Recent PhD Completes Innovative Dissertation

Amanda Swain recently completed her Ph.D. in Russian and East European History. Her dissertation, “A Death Transformed: The Political and Social Consequences of Romas Kalanta’s Self-Immolation, Soviet Lithuania, 1972,” analyzed Soviet and post-Soviet interpretations of the 1972 self-immolation of a young Lithuanian man and the street demonstrations that followed in his funeral.  In addition to using sources as diverse as KGB reports from 1972 and YouTube videos from 2009, Amanda conducted nearly 50 interviews with people who participated in or observed the street demonstrations. 

As a doctoral candidate, she received a 2010-2011 Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award for research in Lithuania.  While at the University of Washington, she was actively involved with the Baltic Studies Program and the Simpson Center for the Humanities. Prior to entering the doctoral program, Amanda spent ten years with cultural nonprofits, providing public humanities programs to communities in both Washington State and Arizona. She is currently a post-doctoral lecturer in the UW History Department and the History Writing Center Instructor and also exploring career opportunities both in and outside of academia. In the meantime, she is beginning a book manuscript based on her dissertation research.