Research Projects

Research Projects

AHRB Project: Ending Nationalism? The Quest for Cultural Autonomy in Inter-War Europe

AHRB Project: Ending Nationalism? The Quest for Cultural Autonomy in Inter-War Europe

AHRB Award Ref: MRG-AN10102/APN16232
Term of Project: September 2003-August 2007
Value of Award: £43,890

Award Holder: Dr David J Smith
Co-Applicant: Professor John Hiden

This project re-evaluates the historical background to current debates on nationalism and minority rights in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Specifically, it examines how inter-war minority activists sought to achieve a definitive solution to the ‘national question’ through their promotion of non-territorial cultural autonomy (NTCA). For its proponents, this principle - first applied in Estonia and Latvia during the 1920s – was couched as one of the key building blocks in the construction of a United Europe. In spite of impending European Union enlargement to CEE, however, this original contribution from the region remains largely unexplored.

The Baltic Issue in Cold War International Relations

The Baltic Issue in Cold War International Relations

David Smith and John Hiden were invited to collaborate on this project, headed by Dr Vahur Made of the Estonian School of Diplomacy, Tallinn and supported by the Estonian Science Foundation (ESF grant no. 4962; see http://www.etf.ee). The project will result in a jointly-edited collection of articles, provisionally scheduled for publication in 2005.

The project focuses primarily on the development of the Baltic policies of Western states after the Second World War. Preliminary research questions:

  1. How was the Baltic issue influenced by changes in US foreign polict doctrine during the Cold War period (different forms of containment and détente)?
  2. How did the attitude of European countries, especially that of the Nordic countries and the UK, develop towards the Baltic issue and how was it influenced by US policy?
  3. What was the role of international organisations in bringing the Baltic issue to the supranational level?
  4. How effectively was the Soviet Union countering the West’s Baltic policies?

The project also analyses the Baltic issue from the theoretical perspective, in order to locate it within the wider international context of the Cold War. International relations, security and conflict theory will be used. An attempt will be made to target the Baltic issue not only through the traditional realist and geopolitical perspective but also by using alternative approaches such as liberalism, functionalism, institutionalism, structuralism, constructivism, comparative analysis of the Cold War regional conflicts etc.

Churches in European Integration Project

Churches in European Integration Project

Dr Nicholas Hope

Further information can be found online. 

Public Monuments, Commemoration and the Renegotiation of Collective Identities: Estonia, Sweden and the ‘Baltic World’

Public Monuments, Commemoration and the Renegotiation of Collective Identities: Estonia, Sweden and the ‘Baltic World’

'The core meaning of any collective and individual identity - is sustained by remembering' (John Gillis 1994, p.3) and monuments have a crucial role to play in this. As became abundantly clear during and after the collapse of Communism, they act as a 'catalyst' eliciting a variety of individual and group responses and actions, both official and unsanctioned.

The aim of this project is to illuminate key issues of collective identity and identity politics in post-Communist Estonia and the wider Baltic Sea Region through the study of public monuments and practices of commemoration. The project focuses especially upon the city of Narva and the restoration in 2000 of a 'Swedish Lion' monument to mark the 300th anniversary of Sweden's victory over Russia at the first Battle of Narva.

  • Who decided to restore the lion and why?
  • What meanings have been attached to the monument, both in official discourse and amongst local people?

These are the key questions addressed by our detailed interdisciplinary case study, which draws upon perspectives from politics, sociology, heritage studies and art history.