Czernowitz: City of Dreams at the Crossroads of Empires, 1875-1975


EES Dissertation


History Department


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.