Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena

Professor Daniela Koleva

Fellow Daniela Koleva

May - July 2016
Mail koleva(at)phls.uni-sofia(dot)bg

Daniela Koleva is Associate Professor at the Department of History and Theory of Culture, Sofia University, Vice Dean (2002-2007) of the Faculty of Philosophy at the same university. She has been awarded research grants at ZRC (Research Centre) of the Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts (2008 and 2010), ECASS University of Essex (2009), GWZO-Leipzig (2008), Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2004), EHESS Paris (2003), MSH Paris (2002). Daniela was a guest-professor at the University of Fribourg (2006, 2009) and guest lecturer at the universities in Regensburg, Tübingen, Lund, Olomouc and others.

Research project at the Kolleg

The Exodus of the Bulgarian Jews after WWII and its Aftermath: Transnational and Transgenerational Remembering The project sets to approach the mass emigration of Bulgarian Jews to Israel (1948-1949) and its aftermath primarily from the point of view of the actors' experiences. How were decisions made? What were the motivations of those who emigrated to leave Bulgaria? What were the arguments of those who stayed not to take this step? How did they feel about it? How did relatives maintain connections between the two countries during the Cold War? What memories and what stories were handed down to the next generation? These questions prioritise subjectivity, agency and experience, attitudes and dispositions, rather than institutional arrangements, ideologies and policies. This is why the project is based mainly on 35 life-story interviews with elderly Jews residing in Bulgaria and Israel. From ist specific perspective, it aims to fill in a gap in the research on the Bulgarian Jews in the 20th century. While their fate during WWII has been not only a topic of research but also an important question of memory politics, it has screened off the topic of the Jewish exodus in the wake of the war. This phenomenon remains under-researched and its consequences for the Jews remaining in the country and their emigrant kinsfolk - even more so.

Main areas of research

  • Oral history
  • Memory studies
  • Anthropology of socialism and postsocialism
  • Gender
  • Cultural heritage
  • Social constructionism

Positions and memberships

  • Member of the Academic board of New Europe College, Bucharest
  • Member of the Advisory Board, Institute for Study of the Recent Past, Sofia
  • Academic associate, Centre for Advanced Study, Sofia
  • Member of the steering committee of the Regional Research Promotion Programme Western Balkans, Fribourg University/ Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
  • Founding member of the Cultural Literacy in Europe (CLE) network
  • Member of the International Association of Southeast European Anthropology
  • Vice-Chair of the Domain Committee Individuals, Societies, Cultures and Health, COST programme (2011-2014)
  • National representative of Bulgaria in the Programme Committee on Priority 7, FP6 and the Programme Committee on Priority 8 (Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities), FP7 (2005-2013)
  • Member of the Board of Geschichtswerkstatt Europa, Leipzig University /Viadrina University/ Stiftung "Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft" (2008-2013)
  • EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARDS: Bulgarska Etnologia, Seminar-bg; Oral History Journal, Martor Anthropology Review, Region, L'Homme. Zeitschrift für feministische Geschichtswissenschaft


Daniela Koleva, Biografia i Normalnost (Sofia: LIK, 2002).Daniela Koleva, Sorokin: kulturologichni idei. (Sofia: Universitetsko izdatelstvo Sv Kliment Ohridski, 1993).

Edited volumes

Daniela Koleva, ed, Tialoto pri socializma: rezhimi i reprezentatsii. Sofia: Riva/CAS (forthcoming).Daniela Koleva and Petya Pesheva, eds, Seminar-BG, no 12, 2015, Kultura za prodan?

Daniela Koleva, ed, Lyubovta pri socializma: obraztsi, obrazi, tabuta. Sofia: Riva/CAS 2015. Naomi Segal and Daniela Koleva, eds, From Literature to Cultural Literacy. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

Daniela Koleva, ed, Smartta pri socializma: geroika i postgeroika. Sofia: Riva/CAS 2013. Peter Coleman, Daniela Koleva and Joanna Bornat, eds, Ageing, Ritual and Social Change: Comparing the Secular and Religious in Eastern and Western Europe (Ashgate AHRC/ESRC religion and society series, 2013).

Daniela Koleva, ed, Negotiating Normality: Everyday Lives in Socialist Institutions (New Brunswick and London: Transaction, 2012). Nicolas Hayoz, Leszek Jesien and

Daniela Koleva, eds, 20 Years after the Collapse of Communism: Expectations, achievements and disillusions of 1989 (Bern-Berlin-Bruxelles-Frankfurt/M.-New York-Oxford-Wien: Peter Lang, 2011).

Krassimira Daskalova, Mary O'Dowd and Daniela Koleva, guest-eds, Women's History Review. Our Twentieth Anniversary. Special Issue: Gender and the Cultural Production of knowledge 20, no 4 (September 2011).

Daniela Koleva and Kostadin Grozev, eds, Istoria, Mythologia, Politika (Sofia: St. Kliment Ohridski University Press, 2011)


Daniela Koleva, 'The monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia: uses and re-uses', Neprikosnovenniy zapas (Debati o politike i kul'ture) no. 3 (2015): 184-202 (in Russian)

Joanna Bornat and Daniela Koleva, 'Working across boundaries with oral history', Oral History Journal 42, no. 2, (Autumn 2014): 29-40.

Daniela Koleva, 'Saints Cyril and Methodius: From Christian sanctity to (trans)national memory', in Gebrochene Kontinuitäten: Transnationalität in den Erinnerungskulturen Ostmitteleuropas im 20. Jahrhundert, edited by Agnieszka Gasior, Agnieszka Halemba and Stefan Troebst (Köln-Weimar-Wien: Böhlau Verlag, 2014), 75-87.

Daniela Koleva, 'Rural, Urban and Rurban: Everyday Perceptions and Practices', in Global Villages: Rural and Urban Transformations in Contemporary Bulgaria, edited by Ger Duijzings (Anthem Series on Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. London-New York: Anthem, 2013), 137-152.

Daniela Koleva, 'Remembering Socialism, Living Postsocialism: Gender, Generation and Ethnicity', in: Peripheral Memories: Public and Private Forms of Experiencing and Narrating the Past, edited by Elisabeth Boesen, Fabienne Lentz, Michel Margue, Denis Scuto, Renée Wagener (Histoire, vol. 36. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2012), 219-237.

Daniela Koleva, 'Belene: remembering the labour camp and the history of memory', Social History 37, no. 1 (February 2012): 1-18.

Daniela Koleva, 'Homo sovieticus surviving democracy? Post-socialist nostalgia in Bulgaria', in Cultural Transformations after Communism: Central and Eastern Europe in Focus, edited by Barbara Törnquist-Plewa & Krzysztof Stala (Lund: Nordic Academic Press, 2011), 149-164.