Somerville Fellow and Tutor in History, Dr Natalia Nowakowska, has been selected for a Starter Grant by the European Research Council (ERC).

The €1.4 million grant will fund a major five-year project entitled ‘The Jagiellonians: Dynasty, Memory and Identity in Central Europe’, with a team of five post-doctoral researchers. The Jagiellonians were one of the leading royal dynasties of Renaissance Europe, ruling lands which constitute no fewer than 14 present-day states in Central Europe.

“‘The Jagiellonians are heavily mythologised across Central Europe,” said Nowakowska. “I was first introduced to them as fairy-tale figures at my Polish Saturday School in London as a child. I’m therefore delighted to have this opportunity to examine this extraordinary dynasty up close, and tell their story to an English-speaking audience for the first time.”

The project will provide the first study of the Jagiellonians as an international political phenomenon, from c.1380 to 1596, investigating new, multi-disciplinary ways of writing dynastic history. Thus it will span several different disciplines, including art history, anthropology and political history.

It will also explore the on-going role played by the Jagiellonians in the evolution of national and regional identities in Central Europe, from the 14th century to the present. Over the course of 2013 and 2014 the project will be recruiting five postdoctoral team members to work on German, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Lithuanian and Scandinavian aspects of the project.

The ERC is an independent body which funds investigator-driven frontier research in the European Union, and exists to ‘support top researchers from anywhere in the world’, in all academic disciplines.

Over the last academic year, Dr Nowakowska has been on research leave, funded by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (2012-13).

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