Pages Menu
Categories Menu

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...

Read More

Posted on Feb 20, 2017

Baltic Germans Diplomats in Imperial Russia

Feliks Gornischeff, recipient of a 2016 AABS Dissertation grant, tells us about his research in Moscow archives for his dissertation on Baltic German diplomats in the service of Imperial Russia during the Napoleonic Wars. My research concentrates on the role of Baltic German diplomats in the service and diplomacy of the Russian empire during the reign of Alexander I. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Baltic Germans played an important role in Imperial Russia. After the incorporation of the Baltic provinces into the Russian empire, many Baltic Germans noblemen were appointed to positions in the Russian military and civil service. While many aspects of Baltic German service have already been researched, but their role in diplomacy has been left at the background. In my research, I am exploring the work of two diplomats – count Gustav Ernst von Stackelberg (1766-1850) and count Christoph Heinrich von Lieven (1774-1839), who served in Prussia in 1806-1809/1810 and 1810-1812 respectively. As the wider focus of my dissertation deals with the Napoleonic Wars, my...

Read More

Posted on Nov 5, 2016

Song and Dance and Integration in Latvia

Indra Ekmanis 2016 AABS Dissertation Grant recipient “Latvian culture” is inescapably tied to “Latvian identity,” both colloquially and in policy language. Acceptance of and respect for Latvian culture is also a cornerstone of Latvian integration legislation, which is particularly geared toward individuals speaking Russian as their first language. With the support of the AABS Dissertation Grant, my research focuses on minority participation in Latvian cultural life, particularly through the National and Youth Song and Dance Celebrations. These UNESCO-recognized festivals are a keystone of “Latvian identity,” but participation is not limited to those with “latvietis” stamped in their passport. Particularly in the school youth format, the Celebrations provides a mechanism for minority students to access a form of Latvian cultural identity that can affect their relationship to the Latvian state and “nation.” This extends beyond the days of the festival into the years prior through preparation in school choirs and folk dance collectives. The AABS Dissertation Grant has helped to fund the continuation of my fieldwork in Rīga and rural...

Read More

Posted on Oct 7, 2015

Imagining A Place for Jews in Interwar Lithuania

  Michael Casper, a doctoral candidate in History at the University of California, Los Angeles, received a 2015 Dissertation grant from AABS. Michael’s dissertation explores how Jews negotiated the demands of citizenship and national belonging in the interwar Republic of Lithuania. I am interested in how Jewish and Lithuanian thinkers imagined the Jewish place in the new democratic state and, after 1926, under the authoritarian regime. With the generous assistance of the AABS Dissertation Grant I was able to conduct extensive research in Vilnius this summer. I worked at the Martynas Mažvydas National Library, Vilnius University Library and the Lithuanian Central State Archive...

Read More

Posted on Jun 18, 2015

Socialist Ideas & Estonian Intellectuals in Late 19th c.

Mark Moll, a Central Eurasian Studies Ph.D. candidate at Indiana University, received a 2015 AABS Dissertation Grant to investigate the spread of socialist ideas among the Estonian intelligentsia in the late 19th century. Centered in the university town of Tartu, several members of the radical underground, like Jüri Jaakson, Mihkel Martna and August Rei, went on to achieve prominent positions within the interwar Estonian Republic. The grant will finance a research trip to the Estonian Historical Archives and the manuscript collection of the Estonian Literary Museum in Tartu. My research focuses on the men and women in turn-of-the-century Estonia whose radical experiences as first as students, then as journalists, led to the push for Estonian political autonomy via a syncretic fusion of nationalism and socialism in 1905 during the first Russian Revolution. An analysis of the network of these activists reveals the importance that developments abroad played in shaping the discourse at home and helps contextualize the role of Estonians within the larger Russian revolutionary...

Read More

Posted on May 17, 2015

Mercenaries, Economy, and Society in the Late 16th c Baltic

Joseph Sproule is a History Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto, where his research focuses on the early modern Baltic. He is the recipient of a 2015 AABS Dissertation grant, which will support travel this summer to Tallinn and Stockholm. Joseph will conduct archival research at the Tallinn City Archives and the National Archives of Sweden, each of which holds rich collections of original documents of value to his project, such as correspondences, soldiers’ contracts, and military payment lists. We asked Joseph to tell us about his project. My dissertation explores the role of mercenaries in the late sixteenth-century eastern Baltic, particularly the hiring, pay, and regulation of these soldiers in Tallinn/Reval during the Livonian War of 1558-1583. The mercenary’s value lay in his capacity for violence, but harnessing and directing that violence was often a challenge for early modern authorities beset by powerful enemies and struggling to meet the crippling costs of prolonged conflicts. My archival research provides a window into the fractious relationships between the Livonian...

Read More