Congratulations to James Montgomery Baxenfield, recipient of the 2023–2024 Dissertation Grant for Graduate Students

May 5, 2023

The Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies is pleased to announce that James Montgomery Baxenfield has been awarded the 2023-2024 Dissertation Grant for Graduate Students.

AABS awards grants of up to $4,000 to support doctoral dissertation research and write-up in any field of Baltic Studies. Funds may be used for travel to research site, equipment, duplication or other needs as specified.

Proposals are evaluated according to the scholarly potential of the applicant, and the quality and scholarly importance of the proposed work, especially to the development of Baltic Studies. Applicants must currently be enrolled in a PhD or MA program and have completed all requirements for a PhD/MA except the dissertation. Applicants must be members of the AABS at the time of submitting their application.

The 2023 applications were evaluated by the AABS 2023-2024 Grants and Awards Committee consisting of AABS VP for Professional Development Dr. Kaarel Piirimäe, AABS President Dr. Dovilė Budrytė, and AABS Director-at-Large Dr. Daunis Auers. You can find a full list of 2023 awardees here.

A man stands in front of a river with a fort on the other side

James Montgomery Baxenfield is a Junior Research Fellow and doctoral candidate in the field of history at Tallinn University. The main focus of his research is the idea of establishing a Latvian-Lithuanian state, which he examines in his dissertation “Footnotes to the Past: Forgotten Episodes of Latvian-Lithuanian Federation & Confederation, c. 1884–1984.” Baxenfield was a guest co-editor of the Acta Historica Tallinnensia 2022 special issue “Recognition: de facto and de jure” that marked the centenary of Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian diplomatic recognition by the United States of America. He was a 2022 recipient of the AABS Baumanis Grant for Creative Projects in Baltic Studies, and began 2023 with a fellowship at the Herder Institute in Marburg, Germany.

Project Overview

The Dissertation Grant for Graduate Students will be used for researching archival documents in Latvia and Lithuania. Specifically, the grant will be used to examine the papers of the Latvian-Lithuanian Unity Society at the Latvian State Historical Archives in Riga, and the corresponding Lithuanian-Latvian Unity Society (in addition to the Kaunas-Estonian Society) at the Lithuanian Central State Archives in Vilnius. These collections represent an assortment of sources concerning the idea to establish a Latvian-Lithuanian state, essentially forming the main corpus of primary sources that connect ideas of common statehood before and after interwar independence. In recent years, the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent precautions have made it difficult to visit these archives and examine the sources in person. This grant makes it possible to visit these archives and dedicate time investigating this significant period in the story of ideas to establish a Latvian-Lithuanian state.