Schmaltz winds down busy year of speaking events in U.S., Germany, Africa

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Schmaltz winds down busy year of speaking events in U.S., Germany, Africa

December 14, 2015

Dr. Brent Mai of Concordia University in Portland, Oregon (left), Northwestern Oklahoma State University's Dr. Eric Schmaltz (middle), and Dr. J.Otto Pohl of the University of Ghana in Legon (right) attending a function at the Asian Studies Conference held in late September 2015 in Accra, Ghana.

Dr. Eric Schmaltz, professor of history at Northwestern Oklahoma State University (NWOSU) and co-executive director of the NWOSU Institute for Citizenship Studies, has led a busy year of speaking events, consultation work and several completed editing and publishing projects.

Specializing in Russian and German history, as well as ethnic and nationality studies, his academic interests span a wide range of topics, though increasingly they are devoted to historical and contemporary issues surrounding Eurasia, German global diaspora movements and transnationalism, and the interplay between the broader forces of ethnic nationalism and globalization.

Schmaltz said he is proud to represent Northwestern in this capacity, as he alternates between speaking before academic and general audiences, always appreciating the collegial support that makes these opportunities possible.

One such opportunity came in mid-November, in Berlin, Germany, where Schmaltz presented his paper, “What’s in a Name?: Russian Germans, German Russians, or Germans from Russia, and the Challenge of Hybrid Identities,” at the academic conference “Russian Germans in a Comparative Context: New Research Perspectives.” The conference was hosted by the Federal Institute for Culture and History of Germans in Eastern Europe. It took place in the Lower Saxony’s neo-modern state government building that is located blocks away the world famous city center (Mitte), which encompasses the United States (U.S.) and French Embassies, Holocaust Memorial, Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag. The two-day international conference was conducted in the English and German languages with several speakers representing Germany, Russia, Canada and the U.S.

Though placing his Berlin talk within a broader comparative framework, Schmaltz discussed the development of ethnic German from Russia identity and self-identification in North America as it took shape during the two world wars against Germany, the Cold War against Soviet Russia, and the post-1960s multiculturalism and ethnic revival era across the Western world. His full paper is expected later to be published with the conference’s other submitted findings.

“Because of the mass migration of a few million ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe and the former USSR to united Germany after the fall of Communism in 1990-1991, transnational or international issues surrounding German minorities in Eastern Europe and ethnic German diasporas elsewhere remain quite relevant in current German political discourse and academic research, not to mention its strong comparative relevance with more recent and highly controversial mass migrations into Europe, including above all those from the Middle East of mostly Muslim backgrounds,” Schmaltz said.

Another opportunity came near the end of September, when Schmaltz made his first trip to Africa. He participated in a panel discussion at the Inaugural and First Biennial Conference of the Pan-African Association for Asian Studies in Africa (A-ASiA) held at the University of Ghana (Legon) in the capital city of Accra. It was held in cooperation with the International Convention of Asian Scholars (ICAS). The well-attended international gathering in West Africa covered the broader theme of “Asian Studies in Africa: The Challenges and Prospects of a New Axis of Intellectual Interaction.” Based on his previously published article, Schmaltz’s panel paper was titled “Reconsiderations of the USSR’s Aborted National Oblast Plan for Soviet Kazakhstan’s Ethnic Germans, 1976-1980.”

Other similar speaking engagements and panel discussions this year took him to Bismarck, North Dakota; Billings, Montana; Des Moines, Iowa; Portland, Oregon; Tulsa and Shattuck.

For the 2016 year Schmaltz plans to present in California, Kansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, and perhaps in Oldenburg, Germany, at a conference on Germans in Eastern Europe and the Holocaust. He also plans to continue working on two or three books in various stages of production.

For more information on Schmaltz’s presentations or the NWOSU Institute for Citizenship Studies, contact him at (580) 327-8526 or