Who I am and What I do

I’m a PhD Candidate in Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University-Bloomington and the Graduate Student Representative of the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies. Before attending IU I received a BA (’07) and MA (’10) from the George Washington University, where I studied American Foreign Policy and Cold War History. Now I focus on the Baltic Provinces of Imperial Russia under the supervision of Toivo Raun, Ben Eklof and Gardner Bovingdon. (Here’s my CV)

My dissertation highlights the international influence on the development of autochthonous radical thought among the Estonian-speaking intelligentsia of the late 19th century. Most research on this topic has been limited to one ideology (nationalism) and its origins (folklore). Socialism, complementary to and contemporary of 19th century nationalism, has failed to elicit similar academic interest. Arguably, the desire to distance post-Soviet Estonia from the USSR has thrown out the 19th century socialist baby with the 20th century communist bathwater, so to speak.

Over the course of a quarter century from 1880 to 1905, the call of socialism grew fromĀ furtive whispers among a few students to a throaty roar by the masses during the first Russian Revolution. The ethnic dynamics of the Baltic Provinces, where the Baltic German elite governed the local Estonian- and Latvian-speaking masses on behalf of the Tsar, had mediated the local interpretation of German social democracy and Russian populism into a unique expression of anti-status quo thought. The political education this agitation provided proved especially useful as so many of the members of the underground became politicians in the Estonian Republic during the interwar era.

The abundance of readily available digitized material across libraries and archives from this era allows digital humanities methods to be used that can illuminate new avenues of research and validate conventional historical findings. In particular I am interested in social network analysis in order to visualize the relationships among activists and prosopography to detail the collective characteristics of these groups.

You can find more info to the left under the “Work” or “Play” categories.