May 22, 2018


conference poster


MSUB hosts 21st Biennial Conference on Balkan and South Slavic Linguistics, Literature, and Folklore

May 24-26 conference will be held for the first time in Montana



University Communications and Marketing, 657-2266


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Montana State University Billings will host the 21st Biennial Conference on Balkan and South Slavic Linguistics, Literature, and Folklore May 24-26, 2018. This is the first time that MSU Billings has hosted the international conference. 


The conference was first held in 1978 at the University of Chicago by a small group of Balkan linguists and is a biennial event. This year will mark the first year that the conference has been held in Montana. 


International scholars in the field of Balkan Studies from places such as Poland, Russia, the Czech Republic, Albania, Finland, Germany, Canada, Austria, Italy, Japan, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia and Macedonia will be in attendance, with many presenting their writings.


In addition, scholars from around the United States will present papers on their work. Scholars presenting at the conference come from the University of California Berkeley, the University of Washington, the University of Chicago, Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, Ohio State University, Kent State University, Indiana University, Wayne State College, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and MSU Billings.


Two professors from MSU Billings will be presenting at the event. Dr. Elena Petroska, Professor of Macedonian and South Slavic Linguistics at the University of Cyril and Methodius in Skopje, Macedonia and Adjunct Professor in the Department of English, Philosophy, and Modern Languages at MSU Billings, will present her work titled Metatextual operator nebare in Macedonian. Dr. Paul M. Foster, Director of the Office of International Studies and Professor of Slavic Philology, will finish the conference with his presentation of his paper, South Slavs in Montana in the pre-WWI Era.


As MSU Billings is the host of the three-day event, the university is in charge of organizing, inviting participants, and planning the travel and logistics of the conference. The conference has been supported by the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of English, Philosophy, and Modern Language, with department chair of English, Philosophy, and Modern Language, Tami Haaland, especially supportive of the event. 


Dr. Petroska, a well-known expert in this field, originally proposed that MSU Billings be the host of the event at the previous conference held in 2016 at Salt Lake City.


The Balkans are the countries of South East Europe: Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia and Montenegro. 


Dr. Foster notes how many Montana families have ties to the Balkans and are of Balkan descent. He says “[t]here are many people from this region who settled in Red Lodge, Butte, Billings, Great Falls, Bozeman, and other areas across the state.”


Following the conference, which is filled with presentations, lunches and dinners in Billings, and is complete with tours of the MSU Billings campus, most of the participants will travel to Yellowstone National Park.


The artwork featured in the promotion of the event comes from Zoran Cardula, a prominent artist in Macedonia, whose posters were previously featured in 2017 during the Northcutt Steele Gallery’s exhibition The High Stakes of Macedonia’s Colorful Revolution.


For more information, contact Paul Foster at or 406-247-5785. Information about the conference can also be found online here.


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