The Slavic Research Center’s history goes back to June 24, 1953, when a coordinating body of researchers on Slavic Eurasian studies was created at Hokkaido University. The body was officially recognized as part of the Faculty of Law on July 1, 1955 and named the Slavic Institute. On April 1, 1978, the Institute acquired independent status within the University and was given a new name, the Slavic Research Center (SRC).
On June 7, 1990 the SRC was officially recognized as the national collaborating institution for Slavic studies. From 1995 to 2001, the SRC was designated a “Center of Excellence (COE)” by the Ministry of Education and Science and the Priority Research Project (1995-1997), “Changes in the Slavic-Eurasian World,” was adopted. Since 2000, the SRC has provided graduate programs in Slavic area studies for MA and Ph.D. students at the Graduate School of Letters. Furthermore, long-scale projects such as the 21st Century COE Program, “Making a Discipline of Slavic Eurasian Studies” (2003-2007), the International Training Program (2008-2012), Scientific Research on Innovative Areas, “Comparative Research on Major Regional Powers in Eurasia” (2008-2012), and the Global COE Program, “Reshaping Japan’s Border Studies” (2009-2013) were adopted, keeping the SRC at the forefront of Slavic Eurasian studies in Japan and in the world. On 25 June, 2009, the SRC was recognized as joint usage/ research center (2010-2015), enlarging its previous status as a national collaborating institution.
As a Center of International Joint Research
The SRC’s activities and resources are open to society inside and outside Japan, allowing joint research with scholars in related areas and promoting public relations abroad concerning Japanese research activities. The SRC plays a leading role in such umbrella organizations of academic associations and institutions as the Japan Council of Russian and East European Studies (JCREES, initiated in 1998) and the Japan Consortium for Area Studies (JCAS, initiated in 2004). The Center has concluded academic agreements with foreign institutes, including the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University; the Russian and Eurasian Studies Center of St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford; and the Institute of East European, Russian and Central Asian Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. The Center also took the initiative in concluding academic agreements between Hokkaido University and Sakhalin State University, and with the Institute of Oriental History, Archeology, and Ethnography of the Far Eastern Division of the Russian Academy of Science in Vladivostok.
Promoting a scholarly community in East Asia in cooperation with Korean and Chinese academic associations, the Center has supported the organization of the First East Asian Conference of Slavic-Eurasian Studies, held at Hokkaido University on February 5-6, 2009.
The SRC consists of three divisions: Research, Information, and Administration. The Research Division is composed of five sections: Russian Studies; Siberian and Far Eastern Studies; Central Eurasian Studies; East European Studies; and Comparative Studies. Each section flexibly organizes interdisciplinary and comprehensive studies. The Research Division has both Japanese and foreign visiting professors, in addition to permanent staff. Every year, six Japanese visiting professors are selected among applicants from other universities and institutes. Foreign visiting scholars are also chosen each year from a pool of more than 50 applicants from all over the world. They stay at the SRC and participate in joint projects and conferences. Further, approximately, 150 research fellows are associated with the SRC and conduct joint research projects with the permanent staff.
Information and Administrative Divisions
The Information Division collects research materials, provides publication and information services, and assists with research activities. The Administrative Division manages finances and performs other administrative duties. Additionally, coordinating with the Administrative Division, the PR Room conducts public relations for the Center’s activities and the Project Room supports such big projects as the Scientific Research on Innovative Areas and the Global COE Program.
The SRC is administered by a university-based Board of Associates and a national Board of Directors. The former, composed of SRC staff and concerned members of Hokkaido University, functions as a faculty assembly, deliberating the Center’s administrative policy, budget, organization, and other significant matters. The latter includes professors outside Hokkaido University and discusses the Center’s activities as the national collaborating institution. (Until March of 2010) After the SRC acquires its new status (joint usage /research center) in 2010, the Board of Directors will be reorganized into the Steering Committee and Jury Committee. The former will deliberate the SRC’s activities as joint usage/ research center, while the latter will judge related applications. More than half of the members of both committees are selected from outside Hokkaido University.
* Intoducing the SRC's Members
Joint Usage/ Joint Research
The SRC accepts applications for joint research projects, mainly planning to utilize the Center’s library. Each research section and each permanent research staff member organizes joint research projects on specific subjects with the collaboration of the SRC's research fellows and other specialists in and outside Hokkaido University. For the purpose of carrying out these projects, funds have been obtained from the Ministry of Education and Science, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), and other organizations. Such big projects as the Scientific Research on Innovative Areas or Global COE Program are conducted by the SRC staff as a whole.
Scientific Research on Innovative Areas
This is a type of Grant-in-Aid (Kakenhi) program newly initiated in 2008 under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology (MEXT) in Japan. The project, “Comparative Research on Major Regional Powers in Eurasia” (2008-2012), organized mainly by the SRC, has the aim of establishing a new viewpoint by inserting regional powers (Russia, China, India, etc.) as an intermediary layer between superpower and ordinary states and analyzing pressing issues in the contemporary world from this vantage point. Therefore, six planned research groups based on international relations, domestic politics, economy, society, history and culture are created with researchers on Russia, China and India placed in the respective groups.
Global COE Program
This program was established in 2007 under the MEXT for the purpose of elevating the international competitiveness of Japanese universities and researchers. The project, “Reshaping Japan’s Border Studies” (2009-2013), organized mainly by the SRC, has the aim of analyzing such border issues as the territorial disputes, cultural frictions, etc. prevalent throughout the Eurasian region, by taking both reality and representation into consideration as well as establishing new research areas and research center to tackle border issues. Furthermore, a course of “Border Studies” is opened to applicants from inside and outside the University. The research accomplishments are publicized widely through museum exhibition and policy recommendation.
Every year, the SRC holds two international conferences: in summer and in winter. More than 100 specialists participate in the symposia, which have become major annual events of the SRC. The papers presented at these symposia have been published as proceedings and in other forms. At these symposia great importance is attached to discussion. Thus, full texts of papers are submitted prior to the symposium and are delivered to all participants through the SRC website. The titles of the international symposia in recent years are shown below In addition, the SRC organizes occasional seminars and discussions on specific topics.
2009 Summer / The Elusive Balance: Regional Powers and the Search for Sustainable Development 2008 Winter / The South Ossetian Conflict and Trans-border Politics in the Black Sea Rim 2008 Summer / Northeast Asia in the Cold War: New Evidence and Perspectives 2007 Winter / Asiatic Russia: Imperial Power in Regional and International Contexts 2007 Summer / Dirty, but Warm: Energy and Environment in Slavic Eurasia and Its Neighborhood 2006 Winter / Beyond the Empire: Images of Russia in the Eurasian Cultural Context 2006 Summer / Eager Eyes Fixed on Slavic Eurasia: Change and Progress 2005 Winter / Regions in Central and Eastern Europe: Past and Present 2005 Summer / Regional and Transregional Dynamism in Central Eurasia: Empires, Islam and Politics 2004 Winter / Reconstruction and Interaction of Slavic Eurasia and Its Neighboring Worlds 2004 Summer / Siberia and the Russian Far East in the 21st Century as Partners in the "Community of Asia"
Research Staff Seminar
Every research staff member is obliged to give a paper at this seminar once a year. The paper is based on his/her latest research activities and is distributed to other staff in advance before the seminar. Every staff member provides comments about the paper, and an independent specialist on the topic is invited from outside the SRC to the seminar. This unique seminar not only functions as a self-assessment of the SRC member's academic activities, but bears significant meaning for the Center to achieve highly advanced interdisciplinary area studies.
Since 2000, the SRC has offered graduate programs in Slavic Eurasian studies in the Division of History and Area Studies in the Graduate School of Letters. All research staff are engaged in this program, which trains specialists and researchers on Slavic Eurasia in international relations, politics, economics, sociology, history, culture, ethnology, etc. At present, the majority of students come from outside Hokkaido University and their topics and areas of research are quite diverse. Graduate students are given a common research room in the SRC and conduct their research under favorable conditions including access to the best library facilities in Japan and contacts with Japanese and foreign visiting specialists. The SRC provides a unique curriculum including a special seminar for all graduate students.
The SRC, on the basis of the fund donated by Mr. Masahisa Suzukawa and Mr. Nakamura Taizo, invites young researchers from outside Hokkaido to engage in their own research for two to three weeks. Every year, five to ten young researchers, mainly PhD candidates, are selected as Suzukawa-Nakamura fellows. Access to the Library's collections, close interaction with research staff members and visiting fellows, and participation in various conferences enable these fellows to develop their research, and many of them come to play a leading role in Slavic-Eurasian area studies.
International Training Program (ITP)
This program aims to give support to graduate students, postdoctoral research fellows, research associates, and other Japanese young researchers for their academic activities abroad. The SRC is conducting this program for the period between 2008-2012. Every year, three postdoctoral researchers are sent to Harvard University, George Washington University, and Oxford University. Furthermore, the ITP assists young scholars in participating in international conferences and contributing to worldwide academic journals, and organizes a camp for improving English skills.
The SRC invites several postdoctoral fellows every year with the help of part-time research fellowship programs and funds of the COE and other big projects. The fellows are principally selected through application. They have a common research room, conduct their own research with the advice of staff members, and are given opportunities to present their research. At the same time, they assist the research staff in organizing international symposia and carrying out joint research projects. In addition, a certain number of JSPS (Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science) research fellows stay in the Center.
Since 1986, the SRC has offered a series of public lectures. Each year, some 50 to 100 people attend the lectures, which are also published in various forms. Below are lecture titles of recent years:
2009 Beyond the Century: Rethinking Revolutions in Eastern Europe after 20 years 2008 Seven Questions about Russia Today 2007 Expanding Eastern Europe 2006 Diversities and Possibilities in the Caucasus: Some Perspectives on its Ethnic Conflicts and Beyond 2005 Considering Problems of State Borders in Eurasia
The Hokkaido Association for Slavic Studies
In 1970, the Hokkaido Association for Slavic Studies was established for citizens and scholars living in the Sapporo area interested in these studies. The SRC has served as its secretariat and organized seminars and other meetings on various topics.
The Hokkaido Association for Central Eurasian Studies
The Hokkaido Association for Central Eurasian Studies was set up in 2000 with the aim of conducting interdisciplinary and comprehensive studies on Central Eurasian areas. Its monthly meeting also functions as a forum for exchange among young researchers in this field.
Slavic Research Center Report
The Center issues reports of discussions on pressing and significant topics, made by researchers and specialists inside and outside Japan.
The SRC systematically collects books, periodicals, and other research materials to respond to the needs of all researchers in Japan, holding 157,000 books, 60,000 microfilms, and approximately 1,600 periodicals (as of March 2009). These materials are located in both the University Central Library and the SRC Library and are appreciated as the largest and most comprehensive collection of Slavic-Eurasian materials in Japan. The Library includes the Boris Itenberg collection of rare books on Russian revolutionary movements; the George Y. Shevelov collection of Slavic philology and Ukrainian linguistics; and a collection of Czech literature that includes poems published in the inter-war period. In addition, the SRC has microform materials: the Comintern Archive; the Archives of the Soviet Communist Party and Soviet State; the Boris I. Nicolaevsky Collection from the Archives of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace; and periodicals, statistics and other materials from the Slavic Eurasian region. The Library also has materials concerning prison camps during the Russo-Japanese War; photographs of the Siberian Intervention; and materials concerning the Nikolayevsk Incident (1920) collected by Shimada Mototaro (1870-1945). As of 2008, the SRC Library had collected 5,144 US and British PhD dissertations in Slavic-Eurasian area studies.
The Hokkaido University Library also holds the personal collections of George Alexander Lensen (history of Russo-Japanese relations); Leon B. Bernstein (Russian history); George Vernadsky (Russian and East European history); Boris Souvarine (history of Russian revolutions); F.T. Epstein (Soviet and East European diplomatic history); Henryk Gierszynski (Polish history); and James R. Gibson (historical geography of Russian America, Siberia, and Russia). The Northern Studies Collection in the University Library also holds valuable manuscripts, maps, and other materials related to Russo-Japanese relations and the Russian Far East.
Collections of Maps
The SRC holds 4,504 geographical maps on a scale of 1 to 200,000 covering the whole territory of the former Soviet Union. These were surveyed and drawn in the period from 1956 until 1991, and their use had been strictly limited to military and governmental purposes until the dissolution of the USSR. At present, they are widely used by many researchers and specialists conducting field surveys in various fields such as economics, biology, glaciology, and archaeology. In addition, the SRC has 430 maps covering Northeast China, the Korean Peninsula, and Inner Mongolia, compiled by Soviet authorities. The University Library has several kinds of old maps including 107 maps on a scale of 1 to 840,000 drawn in the early 19th century. Recently, some of the maps have been available on the website.
* The Library Website
Suravu Kenkyu (Slavic Studies): a refereed journal published once a year in Japanese since 1957. Acta Slavica Iaponica: a journal published in English and Russian since 1983 that has developed to become an international refereed journal. Slavic Eurasian Studies: a journal launched in 2004 and published in English and Russian for the purpose of presenting results of research conducted by the 21th Century COE Program, “Making a Discipline of Slavic Research Studies.” After the end of the program, it continues to publish the SRC’s research accomplishments to the world. This publication has been reviewed in many international academic journals. Suravu Yurasia Kenkyu Hokokushu (Slavic Eurasian Papers): working papers launched in 2009 to publish the Center’s occasional research activities and accomplishments, succeeding Kenkyu Hokoku Sirizu (SRC Occasional Paper Series), which issued a total of 95 numbers from 1979 to 2004.
Hikaku Chiki Taikoku Ronshu (Comparative Studies on Major Regional Powers): discussion papers launched in 2009 for the purpose of presenting the results of international symposia and other research activities conducted by the Scientific Research on Innovative Areas, “Comparative Research on Major Regional Powers in Eurasia.” 21Seiki COE Puroguramu Kenkyu Hokokushu (21th Century COE Occasional Papers): working papers based on the COE Program. A total of 25 numbers were published from 2003 to 2008. In addition, publication of Kyokai Kenkyu and Border Studies on the basis of the Global COE Program is in preparation.
Koza Surabu no Sekai (Lectures on the Slavic World): a series of eight books in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the SRC published from 1994 to 1996. Surabu Yurasia Sosho (The Slavic Eurasian Library): a series of publications launched in 2006 for the purpose of widely diffusing the accomplishments of public lectures and various joint researches. Koza Surabu Yurasia Gaku (Lectures on Slavic Eurasian Studies): a series of three books published in 2008 as general accomplishments of the 21th Century COE Program, “Making a Discipline of Slavic Eurasian Studies.”
SRC Newsletter: an information bulletin published quarterly in Japanese since 1979. Its English version has been published annually since 1993. The latest editions are accessible to anyone on the SRC website. Directory of Slavic Eurasian Scholars (in Japanese): a list of Japanese specialists in Slavic Eurasian studies. Its first volume was published in 1972 and it has been updated every several years. SRC Mail Magazine: a monthly mail magazine on the Center’s recent research activities
The SRC installed its own web server in the spring of 1996, serving the website. Now, it has become a site that introduces activities including seminars and conferences and presents the research results of the SRC to anyone interested in Slavic Eurasia. It was listed as one of the most useful websites in Slavic Eurasian studies in the newsletter of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (AAASS). All the academic publications, working papers, and newsletters published by the SRC are accessible to anyone on its website and are constantly updated. The SRC website has nearly 300,000 – 400,000 hits monthly, and this means approximately 10,000 hits daily, half of which are from overseas.
Quite a number of databases have been constructed by the staff members and published on the SRC website, including:
See this page .
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