Founded in 2004, the American Research Center in Sofia supports research in the humanities and social sciences in the context of Bulgaria and the Balkans and promotes the historical and cultural patrimony of southeastern Europe. Our specialized library consists of more than 15,000 volumes, with a concentration in Ancient through Medieval Balkan history, culture, and archaeology and growing sections in Ottoman, modern, and contemporary history and society. The collection includes an increasing number of materials that are unique or hard to find elsewhere in Bulgaria. Library users have access to JSTOR and are invited to offer suggestions for acquisitions.
An important part of our mission is to support researchers. The ARCS Pre-doctoral Fellowship Program offers graduate students based at North American universities the opportunity to conduct research in the humanities and social Sciences. Their experience is enhanced by lectures and workshops on history and culture by local experts, academic excursions in Bulgaria and neighboring countries, and lessons in Bulgarian or other Balkan languages. ARCS supports Bulgarian doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars, enabling them pursue research at ASCSA or ARIT. The International Conference Travel Award assists 20-30 Bulgarian scholars per year to participate in professional conferences.
Since 2009 ARCS has been collaborating with the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago in a grant program that supports joint Bulgarian-American archaeological research, preservation and restoration of Bulgarian archaeological sites, and enhancement of historical museum collections. This program is significantly increasing our understanding of the prehistory and history of Bulgaria and the Balkans; it is helping to develop world-class archaeological sites; and, it is encouraging lasting ties between American and Bulgarian scholars, scientists, and students.
Public events at ARCS highlight the rich historical and cultural heritage of Bulgaria and the Balkans. Experts present their research and insights in a regular lecture series. In the last two years alone, the lecturers have included former US Ambassador to Bulgaria James Pardew, Prof. Rossitsa Gradeva (American University in Bulgaria), Prof. Elissaveta Moussakova (National Library), Prof. Dennis Hupchick (Wilkes University), and Prof. Glenn Bugh (Virginia Tech University). Moreover, ARCS organizes conferences and colloquia, most recently “Communication and Commerce in the Balkans from Alexander the Great to Alexander Battenberg” and “Public Art in the Balkans from the Roman Empire to Yesterday.”