Undergraduate Catherine Gibson wins Carnegie Vacation Scholarship 2013

Catherine GibsonFourth-year undergraduate Catherine Gibson has been awarded a Carnegie Vacation Scholarship for 2013.

Catherine’s award is for a six-week research project, under the supervision of Dr Tomasz Kamusella, provisionally entitled ‘Latgalian Language Politics: a study of ethnoregional identity in eastern Latvia’. The project will explore the development and consolidation of a Latgalian ethnoregional identity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in what is now eastern Latvia in the nineteenth and twentieth century. It will involve a comparative study of the shifting “top-down” language policies regarding the Latgalian language (as administered by the Russian Empire, the German WWI occupation, the interwar Latvian Republic, the Soviets and the Nazi occupations in WWII, the Soviet Union, the post-1991 Latvian government, and since 2004, the European Union), alongside the “grassroots” Latgalian “national awakening” movement in the nineteenth century, and local initiatives which preserved and developed the Latgalian language throughout the twentieth and into the twenty-first century. Catherine’s grant from the Carnegie trust will enable her to conduct research in national and regional archives in Riga and Daugavpils.

Catherine Gibson 1

This project will contribute to existing English-language scholarship in three ways. Firstly, Latvian language policy today is dominated by polemic over the status of the Russian language, currently spoken by one third of the population as their mother tongue. This project will show how the Latgalian language also continues to be a point of political contention. Secondly, Latgale is a borderland region of Latvia, often neglected in Latvian scholarship, and by extension, even more so in the West. There are very few academics working in this field outside Central and Eastern Europe, and very few articles, let alone monographs, on modern Latgale in major European languages. Finally, this study would add to the emerging field of transnational history and comparative studies of multi-ethnic and borderland regions, and contribute to wider debates of European minorities, stateless peoples, and language rights.

About standrewshistory
With over forty full time members of staff researching and teaching on European, American and Asian history from the dawn of the Middle Ages to the present day, the School of History at the University of St Andrews has one of the finest faculty and diverse teaching programmes of any School of History in the English speaking world. The School boasts expertise in Mediaeval and Modern History, from S cotland to Byzantium and the Americas to the Middle East and South Asia.Thematic interests include religious history, urban history, transnationalism, historiography and nationalism. The School of History prides itself on small group teaching and tutorials allowing for in depth study and supervision tailored to secure the best from each student. Cutting edge research combined with teaching excellence offer a dynamic and intellectually stimulating environment for the study of History.

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