Category Archives: Lithuania

Sprachkultur as Manifestation of Power: A Case of Soviet Lithuania

Nerijus Šepetys (Vilnius University ) and Loreta Vaicekauskienė (The  Institute of Lithuanian Language, Vilnius)

The presentation provides empirical evidence on how the soviets manipulated language standardization turning it gradually into an overall regulation of “correctness” of national language. The research is based on a case of Soviet ruled Lithuania, which today can serve as an example of one of the most developed systems of language supervision in Europe.

The comparison of present Lithuania with other speech communities makes one wonder where the power-employing institutionalisation of language comes from. Some similarities can be found with late-standard communities, dominated by other languages and established during the 19th century (Subačius 2002), where the idea of Sprachkultur was a part of national(ist) ideology (cf. Spitzmüller 2007). However, in independent Lithuania (1918–1940), even during the years of authoritarian nationalist regime, tendencies of liberalization and modernization became apparent. In 1940/1944–1990 this development was terminated by Soviet occupation.

Keyword:  Sepetys

Keyword: Vaicekauskiene

Sajudis and the Lithuanian Catholic Church

Miranda R. Zapor (Baylor University)

In the late 1980s, waves of popular nationalism swept across the Socialist Republics. In this context of nascent revolution, the Lithuanian Popular Front, Sajudis, was born.

The relationship between Sajudis and the Lithuanian Catholic Church (LCC) is worthy of particular scrutiny.  In contrast to Church-nationalist unities in other Socialist Republics, Sajudis had to actively incorporate the Lithuanian Catholic Church into its agenda, rather than simply assuming that an established foundation of religio-nationalist sentiment would result in a tacit alliance.  This task was made more complex by the well-established alternative sources of Lithuanian national identity that powerfully defined the national consciousness of Sajudis members; folk culture and religion, language, and history were all strong loci of national pride.  These sources proved sufficient to motivate the elite minority, but the majority of Lithuanians identified more readily with Catholic religious culture.  Moreover, the Lithuanian Catholic Church lacked a conscientiously nationalist agenda that would organically provide the nationalist movement with popular majority support.  Thus Sajudis had to work towards incorporating the Church into its political platform.  Sajudis, recognizing the potential for nationalist influence by the Church, encouraged clergy participation and espoused Catholic concerns in an effort to gain its support and constituency.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Oral History Archives: Excerpts from Testimonies about the Holocaust in Lithuania

Ina Navazelskis (US Holocaust Memorial Museum)

Most of the 12,500 Holocaust-related oral history testimonies in the archives of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) were conducted with Holocaust survivors. However, some 1450 are interviews also with non-Jews, who provide direct eyewitness testimony to many aspects of the Holocaust. In my presentation I will highlight those witness testimonies that relate to the Baltics, including how the some 350 interviewees from the Baltic countries were identified and interviewed.

In addition, I will show excerpts from some interviews relating to Lithuania. Among the interviewees will be Ada Gens, daughter of Vilnius ghetto police chief Jakubas Gensas, who witnessed key events in the Vilna ghetto from 1941 until 1943. Another will be excerpts from an interview with Algimantas Gureckas, a long-time member of the US branch of Lithuanian World Community, a non-governmental organization that brought together Lithuanians living outside of Lithuania. Gureckas witnessed some of the repression that led to the eventual murder of Jews in northeastern Lithuania in the summer of 1941. Questions relating to how these oral histories inform Holocaust scholarship will be addressed. What do they contribute? How should they be used? What are the limitations of these individual testimonies?

Finally, I will briefly describe the digitized collection at the USHMM of about 100 million documents from the International Tracing Service (ITS), established after the war to help reunite families separated by the war and to trace missing individuals. Three quarters of these documents relate to non-Jewish refugees. I will provide samples of these ITS documents from some Lithuanian refugees to illustrate how they can augment oral history testimonies.

Views of the Market: A Cross-Cultural Comparison

Randy Richards (St. Ambrose University)

In a 1997 article, Ian Maitland sets forth a distinction between market pessimists and market optimists.  Pessimists hold that the free market destroys the virtues essential to the functioning of both the market itself as well as the civil society. Optimists believe that the free market generates its own self-sustaining set of virtues by rewarding behavior that is good for individuals and the civil society. We constructed an eighteen item Likert-scale instrument to measure market optimism and pessimism with two questions each for a set of four behaviors: trustworthiness, sympathy, fairness and self-control (following Maitland’s suggestion).  Our research validates the instrument and shows that it neatly distinguishes between respondents’ optimistic and pessimistic beliefs.  Using the instrument, we surveyed MBA students in Lithuania and compared their responses to surveys we conducted in the U.S., Croatia and South Africa.  We explore the likely reasons for these differences and suggest some future research.

“To Transform Ourselves”: Current Lithuanian Educational and Memorial Approaches to the Holocaust

Ellen Cassedy (Independent Scholar)

My paper presents findings about current Lithuanian educational and memorial approaches to the Holocaust, including efforts by the International Commission on the Soviet and Nazi Occupation Regimes, the House of Memory essay project, the Tuskulenai memorial in Vilnius, the Gallery of the Righteous at the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum, projects that involve young people in Jewish cemetery restoration, and other efforts.  I will place these efforts in the context of the Soviet regime and its impact on the Lithuanian population.  I will offer analysis of the common threads that tie these efforts together, including their emphasis on asking questions rather than providing answers.

Journalism Education in a Changing Lithuania: Challenges Twenty Years after the Restoration of Independence

Kristina Juraitė (Vytautas Magnus University) and Eric Freedman (Michigan State University)

During Lithuania’s twenty years of independence, journalism education has evolved dramatically from the rigid, theory-driven pedagogical approach of the Soviet era.  However, journalism instructors and their institutions still face significant challenges in producing graduates who can become ethical and fair professionals with the skills essential for careers in a rapidly changing media environment.  This paper begins with an overview of journalism education in Lithuania, including the early phase of the 1920s-1940s (first independence period) and the Soviet era, traces subsequent changes in journalism education since restoration of independence in 1990, and explores several major contemporary challenges confronting journalism education in the country today, including theory-based training, lack of sufficient facilities to teach applied skills, and the poor image of journalists in the public.  To provide additional context, the paper also describes representative challenges facing journalism education in several post-Soviet countries that in contrast to Lithuania have not adopted pluralistic, market-based press systems and do not respect press freedom.  The role of training and education of journalists seems to be of particular significance in bringing journalism students as close to practice as possible, at the same time allowing analysis and reflection that is necessary for journalists to fully understand both the methods involved in news reporting and writing, and the social impact of proliferating market journalism. The paper aims to show that despite regularly updated curricula, journalism education has trouble building more solid bridges between academia and the media industries, as well as preparing graduates for a more successful entry into a job-market.

Keyword: Juraite

Women`s Time in the Museum: Archives, Exhibition, Intervention. A Case Study of the First Feminist Exhibition on Sculpture and Film in Lithuania

Laima Kreivytė (Vilnius Academic of Arts / European Humanities University)

What would be a feminist response to the patrilineal canon of art history? How can we (re)write grand narratives in the museum and challenge a rigid institutional framework? Based on a specific case I will discuss three strategies of feminist interventions: subverting the archive, curating the exhibition and mis(s)appropriation.

The exhibition Woman’s Time. Sculpture and Film (National Gallery of Art, Vilnius, 2010) re-examined the political, social, and cultural construction of  “woman” in Lithuanian sculpture and film of the 20th century. It reflected the growing interest in women’s creativity and gender issues in art, as well as recent social and political changes that pointed to the prominent role played by women in the country’s cultural life and public sphere. Sculpture and cinema were chosen as ideologically important media that capture the “spirit of the age” and that might also be analysed from sociological and anthropological perspectives. There was an attempt to look at woman from the point of view of the contemporary spectator, rather than from that of an artist or a critic. Thus, works by acclaimed Lithuanian sculptors and film directors share the space with pieces that are almost kitsch, yet all of them are documents of woman’s life at the time. The exhibition’s title was inspired by Julia Kristeva’s essay “Women’s Time”, in which she analyses the situation of women in Europe by exploring three notions of time: linear, cyclical and monumental. The most important idea was to link woman to time, not just to space or the body, as in the Western philosophy.

Keywords: Kreivyte

The Future of the Lithuanian Healthcare System: Provider Education and System Innovation

Patricia A.  Cholewka (New York City College of Technology, CUNY)

It has been a little over twenty years since the Baltic States declared their independence from the Soviet Union.   They have progressed at the politico-legal and socio-economic levels at astonishing speed–with effective results.  This presentation will focus on the Lithuanian healthcare system and its rapid improvement due to its alignment in their provider educational system to European Union (EU) standards and collaborates with other European, American, and Asian universities and international organizations in research and academic activities to design and implement Western models for efficient, effective, and quality patient care.  This has especially affected their nursing workforce at the Faculty of Nursing, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (in Lithuanian: Lietuvos sveikatos mokslų universitetas, and formerly, the Kaunas University of Medicine) in Kaunas, Lithuania.  This academic center has not only improved its facilities, but has advanced technologically and educationally to become a major transformational center for healthcare education in Lithuania and an example for the other post-soviet transitional economies.  It is the purpose of this presentation to show examples of these research and academic affiliations by the Faculty of Nursing at Lithuanian University of Health Sciences – especially its participation in an EU-U.S. trans-Atlantic grant on palliative care policy that will likely affect the care of both healthcare systems’ aging populations.


Lifelong Learning in Lithuania: The Attitudes of Adult Learners and Employers

Leta Dromantienė and Irena Žemaitaitytė (Mykolas Romeris University)

The paper discusses the development of the lifelong learning (LLL) system in Lithuania, where demographic factors require people to stay in the labour market longer and the rapid development of technologies necessitates continuous learning.  During the economic recession, both the Lithuanian government and citizenry are challenged by a number of new responsibilities and the ability to fulfil them.   The development of in-service training has become very important in order to stay in the labour market and to successfully pursue a career.  The interests of the state, employers, and individuals align in this sphere. The aim of the paper is to show the differences in the motivation of Lithuanian adult learners in their LLL participation and their attitudes towards overall lifelong learning, as well as the employers’ attitudes towards employees’ participation in LLL.  An analysis of data from a quantitative survey on adult participation in LLL conducted in the frame of international project “Towards a Lifelong Learning Society in Europe: The Contribution of the Education System – LLL2010,” which strove to develop and carry out a joint research agenda for the better understanding of tensions between a knowledge-based society, LLL, and social inclusion in the context of EU enlargement and globalization.  The results of survey reveal that the strategy for education and LLL skills upgrading shall contribute to future-proofing Lithuania and to the realization of the common European objectives for social cohesion and the reduction of unemployment.

Keyword:  Dromantiene

Keyword:  Zemaitaityte

Development of Didactics for Cultivation of the Lithuanian Language


Vilija Salienė (Vilnius Pedagogical University)

Educational reform in Lithuania has entered a third decade.  In order to understand the present guidelines of didactics for native-language cultivation, it is necessary to analyze the origin and development of these didactics, and to discuss the fundamental guidelines.  The development of didactics for the cultivation of the Lithuanian language can be divided into three stages: 1547–1940, 1940–1987, and 1988–2012.


  1. There is focus on the problems of perception of the read text, as well as on the relationship between reading and writing.
  2. Teaching of grammar is based on text.
  3. The approach is formed that didactics for the cultivation of language is not only the science of teaching, but also the science of learning.


  1. There is more focus on formal teaching of grammar and knowledge is emphasised.
  2. There is a departure from the didactic guidelines of 1918–1940, which emphasised the relationship between reading and writing, as well as teaching grammar based on text.
  3. Didactics for the cultivation of language emphasizes the explanatory way of teaching and learning.


  1. Explanatory teaching is changed to educational; emphasis is put on activities that stimulate production skills.
  2. There is focus on the cultivation of general and subject competences.
  3. Problems of the integration of the content for cultivation are formulated.

Keyword: Saliene