KU News Release


June 17, 2011
Contact: Hodgie Bricke, International Programs, 785-864-6161

Boren Graduate Fellowship to aid KU history student’s study of Slavs and steel

More Information

LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas doctoral student in history from Pittsburgh, Pa., has received a 2011 Boren Graduate Fellowship to study in Ukraine.

Dezeree Marie Hodish received the fellowship to conduct research for her dissertation, which will compare the process of urban acculturation for Ukrainian and Russian workers in the sister cities of Donetsk, Ukraine, and her hometown, Pittsburgh, Pa.

“As sister cities, both are known for their industrial legacies, and in both places, large numbers of Ukrainians and Russians fed the growing demand for labor,” Hodish said.

With the Boren fellowship, Hodish will spend nearly 12 months in Ukraine completing her dissertation, titled “Slavs and Steel: The Role of Social Organizations in the Construction of Industrial Cities.”

“The fellowship will allow me to complete research for the Ukrainian side of my project in local, regional and national archives in Donetsk, Dnipropetrovs’k, and Kyiv,” Hodish said.

Hodish is the 21st KU student to receive a Boren fellowship since the program began in 1991.

Her dissertation will focus on social organizations, particularly cultural, educational, leisure and religious groups in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She wants to highlight which aspects of acculturation and resistance occurred because of the process of urbanization and which were unique to the national setting. She hopes her research will show the effects of the local, regional and central governments on the ability of immigrants to form and maintain social networks.

“Focusing on these largely unstudied organizations will allow me to investigate how new urban-dwellers adapted to the different lifestyle of a modern, diverse, cosmopolitan setting, while maintaining their cultural identities,” Hodish said.

The Boren fellowship will also allow Hodish to take Ukrainian language classes at Donetsk National University. She is proficient in Russian and Ukrainian. Previously, she received a U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship to study Russian in Russia and two Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowships from KU’s Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies to study Russian at KU. She has also received research grants from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Minnesota to conduct research in their special collections for her dissertation.

At KU, Hodish has been a graduate teaching assistant for two history classes: Introduction to Russian History and Huns, Turks and Mongols: The Nomad Factor in Asian History.

She plans to complete her doctorate in 2014. Hodish received a master’s in history from KU in 2010 and a bachelor’s in history and political science from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008. She is the daughter of Marie Hodish of Pittsburgh, Pa.

Funded by the National Security Education Program, the Boren Graduate Fellowship Program provides U.S. students opportunities to study regions critical to U.S. interests, including Africa, Asia, central and eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East.


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