Summer Institute for the Study of East Central and Southeastern Europe

2 okt


November 2, 2023

The Summer Institute for the Study of East Central and Southeastern Europe (SISECSE) is a two-week residential workshop, that provides scholars of Eastern Europe time and space to dedicate to their own research and writing in a collaborative and interdisciplinary setting. ACLS in partnership with the Centre for Advanced Study Sofia (CAS) will convene leading scholars from Eastern Europe and North America for a two-week residency in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria from June 13, 2024 to June 29, 2024.

SISECSE will also provide participating scholars with the opportunity to undertake local fieldwork, including archival research, work in museum collections, interviews, site surveys, or other forms of data collection. Fieldwork is not a requirement for participation.

This program is made possible thanks to a generous donation by Carl and Betty Pforzheimer.


  • The program will offer a travel stipend and cover accommodation and per diem expenses for the two-week residency.
  • Institute members will be expected to be in residence and to participate in all planned events for the duration of the institute.
  • Scholars will also be provided with opportunities to travel locally during this time.
  • Scholars should apply with their own research proposals through the ACLS online system.

Writing Workshops & Immersive Discussions

In addition to conducting their own research, scholars will also have the opportunity to participate in small group writing workshops, as well as a series of immersive discussions on a broad topic of shared academic interest.

In 2024, discussions will explore “The Humanities and Interpretive Social Sciences in a Time of Emergency, or Thinking Urgently.” During periods of crisis, whether they are natural disasters, violent conflicts, or global pandemics, the humanities provide critical insights and new perspectives that contribute to our understanding of the human condition, offer solace and reflection, and help us navigate uncertainty. Participants will consider diverse questions: How do the humanities or interpretive social sciences help us make sense of crises and the challenges they present? In what ways can humanistic research foster resilience, empathy, and collective action? How can humanistic scholarship inform policy-making and decision-making processes during emergencies? What distinct perspectives do different fields and disciplines offer?

Discussions will be held over several meals and in one seminar session.

It is not required or expected that applicant’s research projects are connected to the workshop theme. Thematic discussions are intended for the enrichment of the participants.


  • Applicants must have a PhD degree conferred (officially awarded) by an accredited university. An established scholar who can demonstrate the equivalent of the PhD in publications and professional experience may also qualify.
    • If the PhD is not conferred (officially awarded) by the application deadline, the applicant must submit:
      • (At the time of application) an institutional statement signed by a university official (dissertation advisor or departmental chair) confirming that the applicant is on schedule to complete the PhD by April 15, 2024.
      • (By April 15, 2024) a letter from the applicant’s graduate school confirming that the dissertation has been submitted and approved by the graduate school for conferral according to the university calendar. The applicant is responsible for submitting the dissertation on time in order to meet this requirement. The applicant should request that the graduate school send the letter to ACLS at [email protected].
  • The competition is open to scholars in any field or discipline in the humanities or interpretive social sciences pursuing postdoctoral or advanced research in East Central and Southeastern Europe, including Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czechia, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine.
  • Applicants must have an affiliation—a long-term regular research or teaching appointment—with an institution (i.e., college, museum, university) in North America (Canada, Mexico, US) or East Central and Southeastern Europe (see the list above).
  • There are no restrictions as to the citizenship of applicants.
  • The application must be submitted in English, but the written work produced may be in any language.

Application Guidelines

Applications must include:

  • A completed application form including demographic information.
  • An application essay (no more than four double-spaced pages in Arial or Helvetica 11-point font). The application essay should lay out the research project—what it is about, its location in the current literature, what sources are to be examined, and how the applicant plans to carry out the work.
  • An optional one to two pages of images, musical scores, or other similar supporting non-text materials.
  • A bibliography (no more than two pages, double-spaced between entries, in Arial or Helvetica 11-point font).
  • A list of the applicant’s publications (no more than two pages, double-spaced between entries, in Arial or Helvetica 11-point font). Applicants should indicate if any of their publications resulted from prior ACLS funding.
  • An applicant’s statement (no more than one single- or double-spaced page in Arial or Helvetica  11-point font). The statement should describe the type of research, writing, or fieldwork an applicant intends to carry out in Bulgaria, the impact of this work on the applicant’s research project, and the applicant’s interest in participating in interdisciplinary conversations. ACLS is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of the fellowship application process. Please use the applicant’s statement to note any relevant information about your personal background and/or ways in which your proposed research addresses issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Applications must be submitted through the ACLS Online Fellowship and Grant Administration (OFA) System no later than 9:00 PM Eastern Time on November 2, 2023.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Significance of the topic and its potential contribution to the study of East Central and Southeastern Europe.
  • The quality and innovativeness of the proposal with regard to its methodology, scope, theoretical framework, and grounding in the relevant scholarly literature.
  • The impact of the fieldwork on the applicant’s research project, if applicable.

Supporting Documents


Questions should be directed to  [email protected]. Please read the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) before making inquiries.

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