School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Professor Stella Ghervas

Professor of Russian History


I study Russian history and European history in an enlarged perspective, in time (from the Enlightenment to the present) and in space (including Eastern Europe and the Balkans). These interests and my approach to them arise from having lived in Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, Romania, France, Britain, and the United States, and spending much of my adult life in Switzerland.

I was educated originally at the University of St. Petersburg and I later earned two PhDs, in History (at the University of Bucharest) and in European Studies (at the University of Geneva). I have taught intellectual history, cultural and political history, and international relations at the University of Geneva, the University of Chicago, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Harvard University. I joined Newcastle University in May 2018.

My main interests are in Russia’s intellectual and maritime history and in the intellectual and international history of modern Europe, with special reference to the history of peace and peace-making. I welcome expressions of interest from postgraduate students working on any of these topics or on themes related to my past and current research.

Honours and Awards

  • Mihaychuk Fellow, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, 20162017
  • Phi Alpha Theta, Honour Society, 2016
  • Visiting Professor, Harvard Summer School, 2015; 2016; 2018
  • Associate, Department of History, Harvard University, 2015
  • Fellow, Durham Law School, 2015
  • Honorary Fellow, Department of History, Durham University, 2015
  • CriticAtac Prize (shortlisted), for Reinventarea tradiţiei: Alexandru Sturdza şi Europa Sfintei Alianţe, 2015
  • Visiting Scholar, "Nation, Empire, Globe" Research Cluster, University of Sydney, 2014
  • Visiting Scholar, Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University, 20132015
  • Senior Research Fellow, Maison des Sciences de l'Homme d'Aquitaine, Bordeaux, 20112013
  • Visiting Associate Professor, University of Chicago, 2011
  • Xenopol Prize, Romanian Academy, for Réinventer la Tradition: Alexandre Stourdza et l'Europe de la Sainte-Alliance, 2010
  • Guizot Prize, Académie Française, for Réinventer la Tradition: Alexandre Stourdza et l'Europe de la Sainte-Alliance, 2009
  • Grand Prix d'Histoire Chateaubriand (shortlisted), for Réinventer la Tradition: Alexandre Stourdza et l'Europe de la Sainte-Alliance, 2009
  • Prize and Merit Diploma of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, for Réinventer la Tradition: Alexandre Stourdza et l'Europe de la Sainte-Alliance, 2009
  • Fellow, Institut d'Etudes Avancées, Paris, 20092010
  • Directeur d'études associée, Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, Paris, 2009
  • Fellow, Institute for Slavic Studies, Academy of Sciences of Russia, Moscow, 2007
  • Research Fellow, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, 20062007
  • Associate Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Southeast European Studies, Bucharest, 20052010
  • Visiting Scholar, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, 20052006
  • Hermes Fellow, Fondation Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, Paris, 20052006
  • D.A. Sturdza History Prize, Cultural Foundation Magazin Istoric, for Alexandre Stourdza: Un intellectuel orthodoxe face à l'Occident, 1999
  • Vladimir Lossky Prize, Department of Philosophy, University of St. Petersburg, 1992

Selected Research Grants

  • New-Federalism Project, European Research Council
  • Mellon Foundation Fellowship, University of Chicago
  • Fondation pour Genève
  • Fondation Schmidheiny
  • Fondation des Archives de la Famille Pictet
  • Pro-Helvetia Foundation

Boards and Memberships

  • Barbara Jelavich Book Prize Committee, Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, 20182020
  • Review Committee, Council for European Studies, 20142017
  • Editorial Board, Questions Internationales, 2012 
  • Editorial Board, Revista de Istorie a Moldovei, 2010 
  • Steering Committee, Cercle des Amitiés Internationales, 2005 
  • American Historical Association
  • Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies
  • Southern Conference of Slavic Studies
  • International Association for South-East European Studies
  • Founding Member, Forum Européen de Coppet
  • Swiss Academic Network MentoringFemmes

For further details, please see my list of Publications, my personal website, and my profile at


My main work to date, Réinventer la tradition. Alexandre Stourdza et l’Europe de la Sainte-Alliance (Reinventing Tradition: Alexander Sturdza and Europe of the Holy Alliance) (Paris, 2008), depicts the crucial era when the Great Powers laid the foundations of the Concert of Europe that was to dominate much of international politics during the nineteenth century. It devotes particular attention to the diplomatic and intellectual milieu of the Congress of Vienna, as seen from Russia and Southeastern Europe. An English version is under contract with Cambridge University Press for publication as Enlightenment and Tradition in Post-Napoleonic Europe: The Worlds of Alexander Sturdza.

My latest book, Conquering Peace: From the Enlightenment to the European Union, forthcoming from Harvard University Press, covers five key moments of peace-building after major conflicts that redefined the political order of Europe: the Peace of Utrecht (1713); the Congress of Vienna (1814-15); the Treaty of Versailles (1919); the birth of the European communities in the 1950s; and the foundation of the European Union by the treaty of Maastricht, after the fall of Soviet Union. I have recently co-edited a collection on parallel themes, A Cultural History of Peace in the Age of Enlightenment, 1648-1815 (London, 2019).

My next major project, Calming the Waters? A New History of the Black Sea, 1774-1920s, will treat the Black Sea as a privileged trading space and as a space for cultural interchange between Russia and Europe. It combines this approach with a broader historical analysis that takes into consideration the geopolitical stakes for the European powers—particularly the Eastern Question during the nineteenth century.

For further details, please see my list of Publications, my personal website, and my profile at