The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), in partnership with the Centre for Advanced Study Sofia (CAS), is pleased to announce the launch of a new Summer Institute for Scholars of East Central and Southeastern Europe. ACLS and CAS will convene leading scholars from Eastern Europe and North America for a two-week residency in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, hosted by the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG), in the summers of 2023, 2024, and 2025.

With international travel restricted over the past two years due to the pandemic, many scholars have been forced to delay their research. The Summer Institute for the Study of East Central and Southeastern Europe (SISECSE) will enable scholars to undertake local fieldwork in the region, including archival research, work in museum collections, interviews, site surveys, or other forms of data collection. Participating scholars will be able to spend two weeks focusing closely on their own research projects in a collaborative and interdisciplinary setting.

“ACLS has a long history of supporting humanistic scholars and scholarship in Eastern Europe, from the ACLS American Studies Program for overseas scholars sixty years ago to the ACLS Humanities Program in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine,” said ACLS President Joy Connolly. “We are proud to partner with the Centre for Advanced Study Sofia to continue our support of scholars of East Central and Southeastern Europe through this three-year initiative that will provide crucial opportunities for research, travel, and collaboration.”

In addition to conducting their own research, scholars will have the opportunity to participate in small group writing workshops, as well as a series of immersive discussions on a key topic of shared academic interest. In 2023, those discussions will explore “Scholarly Writing in the Digital Age.” Participants will be asked to consider broad questions of accessibility and audience; the democratization of scholarly writing, manifested in the expansion of acceptable writing styles in journals and books; the blurring of borders between scholarly writing and creative writing, essays, and memoir; the implications of digital publishing for scholarly production; and related topics. Discussions will be held over several meals and in one seminar session.

The program will cover travel, accommodation, and per diem expenses. 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.


The competition is open to scholars in any field or discipline in the humanities and interpretive social sciences pursuing postdoctoral or advanced research in the region (Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czechia, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine).

Scholars should be based at institutions in North America (US, Canada, Mexico) or Central/Eastern Europe (see the list above).


Scholars should apply with their own research proposals through the ACLS online system. The application will be available on the ACLS website in August 2022. The deadline for submissions will be in December 2022.

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

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