German Monuments in the Baltic Lands, and Their Many Afterlives: A Report on How the Dissertation Grant Advanced My Research

Jun 17, 2020

I am very grateful to the Association of the Advancement of Baltic Studies for the Dissertation Grant Award that I received in spring 2019. My research focuses on the relationship between architectural heritage and contemporary society in various historical moments over the 19th and 20th centuries and from multiple perspectives. My approach falls in between Art History, Heritage Studies and Nationalism Studies. I am foremost concerned with the afterlife of architectural heritage in art historiography (critical analysis of survey books), history of heritage preservation (legislation and the reception of conservation of monuments), and Baltic German and Estonian identity construction (combining the same monuments into different narratives) in the light of German diaspora and German art history.

This grant has considerably helped me in finishing the dissertation “German Monuments in the Baltic Heimat? A Historiography of Heritage in the ‘Long Nineteenth Century’” and preparing it for print. It is soon to be defended at the Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn. It is written in the form of a compendium of articles and is essentially a critical historiography about the construction of cultural heritage. Over the past year, I have published my last article out of five (“Monuments as a Responsibility: Baltic German Learned Societies and the Construction of Cultural Heritage around 1900” in the Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung / Journal of East Central European Studies) that is included in the thesis, and finished the general introduction and conclusion.

The grant has allowed me to gather the vital resources for the last parts of my dissertation and cover part of the publication costs (language editing, illustration rights etc.) and, most of all, to take some weeks off from my work duties in order to devote to research. The grant has also enabled me to present my results in international research events (lately in Tallinn, Bucharest, Berlin), and to begin with several new projects and collaborations, as well as to apply for new funding. Simultaneously with the AABS grant I applied for a personal research grant from my own institution, the Estonian Academy of Arts, and did receive funding for two years (the project “Baltic German Identity and Heritage in Estonian Art Historiography”). I have received the Juris Padegs Fellowship for postdoctoral research at Yale University, MacMillan Center, where I am excited to begin in 2021.

The grant has allowed me to gather the vital resources for the last parts of my dissertation and cover part of the publication costs (language editing, illustration rights etc.) and, most of all, to take some weeks off from my work duties in order to devote to research.

In addition to the articles comprising the dissertation, I have published and am about to publish other articles, edited volumes and participated in numerous conferences, where the grant has supported my endeavors more indirectly. In August 2019 I co-organized and hosted the summer school for early career researchers “German Heritage in Eastern Europe: Comparing Narratives, Finding New Perspectives” (with Dr Stephanie Herold, Bamberg/Berlin) in Tallinn and Ravila manor in the Estonian countryside.

Kristina Jõekalda

Junior Research Fellow, Institute of Art History and Visual Culture, Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn

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