Current Institutional Affiliation
Part-Time Faculty, History

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2008
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, University of California / Berkeley
Czech America and the National Movement in Bohemia

My dissertation examines the contribution of Czech America to the national movement in Bohemia. Of central importance are the themes of displacement and return. I analyze a series of pilgrimages to and from the homeland during the 1880s and 1890s in order to demonstrate that the movement of people and ideas between Bohemia and America significantly affected the conceptual boundaries of Czechness. Czechs in the United States adopted and adapted historical materials from the homeland in order to forge an American ethnicity. At the same time, Czechs in Bohemia were employing similar historical imagery so as to foster a mass national movement. My work, therefore, explores the ways in which the parallel movements of ethnicization and nation building intersected and diverged. The encounters taking place at moments of national significance (such as the opening of the Bohemian National Theater, a mass gymnastic meets and two national fairs) reveal the ways in which the boundaries of nationality were imagined by social elites as well as working-class Czechs. This cultural history contributes to recent debates about nationalism and migration. Sources for my study include periodicals, police records, municipal records, memoirs, letters and photography held at the Naprstek Museum, the State Regional Archive and the State Central Archive in the Czech Republic as well as the Archive of Czechs and Slovaks Abroad at the University of Chicago.