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ODU History Professor Awarded Fulbright

Austin Jersild, associate professor of history and international studies at Old Dominion University, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to conduct research of historical documents in archives and libraries in Moscow and Prague during the 2008-09 academic year.

Jersild's primary research focus has been relations between China and Russia and the Cold War era. During his 10-month research grant, Jersild will study diverse forms of exchange and cooperation characteristic of the socialist bloc from 1945 to 1960, paying special attention to Sino-Soviet relations, in archives and libraries in Moscow. In Prague, he will study the early forms of socialist bloc collaboration that served as a starting point for the Sino-Soviet relationship.

In particular, Jersild is interested in researching materials that will elucidate the debates over consumerism and standards of living within the socialist world. His aspiration is that his research will "contribute to a better understanding of the contemporary era, where both Russia and China today remain shaped by their contrasting post-socialist experiences and paths toward the common goal of consumer affluence."

"The history of our relationship to the socialist bloc remains central to our rethinking of the evolution of an America foreign policy still shaped by the struggles, assumptions and tactics of the Cold War," Jersild notes.

Jersild, who joined the ODU faculty in 1995, is the author of "Orientalism and Empire: North Caucasus Mountain Peoples and the Georgian Frontier" (2002), the editor of an issue of "Russian Studies in History" on the Russian expansion into the Caucasus, and numerous journal articles. His previous research projects have taken him to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tbilisi and Beijing.

In addition to his current Fulbright award, Jersild's work on Sino-Soviet relations and the Cold War has been supported by a Research Scholarship from the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center (2006) and a National Research Fellowship from the National Council on Eurasian and East European Research (2007-09).

Jersild is one of approximately 800 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad this year through the Fulbright Scholar Program, which was established in 1946 to build mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the rest of the world. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Council for International Exchange Scholars.

This article was posted on: August 18, 2008

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