Hannes Richter

Recounting the Fulbright Year Abroad: Alison Frank

Hannes Richter


Alison FrankAlison Frank

I was in Austria for the academic year 2003-2004.  My research on the Habsburg Empire made Vienna a logical choice.  The archival materials in the Austrian State Archives and the published materials at the Austrian National Library are essential sources for historians interested in Central Europe. 

Thanks to the Fulbright, I was able to complete my first book manuscript, which was published in 2005.  The Fulbright gave me the chance to begin professional friendships with my colleagues in Austria, as well as other fellows from East European countries. It gave me the chance to come to understand Austria in a way I never could have hoped to without living there. 

Thanks to the connections I made while in Austria, several years later my work was featured at the Technical Museum in Vienna (during an exhibit on the Galician oil industry).  My son, who was two years old during the year we spent in Vienna, still remembers his year in Austria and the friends he made in nursery school there. 

I have actually had the privilege of going to Europe on a Fulbright twice -- once to Austria and once to Poland.  These trips changed my life.  I am deeply grateful to the Fulbright Program for making it possible for me to immerse myself in a different language and a different culture -- for me, this immersion is the prerequisite for sensitive historical study.

Alison Frank
Harvard University (2003-2004)