SSRC Fellow Nicole Eaton
Revolutions on the Frontier: Königsberg-Kaliningrad, 1938-1950
University at Time of Fellowship: University of California, Berkeley
My dissertation tells the story of how the twentieth century’s two most destructive ideologies-in-power attempted to recreate one city, its government, and its inhabitants in the years surrounding the Second World War. It describes the new settlement of the region by Soviet settlers and the forced expulsion of the original German population and focuses the sociological interactions of these victorious socialists and defeated fascists in the three years of their cohabitation. It analyzes the strategies and tactics that Germans and Russians used to manage their lives before, during, and after the destruction of the war that brought them together; material culture and the uses of space European borderlands; and the national identities and subjectivities of the city’s populations in transition. I look at daily relations between Königsbergers and Kaliningraders to illuminate the changing ways in which they understood what it meant to be a German, a Russian, a Nazi, or a Soviet. My dissertation touches on many problems with contemporary relevance: ethnic cleansing and genocide, violence against civilians in war, collective guilt and responsibility, debates about citizenship and belonging in the nation-state, and Kaliningrad’s precarious role the future of Russian and European conflict and cooperation.