Dr. Katja Wezel (Feodor Lynen Fellow, Humboldt Foundation)

From December 2021 to May 2023 Katja Wezel works as Feodor Lynen Fellow funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Germany) at the University of Latvia in Riga She is working on her book project “Riga as a Global Port City. From Imperial Russia’s Most Successful Trading Hub to Latvia’s First Center of Trade.” Previously, she worked as research associate at the University of Göttingen (2018-2021) and taught as the DAAD Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh (2013-2018).

Katja Wezel studied History and English at the University of Heidelberg, the University of Wales in Aberystwyth, and the European University in St. Petersburg. She received her PhD in 2011 at the University of Heidelberg for a thesis on memory politics in Latvia, published in German as Geschichte als Politikum. Lettland und die Aufarbeitung nach der Diktatur (Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2016)

Wezel, Katja (2021): “The Most Successful Trading Hub in Late Imperial Russia: Using Historical GIS to Map Riga as a Global Port City.” In: Journal of East Central European Studies/Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung 70/3, pp. 389-415. DOI:10.25627/202170311017.

Wezel, Katja and Peter Haslinger (2021): “Embracing Digital Technology. New Methods for the Critical Analysis of Sources from Central and Eastern Europe.” In: Journal of East Central European Studies/Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung 70/3, pp. 309-323. DOI: 10.25627/202170311014.

Wezel, Katja (2020): "Riga’s Cheka House — From a Soviet Place of Terror to a Latvian Site of Remembrance?” In: Norris, S. (ed.), Museums of Communism. New Memory Sites in Central and Eastern Europe. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 137-155.

Wezel, Katja (2020): "Doppelte Diktaturerfahrung. Die Erinnerung an stalinistischen Terror und Holocaust im KGB-Haus und Rigaer Ghetto-Museum." In: Radonic, L., Uhl, H. (eds.), Das umkämpfte Museum: Zeitgeschichte ausstellen zwischen Rekonstruktion und Sinnstiftung. Bielefeld: Transcript, pp. 263-280.

Wezel, Katja (2020): "Memory Conflicts as Barrier for Reconciliation: Post-Soviet Disputes between the Baltic States and Russia.” In: Gardner Feldman, L. et al. (eds.), Societies in Transition. The Former Soviet Union and East Central Europe between Conflict and Reconciliation. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, pp. 131-146.

Brüggemann, Karsten and Katja Wezel (2019): “Nationally Indifferent or Ardent Nationalists? On the Options of Being German in Russia’s Baltic Provinces, 1905-1917.” In: Kritika. Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 20/1, pp. 39-62.

Wezel, Katja (2017): “Transcending Borders: Riga’s Baltic German Entrepreneurs in an Era of Nationalism, Revolution and War.” In: Journal of Baltic Studies 48/1, pp. 39–54.

Wezel, Katja (2017): "Introduction: Baltic German Perceptions of Belonging in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century." In: Journal of Baltic Studies 48/1, pp. 1–12.

Wezel, Katja and Stefan Donecker (2017): Special Issue “Baltic German Perceptions of Belonging in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century,” In: Journal of Baltic Studies 48/1.

Wezel, Katja (2016): “The Unfinished Business of Perestroika. Latvia’s Memory Politics and its Quest for Acknowledgement of Victimhood in Europe.” In: Nationalities Papers 44/4, pp. 560–577. DOI: 10.1080/00905992.2016.1142520

The research project "The Cosmopolitan City. Riga as a Global Port and International Capital of Trade (1861-1939)” draws on economic, cultural, spatial and digital history. It maps Riga as a global port city using historical GIS as a tool to analyze trade networks and economic interdependencies. The study examines the contribution of cosmopolitan merchants and polyglot entrepreneurs for Riga’s development, its rise as a metropolis and imperial Russia’s most successful export harbor. The project also emphasizes and visualizes Riga’s networks with trading partners in western Europe, the Russian hinterland, as well as the Americas and even Australia. The relatively long research period from 1861 to 1939 allows a longue durée approach and the comparison of two very different time periods: 1) Riga before World War I, a multi-ethnic economic metropolis and major port of the Russian Empire, in which the city’s Baltic Germans dominated both economy and trade; and 2) Riga after World War I as capital of Latvia, where Latvians took the lead while at the same time cooperating with the city’s ethnic minorities, especially Baltic Germans and Jews, for Riga's economic revival.