This dissertation explores the shaping of the Latvian American exile from temporary settlement in Displaced Persons (DP) camps in post-war Europe, to resettlement to the U.S. following the DP Act of 1948. Specifically, Latvian diasporic discourses of nationalism, transnationalism, and anti-Communism are analyzed through the lens of Latvian-language exile periodicals. These are conceptualized as a transnational space, a locus of intersection of diasporic, national and hybrid, and sometimes competing identities. Building on archival research conducted at the Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota, the project uses newspaper articles to identify the variety of discourses present in major diasporic periodicals and draws out points of contention as well as agreement on the shaping of the Latvian nation both pre and post USSR dissolution. The dissertation’s main goal is to explore how the Latvian American exile community was shaped by the Cold War, and how Latvia as nation was imagined and re-imagined in diasporic press. Through secondary source analysis of Vietnamese refugee experience later in the twentieth century, this project also aims to question notions of “exile” and “refugee” as such, and interrogates how they were used in relation to different Cold War era anti-Communist immigrant groups to the U.S. Finally, the dissertation also addresses post-USSR collapse Latvian identity politics, including exile and homeland relations, as well as suggesting avenues for future research.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2016. Major: Sociology. Advisor: Lisa Park. 1 computer file (PDF); iv, 197 pages.
From Displaced Persons to Exiles: Nationalism, Anti-Communism, and the Shaping of Latvian American Diaspora.
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