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2015 Doctoral Students Awards

Category: The Balkans 

Aleksandra Zdeb (Jagiellonian U, Political Science, Poland)

“Facing an Institutional Change in Mostar: A Litmus Test for Bosnia.”

Reconstruction of Mostar could have been a symbol of renewed multiethnic coexistence but instead it has become a synonym of failed institutions and divisions revealing the difficulties of the whole country. While imposition of both, the 1996 and 2004 statutes was connected with crisis, the city has also faced two major deadlocks, in 2008-2009 and 2012 – during the first one the solution was imposed again by the High Representative but the 2012 impasse, with passive HR’s position, still lasts.

The aim of the paper is to analyze the abovementioned impasses perceived here as critical junctures – moments when institutional change should have occurred but for some reason did not. Yet, the solutions – acts of external imposition might be treated at best as an institutional pseudo-change which shows that imposed institutions have a specific inertia which prevents them from being changed. The topic will be presented from the perspective of historical institutionalism, with special emphasis on the critical junctures and path dependence approaches while the last one refers here not only to the formal institutional structure of the city but also to the decision-making processes in the moments of stalemates.

Category: The Balkans 
Jelena Dureinovic (Justus Liebig U, History, Germany)

“Legislation in the Service of the Politics of History on World War II in Post-2000 Serbia: the Legal Rehabilitation of Dragoljub Mihailovic”

The paper discusses legislation as an important aspect of the official memory politics on the Second World War in post-Milošević Serbia. The main focus of the paper are the issues in the formulation and implementation of the Rehabilitation Acts with a case study of the rehabilitation case of Dragoljub Mihailović, the leader of the Yugoslav Army in the Homeland. Furthermore, the paper discusses the significance of legal rehabilitation in the light of already completed political rehabilitation of the Yugoslav Army in the Homeland. It argues that the reevaluation of the Chetniks started long before the rehabilitation process of Dragoljub Mihailović in 2010, which represents a formal epilogue. Besides looking at the transcripts, this court case is put in the social and political context by analyzing discourses surrounding it and the opposing actors  coming from Serbia and the region.

Category: Central Europe 
Kyle L. Marquardt (U of Wisconsin Madison, Political Science, US)

“Linguistic Appeals and Support for Separatism: Evidence from a Survey Experiment in Moldova”

The social-scientific literature generally holds that identification with a peripheral ethnic group is an important factor in determining support for separatism; scholars often use capabilities in the language of the peripheral group to proxy such identification. Results from a 2013 survey experiment conducted in Gagauz Yeri (GY), an autonomous region of Moldova, indicate that these assumptions about the relationship between language, ethnicity and separatism can be misleading. The population of GY is predominantly ethnically Gagauz, and traditional theory thus predicts a positive correlation between Gagauz proficiency and support for separatism. However, analyses reveal that capabilities in Russian—a regional lingua franca— are a stronger correlate of support for separatism than Gagauz proficiency. These results indicate that the political salience of language may lie in its day-to-day importance: many residents of GY have higher capabilities in Russian than Gagauz, making this common language more salient than the peripheral “native” language. 

Category: Eurasia 
David R. Stroup (U of Oklahoma, Political Science, US)

“Bridging the Gap between Minzu and Umma: Islamic Faith and Hui Identity in Contemporary China”

Though scholars of ethnicity remark that religion is an important qualifying attribute for membership in an ethnic group, the nature of the relationship between religious faith and ethnic identity requires further exploration. An approach that emphasizes the importance of religious practices in forming and maintaining ethnic boundaries may offer a more complete explanation of the relationship between religion and ethnicity. This article proposes a framework for understanding how religious practices influence ethnic boundary formation and maintenance processes. I propose that religious practices may play a universalizing, negotiating, or differentiating role in influencing the formation and maintenance of ethnic boundaries. To illustrate these various roles played by religious processes, the article presents a heuristic case study of Islamic faith in boundary setting processes in Hui Muslim communities in China.

Category: Nationalism 
Scott Weiner (George Washington U, Political Science, US)

“Enduring Authority: Resource Distribution, Kinship and State Formation in Kuwait”

Why is bureaucracy more successful in some states than in others? What explains variation in bureaucratic governance in tribal states? One existing explanation is that incomplete state penetration, a result of colonialism, leaves room for competing authority structures like those created through kinship (Scott, 1977; Herbst, 2000; Posner, 2005). Other accounts invoke modernization theory (Anderson, 1986) or patrimonialism (Charrad and Adams, 2011). However, none of these explanations explain convincingly the variation across states. Based on field work in Kuwait and Oman, I hypothesize that when distribution networks for vital resources are dispersed, kinship groups will divide them territorially. However, when resources are concentrated in a village or town, the different groups living there will be forced to work together to allocate resources. Specifically, they will form “proto-bureaucracies” which employ professionals with expertise to divide up resources. Such a model speaks to the governance and its limitations in bureaucratic states.

Category: Russia 
Maria Tagangaeva (U of St Gallen, Russian Culture and Society, Switzerland)

“‘Socialist in Content, National in Form’: Ethnicity and Art in Soviet/Post-Soviet Yakutia and Buryatia”

This essay focuses on the fine art of the Soviet national republics and its discourse in the Soviet Union, which were considerably shaped under the influence of socialist realism and Soviet nationality policy. While examining the central categories of the Soviet artistic 
discourse such as the ”national form”, “national distinctness” and “tradition” as well as cultural and scientific institutions responsible for the peculiar image of art of non-Russian nationalities, the author reveals the existence of a number of colonial features, discursive and institutional practices. They foster a cultural divide between Russian and non-Russian culture and contribute to the marginalization of art. Special attention is paid to the implications of this discursive shaping for the local artistic scene in Buryatia. The paper also aims to reveal continuity and to reassess this discourse in the post-Soviet context by analyzing the work of the visual artists Dashi Namdakov from Buryatia and Denis Tsyrenzhapov from Yakutia.

Category: Ukraine 
Daria Mattingly (U of Cambridge, Slavic Studies, UK )

This paper advances an interdisciplinary examination of the identities, activities and memorial traces of the rank-and-file perpetrators of the 1932-33 Famine in Ukraine, known as the Holodomor. While Stalin and his functionaries in the Kremlin organised the famine and loom large in memorial and historical discourse in Ukraine, local activists and petty officials made it possible but linger in forgotten obscurity. Who were the perpetrators on the ground? How are they remembered? To answer such questions, I propose an innovative methodology that incorporates a microhistorical analysis of the famine period with a close reading of memorial and cultural texts composed after the famine. This article is based on analysis of personal narratives from both published and recently discovered memoirs and testimonies of the direct participants of the 1932-1933 grain procurements and their descendants. Their accounts are juxtaposed with those of the survivors, whose communicative memory laid foundation for cultural memory.