The Duke University Libraries are committed to providing top-tier support for Slavic, Eurasian, & East European Studies (SEEES) at Duke University. From its foundation in the post-World War II period, Duke has been responsible for collecting materials from and about Poland, Ukraine, and Russia (which now also encompasses the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union in Northern Eurasia and Central Asia). Additional areas of focus have traditionally included Slavic linguistics and comparative economics, a field of study invented by a Duke professor who visited the Soviet Union in the early 1930s.
The Libraries will continue to develop the SEEES collection and facilitate the scholarly work and teaching of the faculty of Duke’s Slavic & Eurasian Studies Department; the Slavic and Eurasian Language Resource Center; and the very popular Study Abroad Program (Duke in Russia). Additional funding from individuals and foundations will enable the Libraries to be more ambitious in building the collection and supporting its use by faculty, students, and visiting scholars, including researchers at the Triangle-based National Humanities Center.
Establish a restricted endowment for Slavic, Eurasian, & East European Collections ($300,000)
A collection endowment will enable the Libraries to:
- Develop a more diverse and distinctive SEEES collection, not only across a broader range of formats (print and electronic) and topics (international terrorism and nuclear non-proliferation), but also in terms of formerly underrepresented voices (e.g., LGBTQIA+ and women’s rights activists from Russia/Eastern Europe). Specific areas that will benefit from the expanded resources of a named collection include modern and contemporary Russian art (to complement the unique materials held by The Nasher Museum); women’s studies (to complement holdings in the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History & Culture); human rights (to complement holdings in the Human Rights Archive); and documentary photography (to complement holdings in the Archive of Documentary Arts).
- Sponsor international book buying trips to Russia and Eastern Europe, which remain the best way to acquire unique materials, such as rare books, manuscripts, and “gray” literature (publications by non-governmental organizations, small independent publishers, and social movements); as well as travel to book fairs and conferences, which foster the kind of international networking that makes it possible to identify and acquire unique SEEES materials.
- Leverage the area studies expertise and the cultural literacy of its staff in order to make Slavic-language materials intellectually- and physically-accessible to library users at Duke and from around the world (e.g., by facilitating collaboration between the Librarian for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies and the catalogers, archivists, and metadata specialists needed to describe unique Slavic language materials in a way that makes them discoverable).
A restricted endowment will enhance Duke’s national reputation as a major site for conducting research in Slavic, Eurasian, & East European Studies and support both the global vision and the teaching mission of the university.