Civic-Cultural Identity and Banal Integration in Latvia: How the Emerging Scholars Grant Advanced My Research

Aug 20, 2019


With the assistance of the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies Emerging Scholar grant, I was able to continue advancing my dissertation project — “Hostland or homeland? Civic-cultural identity and banal integration in Latvia” — in the year following my defense. The support of the AABS grant was indispensable in this pursuit, as without such funds, I would not have been able to complete several projects or work toward reshaping the dissertation for further publication.

During the grant tenure, these funds supported my work to complete an article for publication in Europe-Asia Studies, titled “Diversity in Daugavpils: Unpacking identity and cultural engagement among minority school youth in Eastern Latvia.” This was published in January 2019, while much of the editing work was completed in 2018. The AABS Emerging Scholar grant supported follow-up data collection for the article, subsidizing some of my research in Latvia following the completion of a post-doctoral fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Indra Ekmanis, 2018 AABS Research Grant for Emerging Scholars Awardee

In addition to completing the article, the Emerging Scholars grant was vital to attending the 2018 AABS Conference at Stanford University, where I presented a paper and was a participant on three additional roundtables (in one of which I served as chair). The conference was an excellent platform for professional development, both in terms of testing research projects and gleaning necessary feedback, and in terms of networking. Given the symbolic year celebrating the Baltic countries’ centenaries, it was an auspicious conference to take part in, and was critical to developing some significant cross-disciplinary contacts.

The AABS Emerging Scholars grant supported my continued fieldwork in Latvia during the winter/spring/summer of 2018, including participant observation in the lead-up to and during the Nationwide Latvian Song and Dance Festival. The festival was particularly significant in terms of the study of nationalism and national identity, as it fell during the nation’s years long celebration of the centenary. Studying the development of the festival and the participation of groups from across the country and world necessarily helped to advance my dissertation research on minority integration and banality in ecstatic national events.

With the support of the AABS Emerging Scholars grant, I was able to stay active in the field in the year following my dissertation defense. Given the current state of the academic market, this would have been nearly impossible without the backing of AABS.

During the grant appointment, I completed several projects and made necessary strides toward completing my pending book project. The AABS Emerging Scholars grant continues to be vital for young scholars in the field of Baltic Studies, and I thank the granting committee and the Association for their support.

Indra Ekmanis

2018 AABS Research Grant for Emerging Scholars Awardee