Dr. Johanna Granville: “It’s a wonderful research opportunity”

The American University in Bulgaria has acknowledged and awarded its numerous accomplished students and alumni. Yet it also continuously praises and takes great pride in its gifted faculty who have achieved international recognition. One of the newest members to join the illustrious faculty team of AUBG this fall is Dr. Johanna Granville, who won an international competition to become the first-ever Panitza Memorial Professor at the university.

The Panitza Memorial Professorship was named after John Dimitri “Dimi” Panitza, one of the founding father of AUBG, a member of the Board of Trustees and a patron of the university library which bears his family name. He played a major part in the creation and development of the university since its founding days in 1991 until he passed away in 2011. The Professorship program was established for the purpose of developing interdisciplinary research and provoking student interest in the social, cultural, political, and economic effects of the five-decade long communist rule in Eastern Europe and its impact on current and future democracies in transition.

This academic focus directly coincides with Dr. Granville’s avid research interests in the Cold War and post-Soviet periods. She was one of the first American scholars to work in the communist party archives in Moscow soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union and is the author of The First Domino: International Decision Making during the Hungarian Crisis of 1956 published by Texas A & M University Press in 2004. In addition, Dr. Granville has published over forty refereed articles and working papers on anti-communist dissent, as well as on current political crises, which have appeared in prominent journals such as Diplomatic History, Journal of  Contemporary History, Cold War History, Europe-Asia, East European Politics and Societies, Carl Beck Papers, Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) Bulletin, and the Hungarian-language Történelmi Szemle, the flagship journal of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Apart from the Panitza Professorship, Dr. Granville has received several grants and fellowships, including ones from the prestigious Hoover Institution at Stanford University, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars of East European Studies, and the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies. She was awarded Fulbright fellowships to teach at the University of Debrecen in Hungary, and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in Russia. She earned her BA in Russian Language and Literature from Amherst College and her Ph.D. in International Relations from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Dr. Granville will teach courses in East European history at AUBG. She has twelve years of experience teaching history and political science courses in professional military - as well as private - institutions, including the U.S. Air War College, Harvard, Georgetown, Tufts, Carnegie Mellon, Clemson, and the University of Massachusetts at Boston.

“The announcement of the Panitza Professorship immediately caught my eye and seemed to be written for me,” she said. “This is my first trip to Bulgaria, and it is a wonderful research opportunity.” Dr. Granville is finishing a second book on anti-communist dissent in the 1950s based on archival documents from several East European countries and the Russian Federation. Most recently she has worked in archives in key cities across Ukraine, and was living in the small Hungarian-speaking town of Berehove in Transcarpathian Ukraine when the Maidan protests erupted this past November. She will give public lectures about the impact of recent events on the lives of Ukrainian, Russian, and Hungarian people living in Ukraine. “To a great extent, the origins of the turmoil stem directly from Ukraine’s communist past,” she said.

Dr. Granville is discovering new things about AUBG. “I didn’t realize how truly international this university is! In one class I have students from seven different countries. I’m also lucky to interact with such stimulating colleagues from Italy, Germany, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, as well as the United States.”

Story by Yoana Savova

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