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Historian Pieter Judson '78 Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

Historian Pieter M. Judson '78 
Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

by Maki Somosot '12

Pieter Judson
Pieter Judson '78

Professor of History Pieter Judson '78 is the recipient of a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship, one of academia's most esteemed awards. Given by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the fellowships are awarded to academics, scholars, and artists who have demonstrated both exceptional ability and notable career achievement in the humanities and in the arts. Judson is among 180 Fellows announced this month from a pool of approximately 3,000 applicants.

As a Guggenheim Fellow, Judson will receive support to continue his work on Everyday Empire: A New History of Habsburg Central Europe, 1780 - 1948. Slated for publication in 2012, the book is the culmination of his research on European ethnic and political nationalism and its consequences on the division between Eastern and Western Europe. It will also incorporate his current work as the editor of the Austrian History Yearbook, a journal that explores the history of Imperial and post-Imperial Austria.

"When you read books on Europe even today, they usually divide Europe between the supposedly democratic, modern, nation-states of the West and the problematic states of the East," Judson explains. "In fact, there is plenty of ethnic diversity and violence in Western Europe, and plenty of modernity in Eastern Europe. My hope is that this book will help to undo the powerful and unacknowledged influence that political nationalism still holds over the historical and political writing about the regions I study."

Judson, an authority on nationalism and nationalist movements in Central Europe, has conducted research in Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Germany, and Italy. He is the author of the award-winning Guardians of the Nation: Activists on the Language Frontiers of Imperial Austria (2006), which challenges the rise of nationalism in multi-ethnic regions in 1880-1918 Central and Eastern Europe by exploring the phenomena of local bilingualism and biculturalism.

For Judson, the Guggenheim Fellowship is especially meaningful because his father, an art historian, received one when Judson was a child. He also credits the application process with affording him the opportunity to reflect on his career. Judson says, "My classroom experiences with students have shaped the kinds of historical questions I have asked and much of the research and writing I have done."