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Posted on May 11, 2019

Highlights of May 2018 Board Meeting, Stanford University

Mara Lazda, 2016-2018 Director-at-Large The biennial AABS conference provides an opportunity for the incoming and outgoing board members to meet in person, with the outgoing board members sharing their experiences and familiarizing the incoming members with the structure of the organization. At the May 31, 2018 meeting, the outgoing board focused on two initiatives that have been the subject of much discussion over the last two years. The first was a clarification of AABS’s stance on political advocacy. As reported in the last newsletter, a growing number of societies have been issuing public statements on policy issues (e.g. ASEEES statement against racism and intolerance). Some AABS members have asked why the AABS did not issue a statement about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or the threats to close Central European University. Academic Executive Director Olavi Arens and Director-at-Large Mara Lazda presented the results of their research on the AABS history of political advocacy and the positions of other learned societies. Arens pointed out that maintaining a non-political, non-partisan position has...

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Posted on Apr 10, 2019

2019 Birnitis, Grundmanis, Emerging Scholar, and Dissertation Awardees Announced

  The AABS Board is pleased to announce that seven scholars and graduate students have been awarded the following 2019 grants and fellowships. The Aina Birnitis Dissertation-Completion Fellowship in the Humanities for Latvia Kristine Bekere Latvian Academy of Sciences Baltic Strategic Studies Centre For the proposed research project, Activities of Latvian Exiles to sustain the idea of independence of Latvia   Jānis Grundmanis Postgraduate Fellowship for Study in the U. S. Renate Prancane Hunter College         Research Grants for Emerging Scholars Laura Dean Millikin University For the proposed research project Gender dynamics both feminist and anti-feminist in Latvian politics     Catherine Gibson European University Institute For the proposed research project Mapping Religious Communities in the Baltic Provinces of the Russian Empire     Eleonory Gilburd University of Chicago For the proposed research project Weary Sun: Tango in Eastern Europe and Soviet Russia     Dissertation Grants for Graduate Students Kristina Jõekalda Estonian Academy of Arts For the proposed research project Local and National in the 19th-Century...

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Posted on Feb 26, 2019

Art, Artists and 19th c. Colonialism in the Baltic Provinces

Bart Pushaw received a 2018 Dissertation grant to complete archival research for his dissertation in Latvia. He will complete his PhD in Art History at the University of Maryland this spring. My dissertation “The Global Invention of ‘Art’: Race and Visual Sovereignty in the Colonial Baltic World, 1870-1920” investigates visual art as a realm of multiethnic cooperation and decolonial possibility, revealing how images and the ability to assume the power of image-making were pivotal to changing the strict social stratifications of the Baltic Provinces. Most importantly, I completed archival research about Emīlija Gruzīte, the first Latvian woman to become a professional artist. While I have accessed many primary source documents about her in Latvian newspapers through the portal Periodika, there nevertheless existed a veritable treasure trove of non-digitzied material which I could only access in person in the archives of the Art Academy and other files at the National Library. These sources, including her autobiography and miscellaneous photographs (of pivotal importance of course for scholars of visual culture!), played a key...

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Posted on Feb 21, 2019

Dissertation grant supports archival research on LGBTQ history in Soviet Baltic

Feruza Aripova is a PhD Candidate in World History at Northeastern University, Center Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University and a Visiting Scholar at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University. My dissertation project, tentatively titled “Silencing of Same-Sex Desire in Post-Soviet Space: Deconstructing the Soviet Legacy,” investigates the legacy of same-sex violence in carceral spaces and its profound impact on public perception of associating homosexuality with crime; as well as the medical establishment that subjected individuals with same-sex attractions to psychiatric treatment in the 1950s through the 1980s. Furthermore, it examines the ways in which legal and medical regulations enabled and constituted “alternative” spaces for same-sex desire in the 1960s through late 1980s. By “queering” the Soviet ideological narrative, it seeks to investigate fragments of same-sex existence, subjectivities, spaces and local and transnational networks. I am immensely grateful to the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies for the financial support which allowed me to complete my archival research in Latvia. I...

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Posted on Feb 17, 2019

The Baltic Question and the Collapse of the Soviet Union

Una Bergmane is a Baltic Sea Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia and a London School of Economics Fellow in Cold War History. She holds a PhD from Sciences Po Paris with highest distinction. Una received a 2018 Emerging Scholar Award to conduct research for her book project at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas. The aim of this trip was to conduct research for my book project “The Politics of Uncertainty: the US, the Baltic Question, and Collapse of the Soviet Union” based on my doctoral dissertation. My first objective for the current trip was to gather material that would provide the overall picture of the US attitudes toward the Soviet disintegration process, thus allowing to contextualize the US reactions to the Baltic claims for independence. Previously declassified documents from collections such as Records on the Dissolution of the Soviet Union and Records on U.S. Policy Toward Post-Coup Soviet Union/Former Soviet Republics provided very interesting information. Policy papers gave useful insights into...

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Posted on Sep 9, 2018

THESIS BALTICANA | A Project in Development

Zane Onckule, recipient of 2017 the Jānis Grundmanis Postgraduate Fellowship, has concluded her first year studies at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (she is scheduled to complete a Master of Arts program in Spring 2019). She describes the curatorial project that she is developing for her master’s degree. THESIS BALTICANA will cast light on, narrate, analyze and poeticize the ever-obscure concept of the Baltics, which are comprised of three countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – all celebrating the centennial of their national Independence in 2018. Maximizing the implicit notion of AMERICANA that comes along with the socio-political framework and geography of the United States this project largely “denounces” the concept of the Nation State and will re-brand the notion of the Baltics, introducing instead the concept of BALTICANA. THESIS BALTICANA will be based on case studies of peculiar (selected) historic, sociopolitical, artistic, and popular culture realities turned into metaphors, keywords and eventually shaped into stories fit for public events, written text or a display of artifacts....

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