Congratulations to Emma Friedlander, 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 Emma Friedlander 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 red-haired woman against a forest backdrop

Emma Friedlander is a PhD candidate in History at Harvard University. Her dissertation examines the popular culture of alternative spirituality in the late and post-Soviet periods. She is generally interested in the social and cultural history of the late and post-Soviet Union, women and gender studies, spirituality and secularization, and the former Soviet Union’s Eastern European borderlands.

Project Overview

My dissertation examines the popular culture of alternative spirituality in the Soviet Union from 1975-2000. I approach this history from below, centering the ordinary people most associated with the popular phenomenon, especially women and the lower-to-middle classes. This project asks: what does the Soviet New Age tell us about the lived experience of Soviet collapse? How does it reveal ordinary people’s navigation of the ideological, spiritual, and material crises that engulfed society at this time? I study alternative spirituality as it emerged against the background of Eastern European Christian tradition then subsumed to state atheism, in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Moldova, Ukraine, and Russia. The grant from the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies will assist with research abroad in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia in the upcoming year.