The state research program “20th and 21st Century Historical Research and Regeneration of Human Capital” project “Navigating the Latvian History of the 20th–21st Century: Social Morphogenesis, Legacy and Challenges” (No. VPP-IZM-Vēsture-2023/1-0003) has started at the Institute of Latvian History of the University of Latvia.

The project's overarching goal is to reduce the fragmentation of the Latvian history research field, endorse its international prominence, establish new benchmarks in public discourse for interpreting the Latvian history of the 20th century, stimulate new conceptual ideas about the development of Latvian statehood, and train new history researchers. To reach this multidirectional goal, the project proposes a broad research and communication program and defines four interrelated objectives:

  1. critically rereading the Latvian historiography of the 20th century in line with the perspective of social morphogenesis;
  2. reinterpreting Latvia’s master narrative of the 20th century in light of microhistory and mnemohistory;
  3. remediating Latvia’s history by focusing on the opportunities provided by digital humanities;
  4. rejuvenating the interdisciplinary research of Latvian history by providing opportunities for young and emerging scholars.

The project leader is Dr. hist Uldis Neiburgs, and the administrative leader is Dr. philol. Ieva Garda-Rozenberga. Project partners: Institute of Literature, Folklore, and Art of the University of Latvia, Daugavpils University, and Liepaja University.

The project is organized into research, education, and impact-related work packages: "Morphogenetic processes of Latvian nation-state during the 1920s and 1930s" (lead by Dr. hist. Ēriks Jēkabsons); "Morphogenetic cycles during the Second World War and Soviet-Nazi-Soviet occupation of Latvia on the 1940s and 1950s" (Dr. hist. Kaspars Zellis); "Structure of state and society in the late Soviet period (1960s–1980s) and the collapse of the Soviet occupation regime in Latvia"(Dr. hist. Daina Bleiere, Dr. hist Irēna Saleniece); "Social and economic transformation caused by the restoration of Latvia's national sovereignty and their impact on nowadays" (Dr. sc. comm. Mārtiņš Kaprāns); "Representations of Latvia's 20th-century history in the modern cultural space" (Dr. philol. Zanda Gūtmane); "Elevating Historical Research: Harnessing Digital Resources for Latvian Context" (Dr. philol. Sanita Reinsone); "History Training and Education" (PhD. cand. Ginta Ieva Bikše); "Science Communication and Impact" (Dr. hist. Ilze Boldāne-Zeļenkova).

The project results will include seven peer-reviewed monographs, at least 30 peer-reviewed research articles accepted for publishing, and recommendations on how to enhance history education, improve the use of digital resources in Latvian history research, as well as how to use historical knowledge in reducing the risks of disinformation and strengthening Latvia’s international image. The project also envisages diverse community outreach through expertise sharing, publications for the general public, and a citizen science campaign.

In total, the project involves more than 30 researchers and students from the Institute of Latvian History, the Faculty of History and Philosophy, the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Institute of Literature, Folklore, and Art of the University of Latvia, the National Defense Academy of Latvia, Daugavpils University, Liepaja University, and other institutions. In addition, the historians of the Latvian War Museum and the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, as well as CLARIN-LV and DARIAH-EU experts in digital humanities, will also be involved in the project.

The project funding authority is the Latvian Council of Science. Project funding EUR 1 674 000. Implementation period: 15 December 2023 - 14 December 2026.

© Image design by Ģirts Boronovskis, photos by A. Grūbers and G. Dieziņš.

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