The Rise and Fall of East European Studies in the United States

This paper offers a brief overview of the “golden age” of East European Studies in the United States 1970-1995. Before 1970 research in the US was driven by national security concerns, was practiced primarily by political refugees, their data often came from interviews with refugees, results tended to be descriptive and were rarely published by major presses and major journals. From the 1970s onwards East European Studies was gradually separated from Soviet Studies. Research projects were increasingly driven by theoretical consideration and based on field research. Such research attracted some of the most able graduate students and young faculty members in sociology, political science and anthropology. The paper praises the contributions of Ken Jowitt, Dan Chirot, Katherine Verdery, Gail Kligman, Roman Laba, David Ost and in particular Michael Burawoy and David Stark. Articles written by them appeared in the leading journals and their books were published by the best university presses. After 1995 research funding became scarcer and the intellectual excitement of earlier years also vanished.

Released: Replika 99, 99–105.