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Gediminas Lankauskas

Associate Professor
PhD (University of Toronto)

Office: CL 306.4
E-mail: gediminas.lankauskas@uregina.ca
Phone: 306-585-4181

Research interests
social memory, nationalism, selfhood, material culture, the state, authoritarianism, colonialism, social change.

During the past decade, social memory has been the overarching theme of my ethnographic research in eastern Europe and northern Africa. Titled Memory, Oblivion, and Soviet Statuary in Lithuania, my current project is concerned with discarded Soviet-era effigies as material artifacts that can shed valuable light on the relationship between remembrance and forgetting of socialism in that Baltic nation. Although officially cast off as unmemorable, this ill-fitting Marxist-Leninist legacy persists in the public realm, refusing to vanish and be forgotten. Using interviews and oral history, I investigate the ways in which the ambiguous presence of socialist statuary becomes implicated in intergenerational moral debates concerning the integrity of national selfhood and “correct” representations of Lithuanian history. These statues particularly intrigue me as artifacts with much potential to reveal how Lithuanians apprehend the current moment of neoliberal change, as they strive to envision their nation in the years to come. At a deeper level, the project seeks to enquire into how the remembrance and forgetting of an extinct authoritarian regime, activated by its enduring materiality, come to shape people’s experiences of self, nationhood, as well as space and time in the European East today.

A smaller project I am presently working on is titled Memories of Colonial Mimesis in Morocco. Overlapping conceptually and methodologically with my research in Lithuania, and with potential for fruitful cross-cultural comparison, this project in the Maghreb interrogates how the legacy of the French Protectorate (1912-1956) is remembered today by Moroccans representing different social groups. I am particularly interested in the ways the recollections of this colonial period are channelled into popular discourses pertaining to national self-conception and, more broadly, how colonial recall comes to inform deliberations concerning the present and future of the Moroccan nation-state. 

 

Selected publications: 

Memory, Oblivion, and Soviet Statuary in Lithuania, in preparation, under contract with Vanderbilt University Press.

2021 On the "Statizing" of Marriage Rites in Soviet Lithuania, forthcoming in Lithuanian Ethnology.

2019 Sensuous (Re)Collections: The Sight and Taste of Socialism at Grūtas Park, Lithuania. In A Museum Studies Approach to Heritage, Watson, S., Barnes, A., and Bunning, K., eds., pp. 861-877, London: Routledge.

2018 Drama Underground: Forgetting Socialist Nostalgia. In Ethnologie française 2 (170): 265-274. 

2015 A Land of Weddings and Rain: Nation and Modernity in Postsocialist Lithuania. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 

https://utorontopress.com/9781442612563/the-land-of-weddings-and-rain/

2013 De L’Amour de la Vodka Pure et du Progrès Postsocialiste en Lituanie. On the Love of Pure Vodka and the Postsocialist “Progress” of the Lithuanian Nation. In Anthropologie et sociétés, numéro spécial, Glocalisation alimentaires, 37(2): 113-135