Duncan MacLean Eaton

Graduate Student


I am a historian of nineteenth and twentieth century Europe, with a focus on political and economic history. Through my work I am primarily interested in connecting regional histories to the development of national and transnational institutions throughout Central and Southeastern Europe. My previous research has dealt with topics including Austro-Slavist political thought, romantic nationalism in Central Europe, and transnational Slavic cultural institutions and clubs. Prior to coming to Cornell, I worked for the International Relations Office at Charles University’s Faculty of Arts helping to administrate the East and Central European Studies program.

Committee:  Cristina Florea, Nicholas Mulder and Enzo Traverso

Research Focus

My dissertation focuses on the intersection of economic policy and regional political organisation—particularly in regard to autonomist and secessionist politics—in interwar rural Slovakia. Through this work I am concerned with the political organisation of Slovak farmers and foresters in anticipation of—and in response to—policies such as major trade tariffs that affected the agricultural sector, land reform efforts by the Czechoslovak government, and the effects of the 1929 depression on rural livelihood. My choice to focus on rural Slovakia during this period is due to the prevalence of support for Slovak autonomy from Czechoslovakia amongst these communities, as well as the relatively large portion of the Slovak economy that agriculture constituted when compared to the rest of Czechoslovakia. By placing Slovakia’s rural inhabitants as active participants in the state-building project of the First Czechoslovak Republic through their political and economic dealings, I seek to cast the development of Slovak national identity as a contingent and dynamic process. Additionally, I wish to challenge histories of interwar Czechoslovakia that present the state-building project as doomed from the outset due to perceived intrinsic cultural, political, and religious differences between Czechs and Slovaks.


[Review] "Nationalism in the Post-Soviet Realm, Review of Diana T. Kudaibergenova, Toward Nationalizing Regimes: Conceptualizing Power and Identity in the Post-Soviet Realm," H-Socialisms, H-Net Reviews, March 2022. 

[Op-ed] “Czech Freefall,” "Sidecar" New Left Review blog, October 20, 2021.