Lab Programs


The Summer Research Lab (SRL) provides scholars access to the resources of the University of Illinois Library, the largest Slavic collection west of Washington, DC, and an opportunity for individual consultation with the Slavic Reference Service (SRS).

Featured Workshops

Media Culture in Balkan and Eurasian Muslim Communities (June 18-19, 2020)

Co-moderators: Laura Olson Osterman (University of Colorado Boulder) and Wendell Schwab (Penn State Univeristy)

This workshop will explore recent changes in media, media literacy, communications, and publishing in contemporary Muslim communities across the East European and Eurasian region, and how these changes affect sociopolitical trends, personal beliefs and identities. We invite presentations on how media influences people and events, shapes ideology and behavior, instigates or quells political action, sustains diasporas of ethnicity and belief, propagates flows of knowledge, and contributes to the construction and mobilization of identity within these communities. We interpret “media” broadly to include news media, social media, internet media, cinema, and print media. The workshop will include presentations by participants, discussions of recent scholarship, and bibliographical presentations by Slavic Reference Service staff.


This workshop is made possible by funding from the Department of State’s Program for the Study of Eastern Europe and the Independent States of the Former Soviet Union (Title VIII).


Climate and Society in Eurasia: Past, Present, and Future (June 22-24, 2020)

Co-moderators: Andy Bruno (Northern Illinois University) and Pey-Yi Chu (Pomona College)

This workshop aims to foster multifaceted and interdisciplinary approaches to understanding concerns related to climate in Russia, East Europe, and Eurasia. We will discuss the interactions of climate and society historically and today, as well as what they mean for the future. Participants will investigate the implications of rapidly advancing climate change as well as historic climate fluctuations, disruptions, and perceptions for migration, disaster preparedness, water and food security, environmental justice, sustainability, development, species and habitat degradation, biodiversity loss, and other issues. We welcome proposals from scholars in various disciplines, including (but not limited to) history, anthropology, literary and cultural studies, geography, sociology, environmental studies, and political science.

This workshop is made possible by funding from the Department of State’s Program for the Study of Eastern Europe and the Independent States of the Former Soviet Union (Title VIII).

A Woman’s Work is Never Done: Female Life and Labor across the Imperial, Soviet and Post-Soviet Eras (June 24-25, 2020)

Co-moderators: Colleen Lucey (University of Arizona) and Alexis Peri (Boston University)

The politics surrounding women’s labor in the Russian and Soviet space have long fascinated scholars. Historically, women’s activism for professional, political, and educational equality in the region has been strikingly checkered and, in some ways, more extreme in terms of setbacks and successes, than in the west. Compared to their counterparts in Europe, women in the Russian empire were among the first to have the right to vote, to serve in the armed forces, and achieve other benchmarks of citizenship. However, the empire was thoroughly patriarchal at the familial, regional, and imperial levels. The Soviets challenged these inequalities and offered women greater professional and educational opportunities than nearly anywhere in the world. Such achievements, however, make the pervasive discrimination Soviet women faced on the job all-the-more jarring. In the 1990s, during the “shock therapy” of privatization, women in the region yet again mobilized their entrepreneurial skills by hustling between multiple jobs and organizing informal barter and cooperative networks. In contemporary Russia, where women make up the bulk of the workforce, the Kremlin has recognized that women’s labor—especially migrant work—is an economic necessity. Regardless of the historical period or the profession, women workers have continually had to navigate expectations that they remain traditionally feminine and domestic.

Hosted by the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center (REEEC) and the Slavic Reference Service (SRS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

SRS Individualized Research Practicum

Consultation with a Slavic Reference Service Librarian for a personalized bibliographic session. For details and application procedures, see SRS Practicum.

Fisher Fellow Award (Click here for more details)

  • Graduate Student at dissertation stage or post-doctorate scholar (<5 years following PhD).
  • Available to attend SRL during June 2020

International Studies Research Lab 

  • Current faculty or instructors at community colleges or minority-serving institutions
  • Available to attend SRL during July 2020

Other SRL Programs

Working Group on Darwin’s Reception in Russia
Monday, July 6 – Friday, July 10

The working group will convene between 9 and 5 each day to workshop individual contributions for a proposed volume on the cultural reception of Darwin, studying the impact of Darwinism upon the broader intellectual life of Russia beyond scientific circles. Participants should come with a complete draft chapter; they will be able to utilize the library collections and Slavic reference staff as needed, and will have time set aside for writing and revision. We welcome additional participants.

For more information, please contact Stephen Woodburn at


History and Culture Discussion Group

The Discussion Group on History and Culture offers Summer Research Lab participants an opportunity to discuss their work in a very informal setting, whether the project is at the beginning stages or closer to completion. All topics and time periods are welcome.

This summer’s group will meet in June 2020, at a location TBD. All participants are welcome to attend, speak about their research projects, and even present a paper.

For more information, please contact Ann Kleimola at