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.
While conducting my PhD fieldwork, I encountered the category of a "new" commodity: the trash. As I was doing the half of my research at a flea-market that was not surprising. Goods originating from trash were of a structural importance to the marketplace I was studying. They were considered related both to the imaginary of the place and to the historical transformation occurring in Bulgaria. That research experiences conditioned my current research interest, which is primarily orientated towards the practical and material dimensions of waste.
In my current project, I'm interested in the way that the construction of waste as social, cultural and historic cathegory, and as individual practices and discourses of throwing away reveal contemporary social transformations. I'm interested both in the dynamics of constitution of the category (what is categorized as devalorized, as unnecessary, as unclean in a historical perspective) and in the individual garbage constitution practices.
The research object is the social transformation studied through the construction of the category as a material culture. The project is focalized on the cultural and practical construction of the category of waste through the example of domestic garbage in Bulgaria through the case of Sofia. It is primarily focused on its understanding and conceptualization as a material culture.
The central thesis is that the definition of an object as garbage could reveal current social transformations, as the phenomenon is a dynamic category in а permanent relation with production and consumption. The garbage represents a border between the acceptable and the inacceptable and I believe through its study social organization could emerge. The separation from objects would mark passages of individual lives and is related to a class identity construction and lifestyle discourses.
The research is focused on biographies, careers and networks of Bulgarian and American nurses as agents of biopolitics in the process of their collaboration during the establishment of the modern nursing education in Bulgaria. The main research base is the intensive correspondence between leading American and Bulgarian nurses in the 20-es - 30-es, as well as their publications. In the way of such "sisterhoods" women exchanged their experiences and reflections on their professional and personal everyday life. The main goal of this project is to contribute to the history of biopolitics in its perspective as history of women as social reformers and agents of biopolitics, as well as to the importance of their "imagined societies" and networks.
The research is focused on the biographies, careers and networks of Bulgarian and American nurses as agents of biopolitics in the process of their collaboration during the establishment of the modern nursing education in Bulgaria. The main research base is the intensive correspondence between leading American and Bulgarian nurses in the 20-es - 30-es preserved in the Nursing School Archive (in the Central State Archive Sofia) as well as their publications (articles, books, reports etc.) Another research source is the correspondence between Nursing School Heads and Bulgarian Nurses who started their practice at that time. Regular correspondence between nurses was a common practice in the first half of the 20th century. Those kind of documentation is an inseparable part of a female biography. Female correspondence was very important in women history. For nurses it was also an important tool to communicate professional information, to establish professional norms and values, to share female images and models. The main goal of this project is to contribute to the history of biopolitics in its perspective as history of women as social reformers and agents of biopolitics as well as to the importance of their "imagined societies" and networks.
This project deals with the formation and transformations of the discipline of anthropology in two South Eastern European countries, Bulgaria and Greece. My aim is to explore in a comparative perspective the institutional and conceptual history of the discipline in the wider context of the establishment of the social and human sciences in the Balkans since the mid-19th century until the present day. My argument is that a comparison between two paradigms developed in the ‘peripheries’ of the ‘Soviet’ and the ‘Western’ epistemological traditions respectively could assist in overcoming the Cold War dichotomies and in giving a new perspective to the intellectual history of the discipline. I intend to follow a double methodological approach: a) an ethnographic study of academic and research institutions and texts, and b) an oral history dealing with the accounts of the social actors that played an active role in the organization and/or proliferation of the discipline in these two countries.
Theoretical reasoning on photography must necessarily include philosophical discourse on the topic; this is particularly needful when discussing phenomena that are indeterminate and hard to define. When studying the phenomenon of photography, it is especially imperative to apply to it the basal philosophic questioning as to the essential nature, or quidditas, of a thing, precisely because it is exceptionally difficult, if not impossible, to say with clarity exactly what photography is in itself: a technical means for reproducing images, a tool of knowledge, a kind of media, an art form, a manipulative strategy, or something else? The dramatic quality of this question has been particularly enhanced in the age of digitalization, when it becomes increasingly difficult to remain within the boundary of the traditional quasi-etymological definition of photography as "drawing with light".
Moreover, the comparatively meager theoretical literature of the last decades tends, as a rule, to bypass, or treat if only incidentally, this precise issue, i.e. the essence of photography. Instead, the relevant works, despite their occasionally deceptive titles (such as "Philosophy of Photography"), have focused mostly on the functioning of the photographic image in a globalized and utterly technicized social and media environment. Contrary to this, the present study sets itself an initial question - "what is it?" (ti esti), what is photography as such? (Further issues derive from this question, such as the means used and the ways of functioning of photography.) The answer is sought by tracing the common traits of a photographic image that define its uniqueness and distinguish it in principle from other representations (such as painting, cinematography, etc.). The leading assumption in undertaking this research is that the inclusion of a photographic representation in a fundamentally syncretic visual environment is justified and effective only if that image succeeds in confirming once again and preserving the specificity that marks it, i.e. if within the whirl of an endless variety of transmissions, overflows and merging, it remains just that - a photographic representation.
The initial hypothesis, around which the study is organized, can be stated thus: Although it is a comparatively new art (the "discovery" of photography was officially announced in the year 1839 by Dominique François Arago in his celebrated report to the French Academy of Sciences), photography is based on, and legitimated through, certain pre-modern (but together with this hyper-modern, transcending the boundaries of classical European modernity) worldview attitudes regarding the status and value of the world that surrounds us, the essential defining features of this world (time, space, movement, light), the regulative characteristic of truth and the acceptable limits of deviation from the truth, authorship and the role of the creator, the nature and purpose of art, the role of technical intermediaries between Man and the world, the dynamic interaction between the image and verbal narrative, the vitality of memory images, and the justifiability of "archives", etc.
In the 1420s, the Roman Catholic Church of Trakai was painted with Byzantine murals composed typically of contemporary Orthodox churches: images were placed within horizontal registers, while northern and part of western wall contained representation of the Last Judgement. Although Byzantine art was not foreign in medieval Lithuania, analysis of the Trakai paintings suggested me that this decoration was not only executed by Orthodox hands, but its iconographic programme originated in Orthodox mind.
At CAS, I will verify the working hypothesis relating the Trakai paintings with the activities of Grigorii Tsamblak (1364–1419/20) in Lithuania. I interpret them as Orthodox mission and see the paintings as visual representation of the missionary ideals. During the fellowship, I will search for formal, stylistic, and iconographic parallels for the Trakai paintings, inquire into the epigraphic patterns used in paintings across the Balkans, and consider understanding of Orthodox mission at the Veliko Turnovo School and in Tsamblak’s written heritage.
The objective of the Popular Culture in Bulgaria in the Era of Communism Project is to study the institutional structures and cultural forms that encompassed and penetrated all sectors in the "deep rear" of the "cultural home front"; to give an understanding of the ideological uniformization of everyday life and the political takeover of the life-worlds of the people who happened to live during this period.
It seeks to take a comprehensive, systematic and consistent approach to the popular culture of communism in Bulgaria, focusing on research and analysis of hitherto uninvestigated phenomena, such as the following:
1. The consensual campaign for creating "a people's culture" as the nucleus of the new official Bulgarian culture which gradually became dominated by Marxism-Leninism in the second half of the 1940s. The end of the inherited bourgeois cultural particularism.
2. The new sites of public cultural exchange as the main site of manifestation of the current socialist cultural policy.
3. "Amateur art activities" (hudozhestvena samodeynost) and "the creativity of the masses". Genre and institutional structure of the system of "amateur art activities".
4. "Bulgarian Television" and the wide TV audience - permanence of programme messages and expansion of cultural audiences. Structure of television programmes in the 1960s and 1970s and their orientation towards new, "active consumers of culture".
5. Leisure time and the problem of "the cultural recreation of working people".
6. The fashion institutions of socialism and periodicals related to their activities.
7. The problem of the so-called "intonational [i.e. sound] environment". Regulations regarding sound-recording practices and music distribution in the 1960s-1980s. Statutory regulation of the video industry in the 1980s.
8. The extreme form of the efforts to take over the life-worlds of the people who happened to live under communism - the new civil rituals.
The history of popular culture under socialism is a history of the inability of the communist ideology to deal with the unpredictable and the destructive and their effects in culture provoked by its own politically implemented and forcibly conducted utopian modernization project.
Youth subcultures (which are defined in particular by music and style) have the potential to erase, or sharpen, the distinctions between class, ethnicity, and gender. Subcultural identity in general is a collective identity, yet it consists of highly individualistic actors, who are active and creative member of their group. Therefore I will focus on ideas of personal identity after 1989. What alternative to ‘mainstream' post-socialist notions of personhood may be offered by these people? What is their vision of a ‘good life'? Such questions can fairly easily be answered with regard to the comparatively well developed Western subcultural "ways of life", where there exists a standard that is widely accepted by these youths. Concerning postsocialist standards "under Construction", it is better to envision youth searching for identity and striving to situate themselves in society even when many ideas of ‘mainstream' society are rejected by the group where the individual participates.
This research shall focus on the emergent personal identity of subculture Punk youth in Bulgaria, which is shaped by the controversy between old (before 1989) and new ideas (after 1989) of the West. The main objective of the research will be to capture the changing identity of the Punks. Fieldwork will be conducted in the urban areas of Sofia, and other big cities in Bulgaria, which are the focal points of contemporary subcultures, combined with short-term trips to UK, where a part of the examined group resides as migrant workers.
The research is focused on the central issue how the new information and communication technologies transform the political process in Bulgaria. There are three main zones of interest and they include the ways in which internet policies influence citizen participation, political representation and democracy.
These fields build the structure of the analysis and are the basis for organizing the key hypotheses: 1). Online activity ("living" online) in itself develops into real political commitment and activism with difficulty. The opportunities for mobilizing less politicized groups by using Internet remain relatively limited; 2). The danger before these activities is for them to remain above all demonstrative in character. As a whole, the changes in political publicity in the new online medium are frequently only cosmetic. Party presence in Internet often boils down only to using the new channel for the traditional needs of political marketing; 3). Internet is a field where different policies - democratic and antidemocratic - clash. That is why the opportunities of Internet to form active and democratic citizens should not be taken for granted. These opportunities should be cultivated and defended in the conditions of political, social and cultural conflicts reproduced on the Web.
The research will seek to answer some key questions as: what is the efficiency of internet politics; what is the potential of politically oriented electronic initiatives for mobilization and support; can the new media contribute to the overcoming of the weaknesses of traditional politics; what influence does internet have on elections; what are the dominating voices in the internet and how is public opinion formed online. The latest technological developments have encouraged an active debate on the opportunities offered by internet politics. This debate is global in scope, but it also has its own local peculiarities. The dynamics of the changes in the field requires an on-going process of re-theorizing basic concepts and political practices.
The project attempts to analyze sociologically the small entrepreneurship in Bulgaria in the comparative perspective of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in the period 1998-2009.
Its object are the owners of micro- and small-enterprises, as well as self-employed.
The research subject is the social embeddedness of economic action of the small entrepreneurs, which is assumed to substantially differ from that of the medium-sized businesses.
Its main objectives are:
(1) To analyze the institutional, network and cultural embeddedness of economic action of the small entrepreneur and their interplay;
(2) To point out the basic similarities and differences in the modes of social embeddedness, on the basis of which to define if there is a common modus operandi of the small entrepreneurship in CEE.
The central research hypothesis is that there is no single and unified model of small entrepreneurship in CEE. Even in the same country different models, as well as typical transitions from one to another can be observed. The distinction between different models can be defined of the basis of the analysis of the interaction between institutional, network and cultural embeddedness of small enterprises.
The research will employ a micro-sociological approach within the context of the economic sociology understood as sociology of economic action.
The subject of this project is the research and identification of the chances for the establishment of a legal society in Bulgaria. In this aspect the project is a continuation of my research efforts, which commence with the monograph "Law and Modernity" and continue in "Bulgarian Legal Metamorphoses". In order to achieve the targets of the research, I will analyze the period from the 90s of the 20th century until the first decade of the 21 century - a period which is mostly referred to as "transitional", with the attempt to outline the time and social framework, which has made possible or impossible the establishment of the modern law as a supreme social regulator of the Bulgarian society. The project will use an analysis of secondary sources and interpretation of results, reached by the author in previous empirical sociological researches with a similar subject.