Arta Ankrava, American Latvian Association Graduate Fellow in Latvian American Studies, PhD candidate, Sociology major
When I heard I had received the American Latvian Association graduate fellowship, I was so excited to just get to work. I knew this opportunity would help to position the American Latvian narrative alongside other diasporas’ experiences, and have a crucial impact on my research, and, ultimately PhD dissertation. As a sociology graduate student, I am now granted access to an incredible amount of data, documenting decades of development of the American Latvian community, from times when communication with Latvia was practically non-existent, to the transitional period of the late 1980s and early 1990s, to today. This is a wonderful task, and as a researcher, I get to look at the narratives embedded in volumes of newspaper publications, and see how these voices transcend, advance into today. I am interested to see how the diaspora sees itself and its goals twenty years after Latvia’s independence. In order to uncover that, this rich thread of archival data will be extremely helpful. Later on in my project, I hope to also do interviews in the American Latvian diaspora, thus bridging the divide between research and community.