2012 Embassy Events
U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi supported the 6th International Conference on American Studies (October 5)
Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi supported the 6th International Conference on American Studies dedicated to the 110th anniversary of John Steinbeck, hosted by the Kutaisi Akaki Tsereteli State University (KATSU). The conference consisted of two sections, comprising all the major areas of American Studies, including Literature, Culture, Art, Politics, Economics, History, Education and Society. PAS sponsored the visit of two American professors – Mr. Brian Railsback of Western Carolina University and Mr. Tyrus Miller of the University of California at Santa Cruz. In addition to making keynote presentations at the conference, both professors conducted group seminars and consultations to the university students and professors. Mr. George Gavtadze, KATSU Rector and a U.S. exchange program alumnus, opened the conference. After the rector’s remarks, Cultural Attaché, Lola Petrova, addressed the conference participants and emphasized the importance of developing American Studies in Georgia.
The conference attracted students and professors of American
Studies from different universities throughout Georgia. Mr. Railsback’s paper on John Steinback’s
Environmental Vision introduced Georgian audience to Steinbeck’s holistic
philosophy and its impact on the environmental movement in the United States. Mr. Tyrus Miller’s presentation, “The Approach
of the End of the World Feeling: Neo-Baroque and Postmodernism in Robert
Ashley’s Television Operas” allowed attendees to see opera from a different
perspective and to understand its modern characteristics in Ashley’s works.
KATSU has a well-developed and a well-structured American Studies program. In 2003, it founded an American Studies Center, which has been instrumental in organizing biannual conferences and thematic meetings in Kutaisi. Currently, KATSU offers American Studies as an interdisciplinary subject, which comprises courses in American Literature, American History, Economics, Geography, Philosophy, and a special module on Native Americans. In 2006, U.S. Embassy signed a memorandum of understanding with the University on cooperation in American Studies. Founders and members of KATSU American Studies Center are alumni of U.S. Government-funded academic exchange programs.