Spotlight on Gerd Bucerius History Scholarship Recipient Iuliia Khabibulina

ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius generously partnered with Central European University (CEU) to fund joint scholarships offered to students who wish to pursue a one-year or two-year Master’s degree at CEU’s Department of History. Iuliia Khabibulina is the second recipient of the Gerd Bucerius History Scholarship. The award is based on academic merit and covers tuition, accommodation in Vienna, a monthly stipend and a research allowance. The Gerd Bucerius History Scholarship is open to all applicants in any field of history.

What does this honor mean for you?

This scholarship provides me with the resources to critically investigate the history of Central and Eastern Europe through a diverse methodological perspective. Aside from extensive material support to conduct an original research project, this recognition highly motivates me to improve as a historian with greater diligence.

What is the focus of your research?

My research project explores the Soviet visual press discourse on cremation during the first two decades of the twentieth century. It aims to understand how the Soviet official press assigned meanings to the practice of “fiery burials” and how cremationists’ discourse interacted with the world and regional historical circumstances. 

Why was CEU the best choice for you?

CEU is a perfect place for me to practice applying the methodologies of global and comparative history to examine my particular interest which is visual culture in the USSR. When I was deciding on which university to choose, I was intrigued by the possibility at CEU of taking the Advanced Certificate in Visual Theory and Practice along with the primary degree. Such a combination of different expertise within the open-minded environment of CEU encourages me to question the standard academic frameworks, experiment critically, and find original conclusions in the history of Eastern and Central Europe in general. 

What was the driving force behind your pursuit of a historical scholarship?

My main goal is to pursue a career in the humanities and obtain a PhD in History from a top research institution. This purpose motivates me to find ground for receiving comprehensive training in historical methodology, get a working knowledge of current trends in historical discourse and build ties within the community of passionate professionals.

 What are your expectations as you begin your studies at CEU?

At the beginning of my studies, I am intrigued by the questions about the difference between the global and regional historical gaze and eager to know what constitutes a figure of the global historian. In general, I expect to develop my self-reflective critical thinking on what I am doing as a historian and extend my own language and conceptual apparatus of history writing. 

What do you appreciate most about CEU’s program in history?

With courses that offer substantive expertise in global, regional, and comparative history, the one-year MA program in Comparative History offers me the opportunity to engage in the field of public history. For example, I am taking the course “Public History and Imperial Borderlands in Habsburg-Ottoman Comparison,” which aims to critically analyze Vienna museums and their representation of historical narratives.