Program in East Europe Studies Fellows and Grantees

The American Council of Learned Societies is pleased to announce the results of competitions in the Program in East Europe Studies, which provides fellowships and grants to scholars pursuing research in the social sciences and the humanities pertaining to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kosovo/a, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Language-Training Grants were also made to three institutions for language-training programs in summer 2008 and to one institution for advanced-mastery language training in summers 2007 and 2008.

This program has been supported until 2012 by funding administered by the U.S. Department of State under the Research and Training for Eastern Europe and the Independent States of the Former Soviet Union Act of 1983, Title VIII.

Read more about this fellowship and grant program.

Please note: affiliations shown are as of time of award. Please click on fellows' names for current information.

Malgorzata K. Bakalarz
Malgorzata K. Bakalarz  |  Abstract
This research examines the effects that the restitution of Jewish property in Poland after the fall of Communism has had on communities in rural southeastern Poland. The working hypothesis is that legal controversies associated with restitution, as well as local debates over memory, have stimulated the rise of civic engagement in small Polish towns, where Jewish properties have been reclaimed. This research will examine the cases of three small towns (Wielkie Oczy, Dynow, Kanczuga), located in South-Eastern borderlands of Poland. It will trace the chronology of the restitution process in these towns, seeking to identify the communities' activities, and the meaning they had to individuals. The research analyzes the role of emerging public memory in the development of civic engagement.

Doctoral Candidate, New School for Social Research, The New School  -  The Stranger Comes (Back) to Town: The Restitution of Jewish Property and Civil Society in Southeast Poland.

Sanja Kadric
Sanja Kadric  |  Abstract
This project explores Bosnian Muslims in the Ottoman devsirme, a levy of young men trained and educated as elite military and bureaucratic slaves. Illegal according to Islamic law in its own right, this institution was extended to include Bosnian Muslims, a double illegality. I contextualize this practice and explore the foundation myth that justifies it, providing a new line of inquiry and a fresh approach to devsirme studies. Moreover, this project speaks to Ottoman interpretations of Islamic law and is a vital part of the history of the Bosnian Muslim community, whose current ties remain rooted in former Ottoman lands. This is a cross-regional, cross-cultural study encompassing the entwined histories of Bosnia and Turkey through the use of Bosnian and Turkish archival sources.

Doctoral Candidate, Department of History, The Ohio State University  -  The Foundation Myth of Bosnian Muslims: The Devsirme in Ottoman Bosnia

Michael Dean
Michael Dean  |  Abstract
The dissertation presents a history of the emigration question in the Bohemian Lands from the onset of mass emigration in 1851 to the eve of the First World War. Lower-class mobility, I argue, challenged the claim of Czech liberals to national guardianship. As liberals, Czech leaders lacked a language with which to oppose the free movement of labor. As nationalists, however, they worried over the loss of Czechs hands and hearts. By analyzing contemporary works of scholarship, feuilletons, travel narratives, and popular fiction, the dissertation shows how the emigration question developed from an appeal to the emigrant’s sense of patriotism to a systematic critique of the Habsburg state and a call for “organized emigration” and overseas expansion by Czech nationalists.

Doctoral Candidate, History, University of California, Berkeley  -  What the Heart Unites, the Sea Shall not Divide: Claiming Overseas Czechs for the Nation, 1848-1914

Kristina Markman
Kristina Markman  |  Abstract
This dissertation examines the various ways in which foreign rulers, theorists, and historians described the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in their attempt to understand and rationalize Lithuania’s ever-increasing presence in fourteenth-century European diplomacy. By comparative study of German and Russian chronicles, it analayzes what informed the choice of literary representation, when and why attitudes toward Lithuania changed in the sources, and whether these changes correspond to moments of instability (i.e.: Mongol incursion, Papal-Imperial conflict, military defeat, famine, etc.), unfolding ideologies on power and political legitimacy, or broader European diplomatic concerns.

Doctoral Candidate, Department of History, University of California, Los Angeles  -  Between Two Worlds: A Comparative Study of the Representation of Lithuania in Late Medieval German and Russian Chronicles

Filip Erdeljac
Filip Erdeljac  |  Abstract
By moving beyond the conventional account of the Croatian Ustashas as a fanatically violent, illegitimate movement with limited prewar origins and postwar legacies, this dissertation explores the Ustashas’ rise, rule and demise during the 1930s and 1940s and the role of this movement in Croatian national integration. It focuses on the popularization of extreme nationalism in Croatia, the dynamics of nation-building during war and occupation, the impact the Ustasha movement had on the course and outcome of World War II in Yugoslavia, the appropriation of nationalism by the communist Partisan movement and the persistence of exclusionary nationalisms into the postwar Yugoslav state.

Doctoral Candidate, History, New York University  -  Croatian Nation-Building and World War II: Everyday Nationalism in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Ustasha State, and the Postwar Republic of Croatia, 1934-1948

Katalin Franciska Rac
Katalin Franciska Rac  |  Abstract
My dissertation studies the careers of three internationally acknowledged Hungarian Jewish orientalists. The Turkologist Armin Vambery (1832-1913), the Islamicist and Arab philologist Ignaz Goldziher (1850-1921), and Sir Mark Aurel Stein (1862-1943), archaeologist, geographer, and Sanskritist, witnessed the formation of the modern Hungarian nation state and the gradual process of Jewish integration in Hungary. Through the emphasis on the Hungarians’ Asian origins, Orientalism and orientalist discourse contributed to the formation of modern Hungarian national identity, in which, despite their Jewish identity, the three scholars took active part. Their history challenges existing arguments about the mutual influence between Oriental studies, Jewish integration, and modern European politics.

Doctoral Student, Department of History, University of Florida  -  Orientalism for the Nation: Jews and Oriental Scholarship in Modern Hungary

Cristina Florea
Cristina Florea  |  Abstract
This dissertation explores the impact of political rupture on the cultural and intellectual life of Czernowitz, a multinational city in the Eastern European borderlands. From the late 19th century to the post-World War II period, Czernowitz shifted between Austrian, Romanian, Soviet, and Ukrainian rule. Why did the empires and nation-states that came and went invest so deeply in constructing a culture of their own in Czernowitz? And how did Czernowitzers navigate this world of shifting belongings? My dissertation will show how periodic ruptures gave rise to striking contradictions in Czernowitz, such as a Jewish renaissance amidst rabid anti-Semitism. This project aims to shed new light on the interplay between violence, culture, and ideas in Eastern Europe.

Doctoral Candidate, History Department, Princeton University  -  Czernowitz: City of Dreams at the Crossroads of Empires, 1875-1975

Dave Wilson
Dave Wilson  |  Abstract
An ethnographic study of musical practices throughout Macedonia, this dissertation research will explore the ideological and political narratives put forth by Macedonian musicians as moderate alternatives to nationalistic state policies and projects. By examining scenes of “ethno-bands” (folk-pop hybrids), jazz, DJs, and classical composition, this investigation challenges and complements existing music research on Macedonia, which largely focuses on practices of minority populations. Teasing out the subtle but influential implications of the physical and ideological space made by these four genres will offer insight into several issues: relationships between music and nationalism in former Yugoslavia, cosmopolitanism in post-socialist societies, and creative modes of subversively resisting nationalisms that dominate public discourse.

Doctoral Student, Ethnomusicology, University of California, Los Angeles  -  Making Music, Making Space: Musicians, Scenes, and Alternative Ideologies in the Republic of Macedonia