The platform includes the following fellowship programmes:
1) Independent Fellowship programme for Bulgarian Junior Scholars and Bulgarian Academic Diaspora (since 2019) is financed by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science and provides support for young Bulgarian scientists and researchers from the Bulgarian diaspora. It envisages: a) 5 nine-month scholarships per year for young Bulgarian scholars (including one month in a foreign institution); b) 2 three-month scholarships per year for representatives of the Bulgarian academic diaspora working in foreign academic institutions.
2) Pforzheimer Fellowship Programme (2019–2025), supported by a donation of the American philanthropist and bibliophile Carl H. Pforzheimer III, provides for three 5-month scholarships per year to outstanding Bulgarian researchers and university professors.
3) Independent Fellowships for International Scholars (2011-2024) are granted to outstanding non-Bulgarian scholars (senior and junior) to pursue their individual research projects in residence in Sofia. The programme is supported by the Porticus Foundation.
4) Gerda-Henkel Fellowships (2016-2025) are aimed at scholars in the fields of the historical humanities and social sciences from the countries of the former Soviet Union and Turkey. The programme is funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation.
5) Social Relevance of the Humanities (2020-2024) are guided by the belief that there is a considerable added value for humanities scholars across the academe, whatever their field, to be encouraged to rethink their topics in terms of their broader contemporary relevance (be it political, ethical, religious or academic), yet necessarily of significance for the world we are living in. The program addresses international scholars and is funded by the Porticus Foundation.
6) Landis and Gyr Artistic Fellowships (2017-2028): this programme is aimed at stimulating and promoting the creative work of artists from various fields – writers, musicians, painters, sculptors, actors, film directors, architects, etc. by integrating them in a community of human and social scholars and spurring interaction between theoretical research and the arts. The fellowship programme has been comported of the Landis & Gyr Foundation (Switzerland).
Calls for applications under the above programmes are announced each year in November on the CAS web-page.
Selection is carried out by the CAS Academic Advisory Council – a jury comprising internationally renowned scholars from different academic fields.
The Development of the Executive Power in Balkan Constitutionalism
The idea of the project is to comparatively analyze the historical development of the executive power in the states allocated in the South-East corner of the European continent. I will explore the constitutional development of the executive of the Balkan states from the start of their constitutional statehood till the present moment. The idea is to grasp the process of formation of the national executive institutions and the main trends of their development.
The substantial scope of the research will be concentrated on the central institutions of the executive power - the head of state, the government, the ministers and possibly some other state organs belonging to the national executive. The executive power institutions will be examined not only as isolated phenomena. The typical institutional interactions permitted by the constitutions, that is to say the constitutional dynamics will also be explored.
There are four main initial hypotheses on which the project is based. First, the constitutional design of the executive power of the Balkan states is shaped predominantly by the reception of foreign prototypes as well as by their functional adaptation by the ruling local elites. Second, the separation of powers is imbalanced in favour of the head of the executive power in the political practice. Third, the establishment of strong and even autocratic executive is perceived as strengthening of the state authority. Fourth, the modernization of the Balkan societies is imposed from above by the ruling elites with the key role played by the executive power institutions.
The general purpose of the proposed project is to create a comprehensive and scientifically verified picture of the institutional design and the political performance of the executive power of the Balkan states. The need to explore exactly the executive power is predetermined by the fact that the head of state and the government are the driving forces behind the modernization and authority building of the Balkan states after the emergence of their national statehood. The study will contribute to the development of a better understanding of the process of western prototypes' reception in peripheral European jurisdictions. It must also be stressed that the better understanding of the evolution and the current status of the national executive power institutions has also European dimension for the reason that the national prime ministers, ministers and in some cases also the heads of state are key veto players in the executive multilevel constitutionalism of the EU. Hence the institutional design and the political attitudes of the national executives of the Balkan EU member states (Greece, Cyprus, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria and in the near future Croatia) that have been moulded in the national history have impact on the policy making in the European Union.
The current project aims to study the legitimisation of the communist regime in the so called era of early communism (Stalinism) in Bulgaria through national identification as one of the actual elements of modern individual identification. The object of study will be theatrical discourse (as historically constructed expression) between late 1944 to the end of 1950. I will be interested in how the symbols communism were asserted by breaking and transforming the elements of an already existing expression, established in the pre- World War Two period symbols of national mythology, which meanwhile it ideologically declared "reactionist and "fascist". Or otherwise, I will be looking for the answer of the question how the communist regime redirected national identity.
The goal of the research will be to find out how the communist regime along with the institutional changes and symbol terror it introduced in public activities also dealt with images, cultural attitudes and stereotypes that consolidated society, among which those relating to national identification in order to acquire social legitimacy and support. Historical reconstruction and discursive analysis of theatre as a socio-symbolic practice from the point of view of redirecting national identification would reveal some mechanisms of transforming cultural experience and its ideological utilisations. It would help understand how images and notions were produced in theatre (as a community with a memory of its own), but also how they were presented in society - through the new audiences theatre attracted and their interpretation in the media.
The present research project studies the phenomenon of venerating Serbian kings and princes in the late thirteenth and the first half of the fourteenth century, with particular emphasis on those who should not be reasonably considered saints like Stephen Uroš I or Dragutin. The emphasis lies on the real-time strategies employed by these particular rulers to place their reigns within the spatial, institutional and ideological framework established in the past with the holy foundations of Stephen Nemanja. It is an effort to discuss the politics of memory within the Serbian space during the period in view of the integration of the expanding territory of the kingdom along deliberate parallels between realm and monastic foundations.
The project examines royal hagiography under the Nemanjić dynasty in thirteenth and fourteenth century Serbia - a phenomenon in which the veneration of holy relics and the commemoration of dead rulers overlapped and promoted the idea of a holy dynasty. This idea is best expressed in the Lives of Serbian Kings and Archbishops by Danilo II (d. 1337) and the royal genealogical trees in several churches. The present study focuses most specifically on the connection between sacral space and territorial expansion. The working hypothesis is that Danilo's quasi-hagiographical accounts of the lives of Stephen Uroš I (d. 1277) and his family were not after-the-fact rationalizations of the rulers' pious politics, but the culmination of a policy of connecting their dead bodies to a network of monastic foundations that formed the nucleus of the territorial base of the Serbian monarchy.
The research project aims to study the conditions that make possible contemporary sociology to play the role of both a legitimate and an efficient social critique. The hypothesis of the research is that that possibility depends on the capacity of sociology to embed its project in the normative expectations of social actors, thus guaranteeing its legitimacy, but to formulate on this basis an ambitious critical perspective transcending any particular viewpoint and relevant to the current complex forms of domination.
The hypothesis will be tested through the example of Luc Boltanski's pragmatic sociology of the critique which will be studied in comparison to other social-critical projects: Zizek's and Badiou's radical social critique as well as Honneth's critical social theory. The research implies also the construction of a theoretical model of social critique through the implementation of the conceptual tools of Boltanski's pragmatic sociology to the case of the national strike of the Bulgarian schoolteachers in autumn 2007.
The project is based on the assumption that social critique has been playing a growing role in philosophy and sociology during the last decade. This renewed importance of social critique should be understood as an intellectual mobilization aimed at conceiving of social and political projects capable to oppose the globally triumphant neoliberalism, the increasing "economization" of social relations, the growth of social inequalities, and the going deeper feelings of injustice, disrespect and humiliation.
The research I intend to carry out at the CAS will concern voluntary associations in the ancient Mediterranean world. Several studies have taken up this subject in the last decade. Yet, I shall discuss the data (texts, artifacts, excavated architectural structures) from an entirely different angle based on an approach that I have developed in the last years in Münster. This new perspective enables me to analyze the data within a broader context, to offer wide-ranging explanations of the phenomena, and explore new ways for the comparison of these data with other ancient as well as modern sources.
One of the main objectives of this project is to reconstruct - so far as it is possible - the medieval cultural identity of the town of Sofia.
Undoubtedly, medieval Sardica/ Serdica/ Sredets/ Triaditsa/ Sofia was neither a real factor nor an imaginary topos the rank of Constantinople. However, for part of the Balkan population the town functioned in much the same way, especially at the level of Christian eschatology and political teleology. That is why the reconstruction of its cultural memory could create sound grounds for reconstructions of the memory of other Balkan towns whose history and/or identity were connected with those of Serdika/ Sredets/ Sofia. Last but not least, such a study would make it possible to comprehend more correctly the mechanisms of functioning of the Byzantine memory, because the way in which the "golden age" (if the archaeologists are to be trusted) of Sofia - the period between 4th and 6th centuries AD - was conceived and memorized was totally dependant on the short-term purposes and long-term projects of the ideologists of Constantinople - the New Rome.
The second objective, which is closely connected with the first one, is to draw attention to one, until now underestimated, aspect of the mentioned processes, namely, what were the side effects on the neighboring urban settlements of the formation of the identity of a multicultural and multiethnic super-town the type Constantinople was from the middle of the 4th century AD to the end of the Medieval times, and even much later, no matter its real political and economical resources.
Special emphasis will be laid on the dynamics of the changes in the memory of/about Medieval Bulgaria in the period following the Liberation (1878), during the totalitarian regime (1944-1989) and after the fall of the totalitarian regime (1989), which coincided respectively with the incoming of the age of national states followed by the formation of international identity and the period of globalization. The focus will be on the processes - different in nature, however, having as a result the same shockingly all-embracing amnesia - of the formation of the memory of the "Byzantine past" of the town, which actually encompasses its whole medieval history.
The main task for my project is to develop the theme of the problem of universals as a factor of self-identity of the intellectual culture of Byzantium. For it I will suggest a general overview of the theory of universals in the 4th-14th century AD Byzantine intellectual culture.
Under "Byzantine philosophy" I understand the philosophical tendencies in the Christian intellectual culture of Byzantium. As a rule, these philosophical tendencies in Byzantium were tied with the development of theological thought.
I discern three traditional periods in Byzantine culture and civilization: the Early Byzantine, Middle Byzantine and Late Byzantine periods. I will point out the specifics of the development of problems of universals in Byzantium in each of these periods.
I consider the outset of Byzantine philosophy to be the first half of 4th century when, beginning with Constantinople's foundation, the political background of Byzantine civilization started to be formed and the foundations were laid of the future Byzantine philosophical tradition. For this reason, following Katerina Ierodiakonou, I shall consider themes, which are tied with the Byzantine thought, beginning with authors who lived in 4th century. My review will end with the Palamite controversy.
It seems to me that if we are to speak about the development of the doctrine of universals in the Byzantine thought, three factors are to be distinguished: firstly, the theological factor, secondly, the factor of the influence of popular non-scholarly philosophical views, such as commonplace Aristotelianism, and, thirdly, the factor of direct influence of the Antique school philosophy.
In Byzantium the theological factor in the development of the theory of universals was by and large connected with theological dogmatic debates. Thus, regarding the theological factor, it is important to distinguish three main stages in the history of theological debates when the problem of universals played a significant role and when it was developed. These are: in the Early Byzantine period: 1) the stage of the formation of philosophical tendencies in Byzantium in the 4th century AD during the Arian debates, and 2) the stage of the Chalcedonite/Monophysite debates in the 6th-8th century; in Late Byzantine period: 3) the stage of the Palamite controversy in the 14th century.
Regarding the influence of non-scholarly philosophical views, it should be noted that during the Arian debates, the commonplace Aristotelian discourse of generality was adopted and established in the Byzantine thought, and the discussion on the specifics of understanding of the Aristotelian discourse of generality is relevant both to the Arian and the Chalcedonite/Monophysite debates.
Talking about the factor of scholarly philosophy, to my mind, two philosophical schools are to be discussed: there were various influences of Athens and Alexandrian Neo-Platonic schools on Christian philosophizing authors concerning the theme of universals. These schools introduced into Byzantine philosophy two different ways of understanding universals.
The influence of these schools on the Christian authors in Byzantium dates back to VI c., i.e. the Early Byzantine period. The influence of the Athens school is tied with the discourse of hierarchy of universals-beginnings of created beings introduced in the Byzantine philosophical thought by the author of the so called Corpus Areopagiticum (the beginning of 6th century) who adopted this discourse from the scholarch of Athenian School of Neo-Platonism Proclus. The topic of hierarchy of universals-beginnings of created beings, introduced into the Byzantine philosophical discourse by the author belonging to, evidently, the Monophysite party (by the author of the Corpus Areopagiticum), was adopted by the Chalcedonists, but didn't play a meaningful role in the Chalcedonite/Monophysite debates; however, this very topic became the subject of polemics later in the Middle Byzantine period, and, especially, in the Late Byzantine period within the Palamite controversy. The appearance of the topic of hierarchy of beginnings relates to the change of manner of description of participation of an individual in a common.
The influence of the Alexandrian school is tied with the name of Ammonius of Alexandria, a pupil of Proclus. Within Ammonius' philosophical school the triple manner of understanding of universals was developed - as existing prior to the things, in the things and after the things - which influenced, basically, philosophical thought in Middle Byzantium, mostly in the school at Constantinople.
This project is grounded on the theoretical premise that ‘religion' is a specific way for dealing with social and political realities, and addressing both collective and existential anxieties. Its aim is to study the ways in which crisis, and thinking in terms of an ‘end' (of world, of time, of history), meet and influence each other in the everyday practices and beliefs of Balkan people at the turn of the 21st century.
The ravages of nationalism and national struggles, including wars, the proliferation of religiously fuelled conflicts, and more recently painful transition from ‘socialism' to democracy and market capitalism, contributed to shape the Balkan cultures as ‘cultures of pain' assorted to high expectation for salvation. My purpose is to explore the relationships between socioeconomic and political change, popular ideas of end-of-world and salvation, and some emblematic figures of eschatological beliefs.
The main purpose of this project is to explore the complex relationships between (a) radical political change and rapid socioeconomic shifts experienced in most of the Balkan countries since 1989, (b) the most popular ideas of end-of-world and salvation at the turn of the 21st century, or the millennium, and (c) traditional and new emblematic figures of eschatological beliefs.
In his Archeology of Knowledge (1969) Michel Foucault defined the positivity of discourse as that aspect of scientific practice which identifies different "oeuvres" as belonging to a single "discursive formation" and the interpositivity as the configuration of several discursive formations that is "the law of their communications". Generally, the fully developed sciences tend to stress the side of positivity at the expense of interpositivity.
Mathematics is a paradigm case of this phenomenon, because it successfully obscured the metaphysical origins of its most vexing theoretical problems. That is why I intend to explore the interactions between the epistemic frameworks of neo-Kantian philosophy and abstract mathematics in the German academic milieu around the turn of the XX century. The disclosure of these interactions is important, because the philosophical dimensions of mathematical concepts are part of what Foucault called the "unsaid", i.e. the background of the enunciative field of pure mathematics.
According to the official ideology of the socialist regime the profession of lawyers is doomed to disappear. However, this prophecy did not come true. In this project I will analyze the transformation of a liberal profession into a "state profession", using as an example the case of lawyers in socialist Bulgaria. The goal of the project is to help expand the research scope of sociology and history of professions under the conditions of soviet-type socialist regimes. The profession will be analyzed as a socio-and-historical construct rather than an objectively existing reality.
The project further aims to go beyond the state of the art and review the concept of "soviet-type professions" and to show that local specifics and inherited history play their part and lead to different types of professional, economic, and political practices.
The findings of the analysis will be compared to the results of a secondary analysis of data and literature concerning the soviet model of the lawyers' profession. The comparative study will show how the soviet model of the profession was applied in Bulgaria and will explore its local specifics.