Carpatho-Rusyns are one of the major ethnic groups of Pennsylvania. From the time they settled the state’s small towns and cities in the late 1870s until the present time, Carpatho-Rusyns have left an indelible mark on the state, and their story should be told. This blog is about a project that will do just that. Read more

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Presentation: "Carpatho-Rusyn Village Consciousness as manifested by immigrants in the U.S." (ASEEES 2016)

ASEEES, the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, held its annual convention from November 17-20, 2016 in Washington, D.C. This author was honored to be a participant in the scholarly roundtable "The Carpatho-Rusyn Global Village".

This roundtable discussion took place on November 17, and the context for it was the following.
When Marshall McLuhan popularized the concept of the global village in the 1960s, he anticipated that the rise of new media would allow for the instantaneous communication among individuals on all sides of the globe and bring about village-like networks in a virtual space. Similarly, Benedict Anderson has emphasized the role of the proliferation and circulation of print media, in particular, the newspaper, in constructing the concept of the nation. While the Carpatho-Rusyns have never had a nation-state of their own, they have maintained strong global networks among individual villages spread out in several countries through the production of newspapers, magazines, almanacs, books, and – most recently – websites and social media pages. As such, this roundtable will investigate how Carpatho-Rusyns in the late 19th and early 20th centuries used print media to create international networks between home and abroad, explore the influence of religion on their maintenance of a transnational community, and examine the virtual village-like mentalities and behaviors present on the Carpatho-Rusyn internet today.
I gave one of five presentations that made up the roundtable. The slides and my commentary follow here.

Over the past two decades, in my research of the Carpatho-Rusyn immigrant settlements of the U.S. -- primarily Pennsylvania, but also New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio, etc. -- in which I especially focused on chain migration from homeland villages to American towns, I have discovered many examples of "village consciousness" as expressed by Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants, and I would like to share them, and my interpretation of them, in the hopes that other scholars may find aspects of this topic that warrant and inspire further study.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Author to Participate in Scholarly Roundtable "The Carpatho-Rusyn Global Village" at ASEEES Convention

This year's annual convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES - formerly AAASS) will take place from November 17-20, 2016 in Washington, D.C. Your author will be a participant on a roundtable discussion, "The Carpatho-Rusyn Global Village."

Panelist discussants will be:
  • Bogdan Horbal (New York Public Library)
  • Joel C. Brady (University of Pittsburgh)
  • Richard D. Custer (Independent Scholar)
  • Maria Silvestri (John and Helen Timo Foundation)
  • Kristina Marie Cantin (University of Tennessee)
  • Elaine Rusinko (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Chair
Date: Thursday, November 17th
Time: 5:00 to 6:45 pm
Location: Mezzanine, Truman, Wardman DC Marriott

In my allotted time I plan to discuss how the first waves of Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants in the U.S. expressed their "village consciousness"  -- in print (the Rusyn immigrant press, and publications for public consumption within and outside of the Rusyn community) and in other ways: tombstones, stained glass windows, other monuments, village reunions, village-native clubs, and collections of funds to support home villages.

I will also give insight into the seeming mid-century loss of village consciousness -- the disappearance of geographic identifiers in published historical narratives -- and how village consciousness has resurfaced in recent decades, especially through increased travel to the homeland, genealogy, print media, and the manifestation of virtual village communities on the web and social media.

The full slate of Carpatho-Rusyn panels/roundtables and events at the ASEEES convention is as follows.
You can see the most up-to-date scheduling/location information at the ASEEES online convention program (search for "rusyn"; there is also a panel on Lemkos -- search for "lemko"). (All attendees are supposed to register for the conference, but this is not always strictly enforced. Just sayin'.)

I will post a summary of the roundtable here sometime in the days after the event.

Original material is © by the author, Richard D. Custer; all rights reserved.