Galia Valtchinova, born in Vratsa, Bulgaria, in 1958. Ph.D. from the University of Sofia and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia. Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Thracian Studies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and Assistant Professor at the New Bulgarian University, Sofia.
Mellon Fellow (1 February 2004 – 30 June 2004)
WOMEN’S RELIGION UNDER SOCIALISM: FAITH, MEDICINE, SUFFERING, AND MEMORY IN BALKAN EASTERN-ORTHODOX CULTURES, 1940S-1990S
I planned to spend my five-month fellowship at NIAS in working on a book-length project entitled “Women’s religion under socialism: faith, medicine, suffering, and memory in Balkan Eastern-Orthodox cultures, 1940s-1990s”. My stay at NIAS in fact led to modifying the project in important aspects. Instead of emphasizing ‘alternative’ religiosity carried by and associated mostly with women, I followed recent trends of religious modernity which led me towards a more subtle search within religious attitudes in public as well as in private and informal settings. It was especially helpful to explore, through a brainstorming workshop on ‘Divine Interventions’, the implications of recent scholarship on the religion-and-politics nexus, on pilgrimages and on visionary expertise, for a variety of Balkan contexts. The workshop, supported by NIAS, gave useful insights into the mechanisms of religious and nationalist mobilization in Eastern-Orthodox societies, at a time of social and political crisis. At the end of my NIAS Fellowship, I completed my book project. Two further collections of papers for book projects are already under way, attesting to the importance of NIAS as a place for the fruition and completion of scholarly work.