Dr Mirela Ivanova

School of History, Philosophy and Digital Humanities

Lecturer in Medieval History

Mirela Ivanova
Profile picture of Mirela Ivanova

Full contact details

Dr Mirela Ivanova
School of History, Philosophy and Digital Humanities (nee Department of History)
Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
S3 7RA

I work on the intellectual and social history of Byzantium and Central and Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages. I joined the Department of History in Sheffield in 2021. Prior to this I was a Junior Research Fellow in Medieval History at the University of Oxford. 

I was a fellow at Koç University’s Research Centre for Study of Anatolian Civilisations, in Istanbul in Autumn 2021, and a fellow at the Centre for Advanced Study in Sofia, in Summer 2022. In addition, I have spent various lengths of time visiting, researching or learning languages at the Hilandar Research Library in Ohio State University, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, in Washington, and St Petersburg’s Derzhavin Institute. 

Research interests

My research interests fall into two main tenets.

In the middle ages, my research explores written culture, multilingualism and cultural transmission across languages and political contexts. I am concerned with how meaning is locally created, and how medieval actors used textual production to seek to bring about changes in their socio-political circumstances.

 My first monograph, currently in preparation,  Inventing Slavonic: Cultures of Writing between Rome and Constantinople, explores the earliest texts concerned with the invention of the Slavonic alphabet. It analyses how the alphabet continued to be contested and re-invented the first century after its invention (ca.860-950), and how the changing context of its use in turn affected ideas about writing, script-creation and conversion more broadly.

Relatedly, my work explores the historiography of Byzantium and Central and Eastern Europe. I am interested in how nineteenth- and twentieth- century interpretations of medieval sources have been guided by nationalist projects, and continue to permeate scholarship as the common sense assumptions about medieval sources or people.  To this end, I spent three years co-convening an international research network based at the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, entitled New Critical Approaches to the Byzantine World, which sought to bring historical theory to the study of the Byzantine World.  Springing from this, I am currently co-editing a book with Benjamin Anderson (Cornell) entitled Is Byzantine Studies a Colonialist Discipline? Towards a Critical Historiography.  



  • Ivanova M (2024) Inventing Slavonic Cultures of Writing Between Rome and Constantinople. Oxford University Press. RIS download Bibtex download

Edited books

Journal articles


Teaching activities


  • HST116 - Empire

  • HST21013 - The Fall of the Roman Empire in the West

  • HST3126 - Nomadland: The Peoples of the Steppe, 600-1000

Public Engagement

I have a longstanding commitment to access and outreach and have worked with a range of initiatives and organisations to deliver seminars, classes, and university application support to schools across the UK. I am very happy to be contacted by schools! 

I also have an interest in non-academic writing, and have published on a range of topics, like Soviet Blocks, religious architecture, Balkans and the memory of the Ottoman empire  in the age of the refugee crisis for the likes of the Los Angeles Review of Books, Balkanist Magazine and History Today.

In 2021, I was selected as a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker, which means I have had the opportunity to share my research with a wider audience on Radio 3, and you can hear me feature here and here