Changing Places: Mobilizing Society, Culture, and Territory in Central Europe’s Borderlands, 1870-1938


ACLS Fellowship Program




This book project explores how the idea of borderlands as concrete places sprang paradoxically from the new mobility typical of modern nationalizing states. From 1870 to 1938, the German-Bohemian borderlands’ conflicting dynamics of fluidity and division were forged by the interaction of modern technology, local practice, bureaucratic states, and national ideas. Governments and smugglers, migrant workers and police, bakers and tourists all played decisive roles in defining the borderlands as distinct territorial, political, and cultural places. Territorial, political, and cultural divisions lent weight to larger nationalist movements, defined local and transnational communities, and were used to justify ethnic cleansing by establishing the idea that territories have national meaning.