Associate Professor, Literary and Cultural History of Modern Europe
I studied European and American literature and history at the Universities of East Anglia (BA) and London (MA, PhD), and lectured in European and general history at the Universities of London and Liverpool, before joining the University of Amsterdam in 2011.
I have three main research interests. The first is the modern social and cultural history of Romania and southeastern Europe. My first book, The Making of Modern Romanian Culture (2006), investigated literacy, cultural institutions and Romanian national identity in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It was well received in journals and appeared in paperback in 2012; a Romanian translation has recently appeared with Polirom publishers. A second book, The Traditions of Invention (2013), gathers together studies of Romanian and European images, interactions and encounters over the long term. I continue to research and publish on Romanian cultural, social and literary history from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries.
Another major interest is in European travel writing, as a rich source for ideas of cultural encounter and difference across societies. With Wendy Bracewell of University College London, I have published bibliographies, translations and scholarly studies which try to map and showcase the history and influence of east European travel accounts. With this material, Bracewell and I have sought to pose new questions about European cultural identity and the politics of representation, as well as to furnish important material for European social history, from the early modern period to the present day.
I also research the history of European identity as a whole. My documentary collection, European identity. A historical reader, illustrates the theme of European cultural identity, from ancient times to the twenty-first century. This volume, the first of its kind in English, appeared with Palgrave Macmillan in 2013.
Other areas in which I have published include Balkan/Southeast European identities, historiography and literary history, and history of childhood.
- Drace-Francis, Alex The traditions of invention. Romanian ethnic and social stereotypes in historical context (Leiden – Boston: Brill Publishers, 2013)
- Drace-Francis, Alex, editor. European identity. A historical reader (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)
- Bracewell, Wendy and Alex Drace-Francis, editors. Balkan departures. Travel writing from Southeastern Europe (Oxford – New York: Berghahn Books, 2009)
- Bracewell, Wendy and Alex Drace-Francis, editors. Under eastern eyes. A comparative introduction to east European travel writing on Europe (Budapest - New York: CEU Press, 2008)
- Bracewell, Wendy and Alex Drace-Francis, editors. A bibliography of east European travel writing on Europe (Budapest - New York: CEU Press, 2008)
- Drace-Francis, Alex The making of modern Romanian culture. Literacy and the development of national identity (London - New York: IB Tauris, 2006) [Romanian edition: Geneza culturii române moderne, trad. de Marius-Adrian Hazaparu (Iaşi: Polirom, 2016)]
Selected articles and chapters in books
- Drace-Francis, A. (2019) The Elephant on the Doorstep? East European Perspectives on Eurocentrism. In Eurocentrism in European History and Memory, ed. M. Brolsma, R. de Bruin & M. Lok. Amsterdam, 179-94.
- Drace-Francis, A. (2019) Travel writing from Eastern Europe. In The Cambridge history of travel writing, ed. N. Das & T. Youngs. Cambridge, UK, 191-205.
- Drace-Francis, A. (2017) Literary history. In European regions and boundaries: A conceptual history, ed. D. Mishkova & B. Trencsényi. New York - Oxford, 350-72.
- Livezeanu, I., Ort, T., & Drace-Francis, A. (2017) The cultures of east central Europe: Imperial, national, revolutionary. In The Routledge history of east central Europe since 1700, ed. I. Livezeanu & Á. von Klimó. London - New York, 215-77.
- Drace-Francis, A. (2015) Locating remembrance. Regimes of time and cultures of autobiography in post-independence Romania. In Childhood in the Ottoman Empire and after, ed. B. Fortna. Leiden - Boston, 191-222. [Open access]
- Drace-Francis, A. (2014) All you need is love (review essay). Wasafiri, Journal of contemporary writing 29:2, 80-83.
- Drace-Francis, A. (2013) 'Like a member of a free nation, he spoke without shame': The trope of the foreign traveller in the Romanian literary tradition. In Travel writing and ethics, ed. C. Forsdick, C. Fowler & L. Kostova. London - New York, 183-203.
- Drace-Francis, A. (2013) Beyond the Land of Green Plums: Romanian language and culture in the work of Herta Müller. In Herta Müller, ed. B. Haines & L. Marven. Oxford, 32-48.
- Drace-Francis, A. (2012) Review article: War, politics and culture in Romania and East-Central Europe. European history quarterly 42:1, 105-13.
- Drace-Francis, A. (2009) 'At ten minutes past two I gazed ecstatically upon both lighthouses': Self, time and object in early Romanian travel texts. In Romantism şi modernitate. Atitudini, reevaluări, polemici [Romanticism and modernity. Perspectives, reappraisals, debates], ed. A. Mihalache & A. Istrate. Iaşi, 23-45.
- Drace-Francis, A. (2008) Towards a natural history of East European travel writing. In Under eastern eyes, ed. W. Bracewell & A. Drace-Francis. Budapest - New York, 1-26.
- Drace-Francis, A. (2008) Everybody's gotta be somewhere: Northernness and Southernness in the European imagination, and in the Basque country. In Imaging the Basques. Foreign views on the Basque country, ed. S. Leone & J. MacClancy. Donostia.
- Drace-Francis, A. (2006) A provincial imperialist and a Curious Account of Wallachia: Ignaz von Born. European history quarterly 36:1, 61-89.
- Drace-Francis, A. (2005) Cultural currents and political choices: Romanian intellectuals in the Banat to 1848. Austrian history yearbook 36: 65-93.
- Drace-Francis, A. (2005) Dinicu Golescu's 'Account of my travels' (1826): Eurotopia as manifesto. Journeys 6:1-2, 24-53.
- Drace-Francis, A. (2004) Paradoxes of Occidentalism: On travel literature in Ceauşescu's Romania. In The Balkans and the West, ed. A. Hammond. Aldershot, UK, 69-80. [Reprinted in Travel writing: Critical concepts in literary and cultural studies, ed. T. Youngs & C. Forsdick. 4 vols. Routledge, 2012, vol. 2: 231-46]
- Drace-Francis, A. (2004) Travel writing and society: The Romanian tradition. In Călători români în Occident [Romanian travellers to the West], ed. N. Bocşan & I. Bolovan. Cluj-Napoca.
- Drace-Francis, A. (2003) Zur Geschichte des Südosteuropakonzepts bis 1914 [On the history of the concept of Southeastern Europe up to 1914]. In Wieser Enzyklopädie des europäischen Ostens , 11: Europa und die Grenzen im Kopf , ed. K. Kaser, D. Gramshammer-Hohl & R. Pichler. Klagenfurt, 275-86.
- Drace-Francis, A. (2003) Romanian book production, 1716-1770. Solanus: International journal for Russian and east European bibliographic, library and publishing studies, n.s., 17, 64-80.
- Drace-Francis, A. (2002) Romanian book production, 1770-1830. Solanus: International journal for Russian and east European bibliographic, library and publishing studies, n.s., 16, 5-26.
- Drace-Francis, A. (2000) Sex, lies and stereotypes: British images of Romania since 1945. In Romanian and British historians on the contemporary history of Romania , ed. G. Cipăianu & V. Ţârău. Cluj-Napoca, 87-100.
- Drace-Francis, A. & W. Bracewell (1999) South-Eastern Europe: History, concepts, boundaries. Balkanologie 3:2, 47-66.
Encyclopedias, scholarly reference works
I have contributed entries/chapters to the following scholarly reference works:
I have reviewed books for the following scholarly publications: American Historical Review – Central Europe – Colloquia, A Journal of Central European History – East European Jewish Affairs – English Historical Review – European History Quarterly – H-Romania – Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas – Journal of Ecclesiastical History – Journal of European Studies – Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans – Journeys, The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing – Nationalities Papers – Nations and Nationalism – Religious Studies Review – Reviews in History – Slavic Review – Slavonic and East European Review – Studies in Travel Writing – Twentieth-Century British History – Wasafiri
Memberships, academic roles
Previous positions, degrees
- 2005-2011: Lecturer, Modern European History, University of Liverpool
- 2001-2004: Postdoctoral research fellow, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, London.
- 2000-2003: Lecturer, Romanian Studies, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, London.
- 1996-2001: PhD, University of London. Thesis: Literature, Modernity, Nation: The Case of Romania, 1829-1890.
- 1995-1996: MA (Distinction), South-East European Studies, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, London
- 1989-1992: BA (Honours), English and American Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich.