2016-17 Postdoctoral Fellow

Una Bergmane

Una Bergmane is the 2016-17 Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. During her time at Cornell, she will further her research, publish her work, and contribute to the intellectual life of the center. 

Una Bergmane
Una Bergmane

Bergmane's postdoctoral project uses the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact debate in the USSR during 1987-1991 as a case study for examining the role of collective memory and historical myths in the power relations between the center and the republics during the breakup of the Soviet Union. It will involve archival source-based research connecting two distinct research fields: memory studies and historiography. Matthew Evangelista, director of the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, will serve as her faculty mentor during the fellowship.

Bergmane will also teach an undergraduate course titled “The fall of the USSR” in the spring of 2017. This course examines the main factors that caused the collapse of the Soviet superpower at the end of the Cold War by situating the events of 1985-1991 in the wider context of Soviet history and post-1991 developments. Situated at the intersection of history and political science, this class aims to provide both the theoretical tools and the factual knowledge necessary to lead an independent and critical reflection on the Soviet disintegration process.

At the end of the semester, students should be able to assess the multicausal explanations of the Soviet collapse and critically question the narratives that both media and policy makers use to make sense of these events today. The class will also encourage reflections on the similarities and differences between the methodological approaches employed by historians and political scientists. 

About Una Bergmane

Bergmane holds a PhD from Sciences Po Paris with the highest distinction for her work on French and U.S. foreign policy during the disintegration of the USSR. Prior to coming to Cornell, She was a Fox Fellow at Yale University and a visiting researcher at Turku University, Finland. Bergmane's doctoral research focused on a topic that became particularly relevant in the context of the Ukrainian crisis: the limits and stakes of Western engagement with countries traditionally perceived to be within the Soviet/Russian zone of influence. In her dissertation, “French and American reactions toward the disintegration of the USSR: the case of Baltic States 1989-1991,” she used Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian relations with France and the United States to analyze the impact of Western direct contacts with Soviet republics on the so-called “Soviet nationality problem.” This comparative research traced the internal and external factors that influenced French and American foreign policy positions on Baltic claims for independence, and discussed the role of perceptions and images in the international relations.

Her work has appeared in French academic reviews such as Relations Internationales and Revue d’Histoire Diplomatique, and she has written book chapters on Baltic public diplomacy (in: Louis Clerc, Nikolas Glover, Paul Jordan (eds.) Histories of Public Diplomacy and Nation Branding in the Nordic and Baltic Countries), and archival research methodology (in: Guillaume Devin (ed.) Méthodes de recherche en relations internationales).

Prior to her doctoral studies, Bergmane obtained a master's degree in international relations from Sciences Po Paris, and a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Latvia.

Bergmane's office is located at 154 Uris Hall. Her email address is upb2@cornell.edu, and she can be reached at (607) 255 2248.

Selected Projects and Publications 






A conversation with Una Bergmane: Einaudi Center