Nancy M. Wingfield

Presidential Research Professor of History, Northern Illinois University

When did you first develop an interest in Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies?

I became fascinated with Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia when I was small and began reading encyclopedias.  I originally wanted to study Chinese history–I wanted to write a cultural history of Guilin, but decided learning Chinese was too difficult.  I was also interested in eastern European history, so I learned Czech instead. I’m not sure it’s easier to learn.

Flag Wars and Stone Saints  book coverHow have your interests changed since then? 

My original interests were nationalism and politics; they were the focus of my first book, Minority Politics in  Multinational State.   My second monograph, Flag Wars and Stone Saints: How the Bohemian Lands Became Czech, addressed cultural representations of nationalism.  I’m now more concerned with gender and culture and have recently written quite alot on those topics. I’ve been lucky enough to get support to do research throughout much of Cisleithanian Austria, so my work has become increasingly broadly comparative.  I have really enjoyed doing archival research in many European countries; it’s fascinating to see how much archival practices vary.   Finally, my research has moved from the Bohemian Lands slowly southward to the Adriatic.

What is your current research project?

I am completing a book-length manuscript tentatively titled, Pimps, Police, and Disease: The World of Prostitution in Late Imperial Austria.  Once I finish this manuscript, I am looking forward to starting research on my newest project, Traces of the Venetian Empire in the Modern Adriatic.

What do you value about your ASEEES membership?

I really enjoy the annual conference.  I appreciate the opportunity to catch up with old friends, meet their students, and hear about everyone’s research, preferably over a good meal.  Oh, and the panels are usually very interesting, too!

Besides your professional work, what other interests and/or hobbies do you enjoy?

Pretty much everything interests me.  I do a lot of photography, including for my publications.  I love shoes and bags; the Ferragamo Shoe Museum in Florence and the Purse Museum in Amsterdam are two of my favorites. I also have in mind to write a novel about drug running in Prague during the late communist era.  It probably won’t happen.