Dr. Katja Wezel


Project:

Global port cities are a microcosm of the challenges, problems and possibilities of the present, the future and the past: economic progress and ecological threats, local city development and globalization, multi-ethnicity and migration.
The research project „The Cosmopolitan City. Riga as a Global Port and International Capital of Trade (1861-1939)” aims to map Riga as a global port city using historical GIS as a tool to analyze its economic interdependencies and trade networks.
The study examines the contribution of cosmopolitan merchants and polyglot entrepreneurs for the city’s development and its rise as a metropolis. The project also emphasizes networks with trading partners in Great Britain, Germany and Russia, and to state institutions in St. Petersburg, Berlin and Riga.
The relatively long research period 1861 to 1939 allows a longue durée approach and the comparison of two very different time periods: 1) Riga before World War I, a multi-ethnic economic metropolis and major port of the Russian Empire, in which the city’s Baltic Germans dominated both economy and trade; and 2) Riga after World War I as capital of Latvia, an independent nation-state in which Latvians and Germans had to cooperate for the city’s economic revival.
Due to the transnational environment in which they operated and their international networks, entrepreneurs and merchants tended to be cosmopolitan-minded and more “a-national” in their approaches – despite this being a period of strong nationalist sentiments. At least before the 1930s, national differences and inter-ethnic conflicts were less strong in business and trade since everyone had the same goal: The development and preservation of Riga’s port and its economic success.

Findings and more about the project here.

Fields:

  • Baltic history
  • Memory politics
  • Nationalism and ethnic conflicts
  • Spatial history
  • Digital history


since 12/2021: Feodor Lynen Fellowship, Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation in Riga, Latvia

04/2021-09/2021: Fellowship at Imre Kertész Kolleg in Jena

10/2018-11/2021: Research Associate in the BKM funded project “The Cosmopolitan City. Riga as a Global Port and International Capital of Trade (1861-1939)” at the Department for Medieval and Modern History at the Georg-August University Göttingen

2013-2018: DAAD Visiting Assistant Professor at the Department of History, University of Pittsburgh, USA

2011: PhD at the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg with a topic on memory politics in post-Communist Latvia (published in German as Geschichte als Politikum. Lettland und die Aufarbeitung nach der Diktatur. Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2016.)

2011: Second state exam for teaching in History and English

2010-2011: Instructor, Department of History, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg

2008-2009: Research Associate in East European History, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg

2005-2008: Research Fellow in the Interdisciplinary Junior Research Group (Graduiertenkolleg) “Overcoming Dictatorships in Europe”, Heidelberg University

2004: MA in History and English at the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg

1999-2004: Studies in History and English at the University of Heidelberg, the University of Wales in Aberystwyth and the European University in St. Petersburg

REES Faculty Travel Grant, Russian and East European Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh, 2017

Jean Monnet Center of Excellence Faculty Research on the European Union Grant, European Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh, 2016

REES Faculty Travel Grant, Russian and East European Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh, 2015

Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung [Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship], dissertation publication grant, 2015

DAAD Research Fellowship, Research Grant for Graduate Students, 2008

Young Researchers Award, Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 2007

Graduate Student Fellowship, Heinrich Boell Foundation, 2005–2008

DAAD Undergraduate Study Scholarship, Annual Grant, 2002–2003

Erasmus, European Union Scholarship, 2000–2001

Monograph:

Geschichte als Politikum: Lettland und die Aufarbeitung nach der Diktatur. (Reihe: Die Ostseeregion. Nördliche Dimensionen – Europäische Perspektiven, Vol. 15). Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag 2016.


Peer-reviewed journal articles:


“The Most Successful Trading Hub in Late Imperial Russia: Using Historical GIS to Map Riga as a Global Port City,” Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung/Journal of East Central European Studies 70/3 (2021): 389-415. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25627/202170311017

with Peter Haslinger: “Embracing Digital Technology - New Methods for the Critical Analysis of Sources from Central and Eastern Europe,” Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung/Journal of East Central European Studies 70/3 (2021): 309-323. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25627/202170311014

With Karsten Brüggemann: “Nationally Indifferent or Ardent Nationalists? On the Options for Being German in Russia’s Baltic Provinces, 1905-1917,“ Kritika. Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 20/1 (2019): 39-62.

“Transcending Borders: Riga’s Baltic German Entrepreneurs in an Era of Nationalism, Revolution and War,” Journal of Baltic Studies 48/1 (2017): 39–54. DOI: 10.1080/01629778.2016.1269434

“Introduction: Baltic German Perceptions of Belonging in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century,” Journal of Baltic Studies 48/1 (2017): 1–12. DOI: 10.1080/01629778.2016.1269427

"The Unfinished Business of Perestroika. Latvia’s Memory Politics and its Quest for Acknowledgement of Victimhood in Europe,” Nationalities Papers 44/4 (2016): 560–577. DOI: 10.1080/00905992.2016.1142520<

“Lettlands ‚Rückkehr nach Europa’ – Erfüllung eines lettischen Traums? Der EU-Beitritt als Projekt der lettischen Elite,” Nordost-Archiv XVIII (2010): 132–151.

“‘Okkupanten’ oder 'Befreier’? Geteilte Erinnerung und getrennte Geschichtsbilder in Lettland,” Osteuropa 58/6 (2008): 147–158.


Editorship:

With Stefan Donecker: Special Issue “Baltic German Perceptions of Belonging in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century,” Journal of Baltic Studies 48/1 (2017).

With Birgit Hofmann, Katrin Hammerstein, Julie Trappe and Regina Fritz: Diktaturüberwindung in Europa. Neue nationale und transnationale Perspektiven. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter 2010.


Book chapters:

“Riga’s Cheka House – From a Soviet Place of Terror to a Latvian Site of Remembrance?” In Steve Norris (ed.): Museums of Communism: New Memory Sites in Central and Eastern Europe. Bloomington: Indiana University Press 2020, pp. 137-155.

“Doppelte Diktaturerfahrung. Die Erinnerung an stalinistischen Terror und Holocaust im KGB-Haus und Rigaer Ghetto-Museum.” In Ljiljana Radonic and Heidemarie Uhl (eds.): Das umkämpfte Museum: Zeitgeschichte ausstellen zwischen Rekonstruktion und Sinnstiftung. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2020, pp. 263-280.

“Memory Conflicts as Barrier for Reconciliation: Post-Soviet Disputes between the Baltic States and Russia.” In Lily Gardner Feldman et al. (eds.): The Former Soviet Union and East Central Europe between Conflict and Reconciliation. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2019, pp. 131-148.

“Loyalty, Minority, Monarchy: The Baltic German Press and 1905.” In Felicitas Fischer v. Weikersthal et. al. (eds.): The Russian Revolution of 1905 in Transcultural Perspective. Bloomington: Slavica Publishers 2013, pp. 213–224.

“Country Report Latvia.” In Lavinia Stan and Nadya Nedelsky (eds.): Encyclopedia of Transitional Justice. New York: Cambridge University Press 2012, pp. 273–280.

“Lettland und der 23. August 1939: Vom ‚weißen Fleck’ der sowjetischen Geschichtsschreibung zum transnationalen Gedenktag?“ In Anna Kaminsky, Dietmar Müller and Stefan Troebst (eds.): Hitler Stalin Pakt 1939 in den Erinnerungskulturen der Europäer. Göttingen: Wallstein 2011, pp. 309–325.

With Birgit Hofmann: “Einleitung”. In Birgit Hofmann, Katja Wezel, Katrin Hammerstein, Julie Trappe and Regina Fritz (eds.): Diktaturüberwindung in Europa. Neue nationale und transnationale Perspektiven. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter 2010, pp. 1–19.

“‘Brauner’ vs. ‘Roter Genozid’? Geschichtspolitische und filmische Auseinandersetzungen mit dem diktatorischen Erbe in Lettland.” In Birgit Hofmann, Katja Wezel, Katrin Hammerstein, Julie Trappe and Regina Fritz (eds.): Diktaturüberwindung in Europa. Neue nationale und transnationale Perspektiven. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter 2010, pp. 308–323.

“Clashes of Memory in Europe’s ‘New Old Borderland’: Latvian Nation-building and Responses of Latvia’s Russian speaking population.” In Imbi Sooman and Stefan Donecker (eds.): The ‘Baltic Frontier’ Revisited. Cross-Cultural Interactions in the Baltic Sea Region. Wien: University of Vienna 2009, pp. 225–246.

With Regina Fritz: “Konkurrenz der Erinnerungen? Museale Darstellungen diktatorischer Erfahrungen in Lettland und Ungarn.” In Katrin Hammerstein, Julie Trappe, Ulrich Mählert and Edgar Wolfrum (eds.): Aufarbeitung der Diktatur – Diktat der Aufarbeitung? Normierungsprozesse beim Umgang mit diktatorischer Vergangenheit. Göttingen: Wallstein 2009, pp. 233–247.

“Nationskonstruktion und Abgrenzung. Lettland nach dem Ende der Sowjetherrschaft.” In Carola Sachse, Edgar Wolfrum and Regina Fritz (eds.): Nationen und ihre Selbstbilder. Postdiktatorische Gesellschaften in Europa. Göttingen: Wallstein 2008, pp. 211–232.


Other Publications:

“Ethnische Minderheiten und Minderheitenpolitik in Estland, Lettland und Litauen.” In Bernd Lemke (ed.): Wegweiser zur Geschichte. Baltikum (Zentrum für Militärgeschichte und Sozialwissenschaften der Bundeswehr). Paderborn: Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh 2018, pp. 181-191.

“Latvia’s Soviet Story. Transitional Justice and the Politics of Commemoration.” In Atslegvardi/Keywords 2 (2009). Online: www.satori.lv/raksts/3111