The programme is pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding which was signed on 8 November 2018 between the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation. It aims to promote and strengthen international, inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary exchange of people and ideas in academia on the basis of scientific excellence, mutual benefit and complementary support. Please see the Memorandum published in State Gazette, Issue 97, p.44.
In agreement with the Memorandum the host of the programme, the Centre for Advanced Study Sofia announces two calls for:
- Five 9-months fellowships for young Bulgarian scholars affiliated at local universities and institutes, and
- Two 3-months fellowships for Bulgarian researchers abroad.
The Turkish (and especially Ottoman Turkish) language periodicals, published after the Bulgarian state was reestablished in 1878, are still an obscure topic even for the scientific community. Building upon a successfully completed preliminary research about locating and digitization of selected periodicals, the main goal of this project is to utilize the publications in those periodicals to reconstruct the image of the Turkish speaking minority population in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian ummah was far from the homogenous entity as it is often deemed to have been. The temporal focus will be the 1923 – 1944 period when the internal segregation among the Muslims reached their peak. The disagreements were rooted in the varied opinions on the reforms of Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) and especially the polemics on the introduction of the new Latin script, which one could speculate literally led to an Alphabet war. Two major groups emerged: Muslim traditionalists and Turkish nationalists, each eager to express and propagate their conflicting views on the newspaper pages.
The project presents a novel for the Bulgarian anthropological field research on a relevant for the Bulgarian environmental policy problem - the human-bear conflicts in the Region of Rodopi mountains, Bulgaria. Mitigation of human-carnivore conflicts is a major challenge to conservation efforts worldwide as well as priority matter in the context of the most relevant debates regarding the development of new conservation models - the so called “convivial” conservation, based on the notion of cohabitation of humans and animals in the context of the new European (and global) realities. The project undertakes these calls by proposing a research on human-carnivor conflicts in a region where people and bears share a common space, failing to find mechanisms for succesful coexistance. It aims to outline the core reasons for the conflicts, asses the inadequacies of the applied conservation policies and contribute to the current conservation debates, boosting the conservation efforts of the Brown bear and Bulgarian conservation policy in particular.
The research project focuses on the development of public health structures in the post-Ottoman realm. I envision a book with a working title, Dutiful Nurses: War, Public Health, and Gender in Southeast Europe (1878-1941), and a series of articles. This is a new research direction for me, which compares the establishment of public health systems in Bulgaria and Serbia, and more specifically the gradual professionalization of nursing in Southeast Europe. In both cases, condensed state-led modernization borrowed wholesale from European, Russian, and American public health and sanitary practices. I focus on the attendant processes of social stratification, labor diversification, and the construction of gendered national healthcare system. I suggest that wars and militarization of the modern post-Ottoman states were the triggering factors of opening new labor and civic opportunities to women of all classes. It was in the interwar period, though, when organizations such as the American Red Cross and the Rockefeller Foundation became more involved in Eastern Europe and contributed substantially to the reorganization of healthcare services. Thus, nursing serves as a window to explore larger issues of building nation states, expanding militarization, establishing capitalist economic order, and increasing social and political divisions.
Between 2006 and 2019, I recorded forty interviews with survivors from the Bulgarian gulag. I employed a methodology based on the “life-stories” model of oral history, developed by the Center for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University. This approach aims at extending the interview beyond the narrative of atrocity to a more in-depth account of each person’s experience. Thus, the project’s findings also shed light on the identity formation of survivors of violence during the communist period and the transitional years. Additionally, one of the main goals of the oral history project was to capture the experience of both men and women, and in this instance, gender played a particularly important role in how people lived through repression. What remains certain and undisputed is that for all of the interviewees, repression is a continued experience, one that outlasts the release from a camp or a prison. All of the men and women who shared their stories are invariably and forever marked by their internment. During my tenure at CAS, I will integrate the testimonies that I collected, together with other personal writings, memoirs and diaries, and video recordings of former camp and prison inmates. This project will result in my second scholarly monograph titled, Survivors Remember: Ethnography and Oral History, a history of the recorded life-stories and personal archives of Bulgarian gulag survivors.
Street names as one of the elements in complex and dynamic urban systems could be considered to be much more than just instruments for practical spatial orientation within the city. The particular focus of the project will be on analysing the changing landscape of historical figures or events in Sofia’s street name signs. Street names are part of the symbolic culture and as such play a certain role in symbolic politics. They can be regarded as a strictly official and an influential channel through which authorities transmit ideas, including their vision of the past. The project will thus seek to examine the place of street naming as a part of symbolic politics and to evaluate the specific roles in the process of different elites. The project will be mainly based on archival research analysing various official documents, including city-council proceedings. The long period to be covered is aimed at reconstructing various layers of changing national values and presenting in a meaningful way changing paradigms in Bulgarian society throughout its modern history.
The project aims at writing a book entitled “Constitutional Semiotics. Theory of Imaginative, Visual and Emotional Discourses in Constitutional Law”. The book will be published with “Hart” publishing, Oxford, UK. The book proposal has underwent two blind peer reviews which were very positive and have led to the conclusion of a publishing agreement.
Main assumption of the project and the book is that the constitution is not merely legal act but is also intellectual product and cultural artefact. The constitution contains normative ideologies and ideas, mythologies, codes and geometric imaginative and ordering forms which stem out of collective constitutional imagination and are result of durable and long-lasting process of evolving constitutional civilization. Consequently, constitutional theory must necessarily address also the performance of the constitution as product of collective imagination and as codification of collective imaginaries.
The project and the book focus on the imaginative and visual discourse of constitutionalism which is built upon such collective constitutional imaginaries and on the peculiar normativity of constitutional geometry and constitutional mythology as borderline phenomena entrenched in both rational and emotional constitutionalism. The book shall demonstrate that the constitution contains symbolic codes. In parallel to its institutional and normative structure it is shaped also through the forms of constitutional geometry. Moreover, the constitution is the legal framework and the ultimate source of collective mythologies, some of which possess visual aspect and may be imagined, ordered and analyzed through the lenses of constitutional geometry. All these findings, related to the imaginative and visual discourse of constitutional law, trigger legitimate recourse to semiotic approach to constitutionalism which is the main object of study of the research project and the book I am proposing.