New Research Fellowship to Honor Medieval Studies Professor

To mark the 90th birthday of the eminent scholar and historian Professor Emeritus Janos Bak, CEU’s Department of Medieval Studies crowdfunded a fellowship for early- and mid-career researchers. More than 80 individuals worldwide donated over US$35,000 to the Janos M. Bak Research Fellowship on Medieval Central Europe, testament to Bak’s impact on former students and medieval studies colleagues alike.

A highly regarded medievalist whose research focuses on Central Europe, Bak co-founded CEU’s Department of Medieval Studies in 1993 and was professor in the department until 2004. Announcing the fellowship on June 17, 2019, CEU President and Rector Michael Ignatieff praised Bak’s friendship, scholarship and contributions to CEU. “Janos had a constitutive role in the founding of an extraordinary medieval studies department which has a global reputation,” said Ignatieff. “He had an incredibly ecumenical sense of what this discipline should be—that is, it’s a discipline that has room for anthropology, for sociology, for philosophy and for history.”

Following the rector’s remarks, Patrick J. Geary, American medieval historian and professor of western medieval history at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, spoke of his long-standing connection with Bak and of Bak’s own connections to "almost every young medieval studies scholar in North America.” Fittingly, the evening concluded with a talk by Marianna D. Birnbaum, literary and cultural historian and professor emeritus of the University of California, Los Angeles, to launch Times of Upheaval—Four Medievalists in Twentieth-Century Central Europe (CEU Press, 2019). The event was hosted by the Head of Department Professor Katalin Szende and included a reception.

The three-month fellowship will be awarded to researchers in any field of study, including history, archaeology, art history and philosophy, who are significantly advancing research on medieval Central Europe in the period between 800 and 1600 CE. Applicants will be required to submit a research plan and propose an output, such as an article, book chapter, exhibition or film. Fellows will receive a monthly stipend and live in Budapest. The inaugural fellowship is planned for January to March 2020.

CEU thanks all the donors to the fellowship fund established in Professor Bak’s honor. Those wishing to contribute to the furtherance of the Janos Bak Fellowship can find details on how to do so here.