Macalester students and faculty have organized the annual Russian, Eastern European, and Central Asian Studies Conference conference each spring since 1992. Events include a nationally recognized speaker, a term paper competition in which students compete for cash prizes, and an evening gala event.
In 2013, economist Rick Erickson presented on Russia's transition to capitalism, and diplomat Tom Hansen discussed the relationship between Russia and the U. S. In 2012, Professor Marc Robinson of St. Olaf College introduced and led a post-screening discussion of the new documentary film, Putin's Kiss, about the sinister side of the Nashi youth movement in contemporary Russia. In 2011, Rachel May, Coordinator of Sustainability Education at Syracuse University, spoke about what environmental scientists and literary scholars can learn from one another. In 2010, postmodernist performer Psoy Korolenko accompanied the 1927 silent film Bed and Sofa with a live soundtrack combining piano and rhymed scholarly discourse.
Paper contest guidelines
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Other Past speakers have included:
- Simon Morrison (Princeton University)
- David Brandenberger (University of Richmond)
- Viktor Pivovarov (Russian Conceptualist artist) spoke about the contemporary Russian art scene ("Poet in a Snowed-In City") and the conference featured an exhibit of his art (2004)
- Paul Wilson (writer, editor, and former member of the legendary rock band, The Plastic People of the Universe) - "Then and Now: What Happens to Yesterday's Radicals When the World Turns Upside Down?" (2004)
- Irina Paperno (UC-Berkeley) - "Stalin: "Remembering March 5, 1953" (2003)
- Hilde Hoogenboom - "Women on Top: The Empress, the Academician, and the Cavalry Officer" (2003)
- Michael Alexeev - "Fiscal Federalism in Russia's Regions" (2002)
- Nikolay Petrov - "Putin's New Economic Reforms” (2002)
- Igor Zevelev (RIA-Novosti) - "Russian Ethnonationalism and Regional Security"
- Peter Rutland (Wesleyan University) - "The IMF Transition Model and the Reality of Russian Reform"
- Alexis Pogorelskin (University of Michigan) - "New Perspectives on Karelian Fever"
- Igor Zevelev - "The Russian Quest for a New Identity, the Implications for Security in Eurasia"
- Jerry Hough - "Russian Reform in Comparative Perspective"
- Nodari Simonia - "Bureaucratic Capitalism in Russia & Its Political Implications"