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Grant number: FA-57041-13

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Tara Zahra
University of Chicago (Chicago, IL 60637-5418)

Emigration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World, 1889-1989

My project is a history of emigration from East Central Europe to the "West" from 1889-1989. I am particularly concerned with how debates about and experiences of emigration shaped regimes of border control, the development of social policies, and ideals of freedom within East Central Europe and beyond. After 1945, the "captivity" of East Europeans behind the Iron Curtain became one of the century's most potent symbols of totalitarianism. I argue that the Iron Curtain did not simply descend from above in 1948, however. It was the culmination of a century-long campaign by East European governments to curtail emigration, often in the name of humanitarian values and demographic power. The movement of millions of Europeans from East to West ultimately became a catalyst for a century of debate about the very meaning and location of the "free world."

Project fields:
European History

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2013 – 6/30/2014