference Registration

Pre-Registered Conference Participants may pick up name badges and conference programs in HUB Room 145 beginning at 3:30 pm on Friday, April 20.

Registration is required for the REECAS Northwest Conference. ALL participants (accepted presenters and audience members) must register using the below online form. 

Registration Form Closed


Keynote Speaker: Alexei Yurchak (UC Berkeley)

Mutations of “Lenin” | The Sacred Core of Sovereignty: Soviet, Post-Soviet, Anti-Soviet

The Soviet system was organized around the figure of “Lenin” – a figure that embodied the foundational and unquestionable Truth of the communist project. This figure stood outside of the Soviet political, legal and aesthetic language. Representing Lenin in external signs (linguistic, visuals, material) was challenging. To be successful, visual representations of Lenin had to be materially linked to his physical body. How was this material link produced and maintained in practice? What does this link tell us about the nature of the Sacred, the Sovereign, and the Sign in the Soviet and post-Soviet contexts? How does this link allow Lenin’s images to mutate between Soviet and anti-Soviet and between Communist, anti-Communist and Imperialist (which became visible in the aggression of Putin’s Russia against Ukraine)?

Alexei Yurchak is Professor of Anthropology at University of California, Berkeley. His interests include political anthropology, linguistic anthropology, science and technology studies, anthropology of the image and Soviet and post-Soviet studies. He is the author of the award-winning book, Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation. He is currently finishing a book on the political, scientific and aesthetic histories of Lenin’s body that has been maintained by a unique laboratory science for a century.


Conference Highlights: 

Plenary Speaker | Joshua Zimmerman (Yeshiva University)

“Józef Piłsudski, Founding Father of Modern Poland, and his Plan for Ukrainian Independence.”

In his new biography, Józef Piłsudski: Founding Father of Modern Poland, Joshua D. Zimmerman chronicles the life and times of this enigmatic figure. Frequently referred to as the George Washington of Poland, Pilsudski was the first commander-in-chief and head of state when Poland re-emerged on the map of European in November 1918. By the early 1920s, in the wake of Pilsudski’s defeat of the Red Army in the1920 Polish-Soviet War, he was regarded as a brilliant military strategist and high-minded statesman. Piłsudski became the only European statesman after World War I to champion the independence of Ukraine. When the Western democracies expressed their firm opposition, arguing that the very idea of Ukraine constituted “incitement and provocation” against Russia, Piłsudski replied that “without an independent Ukraine, Poland and Europe will never be secure.”
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Piłsudski’s advocacy for Ukrainian independence 103 years ago has renewed significance. This talk will discuss Piłsudski’s aims and vision for such a Ukrainian state, as well as other features of his rule that make him a standout among European statesmen before 1939.

Joshua D. Zimmerman is Professor of History at Yeshiva University in New York, where he holds the Eli & Diana Zborowski Chair in Holocaust Studies and East European Jewish History. He is the author of Józef Piłsudski: Founding Father of Modern Poland (Harvard, 2022), The Polish Underground and the Jews, 1939-1945 (Cambridge, 2015), which appeared in Polish translation in 2018, and Poles, Jews and the Politics of Nationality: The Bund and the Polish Socialist Party in Late Tsarist Russia, 1892-1914 (Wisconsin, 2004). He is also editor of two contributed volumes: Jews in Italy under Fascist and Nazi Rule, 1922-1945 (2005), and Contested Memories: Poles and Jews during the Holocaust and its Aftermath (2003).  Zimmerman’s articles in the popular press have appeared in the Washington Post, Politico, The Daily Beast, The Times of Israel, The Kyiv Post, Engelsberg Ideas, and Rzeczpospolita (Warsaw).  


Translation Showcase | Doug Smith’s Translation of Konstantin Paustovsky’s The Story of a Life

Douglas Smith discusses his new translation of Konstantin Paustovsky’s epic memoir, The Story of a Life, with Michael Biggins. Beloved by generations of readers in Russia and the West — Marlene Dietrich called it her favorite book—and praised by critics, The Story of a Life ranks as one of the finest autobiographies of world literature, as Gary Saul Morson recently wrote in The Wall Street Journal. Paustovsky’s masterpiece, which follows the writer through his youth in Ukraine and western Russia, has acquired renewed urgency in the past year as these lands are once again beset by bloodshed, devastation, and war .

Douglas Smith is an award-winning historian and translator. He is the author of six books on Russia and has a doctorate in history from UCLA. His book Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy was a bestseller in the UK. It won the inaugural Pushkin House Russian Book Prize in 2013, was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and was chosen Book of the Year by Andrew Solomon in Salon. His 2016 biography Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs was a finalist for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Douglas’s new translation of Konstantin Paustovsky’s epic memoir, The Story of a Life, published by Vintage Classics in the UK in 2022 and by New York Review Books in the US in 2023, has received widespread critical praise. He recently launched a site dedicated to the film and movie archive of Major Martin J. Manhoff, a stunning, one-of-a-kind visual record of the Soviet Union in the Stalin years. Douglas is now at work on a book titled The City Without Jews, a history of the destruction of Jewish Vienna under the Nazis that highlights the remarkable story of Mignon Langnas.


New Book Roundtable | How the Soviet Jew Was Made by Sasha Senderovich (University of Washington)

In this roundtable, chaired by Elena Campbell (University of Washington, Ellison Center director), panelists Naomi Caffee (Reed College), Natan M. Meir (Portland State University), and Cassio de Oliveira (Portland State University) will discuss Sasha Senderovich’s new book, How the Soviet Jew Was Made (Harvard University Press, 2022; finalist for the 2023 National Jewish Book Award). In the book, Senderovich (University of Washington) offers a close reading of postrevolutionary Yiddish and Russian-language literature and film that recasts the Soviet Jew as a novel cultural figure: an ambivalent character navigating between the Jewish past and Bolshevik modernity. Senderovich traces protagonists traversing space and history and carrying with them the dislodged practices and archetypes of a Jewish world in the process of transformation. Senderovich urges us to see the Soviet Jew anew, as not only a member of a minority group but also a particular kind of liminal being.


Conference Program

The REECAS Northwest Conference Program is now available.

Physical copies of the Conference Program will be available for pre-registered conference attendees at the event.



Conference Hotel

Participants will be required to make their own hotel reservations (including payment). The Ellison Center has secured a block of rooms at a discounted rate of $159 per night (shared double queen) plus taxes in the stylish Graduate Seattle Hotel, located just steps from the University of Washington in the University District. (Please scroll down to find discounted reservation link.)

We STRONGLY recommend you make your reservations soon as availability is limited. Please make your reservation by March 21, 2023 to secure the discounted rate. 

For hotel booking, please note the following:

  • Your Group Names is: UW – REECAS NW

  • Your first date of arrival is: 04/20/2023

  • Your last date of departure is: 04/22/2023

  • Your group rate of $159.00 for single and double rooms is valid for 3 days pre / post contracted dates based on hotel availability. In order to secure pre/post contracted dates, please book rooms using the booking link and email to extend the additional days you need.

There are two ways to make your university’s hotel reservations:

By Phone: Universities can make reservations by calling the hotel directly at 844-888-4723 between the hours of 8a.m. – 7p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. – 4p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.  To guarantee rate and room type, please ensure the name of the group, arrival date, and any other information needed is given at the time of reservation.

Online: Universities can make reservations online by clicking here. This method is best for individual room reservations as each room must be reserved via separate transactions. 

Other hotels in the U-District, please note that the discounted rate is not available at these hotels.

Marriott Residence Inn 

Silver Cloud Hotel

Watertown Hotel 

University Inn


Venue, Campus Maps, Parking, and Transportation

The 2023 REECAS Northwest Conference will take place in the HUB (Husky Union Building) on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. (4001 E Stevens Way NE, Seattle, WA 98195)




Seattle Restaurants and Activities

There are a variety of restaurants and cafes located on the University of Washington campus and nearby.




Invitation Letter Request

(Accepted proposals only) – If you require a letter of invitation to present at the conference, please complete the below form.

Invitation Letter Form


COVID-19 Prevention and UW



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