Michael Casper: Emerging Scholars Grant Report on Jonas Mekas

Nov 12, 2023

AABS is pleased to congratulate Michael Casper for the completion of the Emerging Scholars Grant (awarded 2022) associated with his project researching the Lithuanian filmmaker Jonas Mekas.

A woman with glasses and brown hair, Egle Aleknaite

©Michael Casper, 2022

Dr. Michael Casper received a Ph.D. in History in 2019 from UCLA, where his dissertation was titled “Strangers and Sojourners: The Politics of Jewish Belonging in Lithuania, 1914-1940.” He is the coauthor, with Nathaniel Deutsch, of A Fortress in Brooklyn: Race, Real Estate, and the Making of Hasidic Williamsburg (Yale University Press, 2021).


The Impact of an Award: Report from Michael Casper

After the completion of his project, Michael Casper submitted a reflection to AABS.
We thank him for his permission to publish his thoughts, which have been lightly edited.


With the generous assistance of an AABS Emerging Scholars Grant, I was able to make significant progress on my book on Jonas Mekas this year. The grant allowed me to travel to Lithuania, where I conducted research primarily in the Martynas Mažvydas National Library and the Vrublevskiai Academy of Sciences. There, I spent several weeks accessing periodicals, books and other published and manuscript materials that are otherwise impossible to find in the United States. Another invaluable use of the grant funds was paying two professional Russian translators to translate dozens of pages of otherwise inaccessible, and highly technical, handwritten documents. The files, which I collected on prior research trips, have shed light on the social and political dynamics of an important period in Mekas’s life. I am very grateful to AABS for extending generous funding for this book project.

-Michael Casper, 2023

Michael Casper

What is the Emerging Scholars Grant?

The Research Grant for Emerging Scholars is an award for up to $6,000, to be used for travel, duplication, materials, equipment, 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 have received PhD no earlier than January 1, 2013. Applicants must be AABS members at the time of application.

The application deadline for academic year 2023-2024 is February 1, 2023. Applications will be evaluated by the AABS 2023–2024 Grants Committee consisting of AABS VP for Professional Development Dr. Kaarel Piirimäe, AABS President Dr. Dovilė Budrytė, and AABS Director-at-Large Dr. Daunis Auers. Award notifications will be made in April 2023.

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