Women Philosophers in South-Eastern Europe – Past, Present and Future
(December 15–17, online)
Institut za filozofiju Zagreb
Hrvatska zaklada za znanost
The tide is turning: more and more philosophizing Bulgarian women
First of all, let me clarify why in the title I have put philosophizing Bulgarian women and not women philosophers. Because it is difficult to specify who is philosopher. Is there a definition widely accepted nowadays? If in a possible definition it is stated that philosopher is a person, who is professionally studying and/or teaching philosophy, we see that some important thinkers of the past, but also our contemporaries will not be qualified as philosophers.
In the past: Important sources
1. Biographical and bibliographical survey: There are colleagues, who have studied and investigated The Bulgarian philosophical culture in the XIX-XX century and they have written a book, entitled like that (Sofia, 2000, LIK Publishers, 306 pages). I entirely rely for the short outline of the situation in the past on their work. The authors of the book are Athanas Stamatov, Dobrin Todorov, Nina Dimitrova, Diana Velcheva, Dimitar Denkov and Dimitar Dimitrov.
The book includes encyclopedic entries about 400 authors, (let’s pay attention to it), with the most significant facts in their biographies and the titles of their major publications. The book is not only rich in facts, data, lists of the public sources of information etc. It has a strict conceptual ground and highly elaborated methodological reflections on all important phases of the conduct of the long research on the demography of the philosophical collegium in Bulgaria.
It is not possible to enter into details here, but let me mention just few of the methodological and conceptual tools, used in the final concluding analysis, written by Prof. Dobrin Todorov, and entitled Founders and transmitters of the Bulgarian philosophical culture (p. 264-305). First, he clarifies the distinction between philosophical community and philosophical culture, and after that discusses at length the fundamental question about the criterion. There are several possible formal criteria and all of them suffer from their inner limits: what is the criterion for the recognition of someone as philosopher: the educational background? the topic of the dissertation? the thematic scope of the habilitation? the teaching position? the employment in a research institution? All these are relevant, but in the formation of the philosophical culture in Bulgaria in the previous century a highly active role have had some writers, translators, teachers in secondary schools, scholars from other spheres in the humanities and distinguished scientists. So, the authors of the survey have included in the book some outstanding figures from these groups in the entries.
Generations in the Bulgarian philosophical community
According to Prof. Dobrin Todorov there are 7 generations in the philosophical community in Bulgaria: people born till 1840; born between 1841-1860; 1861-1880; 1881-1900; 1901-1920; 1921-1940; 1941-1960. One of the conclusions of this generation-based analysis of Prof. Todorov is worth paying attention:
Up to the middle of the XXth century the philosophizing persons have been marginal personalities, with the sole exception of the very few professors of the SU.(op. cit., p. 271)
The institutions, where the philosophers work – only one in the past, 34 in the present day; in institutes of the BAS, universities, academies, colleges.
Gender and place of birth (for those, who have been active between 1888 and 1999) – 84% men; 16% women.
The habilitated women philosophers appear only in the 5th generation, the ones, who are born between 1921-1940.
The gradual augmentation of the percentage – in the 7th generation the women philosophers are 25%.
Place of birth of the women philosophers in this period 1888-1999: in a village 17%; in a small town – 32, 1%; in a large city 15, 1%; in Sofia – 32, 1%; abroad – 3, 7%.
The research interest and the publications of the women philosophers in the period 1888-1999 according to the analysis of Prof. Dobrin Todorov are as follows: publications in ontology 7,8%; epistemology (called here gnoseologia) – 3,9%; logic 2,0%; ethics 11,8%; esthetics 19,6%; social philosophy 21,5%; history of philosophy 15,7%; philosophical anthropology 5,9%; philosophy of science 11,8%; axiology 21,4%; global problems 7,1; theory of the arts 14,3%; cultural studies 28,7%; psychology and pedagogy 7,1; political studies 7,1; religious studies 14, 3; (idem, ibidem, p. 295)
The outstanding figures: Prof. Ivanka Apostolova (Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy for two mandates in the 80-ies), Prof. Elena Panova, Prof. Emiliya Mineva, Assoc. Prof. Iskra Tzoneva, Assoc. Prof. Volga Todorova
2. For other useful information: see the web of the Institute for Bulgarian philosophical culture
3. Another point of view and the general context in the humanities, especially in the Sofia University, according to The History of the Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski in its first half of a century 1888-1938 by Prof. Mihail Arnaudov. Curious discrepancies, needing explanation: the number of the female students, who have been enrolled and the female students, who have graduated from the Faculty of history of philology is greater than the male students, both enrolled and graduated.
Just two observations: 1. From these data, provided at the end of the brilliant History…, written by Prof. Mihail Arnaudov in 1938, it is clearly seen that the number of the women students, who have been enrolled and the number of them, who have graduated in the Faculty of history and philology (the great humanitarian faculty in the first 50 years of the SU)
exceeds the number of the male students.
The women, who have studied and graduated in the humanities in the University of Sofia have been more than the men. The same tendency is seen in the socialist period. But after that few of them have continued with a doctoral study (earlier called aspirantura) and even fewer pursue academic career in some specialties as history and philosophy.
2. The misguiding label humanities. There are at least two types of humanities – from some of them are recruited the men, who gain power and rule all the institutions in the country.
Especially, law, history and philosophy. From others – in a much lesser degree.
In the last two decades there is even a drastic tendency to feminization in the humanities and the philological specialties. Some male colleagues are feeling like an endangered minority.
The current situation: The Index of the Bulgarian philosophical collegium, published or shared via e-mail every year by Prof. Dobrin Todorov (Указател на Българската философска колегия)
In the beginning of 2020 : 198 philosophers on full-time contracts – in institutes of the BAS, universities, academies, colleges etc., all over the country: in Blagoevgrad, Burgas, Varna, Veliko Tarnovo, Gabrovo, Pleven, Plovdiv, Svishtov, Sofia, Stara Zagora and Shumen (the teachers in the secondary schools are not included)
The retired, but active colleagues, are not included in the Index, and also the philosophizing persons with different humanitarian institutional affiliations are not in the Index.
According to the Index, issued in the beginning of 2020 by Prof. Dobrin Todorov, in the group of the habilitated academics (Professors and Assoc. Prof.) there are 133 colleagues, 52 from them are women.
In the group of the assistants and assistants with PhD degree there are 65 colleagues, 34 from them are women.
In the Faculty of Philosophy in the four philosophical Departments there are 48 teaching academics, 18 women
Contemporary philosophizing women in and from Bulgaria
Entirely subjective and inevitably biased list, based mainly on the ground of my competence and professional focus on the ancient, mediaeval and Renaissance studies
1. Three colleagues, who are born in Bulgaria and have studied in the Sofia University, now working abroad:
Assoc. Prof. Svetla Slaveva-Griffin (Florida State University), Dr. Lubomira Radoilska and Dr. Evelina Miteva
Dr. Lubomira Radoilska: https://www.kent.ac.uk/european-culture-languages/people/1609/radoilska-lubomira
Dr. Evelina Miteva
2. Several colleagues, distinguished in my professional area:
Prof. Lydia Denkova (New Bulgarian University)
Assoc. Prof. Antoaneta Nikolova, teaching ancient philosophy and philosophy of the East in the SWU Neofit Rilski in Blagoevgrad, translating from Old Chinese; poet and writer; in September 2020 received the National award Christo G. Danov for best book for children: Fairytales from the country Is (Sonm Publ., S., 2019)
is a senior assistant professor in Comparative Literature in the Department of Theory and History of Literature at Sofia University. She has been lecturer at the Slavic Institute, Department of Philosophy, University of Cologne (2016-2018) and Junior Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Study in Sofia (2014-2015). She has published the book (in Bulgarian, 2012), which deals with the tension between literary examples and exemplarity work in philosophical and theoretical research. At present, she is completing a book on of the transformations of the concept of in the 20 century. Spassova has taught a number of courses involving the intersection between literature, philosophy and science, including (2015, Sofia); (2017, Sofia); (2018, Köln). She is editor of the cultural weekly .
Dr. Bogdana Paskaleva is a Bulgarian scholar, theorist, and translator. In the center of her work are the literature, culture, and philosophy of West European Renaissance, as well as Classical Antiquity. Her PhD thesis regarded the philosophy of Nicholas of Cusa, focusing on the usage of imagery in his works, and more generally, the perception and functioning of images within the framework of Medieval and Early Renaissance culture. Among her translations are works by Marsilio Ficino (Commentaries on Plato’s Phaedrus and Ion, treatises on light and vision), Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (Commentary on a love song by Girolamo Benivieni), Nicholas of Cusa (On the beryl). Her latest translations regard Giordano Bruno with two of his Italian dialogues, On the infinite, the universe, and the worlds (a dialogue on cosmology) and On cause, principle, and the one (a dialogue on metaphysics).
Her articles regard Renaissance and Ancient literature and philosophy, mainly the visual culture of these periods, but also touch upon other aspects of their mentality, literary production, philosophy, science.
Two colleagues experts in the history of philosophy of music (not included in the Index):
Prof. Kristina Yapova and Prof. Neva Kristeva
Prof. Neva Kristeva:
In the Faculty of Philosophy, SU
Prof. Silvia Mineva – Faculty of Philosophy, SU, history of ethics and contemporary ethics:
Prof. Dr. hab. Aneta Karageorgieva (epistemology): http://phls.uni-sofia.bg/article/1279#tab1285,
Prof. Dr. hab. Maria Dimitrova (contemporary philosophy, social philosophy): http://phls.uni-sofia.bg/article/1288#tab2168,
Assoc. Prof. Anna Beshkova (logic and analytical philosophy): http://phls.uni-sofia.bg/article/557#tab920
Assoc. Prof. Valentina Kaneva (ethics) in English: http://phls.uni-sofia.bg/article/562#tab929
Assoc. Prof. Zvetina Racheva (ontology, classical German philosophy phenomenology)
Assoc. Prof. Gergana Dineva (ancient and medieval philosophy): http://phls.uni-sofia.bg/article/3034
Assist. Prof. Dr. Maria Vaneva (ancient and medieval philosophy): http://phls.uni-sofia.bg/article/3039
Assist. Prof. Dessislava Danyanova (philosophy of the East): http://phls.uni-sofia.bg/article/3038
Assist. Prof. Lydia Kondova (Modern philosophy): http://phls.uni-sofia.bg/article/details/3040
Assist. Prof. Nikoletta Nikolova (philosophy of education): http://phls.uni-sofia.bg/article/2165#tab2167
Assist. Prof. Tzena Zhelyazkova (ontology, philosophy of nature and environment):
Assist. Prof. Velislava Todorova (logic)
It’s a pity that the Faculty doesn’t have a web in English and their work and publications are invisible for the international community.
Prof. Dr. hab. Nonka Bogomilova (BAS)
and many other colleagues from the Institute for Philosophy and Sociology in BAS – Prof. Nina Dimitrova, Prof. Tanya Batuleva, Prof. Ivanka Stupova, Assoc. Prof. Sylvia Borisova, Assoc. Prof. Sylvia Serafimova, Assoc. Prof. Doroteya Angelova, Assoc. Prof. Julia Vaseva and others: see the web of the Institute
Prof. Yvanka B. Raynova, working in Wien and the Institute in BAS in Sofia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yvanka_B._Raynova
Assoc. Prof. Boryana Angelova-Igova in the National Sports’ Academy: https://www.nsa.bg/bg/teacher,367
Prof. Dr. hab. Dilyana Boteva (Faculty of History, SU), ancient history and ancient Thracian religion and culture
Prof. Dr. Hab. Vesselina Vachkova (BAS), mediaeval history, culture and religion: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Vesselina_Vachkova
Philosopher and prolific writer Emiliya Dvoryanova: http://www.contemporarybulgarianwriters.com/1-writers/emilia-dvoryanova/
Prof. Nedyalka Videva (1951-2020):
Last, but noy least: three translators of contemporary philosophy with tens of precious translations, introductions and commentaries to them: Todorka Mineva, Antoinette Koleva and Maria Dobrevska (literary pseudonym Maria Karo)