An investigation of legends and folklore about the Latgalian origin of Morta Mindaugienė (c. 1210–1263), the first and only Queen of Lithuania. The project involves the production of a manuscript entitled Finding Morta: In Search of the Lost Baltic Queen (working title), a creative work with an academic core that focuses upon the life, identity, and fate of Morta. Adopting a multidisciplinary approach, the project draws from fields including History, Archaeology, Folkloristics, and Literature. The manuscript is composed of three distinct sections: 1) a historiographical study; 2) a travelogue of expeditions to Latgale; and, 3) a piece of creative non-fiction. Incorporating three popular literary genres – History, Travel Writing, and fiction – Finding Morta transitions from an academic study into a creative work. The focus on both a historical personality and distinctive region will provide a unique introduction to the story of Morta and the history of Latgale, while locating them within larger and more familiar narratives of Baltic history. This project was partially funded by a Baumanis Grant for Creative Research in Baltic Studies, awarded by the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies in 2022.
Aistijan Eclipse: The Decline of a Nascent Baltic Exile Movement, 1953–1985
“Aistijan Eclipse: The Decline of a Nascent Baltic Exile Movement, 1953–1985” was conducted during the calendar month of February 2023 at the Herder Institute in Marburg, Germany. The research, undertook within the framework of a Herder Institute Fellowship, was directly related to my doctoral dissertation, Footnotes to the Past: Forgotten Episodes of Latvian-Lithuanian Federation & Confederation, 1884–1984, which examines the factors and circumstances under which the notion of establishing a common Latvian-Lithuanian state transformed from a Lithuanian émigré idea into a nascent Latvian exile movement over the course of a century. More specifically, it contributed significantly to examining the activities of Jūlijs Bračs (1909–1984) and his attempt the re-establish the activities of interwar rapprochement societies in German displaces persons (DP) camps following the Second World War. During the fellowship, I undertook an extensive examination of the individuals involved with Bračs’ “Aistijan” movement, utilising the press clippings archive of the Herder Institute in order to acquire biographical and contextualising information. The research undertaken during the Herder Fellowship provided invaluable information for my doctoral dissertation, and will also contribute to an article for a special issue of the Journal of Eurasian Studies, due to be published in August 2024.
A special issue of Tallinn University’s peer-reviewed history journal Acta Historica Tallinnensia, entitled Recognition: de facto & de jure. Guest co-edited with Kevin Rändi (Tallinn University), the special issue gathers together scholars from the republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to mark the centenary of 1922 diplomatic recognition by the United States of America. Article contributors include Heidi Rifk (Tallinn University); Eero Medijainen (University of Tartu); Ēriks Jēkabsons (University of Latvia); and, Sandra Grigaravičiūtė (Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania). Eva Piirimäe (University of Tartu) provides an afterword that draws together the themes of the special issue. The introductory article, “Precarious Roads to Recognition: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, 1917–1922”, co-authored with Rändi, was awarded second place in the category of Society and Open Governance in the Annual Tallinn University Competition for Published Research.
Footnotes to the Past: Forgotten Episodes of Latvian-Lithuanian Federation & Confederation, 1884–1984
Doctoral dissertation. Footnotes to the Past: Forgotten Episodes of Latvian-Lithuanian Federation & Confederation, 1884–1984 examines the factors and circumstances under which the notion of establishing a common Latvian-Lithuanian state transformed from a Lithuanian-American émigré idea into a nascent Latvian exile movement over the course of a century. Further details coming soon.