Stella Ghervas. Assistant Professor
(205) 934-8690
Heritage Hall 360J

Research and Teaching Interests: European and international history, history of Russia and Southeastern Europe, intellectual history, cultural and political history, international relations, legal history, war and peace studies, maritime history, Black Sea region

Office Hours: W 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.; and by appointment

  • BA and MA, University of St. Petersburg (Russia), Philosophy and Political Science
  • MA, European Institute of the University of Geneva (Switzerland), European Studies
  • PhD, University of Bucharest (Romania), History
  • PhD, University of Geneva (Switzerland), European Studies

Born in the former Soviet Union, Stella Ghervas has lived in Russia, Moldova, Romania, France, Britain, and the US but has spent most of her adult life in Switzerland. She speaks six languages and brings this multicultural experience to her study of European and international history, as well as to the history of Russia and Southeastern Europe from the 18th to the 21st century. She has taught intellectual history, cultural and political history, and international relations at the University of Geneva, the University of Chicago, and Harvard University, and she has held fellowships and visiting positions in Australia, Britain, France, Russia, United States, and Ukraine.

Dr. Ghervas is interested in the history of Europe from a transnational perspective. In her teaching, she considers the European continent as a whole, with an enlarged perspective: in time, from the Enlightenment (18th century) to our days; and in space, with the eastern fringes (with Russia) as well as the southeast (particularly the Balkans). She asks two questions: “What underlies the idea of Europe?” and “How far does Europe extend?” Since her courses aim to improve the understanding of contemporary political issues, they also have relevance for curricula in government studies and international law.

Her main book Réinventer la tradition. Alexandre Stourdza et l’Europe de la Sainte-Alliance (Reinventing Tradition: Alexander Sturdza and the Europe of the Holy Alliance), based on thorough archival research, provides a broad depiction of a crucial era when the Great Powers laid the foundations of the Concert of Europe that was to dominate much of international politics during the 19th century. It devotes particular attention to the diplomatic and intellectual milieus of the Congress of Vienna, which carried out a new political order in Europe. The book was awarded the Guizot Prize of the Académie Française in 2009, the Xenopol Prize of the Romanian Academy in 2010, the Prize and Merit Diploma of the Academy of Moldova in 2009, and shortlisted in 2009 for the Grand Prix d’Histoire Chateaubriand (France). An English version is under contract with Cambridge University Press and should appear in 2017 under the title Enlightenment and Tradition in Post-Napoleonic Europe: The Worlds of Alexander Sturdza.

She is currently working on a book entitled Conquering Peace: From the Enlightenment to the European Union for publication by Harvard University Press in 2017. It traces European values back to their historical origins, showing how the ideas on peacemaking progressively evolved on a concept of European unification. It covers five key moments that redefined the political order of Europe: the Peace of Utrecht (1713), the Congress of Vienna (1814-15), the creation of the League of Nations (1919), the birth of the European communities in the 1950s, and finally the foundation of the European Union at the treaty of Maastricht, after the fall of Soviet Union.

In parallel, she is working on another book project entitled Calming the Waters? A New History of the Black Sea, 1774-1920s. It considers the Black Sea Region as a privileged trading space on the frontier of Europe and, broadly, as a space for cultural interchange. 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 more information, see her personal website and

  • War and Peace in Europe
  • History of the Russian Empire
  • Peace in the Modern World
  • What is Europe? Politics, Power, and Peace (1700-2015)
  • History of the Black Sea
  • Cultural and Political Foundations of European Unity
  • Enlarged Europe: From the Enlightenment to the Treaty of Lisbon
  • Cities and Culture in Europe
Book Chapters:
  • Neo-Federalism Project Grant, European Research Council (ERC), 2015
  • Research grant, Fondation des Archives de la famille Pictet (Switzerland), 2013-2015
  • Mellon Foundation Fellowship, University of Chicago, 2011
  • Shortlisted, Grand Prix d’Histoire Chateaubriand (France), book Réinventer la tradition. Alexandre Stourdza et l’Europe de la Sainte-Alliance, 2010
  • Xenopol Prize, awarded by the Romanian Academy for the best book in history Réinventer la tradition: Alexandre Stourdza et l’Europe de la Sainte-Alliance, 2010
  • Guizot Prize, awarded by the Académie française for the book Réinventer la tradition: Alexandre Stourdza et l’Europe de la Sainte-Alliance, 2009
  • Research grant, Institute for Advance Study (IEA), Paris, 2009-2010
  • Research grant, Institute for Slavic Studies, Academy of Sciences of Russia, Moscow, 2007
  • Post-doctoral Fellowship, Foundation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (MSH), Paris, 2005
  • Doctoral Fellowship, Foundation Schmidheiny, Geneva, 2000
  • Grand Prix d’Histoire, awarded by the Cultural Foundation Magazin Istoric (Romania) for the book Alexandre Stourdza: Un intellectuel orthodoxe face à l’Occident, 1999
  • Research grant, Pro Helvetia Foundation, 1997
  • Vladimir Lossky Prize, awarded by the Department of Philosophy, University of St. Petersburg (Russia), for the best first class honours degree, 1995
  • Member, American Historical Association (AHA)
  • Member, Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES)
  • Member, Council for European Studies (CES)
  • Member, Southern Conference on Slavic Studies (SCSS)
  • Member, International Association of South-East European Studies (AESEE)
  • Board Member, Cercle des amitiés internationales, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Founding Member, Forum Européen de Coppet, Switzerland
  • Member, Swiss academic network Mentoring-femmes