Stella Ghervas


working in Subproject 1 – Britain and its Empire


Dr. Ghervas is a scholar of European and international history, with a particular focus on history of ideas, legal history and international relations, as well as the history of Russia and Southeastern Europe from the 18th to the 21st century. After taking both B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from the University of St. Petersburg, she received a Masters degree from the European Institute of the University of Geneva, a Ph.D. in History from the University of Bucharest and a Ph.D. in European Studies from the University of Geneva. She has taught at the University of Geneva, the University of Chicago and Harvard University, and she has held other fellowships and visiting positions at the EHESS, the Fondation de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (FMSH), and the Institut d’Etudes Avancées (IEA) in Paris, Sciences Po Bordeaux, and the University of Sydney.

Dr. Ghervas is also Senior Fellow at the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme d’Aquitaine in Bordeaux, an Associate of the History Department at Harvard University, member of the Center SIRICE – Identités, relations internationales et civilisations de l’Europe (Sorbonne Paris I & Paris IV), and member of the Centre international de formation européenne (Brussels). In January 2016, she will join the History Department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


Dr. Ghervas is interested in the history of Europe from a transnational perspective. She considers the European continent as a whole, with a doubly enlarged perspective: in time, from the Enlightenment to our days; in space, including its Eastern fringes (with Russia) as well as the Southeast (particularly the Balkans). Her research, at the intersection between intellectual history and international relations, is focused on the cultural and political foundations of European unification, raising two key questions: “What underlies the idea of Europe?” and “How far does Europe extend?” Two of her current subjects of interest are the history of peace and peacemaking in Europe over the longue durée, and the history of the Black Sea region (as a case study). Since her research aims to improve our understanding of contemporary issues, it also has relevance to political science and international law.

Her main book Réinventer la tradition. Alexandre Stourdza et l’Europe de la Sainte-Alliance was published by Honoré Champion in Paris in 2008. Based on thorough archival research, it 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 nineteenth 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. This 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 of this book is under contract with Cambridge University Press and should appear in 2016 in the series Ideas in Context.

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. Its goal is to trace European values back to their historical origins, showing how the ideas on peacemaking expressed by political philosophers crystallized as early as the eighteenth century into a concept of European unification. This project focuses on the role of peace in the elaboration of political Europe, as well as on the process of “legalization” and “institutionalization” of the international order, particularly negotiation and arbitration as credible alternatives to the force of arms. 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 tentatively 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. This investigation is part of a renewal of history writing known as the new thalassology, ultimately derived from the tradition started by Fernand Braudel for the Mediterranean. It is, however, innovative and adventurous in the context of the Black Sea, where national narratives are still prevalent (witness the clashes of nationalisms in today’s Ukraine and Russia, and more recently the Turkish crisis).

Research Interests

European and International History
Intellectual History
Legal History
International Relations
War and Peace Studies
History of Russia and Southeastern Europe
Black Sea Region

Selected Grants

2011: Melon Foundation fellowship, University of Chicago
2009: Research grant, Institute for Advance Study (IEA), Paris
2007: Research grant, Institute for Slavic Studies, Academy of Sciences of Russia, Moscow
2005: Post-doctoral fellowship, Foundation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (MSH), Paris
2000: Doctoral fellowship, Foundation Schmidheiny, Geneva
1997: Research grant, Pro Helvetia Foundation

Selected Publications

Books: authored

Ghervas, Stella (Forthcoming). Conquering Peace: From the Enlightenment to the European Union. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Ghervas, Stella (Forthcoming). Enlightenment and Tradition in Post-Napoleonic Europe: The Worlds of Alexander Sturdza, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. English translation of Réinventer la Tradition.
Ghervas, Stella (2008). Réinventer la tradition: Alexandre Stourdza et l’Europe de la Sainte-Alliance. Paris: Honoré Champion.
– Guizot Prize of the Académie Française, 2009
– Xenopol Prize of the Romanian Academy, 2010
– Grand Prix d’Histoire Chateaubriand, Shortlisted, 2009
– Prize and Merit Diploma of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, 2009
Ghervas, Stella (1999). Alexandre Stourdza (1791-1854): Un intellectuel orthodoxe face à l’Occident. Geneva: Editions Suzanne Hurter.

Books: edited

Ghervas, Stella, & Armitage, David (Forthcoming). A Cultural History of Peace in the Age of Enlightenment (1648-1815). London: Bloomsbury.
Ghervas, Stella & Céline Bayou, Céline (2011). Regards de l’Est sur l’Union européenne. Special Issue of the Revue Regard sur l’Est 57.
Ghervas, Stella & Rosset, F. (2010). Mesta Evrope: Mitovi i granice (Places of Europe. Myths and Limits), Serbian translation by O. Petronić and S. Spasojević. Belgrade: Biblioteka XX vek.
Ghervas, Stella & Rosset F. (2008). Lieux d’Europe. Mythes et limites. Paris: Editions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme.
Ghervas, Stella & Guindani S. (2003). Penser l’Europe. Quarante ans d’études européennes à Genève. Geneva: IEUG.

 Essays in edited volumes

Ghervas, Stella (Forthcoming). “Who is In and who is Out? Inclusion and Exclusion in Conference Diplomacy, 1815-2015”, in 200 Years of Conference Diplomacy: From the Congress of Vienna to the G7, ed. Christopher Daase and Wolfgang Seibel, Frankfurt: Peace Research Institute.
Ghervas, Stella (Forthcoming). “The Black Sea”, in Oceanic Histories, ed. David Armitage, Alison Bashford and Sujit Sivasundaram, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ghervas, Stella (Forthcoming). “Balance of Power vs. Perpetual Peace: Paradigms of European Order from Utrecht to Vienna, 1713-1815”, in The Art of Peace Making: Lessons learned from Peace Treaties, ed. A.H.A. Soons, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers / Brill.
Ghervas, Stella (2015). “La Sainte-Alliance: un pacte pacifique européen comme antidote à l’Empire”, in Europe de papier. Projets européens au XIXe siècle, ed. Sylvie Aprile et al., Lille: Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, pp. 47-68.
Ghervas, Stella (2015).  “A ‘Goodwill Ambassador’ in the Post-Napoleonic Era: Roxandra Sturdza on the European Scene”, in Women, Diplomacy, and International Politics, ed. Glenda Sluga and Carolyn James, London: Routledge, pp. 151-166.
Ghervas, Stella (2015). “Philhellénisme et ambitions russes dans le contexte de la Question d’Orient”, in Φιλελληνισμός. Το ενδιαφέρον για την Ελλάδα και τους Έλληνες από την Επανάσταση ως σήμερα [Philhellenism: Sympathy for Greece and the Greeks, from the Revolution to Our Days], ed. Anna Mandilara et al., Athens: Herodotos, pp. 739-766.
Ghervas, Stella (2014). “Antidotes to Empire: From the Congress System to the European Union”, in EUtROPEs. The Paradox of European Empire, ed. John W. Boyer and Berthold Molden, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 49-81.
Ghervas, Stella (2014). “La paix par le droit, ciment de la civilisation en Europe? La perspective du Siècle des Lumières”, in Penser l’Europe au XVIIIe siècle, ed. Antoine Lilti and Céline Spector, Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2014, pp. 47-70.
Ghervas, Stella (2014). “Ten Lessons for Peace in Europe: From the Congress of Vienna and WWI, to the Failure of the G8”, in Multilateral Security Governance, ed. Felix Dane and Gregory John Ryan, Rio de Janeiro: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, pp. 213-228.
Ghervas, Stella (2013). “L’Europe élargie: du rêve de l’Union parfaite aux interrogations identitaires”, in Globalisation et identité européenne, ed. Claude Nigoul, Nice, Institut Européen, pp. 171-178.
Ghervas, Stella (2008). “Odessa et les confins de l’Europe: un éclairage historique”, in Lieux d’Europe. Mythes et limites, ed. Stella Ghervas and François Rosset, Paris: Editions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, pp. 107-124.
Ghervas, Stella & Sigrist, René (2008). “La mémoire européenne à l’heure du ‘paradigme victimaire’”, in Lieux d’Europe. Mythes et limites, ed. Stella Ghervas and François Rosset, Paris: Editions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, 2008, pp. 215-243.
Ghervas, Stella (2008). Three contributions: “Pôles et foyers”, “Territoires et frontières”, “Patrimoines et lieux de mémoire”, in Lieux d’Europe. Mythes et limites, ed. Stella Ghervas et François Rosset, Paris: Editions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, respectively pp. 23-30, 87-93, 157-164.
Ghervas, Stella (2008). “Le philhellénisme russe: union d’amour ou d’intérêt?”, in Regards sur le philhellénisme, ed. Cléopâtre Montandon, Geneva: Mission permanente de la Grèce auprès de l’ONU, Université de Genève, pp. 33-41.
Ghervas, Stella (2007). “Voyage au pays des mystiques: une aristocrate russe dans les cours allemandes de la Restauration”, in Voyager en Europe de Humboldt à Stendhal (1790-1840), ed. Nicolas Bourguinat and Sylvain Venayre, Paris: Nouveau Monde éditions, pp. 385-412.
Ghervas, Stella & Herrmann, Irène (2005). “Anna Eynard-Lullin (1793-1868)”, in Les femmes dans la mémoire de Genève, ed. E. Deuber Ziegler and N. Tikhonov, Geneva: Ed. Suzanne Hurter, pp. 82-84.
Ghervas, Stella (2004). “Le philhellénisme d’inspiration conservatrice en Europe et en Russie”, in Peuples, Etats et nations dans le Sud-Est de l’Europe, ed. Elena Siupiur, Bucharest: Ed. Anima, pp. 98-110.
Ghervas, Stella & Guindani, S. (2003). “Institut européen de Genève: quarante ans de prospective”, in Penser l’Europe. Quarante ans d’études européennes à Genève, ed. Stella Ghervas and Silvio Guindani, Genève: IEUG, pp. 9-19.
Ghervas, Stella & Guindani, S. (2003). “L’Europe sous la loupe des étudiants”, in Penser l’Europe. Quarante ans d’études européennes à Genève, ed. Stella Ghervas and Silvio Guindani, Genève: IEUG, pp. 111-133.
Ghervas, Stella (2002). “Alexandre Stourdza: une vision géopolitique du monde orthodoxe”, in Omagiu. Virgil Cândea la 75 de ani, ed. Paul H. Stahl, Bucharest: Editura Academiei Române and Editura Roza Vânturilor, pp. 315-321.
Ghervas, Stella (2002). “La réception de ‘L’Esprit des lois’ en Russie: histoire de quelques ambiguïtés”, in Le Temps de Montesquieu, ed. Michel Porret and Catherine Volpilhac-Auger, Geneva: Droz, pp. 391-404.

 Journal papers: academic

Ghervas, Stella ‘Balance of Power vs. Perpetual Peace: Paradigms of European Order from Utrecht to Vienna, 1713-1815’, The International History Review, 39 (3), 2017, pp. 404-425.
DOI: 10.1080/07075332.2016.1214613

Ghervas, Stella (2015). “The Long Shadow of the Congress of Vienna: From International Peace to Domestic Disorders”, Journal of Modern European History, 15, 4, pp. 458-63.
Ghervas, Stella (2015). “Das Erbe des Wiener Kongresses und der Wert von Friedensstiftern”, Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte (APuZ), 22-24, pp. 15-20.
Ghervas, Stella (2015). “Une histoire stratégique de l’espace mer Noire: conquêtes et dominations, de l’Antiquité jusqu’à aujourd’hui”, Questions Internationales, 72, pp. 13-28.
Ghervas, Stella (2014). “Three Lessons of Peace: From the Congress of Vienna to the Ukraine Crisis”, UN Chronicle, LI, 3, pp. 15-17. Article in English, French, and Russian.
Ghervas, Stella (2014). “The Congress of Vienna: A Peace for the Strong”, History Today, 64, 9, pp. 30-33.
Ghervas, Stella (2014). “‘L’Europe élargie’ d’après 1989: comment se réorienter dans la pensée?”, Questions internationales, 68, pp. 94-103.
Ghervas, Stella (2013). “Le réseau épistolaire d’Alexandre et Roxandre Stourdza: une médiation triangulaire entre Occident, Russie et Sud-Est européen”, Revue d’études sud-est européennes, 51, 1-4, pp. 67-106.
Ghervas, Stella (2011). “L’Europe comme idée, comme projet, comme construction”, Questions internationales, 51, pp. 12-23.
Ghervas, Stella (2011). “Regards de l’Est sur l’Union européenne: du rêve de l’union parfaite à la vie en commun”, Revue Regard sur l’Est, 57.
Ghervas, Stella & Franceschetti, A. (2007). “Les “vertus politiques” des eaux thermales: Capodistrias à Ems (1826)”, Bulletin de la Société Francophone d’Histoire de l’Ophtalmologie, 18, pp. 16-24.
Ghervas, Stella (2006). “Les valeurs du projet de Constitution peuvent-elles fonder un imaginaire européen?”, Cahiers de l’Echinox, 10, pp. 41-50.
Ghervas, Stella & Franceschetti, A. (2006). “Spas’ political virtues: Capodistria at Ems (1826)”, Analecta Histórico Médica, 4, pp. 79-85.
Ghervas, Stella (2003). “Manuscrits russes dans la Bibliotheca Bodmeriana”, in Corona Nova, 2, pp. 101-126.
Ghervas, Stella (2001). “Alexandru Sturza ou la quête de l’espace orthodoxe”, Bulletin de l’Association internationale d’études du Sud-Est européen, 3, pp. 53-60.
Ghervas, Stella (2000). “Alexandre Stourdza sur la scène européenne: autopsie d’un échec”, Revue Roumaine d’Histoire, 39, 1-4, pp. 107-148.

 Journal papers: online

Ghervas, Stella (2015). “Le Congrès de Vienne: la paix des forts”, Courrier international, 18 June 2015.
Ghervas, Stella (2015). “Три урока мира: от Венского конгресса до кризиса в Украине”, Хроника ООН, LI, 3.
Ghervas, Stella & Armitage, David (2014). “The Power of Peace: Why 1814 Might Matter More Than 1914”, E-International Relations, 2014.
Ghervas, Stella & Jarrett, Mark (2014). “Wie Frieden geschaffen wird”, Die Zeit, 38: 20.
Ghervas, Stella (2012). “Les valeurs de l’Europe: entre l’idéal, le discours et la réalité”, in Rethinking Democracy, Kiev. Article in Russian, Ukrainian, and French.
Ghervas, Stella (2007). “Les bergers genevois du tsar”, Lettre de Penthes, 10: 9-12.
Ghervas, Stella (2006). “Les Moldaves, le passeport roumain et l’Europe: incompréhensions sur fond de misère”, Regard sur l’Est, 44.
Ghervas, Stella (2005). “La réinvention de l’identité moldave après 1989”, Regard sur l’Est.

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