Buying the Republic: Bat’a, Škoda, and the Meštanský Brewery, 1918-1938


Dissertation Fellowships in East European Studies




This dissertation argues that shoes, cars, and beer had a communicative capacity in early twentieth-century Czech society and signified cultural affinity, social-status, and gender. In order to investigate this claim, the project tells the story of the genesis, development, and demise of the First Czechoslovak Republic by focusing on the production, exchange, and circulation of three of its most highly celebrated industrial products: Bat’a shoes, Pilsner beer, and Škoda cars. Consuming in Czechoslovakia was a highly politicized act, for nationalist organizations, as well as class-based ones, identified their respective constituencies through their consumer choices.