Sabrina Ramet is Professsor of Political Science at the Norwegian University of Science & Technology.
When did you first develop an interest in Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies?
While enrolled in a master’s degree program, I wrote a long paper on nationalities issues in the Habsburg Empire between 1867 and 1914. This kindled an interest in multiethnic states and, combined with my growing interest in communist states as attempts to create some form of utopic experience, I was drawn to the study of the Soviet Union and socialist Yugoslavia. My first trip to Yugoslavia was in 1978 and, since then, I have made a further 26 visits to the Yugoslav/post-Yugoslav region, typically lasting two to three weeks at a time.
How have your interests changed since then?
From the beginning, in addition to the politics of multiethnicity, I have had a second strong interest, viz., in religion and politics. This led to my first edited book project, Religion and Nationalism in Soviet and East European Politics, published by Duke University Press in 1984. My interest in religion has continued to the present and my latest book, The Catholic Church in Polish History, published by Palgrave Macmillan in May 2017, is just the latest product of that continuing interest. Along the way, I have also published articles or books about rock music in Eastern Europe, religion in the German Democratic Republic, the politics of the media, and aspects of pressure for democratization in Eastern Europe in the 1980s to the present.
What is your current research/work project?
Central European University Press has recently accepted my book, Alternatives to Democracy in Twentieth-Century Europe, for publication. I am now writing a history of Germany since 1871.
What do you value about your ASEEES membership?
The greatest thing about the ASEEES is, of course, the annual convention. Since 1981, when I took part in my first convention of the AAASS (as its acronym was at that time), at Asilomar, I have taken part in 23 AAASS/ASEEES conventions. The convention is an opportunity not only to meet with old friends, but also to make new friends, to host project-related panels and attend interesting panels on various subjects, to acquaint myself with the latest scholarship, and to discuss projects with the publishers who come to the convention.
Besides your professional work, what other interests and/or hobbies do you enjoy?
Aside from my professional work, I also write humor. To date, I have written and published five volumes of humorous verse, the latest being my collection Is the Moon the Center of the Universe?, published by Scarith Books in spring 2017. I have also written two humorous novels: Café Bombshell: The International Brain Surgery Conspiracy, published by Scarith Books in 2008 and The Curse of the Aztec Dummy, in production with Scarith Books and due to be published shortly.