Europe & Eurasia, Centre for European and Eurasian Studies (CEES), Master of European and Eurasian Studies, Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine

CERES Name-Change Announcement

Note to the CERES community

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumni, and Friends of CERES,

The region that we study is changing rapidly and dramatically. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine is now over two years old. The annexation of Crimea is more than ten years old. The referendum on Brexit occurred nearly 8 years ago. Germany has again become a significant foreign policy actor. There is both unprecedented unity of purpose within most of Europe and an equally unprecedented question-mark looming about US support for NATO. Much of this was unthinkable when CERES came into being in 2006. But, here we are in 2024, and the unthinkable is happening before our very eyes. This cannot help but shift how we conduct research about, teach about, and learn about Europe and Eurasia.

As most of you are aware, over the past years such “real-world” changes have given rise to informal conversations about the Centre’s mission and its name. Gradually, informal conversations became more formal, with a faculty retreat, a series of surveys, and consultations with students, faculty, staff, and alumni, both within CERES and across the university. A proposal to change the Centre’s name emerged, and that proposal was discussed thoroughly and extensively before being subjected to a full governance process. Although the full-scale invasion of Ukraine undoubtedly accelerated these discussions, consideration of new names for our centre began well before February 2022.

As a result of these processes, beginning July 1, 2024, our Centre will have a new name: the Centre for European and Eurasian Studies. Correspondingly, our thriving MA program will have a new degree name: MA in European and Eurasian Studies. Our new name aligns with the practices of other regional studies centres around the university, referencing a geographic region rather than highlighting single countries.

In some senses, this name-change is trivial. After all, what matters more than what we call ourselves is what our centre in fact does. Our vibrant programming on Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan—to name a few countries we cover—remains just that: vibrant. While Russia will no longer feature directly in our centre’s name, we in fact are moving to increase our capacity to do research about and teach about Russia. We may be horrified by a turn of events in one or another of the countries we study, but scholarship and teaching do not change in lockstep with changes in the “real world.” Rather, they are based on disciplinary and interdisciplinary norms and practices that have withstood the test of time. We will continue to be among North America’s strongest interdisciplinary centres for the study of Russia.

In another sense, the new name does in fact matter, as it invites new thinking. The Centre for European and Eurasian Studies allows us to “see” the region differently. For example, it just may be the case that what happens in Bashkortostan or Kaliningrad or Kazakhstan is as consequential as what happens in the Kremlin. This is of course not true for all questions that scholars might pose, but it is true for many, and especially for many questions that otherwise might not occur to us to ask in the first place.

This is not the first change for the Centre. The Centre became CERES in 2006 when European Studies joined with the Centre for Russian and East European Studies (CREES). That change was significant, as it united two regions not often put into the same conversation. In an intellectual, pedagogical, and institution-building sense, it has paid dividends many times over. Under Randall Hansen’s exceptional leadership, cross-regional conversations became normal, welcome, and in many cases path-breaking.

Many of you have known the Centre as CERES since its inception. I am confident that you will see that we continue to do exciting, vibrant work, that we continue to be Canada’s premier place (and among the globe’s best places) for scholarship and teaching about the region, and that we are positioning ourselves to seize new opportunities for the creative study of the region going forward. Our new name will serve us well in those goals.

With best wishes,

Edward Schatz, CERES Director