Beth Holmgren Graduate Student Essay Prize

2010 Citation Recipient

Zsolt Nagy

The Beth Holmgren Graduate Student Essay Prize, established in 1990 and named in honor of Professor Holmgren in 2021, is awarded for an outstanding essay by a graduate student in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

Winner: Zsolt Nagy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title: “National Identities for Export: Hungarian, Czechoslovak, Romanian Nationality Rooms in Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning”

Zsolt Nagy’s essay situates the cultural politics of America émigré communities in an international setting. Those “nationality rooms” are familiar to anyone who has ever visited the University of Pittsburgh, and they seem at first glance to replicate the idealized, somewhat stereotyped ethnic self-imagining so common in US cities. Mr. Nagy demonstrates, however, that the governments of the countries involved played a leading role in designing these displays, and that they were intended to play a specific role in what we would today call public diplomacy. Bringing together cultural history, diplomatic history, and the history of US immigration in a well-researched and sophisticated package, Mr. Nagy’s work represents well the transnational orientation that is currently transforming the discipline of history.