Posted on 29 November 2018
“My supervisor is specialized in European integration history. She knew about the opportunities offered by the European University Institute and she told me to apply for the Vibeke Sørensen Grant” says Nadezhda Evguenievna Chugunova, a second year Russian Ph.D. student of the Department of World History and International Relations at Irkutsk State University. “I read a lot about the Historical Archives of the European Union, I studied their holdings and fonds online, and I thought that coming here would be a great opportunity for me”. The subject of Chugunova’s research is: ‘The Impact of the European Union and its Cohesion Policy on the Development of Regionalist Parties - The Cases of France and Spain in Comparative Perspective’.
“It is an important topic because nowadays many small parties, and also regionalist or separatist parties are becoming more powerful,” Chugunova says. “I study these parties’ political programmes and official documents to understand their attitude towards the EU and its institutions. Can they cooperate and have some benefits from the European Union?”, she adds.
The Vibeke Sørensen grants are intended to encourage research using primary sources on the history of European integration preserved at the Historical Archives of the European Union. Upon arrival, Chugunova received an introduction by a HAEU archivist on archival research methods. “In my opinion it is very important to query the Historical Archives of the European Union’s database before coming here” she suggests. “So much information is preserved in these Archives that you should make some work in advance, in order to select the documents you need to consult on site. If you’re not prepared, you will spend much time searching the numerous inventories instead of already working with the documents.”
“Beyond the opportunity of working in the Archives, I am also participating in a variety of EUI conferences or seminars and I am discovering something new every day, ” says Chugunova. After defending her Ph.D. dissertation, Chugunova plans to pursue her career as a postdoc researcher visiting different academic institutions around the world. “I would love to come back here one day”, she says. “I like the organization of this archives. Working online, you can read well-structured descriptions of all fonds, which really simplify the researcher’s job.”