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Posted on Nov 26, 2017

Nominations for Undergrad Paper Award

Has your student written a paper on a topic related to the Baltic States? Submit it for consideration  for the AABS Undergraduate Paper Award by March 15, 2018!  Nomination guidelines and instructions are available...

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Posted on Sep 13, 2017

Theories of the Prehistoric in a Cold War Context

Rasa Navickaitė, PhD Candidate at Central European University, received an AABS dissertation grant for her project “The Pre-Historic Goddess of the Cold War: Transnational Life and Reception of Marija Gimbutas.”  She tells us about the research she conducted in California this summer: My dissertation is an intellectual biography and reception history of Marija Gimbutas (1921-1994) – a renowned Lithuanian-American archaeologist and an advocate of the controversial hypothesis of the peaceful, egalitarian, matristic, and matrilineal pre-historic civilization of Old Europe. Gimbutas left a wealth of scholarship, from her early works on the Bronze Age Europe, the Balts and Lithuanian folklore, to her later, much debated works on the culture of Neolithic Old Europe and its Goddess-centered religion. Her oeuvre and her charismatic personality made Gimbutas a source of inspiration for various socio-political movements between 1970s and 1990s: from the American Goddess spirituality movement, to the anti-Soviet Eastern European ethnocultural movement, to post-socialist Lithuanian feminism. Despite Gimbutas’ intellectual influence on the both sides of the Iron Curtain, and her reputation as...

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Posted on Jul 2, 2017

Transnational Approach to Cold War Immigration

Pauli Heikkilä, who received his PhD from the University of Helsinki, was the 2016 AABS Emerging Scholar. My research deals with the political emigrants from Eastern Central Europe in the US during the Cold War, and especially their international cooperation, where the Assembly of Captive European Nations (1954-1972) was the most prominent organization. As my research focuses on Estonians, it has naturally expanded to their closest national groups, Latvians and Lithuanians. Despite old antagonisms, the emigrants wanted collaboration in their fight against the common enemy, the aggressive Soviet Union occupying or otherwise ruling their home-countries. Whereas the ultimate goal was to restore national independence and liberal democracy, a more solid international and European organization was considered a parallel objective. Therefore various plans for regional and continental unions were floated especially in the 1950s. Thanks to the Emerging Scholar Award I was able to complete my archival studies at the Immigration History Research Center by the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. The archives of the ACEN was taken there at the...

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Posted on May 1, 2017

Historical institutions → Culture → Socioeconomic development

  Alise Vitola is a post-doctoral researcher, graduated from the Riga Technical University, Latvia. She received a 2016 Mudīte I. Zīlīte Saltups Award for a research visit to Indiana University for her project “Institutions & Regional Development in the Baltic States”. In my research I focus on the regional institutional differences in the Baltic region. I explore the lasting effects of the historical institutions on the contemporary economic development and societal values by exploring a following sequence: Historical institutions → Culture → Socioeconomic development. Currently I study the long run effects of the historical German presence in the Baltic region. Are localities with a higher share of German historical population more inclined to be wealthy today? Did the German colonizers bring individualist values such as high levels of work ethic, self­initiative and trust? Furthermore, I explore the overlapping German, Swedish, Polish and Russian legacies as an additional basis for divergent development paths in the Baltic regions. With the AABS research grant I was able to visit the Indiana University,...

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