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My research at the Rockefeller Archive Center focused on the records of the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council. Some materials from the Nelson A. Rockefeller papers and the Rockefeller University archives were also consulted. The primary goal of my research was to identify the role of the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations in supporting collaboration across the Iron Curtain in the humanities.Upon arriving at the Archive Center and gaining an initial insight and a better overview of the potentially relevant materials, I complemented my original research agenda with an additional aspect. I realized that among the records of both the Rockefeller and the Ford Foundations, a large number of collections deal with humanitarian actions that benefited Hungarian refugees leaving their country in 1956 and 1957, after Soviet military forces defeated the Hungarian revolution and before the borders were closed and strictly controlled. While it was known that American philanthropic foundations were involved in humanitarian aid, existing scholarship in the field has not reported on the extent of their involvement. The Rockefeller and Ford Foundations gained passing mentions at best, or not at all. Considering the potential benefits for the international research community, I decided to cover these numerous records during my stay. The number of documents on Hungarian refugee aid far exceeded the amount of materials on soft cultural diplomacy in Hungary. Considering that previous researchers have already reported on Ford Foundation's Eastern European Fund, probably, the most important cultural diplomatic effort targeting the region during the early Cold War (that I covered myself to gain firsthand knowledge on the program), I will rather focus in this report on what other researchers did not.
The Ford Foundation, the Cultural Cold War, and the Russian Diaspora in the USA: A Case Study of the Free Russia Fund / East European Fund (1951-1961)January 1, 2016
I formulated the aims of my research as the following: -- to discover specific ties between charitable organizations such as the Ford Foundation, government, and society in the USA during the Cold War era, using a case study of Free Russia Fund / East European Fund; to study an institutional history of Free Russia Fund / East European Fund, its organization, financing, functioning, and liquidation; to clarify the role of Russian émigrés in establishing and maintaining different enterprises, supported by Free Russia Fund / East European Fund; to study general tendencies of the development of Russian-language community in the USA in the 1950s and the impact of American philanthropy on it.
The archival work I carried out in the Rockefeller Foundation Archives forms one of the chapters in my doctoral dissertation. Whereas most historians assume that European Jewry ended in 1945 and gave way to America and Israel as the new centers of Jewish life, I argue otherwise. My dissertation shows that in the case of Italy, a vibrant European Jewish culture continued among refugee émigrés in the British Mandate of Palestine and in the United States, and among postwar survivors in Italy. This study reveals that despite the catastrophic effects of the Holocaust, Italian Jews maintained their attachment to Italy and to their prewar communal traditions well after the war.
My research on the "Texts and Contexts of the Filipino Diaspora" analyzes a wide range of issues concerning Filipino migration history. For instance, it scrutinizes the effects of migration on the family and investigates the subaltern position of Filipino women. It traces the political and economic origins of the body trade and probes the anonymity of the Filipino intelligentsia abroad. It critiques the death of the native as far as Filipino identity is concerned. It also shows the role of individual philanthropists, non-government organizations, church organizations, and supranational institutions in advancing the human rights of Filipinos in foreign lands.
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