Our team has truly international and interdisciplinary DNA and this is our strength.

We come from Poland, Italy, Hungary, Estonia, Belarus, and Ukraine but we have also studied and lived in many other countries such as England, France, and Germany.

Among us are historians of philosophy, cultural historians, paleographers, art historians and more. Find out for yourself what we do and love in our BIOs.

Ove Averin

PhD student

I received both my BA and MA degrees from Philosophy department in the University of Tartu where I focused on early modern British religious philosophy. For the first (2019) I studied dualistic conceptions, for the latter (2021) materialistic and mechanistic approaches to the human constitution. From the fall of 2021 however, I have been a PhD student in the framework of this project.

Though my interests still include early modern religious philosophy – both dualism and materialism – for now I am planning to focus mostly on student life and education in early modern universities in the north-eastern part of Europe. With it I hope to gain better insight into knowledge dissemination and production and see how different ideas – but mainly ramism – changed in transit between different parts of Europe.

Period of work: November 2021 – June 2023.

Alicja Bielak

Postdoctoral Researcher

I finished MA in literary studies at the University of Warsaw in 2015. I was awarded with a second prize for my master thesis in Czesław Zgorzelski’s Nationwide Contest. Between 2014 and 2019 I carried out an individual research project, funded by Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education (Diamond Grant scheme), on the illustrated Jesuit meditations in 17th-century.

Within this project I defended my PhD in cultural and religious studies in 2019. Since 2018, I have been working and teaching at the Centre for the Study of the Reformation and Intellectual Culture in Early Modern Europe at the Faculty of “Artes Liberales”, University of Warsaw (since 2020 as an assistant professor). In 2019 I have started a project Polish Meditative Emblems in the 16th Through 18th Century: Sources, Realizations, and Aims (funded by Polish National Science Centre within Preludium Scheme).

My scientific interests include book history, emblematics, radical reformation, and early-modern nihilism.

Danilo Facca

Senior Scholar

I graduated in philosophy in 1987 at the University of Trieste with a thesis on Renaissance Aristotelianism. After graduation I taught in Italian high schools and in 1989-90 I received a scholarship at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw under the guidance of Prof. Lech Szczucki. Since 1996 I have been working at the same Institute where I obtained my doctorate (1999) and my habilitation (2005). Since 2012 I am the deputy Director of the Institute for Philosophy and since 2018 the Director of the Department of History of Modern and Contemporary Philosophy.

My main research interest is the reception of Aristotle in the European philosophical tradition, with special focus to the early modern epoch and in particular to metaphysics and ethics. Most of my works are dedicated to the teaching of philosophy in schools of the Republic of Poland between the 16th and 17th century. To this topic is devoted a project that I directed in the years 2014-9 (“Aristotelian Inspirations in the Polish thought of the late Renaissance”).

In the future I would like to deal with two problems:
1) a classification and description of academic disputationes in Poland in the 16th-18th centuries,
2) the presence of neo-Aristotelian motifs in contemporary Polish philosophy.

Mykola Fediai

PhD student

I graduated from the National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” (MA in History, 2021) and the University of Warsaw (MA in Eastern European Studies, 2021). In my master’s thesis, I studied early modern Ukrainian intellectual history, especially the teaching of logic at the universities and Slavic translation of Latin philosophical terms at the time. Since 2021, I have been a PhD student at the H. Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

The topic of my research is philosophy at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in the 17th and 18th centuries in the context of Western education. The main source of my research is Latin philosophical courses written by students under the dictation of professors. I study the reception of Catholic philosophy by Kyiv Orthodox professors and students, the transfer of knowledge, and the educational practices at the Academy.

Gábor Förköli

Postdoctoral Researcher

I studied Hungarian literature and aesthetics at the Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest, and I obtained my MA degree in 2011. Granted with the scholarship of the French Government, I prepared my PhD dissertation jointly supervised (cotutelle) at the Université Paris-Sorbonne (Paris 4) and the Eötvös Loránd University. I defended a thesis about the Central European reception of 17th-century French political thought in Paris in 2017. Between 2014-2015, I worked as junior researcher in the Humanism in East Central Europe Research Group, which operated in the framework of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and of the Eötvös Loránd University. Since 2017, I have been teaching Hungarian Renaissance and Baroque literature as assistant professor at the Institute for Hungarian Literature and Cultural Studies of the same university.

My interests include political literature, religious anthropology, history of rhetoric and the uses of excerpts and common place books in early modern hand-written culture.

Olga M. Hajduk

Research Coordinator

I finished BA in philosophy and MA in art history at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. Granted with the scholarship of National Science Centre in Poland (“Etiuda”) I defended my PhD dissertation in art history with the title of “Santi Gucci Fiorentino: Artist as an Entrepreneur in early modern Poland” at the Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

I was awarded a research fellowship from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Italian Government at the Department of Architecture of the University of Florence and was Lanckoroński Foundation scholarship holder. I was also awarded The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage one year research grant for her project titled “Renaissance sculpture of the region Masovia – history and preservation” (forthcoming book).

My area of focus lies in interdisciplinary studies on Italian artist activities in renaissance Poland with special attention on sculptors and goldsmiths, and the women’s representation in early modern Poland.

Gniewomir Hawrasz

PhD student

I joined the project as a PhD student in November 2021, after receiving my MA diploma in Cultural, Intellectual, and Visual History at the Warburg Institute in London. Before that, my educational path led me through the University of Gdansk (MA in Law in 2016) and Swansea University (BA in Ancient History and History in 2020).

During my bachelor studies in Wales, I developed an honest passion for the study of the reception of antiquity in the early modern period. My subsequent decisions led me towards inquiry of the rudiments of Marsilio Ficino’s Neoplatonic ethics. The study of the intellectual milieu formed in the Academy of Florence sparked further investigations into the broader themes concerned with the history of the university and the history of pedagogy. As a result, the thesis delivered at the Warburg Institute focused on the academic peregrinations of Poles visiting Italian universities between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Currently, I work on my doctoral thesis tracing Neoplatonic influences in notebooks of Polish students in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Farkas Gábor Kiss

Senior Scholar

I am a specialist on Latin and Hungarian literature in the later Middle Ages and the Renaissance. I have taught at the Eötvös University of Budapest and in the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Neo-Latin Studies at the University of Innsbruck. My interests include Central European humanism, the history of reading, knowledge transfer, and the relationship between the vernaculars and Latin from the 15th to the 18th century. Currently, I am an associate professor at the Eötvös University, and I joined the ERC KnowStudents team as a senior scholar, consulting on philological issues within the project.

My main projects at present are an in-depth study of texts and transmissions of humanist authors from Hungary in the period 1420-1620, as a part of a Companion on the humanism in Central and Eastern Europe, and a study of the educational practices of the 16th century at Central European universities.

Valentina Lepri

Principal Investigator

I am a professor of History of Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, proud to be the first foreign woman to win a competition for a permanent position as professor since the foundation of the institute in 1956.
After obtaining a PhD in Florence in 2007, I was a postdoctoral researcher in Germany, in Poland, at the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies – Villa i Tatti and at the European University Institute. In the recent years, I have been awarded a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship H2020.

My favorite ground of investigation are the systems of knowledge production and dissemination in the Early Modern Age. Several of my publications also deal with the intellectual contacts between Italy and the northern and central-eastern territories of Europe, aiming to correct an Italo-centric bias in the Renaissance studies.

Hanna Mazheika

Postdoctoral Researcher

I received my undergraduate degree in History and English in Belarus, and subsequently undertook a Master’s degree in History at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. In December 2018 I completed a PhD in History at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. My doctoral research dealt with questions of cultural and religious interaction between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the British Isles during the age of confessionalisation. Since then, until I took up a post-doctoral position at the KnowStudents project, I worked as Senior Researcher at the National Historical Archives of Belarus.

My research seeks to reconsider the place of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania within the confessional geography of early modern Europe through examining the textual exchange and networks which were forged and maintained between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the states of Central and Western Europe.

Period of work: November 2020 – November 2022.

Katarzyna Rusinek-Abarca

Research Promoter

In contrast to the rest of the team my scientific background is related to astronomy and astrophysics in which I obtained my MSc degree in 2016 at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland. The same year I moved to Warsaw to begin my PhD studies at the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences. This stage has been completed in 2022 when I defended my thesis in which I summed up my studies on the data analysis of radio observations of the jets produced by supermassive black holes within the centers of galaxies other than the Milky Way.

Along the way I decided to steer my career in a new direction which brought me to my current role as Research Promoter at the Centre where I have found that although the subject matter is utterly different, the skills I gained allow to help build a more robust research environment.

Dennj Solera

Postdoctoral Researcher

I obtained my Europaeus PhD at the University of Florence (2018) discussing a thesis concerning the social history of the Roman Inquisition. I conducted a first Postdoc at the University of Padua (2019-20) on student mobility between 1222 and 2022, building a database which now contains 50.000 student profiles (Bo2022). Finally, I conducted a second Postdoc at the University of Bologna (2021-22) on the problem of religious sacrifice in the early modern age.

My main research interests are the social and cultural relations between the Inquisition and Italian society; the history of students especially of the Paduan Studium; the Republic of Letters and the connections between ancient and new knowledge.

In the next years I would like to focus my research on:
1) the intellectual history of Poloni students before and after their stay in other universities (especially in the Paduan one)
2) the role played by the humanist and patron Giovan Vincenzo Pinelli (1535-1601) in the Republic of Letters and toward the Scientific Revolution.

Period of work: February 2023 – October 2023.