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CAS Dissertation Prize 2019

October 5, 2019

Congratulations to Katherine Younger, for her dissertation "Contested Confession: The Greek Catholic/Uniate Church in 19th-Century Politics" (Yale University, 2018).

Katherine Younger’s dissertation, “Contested Confession: The Greek Catholic/Uniate Church in 19th-Century Politics” stood out in a strong field of dissertations on Austrian and Habsburg topics. Younger uses the Uniate Church to explore Habsburg and Russian politics, comparing the international diplomacy and internal systems of rules through that lens. Her dissertation impressively complicates this minority religion divided by borders--seeing it as a religious and political entity but also as a cultural and nationalist force.  Her work relies on exhaustive archival research in five countries, deep familiarity with scholarship across several fields and regions, and use of source material in English, German, Italian, French, Latin, Polish, Ukrainian, and Russian.  But the research does more than simply cross linguistic borders in scholarship.  Younger effectively makes broader arguments about religion and power as well as elucidating the history of the church and its contestation in Habsburg and Russian politics.  She articulates an intriguing conception of nineteenth-century politics as a middle station from great power and coercion to mass politics, a model of governance that used “tools of attraction” such as the church to enlist public support. She moves effortlessly between politics on the grand stage to smaller fields of political experience, from capitals and rulers to villagers, and, of course, the bureaucrats that moved between them. This political history traces the ways in which the opinions of the public mattered in concrete ways while also illustrating states’ coercive demands for loyalty, even in the realm of faith. The research, methods, and arguments deserve praise, as does her clear and lucid prose.

Committee:  Caleb Karges, Heather Morrison, and Scott Berg