2006 Best Doctoral Student Papers Awards
Category: Central Europe
Andrew Demshuk (University of Illinois, US)
Citizens in Name Only: National Status of Ethnic German Refugees and Expellees in Western Germany, 1945-1953
In polemic with Brubaker's seminal work "Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany", this paper examines an apparent discontinuity in the ethnocultural conception on German nationhood. Focusing on theVertreibung (expulsion) of twelve million ethnic Germans from the East into the borders of rump Germany immediately after the WWII, this paper argues that a) postwar citizenship laws cannot be understood without giving attention to the policies under military occupation; and b) later German ethnocultural self-identity cannot be understood without first recognizing the extreme divisions within German society that resulted from the expulsion. Thus, the paper shows that if German postwar citizenship laws ultimately evolved along the lines of jus sanguinis, it was because the American and British occupiers found such a policy to further their own interests, not because they wanted to remain faithful to the German ethnocultural decisions of 1913. Secondly, focus on the popular perception of Vertriebenen as well as their own self-identification clarifies particulars of popular conceptions of citizenship and belonging as the ethnocultural basis for German self-understanding.
Yuriy Malikov (University of California, Santa Barbara, US)
Three Hundred Years of Siberian Cossack – Kazakh Relations: Identity Creation and the Story of Separation
This paper examines whether the region of the northern and eastern parts of Kazakhstan (Middle Kazakh Horde), was a borderland or a borderline, a contact zone or a barrier separating newcomers, the Siberian Cossacks, and indigenous people, the Kazakhs. Malikov argues that extensive contacts between the aboriginals of the steppe and Cossacks led to the formation of a frontier society which was quite different from both traditional Russian and Kazakh societies. The mutual transformation of Kazakh and Russian cultures led to the creation of a frontier society that, in its turn, was detrimental to imperial policies. Rather than becoming the agents of Russification as planned in St. Petersburg, Siberian Cossacks acquired many elements of the Kazakh's material culture and worldview. Thus, the Kazakh steppe was not a borderline, a place of separation, but a borderland – a birthplace of creoles and hybrids since the time the first Russian settlements were built along the Irtysh River.
Category: Caucasus Russia Ukraine
Kelly O'Neill (Harvard University, US)
Constructing Russian Identity in the Imperial Borderland: Architecture, Islam, and the Transformation of the Crimean Landscape
On the basis of archival data, the nineteenth century serial publications and memoir literature, this paper explores the Russian authorities' common tactics to renovate Crimea's built environment in order to fully incorporate it as part of the growing Empire. Neglect, preservation and renovation were the major strategies that shaped the official policies towards the architectural heritage of Crimea. In particular, the paper focuses on the treatment of the Tatar monuments, which officials considered the greatest potential threat to the legitimacy of Russian rule. The various fates of sites such as the Sultan Selim mosque in Feodosiia, the Friday mosque in Evpatoriia, the tombs and shrines of BahÇesaray, and the Giray palace itself suggest that through the early nineteenth century, the construction of Russian imperial identity was a negotiated, adaptive process shaped by practical political, and ideological considerations.
Category: Central Europe Russia
Tamara Pavasovic (Harvard University, US)
Reconstructing Ethnic Identity in Post-Communist Serbia: Ethno-Nationalist Socialization through Textbooks (1974-2002)
While previous ethnic identity construction literature has focused on the malleability or stability of identity and ethnic boundaries, more recently, ethnicity has come to serve as an explanation for political events, namely the collapse of the Soviet Union and the wars in Central and Eastern Europe. Before we can designate ethnicity as an explanatory variable, however, more thorough research is needed. In particular, recent research falls short of a careful discursive analysis of the political dynamics of ethnic identity shaping; and, concurrently, the utility of identity reconstruction in the relevant post-Communist context. This paper aims to fill in this gap by examining a specific instance of such ethnicity reconstruction in post-Communist Serbia. Employing both qualitative and quantitative methods in textbook content analysis (1974-2002), this study provides a comprehensive examination of ethnicity transformation dynamics over time. The study reveals four significant findings, all of which could be of relevant in identifying the mentality behind the events related to the horrific ethnic wars of the 1990s in Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia.