Journal of Baltic Studies 52-1 Available Now

Mar 2, 2021

The first 2021 issue of Journal of Baltic Studies (Vol 52, Issue 1) is now available online. The issue contains articles on belonging, gender, and sexuality in Heljo Liitoja’s autobiographies; discourses and rituals in Soviet Latvia in celebration of Rainis and Aspazija; the contemporary meanings and practices of Women’s Day in the Baltic states; ethnicity and transport workers’ guilds in Riga before and after the Reformation; patterns of individual multilingualism in Estonia; urban shrinkage in Šiauliai in the post-communist context; and Estonian and Finnish research steering reforms from 2012–2015.

The issue also includes three book reviews and a list of recently published Baltic titles.


Writing on the limits of the Estonian diaspora: belonging, gender, and sexuality in Heljo Liitoja’s autobiographies

Riikka Taavetti

This article analyzes two autobiographies of the Estonian-Canadian Heljo Liitoja (1923 − 2010) as participation in the post-Soviet national reconstruction of Estonia. The article argues that some of Liitoja’s experiences, such as her connection to the Toronto gay and lesbian community and the controversies within the Estonian diaspora, could not be addressed in an autobiography framed within an Estonian life story writing competition. The article suggests that Liitoja’s autobiographical book that discussed these topics was able to stretch the limits of the Estonian diaspora narrative.

The Sovietization of Rainis and Aspazija: discourses and rituals in Soviet Latvia in celebration of the two poets

Vita Zelče

The purpose of this article is to analyze the Sovietization of the Latvian poets Rainis and Aspazija by using as evidence the organization of their celebration and ideological messages. The research base consists of press and archival materials and the analysis is based on a discourse-historical approach. After the Soviet occupation, Rainis became a quasi-religious figure in Soviet-Latvian ideology, confirming the legitimacy of the Soviet regime. By contrast, the discourse concerning Aspazija changed from describing her as a reactionary poet during the Stalinist period to a discourse of feminine poet in the 1960s.

Celebrating March 8: a failed attempt at de-Sovietization?

Dace Bula

Despite its international history of gender equality activism, Women’s Day in the independent Baltic states in the twenty-first century resembles the way in which the day was celebrated in the Soviet past. The ‘festival of gender’ continues its existence, only slowly giving way to sporadic expressions of emancipatory ideas. It survives despite efforts in the three Baltic states to get rid of ‘everything Soviet’ during the process of regaining freedom including rituals and calendric practices. Proposing a polysemic reading of 8 March, this article interprets the contemporary meanings and practices of Women’s Day in the post-socialist world.

Turning transport workers into Latvians? Ethnicity and transport workers’ guilds in Riga before and after the Reformation

Gustavs Strenga

This article focuses on the question of ethnicity in late medieval Riga and suggests that the current perception of ethnicity has to be revisited. This article argues that the late medieval transport workers’ guilds that have been considered to be ‘Latvian brotherhoods,’ were not ethnic groups until the Reformation and gained an ethnic character only during the religious reform. This article is a detailed study of social, religious, and ethnic aspects of the groups’ activities.

Patterns of individual multilingualism in Estonia

Martin Ehala & Kadri Koreinik

This article presents an empirical analysis of patterns of individual multilingualism in Estonia based on 2015 survey results. We hypothesize that individual multilingualism is situated at the intersection of three major overlapping social factors: 1) geographic locale, the space where individuals interact daily, measurable primarily by its ethno-demographic characteristics, 2) mostly economic factors, the commodification of languages, and 3) patterns of civic participation in a particular locale. To explore patterns of multilingualism as multi-competence, we used the self-reported command of the three dominant languages and mapped this against those three factors. The article interprets and discusses the findings in light of language policy implications.

Urban shrinkage in the periphery of a post-communist country: the story of Šiauliai

Gintarė Pociūtė-Sereikienė

Lithuania is a post-communist country that has experienced a rapid population decline. This study examines one of the largest cities in Lithuania, Šiauliai, regarding urban shrinkage in the post-communist context, explicating Šiauliai’s shrinkage based on an adapted heuristic model as proposed by European scholars. It presents a case study and highlights the main drivers of population loss in the city, which include political and economic changes, out-migration, and negative natural change. It also examines the direct and indirect consequences of population decline in the development of the city, including brownfields, unemployment, and an aging population.

Science policy meets post-New Public Management: Estonian and Finnish reforms 2012–2015

Teele Tõnismann & Joonatan Virtanen

The study compares recent Estonian and Finnish research steering reforms. Both cases exhibit post- New Public Management (post-NPM)-style policy ideas that seek to enhance coordination over institutional boundaries but diverge in their horizontal and vertical configurations for coordination. This study combines perspectives on coordination from science policy and public administration with a historical institutionalist approach for understanding case divergence. This article argues that post-NPM reforms can involve rather diverse forms of coordination, which are affected by institutional legacies. We also argue that coordination efforts in science policy can involve a strengthened instrumentalization of research for policy-making, and, in such cases, they should be studied in close conjunction with public administration and its policy trends.

Book reviews and recent publications

Making Livonia: actors and networks in the medieval and early modern Baltic Sea region, edited by Anu Mänd and Marek Tamm, Abingdon, Routledge, 2020, 344 pp., £34.99 (hardback), ISBN 978-0-367-27309-5; (paperback) 978-0-367-48128-5

Carsten Selch Jensen

The shadow in the East: Vladimir Putin and the new Baltic front, by Aliide Naylor, London, I.B. Tauris, 2020, 256 pp., (hardback), £20.00, ISBN 978-1-78831-252-3

Daunis Auers

Life should be transparent: conversations about Lithuania and Europe in the twentieth century and today, by Aurimas Švedas and Irena Veisaitė, Budapest, Central European University Press, 382 pp., 2020, $30.00/€27.00/£23.00, ISBN 978-963-386-359-6

Virgil I. Krapauskas

List of books received and recent publications

About the journal

Journal of Baltic Studies (JBS), the official journal of AABS, is a vital source of scholarship for those engaged in Baltic state and Baltic Sea region studies. JBS is a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary journal published on a quarterly basis that aims at progressing and disseminating knowledge about the political, social, economic, and cultural life – both past and present – of the Baltic states and the Baltic Sea region. JBS seeks high-quality original articles and review of broad scholarly interest that advance knowledge of the Baltic states and Baltic Sea region.

Published quarterly by the AABS, the annual fee for both membership in the Association and a subscription to JBS is $70.00, $35.00 for full-time students, and $35.00 for emeritus members. Members of the Association receive a free personal subscription to the Journal.

JBS welcomes article and book review submissions from AABS members and other scholars. See the Instructions for Authors page for more info.

Journal of Baltic Studies 51-4 Available Now

The fourth 2020 issue of Journal of Baltic Studies (Vol 51, Issue 4) is now available online. The issue contains articles on the political space and party competition in post-communist Lithuania; the engagement of the diaspora in Latvia’s economic development; perception of the Baltic Sea and Mediterranean regions among secondary school students; narratives about World War II at the schools with Russian as the language of instruction in Lithuania; the vaults of the Faceted Palace in Novgorod the Great and Brick Gothic architecture; attempts by non-Germans to obtain burgher rights in Riga in the 18th and early 19th centuries; the population size of Lithuania between 1897 and 1914; and the political debate about the land question in the Estonian area of the Baltic provinces from 1905–1914.

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