Irina Gigova

Associate Professor, Associate Chair

Address: Maybank Hall 216
Office Hours: MWF 1:30-3:00, & by appointment.
Phone: 843.953.7329
Personal Website:

Full CV

Irina Gigova is a historian of modern Eastern Europe, with a research focus on twentieth-century Bulgaria. A product of the region’s transformation after 1989, she was among the first graduates of the American University in Bulgaria and, later, the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign with a dissertation “Writers of the Nation: Intellectual Identity in Bulgaria, 1939-1953.” Her research interests have expanded beyond the history of intellectuals to cultural production, urban history, war and memory, communism and transnational networks. She is finishing a book manuscript entitled Crossroads: A Generation of Writers in Modern Bulgaria’s History. A next project, an investigation of the social and cultural impact of a popular Bulgarian comics magazine aimed at children and adolescents between 1979 and 1991, is in its early stages.


Ph. D., History, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2005

M. A., History, Central European University (CEU), 1998  

B.A., History, American University in Bulgaria (AUBG), 1996

Research Interests

Areas:  Eastern Europe and Modern Europe 
Topics: Intellectuals, Cultural Production, Urban, Social and Cultural History; Nationalism; Empires; War; Historical Memory; Communism; Transitions

Courses Taught

From Subjects to Citizens: Individual and State in Modern Europe
My Rights and Yours: Individual and State in Modern West
Empire, Nation and Class in Eastern Europe, 1800 to Present
Everyday Communism
The Modern City 
The Historian's Craft
Research Seminar: The Cold War in Europe 
Fascism: History and Interpretations (graduate)
Comparative Nationalism (graduate)

Honors and Awards

Dean of School of Humanities and Social Sciences Discretionary Fund (2017)
MAYS Grant for Faculty-Student Undergraduate Research (2013)
Dean of School of Humanities and Social Sciences Discretionary Fund (2012)
Alternate for the ACLS Fellowship for Postdoctoral Research in Southeast European Studies (2008)


The Bulgarian PEN: A Study in Interwar Cultural Internationalism,” East European Politics and Societies and Cultures(forthcoming)

“In Defense of Native Literature: Writers’ Associations, State and the Cult of the Writer in pre-1945 Bulgaria,” Slavic Review 77, no. 2 (Summer 2018): 417-440.

“Communism and Its Legacy,” co-authored with Malgorzata Fidelis, in Irina Livezeanu and Klimo von Arpad, eds. The Routledge History of East Central Europe Since 1700 (Routledge, 2017): 365-414.

“At Crossroads, or Why and How to Study a Generation of Bulgarian Writers,” in Lora Taseva, Beyond the Borders, Proceedings of the 10th Joint Conference of Bulgarian and North American Scholars, Sofia, 26-30 June 2016 (Sofia: Prof. Marin Drinov Publishing House of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 2019): 32-40.

 “The Feeble Charm of National(ist) Communism: Intellectuals and Cultural Politics in Zhivkov’s Bulgaria,” in Yana Hashamova and Theodora Dragostinova, eds. Beyond Mosque, Church, and State: Alternative Narratives to the Nation in the Balkans (Central European University Press, 2016): 151-177.

"Sofia Was Bombed?: Bulgaria's Forgotten War with the Allies," History & Memory 23, No. 2, Fall/Winter 2011): 132-171.

"The City and the Nation: Sofia’s Trajectory from Glory to Rubble in WWII," Journal of Urban History, 37, no.2, (March 2011): 155-175.

"The Feminisation of Bulgarian Literature and the Club of Bulgarian Women Writers," Aspasia: International Yearbook for Women's and Gender History of Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe, Vol. 2 (2008): 91-119.