The CSMCH regularly hosts visiting postgraduate students. This year, we’re very pleased to be welcoming Martina Reiterová, who will be spending two months with us pursuing her research on Celtic revivalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In this post, she tells us more about herself and her work.
Thank you for having me – I am very excited to be part of your Centre, even though it is only for two months.
I am starting my third year of a Ph.D. at Charles University, Prague, under the supervision of Jaroslav Ira, assistant professor at the Seminar of General and Comparative History. This is also where I completed my undergraduate studies. For my Master’s, I was awarded an Erasmus Mundus Scholarship to study at Eötvos Loránd University in Budapest and the EHESS in Paris.
This autumn, I am a Visiting Research Postgraduate Student in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Edinburgh, thanks to the CSMCH director, Emile Chabal, who kindly agreed to supervise me. My visit to Scotland is being funded by the Anglo Czech Educational Fund.
The main objective of my research is to explore the process of formation of collective representation at the turn of the 20th century in the Celtic countries under the influence of local revivalist movements. I compare the particular case studies of Breton, Irish, Scottish and Welsh revivalist groups and their representational strategies to reveal how forms of collective representation can be influenced.
This rather challenging project has brought me to Edinburgh as part of a series of study stays I am undertaking. At the end of last year, I did a research internship in the Centre de recherche bretonne et celtique at the Université de Bretagne Occidentale in Brest, and in May, I also spent a couple of weeks in Aberystwyth in Wales at the National Library, mostly for collecting my sources.
As for the Scottish side of my research project, I am focusing on An Comunn Gaidhealach (The Highland Association) and its activities. It was founded in 1891 with the objectives of cultivating, teaching and promoting Gaelic language, literature, music, and culture. It also launched the annual gathering we all know as Mód, a festival of Gaelic language and literature which offers awards for the best Gaelic performances and texts.
In this respect, Edinburgh is a perfect place for discovering historical sources, most of them in the National Library of Scotland. An substantial part of An Comunn‘s publications are already available online, which is why I will be focusing on the study of unpublished sources, mostly personal archival materials of An Comunn‘s representatives and members.
Edinburgh’s own Special Collections are also an amazing source of information for me and many other researchers. I am excited about having an opportunity to discuss my topic with experts in the field in the Celtic and Scottish studies department, and I hope to uncover additional sources for my research.
I also hope to learn more about the more general Scottish historical context, which is necessary for understanding An Comunn‘s activities. The wide range of Scottish history books in Edinburgh will help me immensely in this task.
Last but not least, I am thrilled to be allowed to participate in the different seminars at Edinburgh, all of which help me to widen my understanding of historical research, in a thematic as well as methodological perspective. This experience is very beneficial to my personal development too.
In short, I am grateful to spend this rather intensive and packed time in Edinburgh. I hope to be able to transmit some of the inspiration from here to Prague as well – and I would be happy to repay you for your hospitality, especially to those interested in Central European History and research opportunities in Prague. Please, do not hesitate to get in touch with me during my time in Edinburgh for a chat, or even afterwards at a distance!
NB. Martina’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.