For more than 20 years, young Lithuanian researchers have been free to choose any topic they want for their BA, MA, or PhD thesis. Quite a number of them choose to write about Lithuanian diaspora.
In an attempt to gather scholars working in the diaspora field and to help them to identify and find the sources they need, the Lituanica Department of Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania organised the seminar “Researching Lithuanian Diaspora: Choosing From A Variety of Sources and Applying Them”. The event, organised for the first time, drew in six young researches studying at Vilnius and Kaunas universities.
The topics discussed in the seminar varied from: Litvak (Lithuanian Jews) emigration in 1945–1990 (Sigita Žemaitytė) to Polish Lithuanian and Norwegian Lithuanian Communities (Aistė Klimavičiūtė and Gintarė Lukoševičiūtė); to the image of Brazil in literature written by Lithuanians living in the country (Deimantė Bandzevičiūtė) to audio-visual archives of the American Lithuanian community of 1944–1990 (Ina Vaičiūnaitė); to the phenomena of Birutė Ciplijauskaitė, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin Madison and the renowned scholar of Spanish studies (Akvilė Šimėnienė).
Giedrė Milerytė, Ph.D., senior researcher at Lituanica Department, talked about where to find diaspora related sources in Lithuania. Jolanta Garlaitė, the department’s senior bibliographer, presented participants with useful information about Lithuanian diaspora bibliographies – both published and on-line.
The seminar provided a great opportunity for young scholars to introduce their research and to discuss problems and challenges they face when choosing from a variety of sources.
In the future, the Lituanica Department plans to organise similar seminars at least one a year in hope that it will significantly contribute to Lithuanian diaspora studies and the researchers themselves.