Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena

Professor Roumen Daskalov

Fellow Roumen Daskalov

January - September 2016
Mail Daskalov(at)nbu(dot)bg

Roumen Daskalov is professor of modern history at the New Bulgarian University in Sofia and recurrent visiting professor at the Central European University in Budapest. He earned his MA and PhD from St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia. He has held various fellowships: Jean-Monnet fellowship at the European University Institute in Florence, fellowship at St. John's College, Oxford University, Mellon fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, N.J., Fulbright fellowship at the University of Maryland - College Park, Humboldt fellowship at Freie Universität - Berlin, fellowship at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS), most recently, an Advanced grant of the European Research Council. He is the author of ten books and more than fifty chapters in volumes and articles

Research project at the Kolleg

Grand Narratives of the Bulgarian Middle Ages
The objective of this research is to study the Bulgarian grand (or master) narrative (Meistererzählung, grand récit) especially of the medieval and the Ottoman past. The national narrative under study encompasses the two medieval Bulgarian kingdoms and the period of Byzantine domination between them as well as the period under Ottoman rule up to the modern epoch. The first building blocks were laid down in the so-called "Romantic" histories of amateur historians during the (national) Revival epoch under the Ottomans. The master narrative was basically elaborated by the new critical "scientific" historiography of the "bourgeois" epoch and it was finally shaped by the increasingly nationalist historiography of the communist period. For a time during the 1950s it was challenged by the counter-narrative (Gegen-Erzählung) of the militant Stalinist historiography with its "socio-economic formations", classes and class struggles, etc., but even then it remained firmly within the national framework and with nationalistic overtones. The dominance of the grand national narrative continued after communism yet not unchallenged by new approaches, more critical of nationalist projections and modernizations, and more reflexive.

Main areas of research

  • Modernization
  • Modern social history
  • Historiography of Bulgaria and the Balkans
  • The entangled and connected history of the Balkans
  • The sociology of Max Weber

Positions and memberships

Editorial Boards

  • 2002-2005 - "Contemporary European History". Cambridge University Press
  • 1994-1999 - "Studia Culturologica", published in Bulgaria
  • 1991-1992 - "Izbor", published in Bulgaria


  • Academia Europaea (since 2013)
  • The Balkan Anthropological Association (1998-1999)
  •  American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (AAASS) in 2000-2002

Advisory Board

  • Institute for the Study of the Recent Past (Sofia)


  • evaluator for the European Commission for projects in FP 6 and FP 7


Debating the Past. Modern Bulgarian History from Stambolov to Zhivkov. Budapest: CEU Press, 367 pp.

(In Bulgarian) From Stambolov to Zhivkov. The Great Debates on the Modern Bulgarian History. Sofia: Gutenberg, 2009, 515 pp.

(In Bulgarian) The Bulgarian Society, 1878-1939.
Vol. 1. State, Politics, Society. Sofia: Gutenberg, 2005, 470 pp.
Vol. 2. Population, Society, Culture. Sofia: Gutenberg, 2005, 575 pp.

The Making of a Balkan Nation. Budapest: CEU-Press, 2004, 285 pp.

(in Bulgarian) Interpreting the Bulgarian National Revival. An Essay in Historiography. Sofia: LIK, 2002, 383 pp.

(in Bulgarian) Observations and Reflection on the Changes in Bulgaria. Sofia: Lik, 1998, 290 pp.

(in Bulgarian) Between East and West. Dilemmas of the Bulgarian Cultural Identity. Sofia: Lik, 1998, 350 pp.

(in Bulgarian) Introduction to the Sociology of Max Weber. Sofia University Press, 1993, pp. 275.

(in Bulgarian) Essays on the Bulgarian Postcommunist Society. Sofia University Press, 1991, pp. 148.

Edited Volumes

(with Alexander Vezenkov), Entangled Histories of the Balkans. Vol. 3. Shared Pasts, Disputed Legacies. Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2015, 488 pp.

(with Diana Mishkova) Entangled Histories of the Balkans. Vol. 2. Transfers of Political Ideologies and Institutions. Brill Publishers, 2014.

(with Chavdar Marinov), Entangled Histories of the Balkans. Vol. 1. National Ideologies and Language Policies. Brill Publishers, 2013.

(in Bulgarian) (co-editor: Boris Nikolov) In the Web of Meaning. Reader in Interpretative Cultural Anthropology. Sofia: Lik, 2000.

(in Bulgarian) (co-editor: Ivan Elenkov) The Building up of a Bulgarian Cultural Identity. Sofia: Svetlostrui, 1994; second edition Prosveta, 1996, pp. 496.


Feud over the Middle Ages: Bulgarian-Romanian Historiographical Debates. - In: Roumen Daskalov and Alexander Vezenkov (eds.), Entangled Histories of the Balkans. Vol. 3. Shared Pasts, Disputed Legacies. Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2015, 274-354.

(co-author Diana Mishkova) "Forms without Substance": Debates on the Transfer of Western Models to the Balkans. - In: Entangled Histories of the Balkans. Volume Two: Transfers of Political Ideologies and Institutions. Roumen Daskalov and Diana Mishkova (eds.). Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2014, 1-98.

Agrarian Ideologies and Peasant Movements in the Balkans. - In: Entangled Histories of the Balkans. Volume Two: Transfers of Political Ideologies and Institutions. Roumen Daskalov and Diana Mishkova (eds.). Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2014, 281-354.

Bulgarian-Greek Dis/Еntanglements. - In: Roumen Daskalov and Tchavdar Marinov (eds.). Entangled Histories of the Balkans. Volume One: National Ideologies and Language Policies. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2013, 148-240.

The Social History of Bulgaria: Topics and Approaches. - East Central Europe. Vol. 35, 2009, part 1-2, 81-100.

La "demokratie populaire": les aventures d'une notion. - Divinatio. Vol. 27, Spring -Summer 2008 (Dossier: Le silence sur le communisme), 13-32.

Pro- und Antiwestliche Diskurse in Bulgarien. - In: Gabriela Schubert, Holm Sundhaussen (Hr.) Prowestliche und antiwestliche Diskurse in den Balkanlaendern/Suedosteuropa. Otto Sagner Verlag, 2008, 176-198.

Book Reviews

Bulgaria, by Richard J. Crampton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). - The English Historical Review, 73: 500 (2008), 242-244.

The Balkans: Identities, Wars, Memories. - Contemporary European History, 13: 4 (2004), 529-536.

Review of Connelly's "Sovietization of East German, Czech and Polish Higher Education". - East European Politics and Societies. 17: 1 (2003), 132-136.

Communism in Retrospective: Memoirs of Bulgarian Communist Leaders. - East European Politics and Societies. 16: 3 (2002), 965-977. Also in French: Se souvenir du socialisme: le socialisme dans les memoires de quelques grands fonctionaires communistes. - Divinatio, 19, Spring - Summer, 2004, 41-51.

Rezension zu Migev, V. Die Kollektivierung des bulgarischen Dorfes (1948-1958). Sofia: Universitetsko izdatelstvo "Stopanstvo", 1995. - Suedost-Forschungen. 1999.