Theodora Dragostinova

Associate Professor

Theodora Dragostinova is an associate professor of history at The Ohio State University. Her work focuses on nation-building, refugee movements, and minority politics in eastern Europe, with a particular emphasis on the Balkans. She is the author of Between Two Motherlands: Nationality and Emigration among the Greeks of Bulgaria, 1900-1949 (Cornell University Press, 2011). Her book was shortlisted for the Joseph Rothschild Prize in Nationalism and Ethnic Studies of the Association for the Study of Nationalities; and the Edmund Keeley Book Prize of the Modern Greek Studies Association. The book was awarded the Past President Bronze Award from the Association for Borderlands Studies.

Expanding her work on nationalism, Professor Dragostinova co-edited the volume Beyond Mosque, Church, and State: Alternative Narratives of the Nation in the Balkans (Central European University Press, 2016).

Professor Dragostinova is currently completing her second book project, The Cold War from the Margins: Bulgaria on the Global Cultural Scene. Based on research in Bulgaria, Hungary, Great Britain, Austria, Germany, France, and the United States, this book engages the global Cold War through the experiences of a small state, Bulgaria, and its cultural engagements with a variety of actors in the First, Second, and Third worlds. In connection to this project, in Fall 2018 Professor Dragostinova co-edited a thematic cluster, “Beyond the Iron Curtain: Eastern Europe and the Global Cold War,” for the flagship journal Slavic Review (with Malgorzata Fidelis).

Professor Dragostinova is actively involved in the work of the Race, Ethnicity, and Nation (REN) Constellation of the History Department, which explores these three concepts in a comparative, transnational perspective. She is also a part of the teams of eight faculty member who organized the first OSU Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, under the title “CrossRoads: Culture, Politics, and Belief in the Balkans and South Asia.”

In the last four years, Dragostinova energetically contributed to the Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme (GAHDT). During 2016-2018, she was a team member of “Movers and Migrants: Arts and Humanities Perspectives on Global Mobility,” which launched The Global Mobility Project at Ohio State. Since 2018, she has served as a Faculty Fellow for the GAHDT and has helped launch its Im/Mobility focus area. She is also serving as a team leader for the Migration, Mobility, and Immobility Project, which has launched a variety of crossdisciplinary collaborations on these three themes during 2018-2020. 

Dragostinova has received grants and fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the American Council of Learned Societies, Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), and American Historical Association. Her work has appeared in Slavic Review, Journal of Contemporary History, Contemporary European History, East European Politics and Societies, European History Quarterly, Journal of Genocide Research, and Nationalities Papers.

Professor Dragostinova teaches a variety of courses in Modern Europe, East and West. Some of her recent offerings include: “Europe Since 1950” (lecture), “Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century” (lecture),  “People on the Move: Migration in Modern Europe” (lecture), “Empires and Nations in Eastern Europe, 1500-Present” (lecture), “Modern European History” (lecture), “Global Mobility and Migration” (undergraduate seminar), “Migration in Modern Europe” (undergraduate seminar), “Communism in Eastern Europe” (undergraduate seminar), “Nationalism in Eastern Europe” (graduate seminar), “Post-World War II Eastern Europe” (graduate seminar), and “Comparative State- and Nation-Building in Modern Europe” (graduate seminar).

Listen to Professor Dragostinova discuss the 25th anniversary of the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and read her piece on the Revolution of 1989 from 2009.

Listen to her podcast interview reflecting on the 30th anniversary of the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, the rise of nationalism in the 21st century in a global perspective, and the role of culture during the Cold War and today, a part of the ASC’s Voices of Excellence podcast.

Listen to Professor Dragostinova discuss the current refugee crisis in Europe and read her article on the refugee crisis in historical perspective.

Areas of Expertise
  • European History; Modern European History
  • Russian and East European History
  • Race, Ethnicity, and Nation

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