Christian Peterson, an adjunct instructor of History in Ferris State University’s College of Arts, Sciences and Education, will spend two months at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, as one of seven recipients of the Visegrad Scholarship offered by the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives.
Peterson said the award provides him access to OSA materials during May and June 2020, and the ability to engage other Visegrad recipients and scholars with access to the archives.
“I intend to do research for my book, Changing the World from Below: The Transnational Struggle for Peace, Human Rights, and a People’s Détente,” Peterson said. “I know that this learning experience will enhance my abilities as an instructor.”
Peterson said one of the areas he intends to explore pertains to Czechoslovakian writers and their ability to relay their works to Western publishers during the Cold War.
“Private citizens who were isolated by this divide were able to use the issues of human rights and peace to advance their message, illustrate the injustice of those positions, and bring about change,” Peterson said. “The global attention given to transnational debates hastened the collapse of European communism and gave rise to democracies in Eastern Bloc countries.”
Peterson became a member of the Ferris faculty in 2010 and received the university’s Academic Scholar Award in 2017. He has written several book chapters, including “Seeing the Value of the Helsinki Accords: Human Rights, Peace, and Transnational Debates about Détente, 1981-1988,” which appeared in The CSCE and the End of the Cold War, Diplomacy, Societies and Human Rights, 1972-1990, available through Berghahn Books.