Field: Modern Europe; Advisor: Mazower; Year: 2011
Victor Petrov is a PhD candidate in Modern European history at Columbia University. He received his BA (2009) and M.Phil.(2011) in Modern History from Oxford University.
His doctoral project, titled "A Cyber-Socialism at Home and Abroad: Bulgarian Modernisation, Computers, and the World 1967-1989" utilises a commodity history of the Bulgarian computer industry (supplying around half of the Eastern Bloc's electronics) and an ethnography of the techno-intellectual and managerial class that built it, sold it, and thought with it, to challenge usual narratives about the geographies and chronologies of the Cold War. The international nature of this industry and its agents created the conditions for the rise of a veritable socialist business class, enmeshed in the emerging information society and economy from the 1970s onwards. At the same time, the project also links hitherto rarely related regions such as the Balkans and South Asia to show how the Second world met the First on the ground of the Third, and how the Global South became a space for exchange and contestation.
For his dissertation, based on Bulgarian, Russian, and Indian archives, he has received institutional support from Columbia University, the SSRC (International Dissertation Research Fellowship), the UK's Leverhulme Trust, and the American Research Center in Sofia (Pre-Doctoral Fellowship). His intellectual interests broadly include the post-Tanzimat history of the Balkans; the Cold War; the information society and the intersection of technology and politics; the history of international development; the history of globalization; and nationalism and state formation in Eastern Europe.
When he is not dealing with these topics, he likes to take a backpack and go places or play bass in deeply unfashionable rock projects, badly but with gusto.