Professor Claire Nolte

Curriculum Vitae

Claire Nolte is Professor of History at Manhattan College in New York City, where she was Chairperson of the History Department from 2001-2009, and Director of the Program in International Studies from 1996-2000. She was Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Bucknell University from 1992-1993, and Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri from 1991-1992. She completed her Ph.D. at Columbia University in 1990 with a concentration in East Central European History. She has received fellowships and grants from the Fulbright Program, the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Historical Association, and the Woodrow Wilson Center for Advanced International Studies.

Research project at the Kolleg

Like many European cities, Prague changed dramatically in the course of the nineteenth century. Rapid industrialization caused the population of the city and its surrounding suburbs to explode, as peasants from the Czech-speaking countryside moved into the growing city. In 1857, German-speakers claimed to comprise over one-third of the population of Prague, but by 1910 only 7% counted themselves as German. While this process was driven by economic and demographic changes, as well as by new notions of identity, it was also manipulated by the emerging Czech leadership of the city. Following the liberalization of the Habsburg Empire, the first Czech mayor of the city was elected in 1861, launching an era of Czech domination of city government that continued until World War I. The Czech governments of Prague undertook to remake their city into a modern metropolis and cultural center with a distinctive Czech character. In addition to dismantling the city's walls, razing its ghetto, and introducing gas and electric works, streetcars, and modern sanitation, they also erected large, new public buildings and imposing monuments. Expressing the national program in their architecture and decor, these new buildings were a form of symbolic politics. As the new face of the city began to take shape, its leaders sought to promote it as a Czech capital to the outside world. They hosted festivals and economic exhibitions that drew visitors from outside the empire in an effort to advance the nation's political and economic agenda on the international level. Their project to czechicize the Bohemian capital laid the foundations for its emergence after World War I as the modern capital of an independent Czechoslovak state. In highlighting the intersection between modernization and nationalization, this study goes beyond the Czech context to contribute to an understanding of the processes of nation-building in the modern world.

Main areas of research

  • The history of the Habsburg Empire, especially the Bohemian Crownlands during the nineteenth century
  • Nationalism
  • Women's History 

Positions and memberships

  • Member, Czechoslovak Studies Association (President, 2004-2007; Vice-President, 1997-2000; Officer-at-Large, 1992-1994)
  • Member, Association of Women in Slavic Studies
  • Member, Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies
  • Member, Phi Beta Kappa (Officer, Upsilon of New York Chapter, 1993-2009)