Vastokas, Ron

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Vastokas, Ron

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  • Romas Vastokas

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Dr. Ron Vastokas taught anthropology at Trent University from 1965-1996, where his research interests ranged from visual anthropology (film and video), culture and communication, minority groups, East European post-communist development, Aboriginal rock art and Great Lakes area archaeology. He played an active role in several government organizations, including serving as the Director of the Ontario Heritage Foundation; Director of the Cultural Properties Export and Import Act Review Board, Secretary of State, Canada; and leader of the Vilnius Program for the Government of Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs' Canada Baltic Assistance Program. From 1989-2003, he worked with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) as a consultant and teacher in post-Soviet Eastern Europe. During his time spent in the Baltic States with CIDA, he became fascinated with the image of Lenin, "the 'father' of the USSR as he was conceived as presented by the state to its citizens during the last decade of its disintegration, generally designated as perestroika." His goal in collecting Lenin imagery was anthropological in approach, not simply "to document a momentous period in history, but to gather palpable evidence that the omnipresent, powerful, and revered image of this superhuman [Lenin], sometimes given godlike attributes, ranked as sacral art, to say nothing of its immediate and ubiquitous significance as political propaganda."

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