About Timothy Snyder




Timothy Snyder is one of the leading American historians and public intellectuals, and enjoys perhaps greater prominence in Europe, the subject of most of his work. He is the Housum Professor of History at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. He received his doctorate from the University of Oxford in 1997, where he was a British Marshall Scholar. Before joining the faculty at Yale in 2001, he held fellowships in Paris, Vienna, and Warsaw, and an Academy Scholarship at Harvard. He speaks five and reads ten European languages. Among his publications are six single-authored award-winning books, all of which have been translated: Nationalism, Marxism, and Modern Central Europe: A Biography of Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz (1998, second edition 2016); The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1659-1999 (2003); Sketches from a Secret War: A Polish Artist’s Mission to Liberate Soviet Ukraine (2005); The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke (2008); and Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (2010). Bloodlands won twelve awards including the Emerson Prize in the Humanities, a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Leipzig Award for European Understanding, and the Hannah Arendt Prize in Political Thought. It has been translated into thirty-three languages, was named to twelve book-of-the-year lists, and was a bestseller in six countries. His most recent book, Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning (2015) will appear in twenty-four foreign editions. It has been a bestseller in four countries and has received multiple distinctions including the award of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee. Snyder is also the co-editor of two books: Wall Around the West: State Borders and Immigration Controls in Europe and North America (2001) and Stalin and Europe: Terror, War, Domination (2013). In a very special project, Snyder helped his friend, the distinguished historian and intellectual Tony Judt, to compose a thematic history of political ideas and intellectuals in politics, Thinking the Twentieth Century (2012). Snyder’s essays on the Ukrainian revolution were published in Russian and Ukrainian as Ukrainian History, Russian Politics, European Futures (2014). A broader range of essays was published in Czech as The Politics of Life and Death (2015). Snyder sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Modern European History and East European Politics and Societies. His scholarly articles have appeared in Past and Present, the Journal of Cold War Studies, and other journals; he has also written for The New York Review of Books, Foreign Affairs, The Times Literary Supplement, The Nation, and The New Republic as well as for The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, and other newspapers. Snyder was the recipient of an inaugural Andrew Carnegie Fellowship in 2015 and received the Havel Foundation prize the same year. He has received state orders from Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland. He is a member of the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, is the faculty advisor for the Fortunoff Collection of Holocaust Testimonies at Yale, and sits on the advisory councils of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research and other organizations.

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Education and Fellowships:

Snyder received his Bachelor of Arts in European history and political science from Brown University in 1991. He then became a British Marshall Scholar at the University of Oxford, where he completed his doctorate in 1997.

He has held fellowships at the Centre Nationale des Recherches Scientifiques, Paris (1994-1995); the Harvard University’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies (1997); served as an Academy Scholar at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs (1998-2001); and has held multiple fellowships at the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna.


Professor Snyder teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in modern eastern European political history and graduate seminars on the Holocaust, on east European history as global history, and on the dynamics of international crisis in European political history. Most recently, he has taught lecture surveys, “Eastern Europe to 1914” and “Eastern Europe Since 1914,” graduate seminars on “The Global History of the Holocaust” and “Contemporary History of Diplomatic Crisis,” and an undergraduate seminar, “Communist Takeovers in Postwar Eastern Europe” (co-taught with Sara Silverstein). To learn more, visit Professor Snyder’s Yale faculty page.

Honors and Awards:

  • Literature Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters
  • Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding
  • Hannah Arendt Award for Political Thought
  • Lithuanian Diplomacy Star
  • Polish Medal of Bene Merito
  • Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland
  • Estonian Cross of the Order of Terra Mariana, Class III
  • Philippe Romain Chair, London School of Economics
  • René Girard Lecturer
  • Baron Velge Chair, Université Livre, Brussels
  • Cleveringa Chair, University of Leiden
  • Phi Beta Kappa Emerson Book Award
  • Cundill Prize Recognition of Excellence
  • Le Prix du livre d’Histoire de l’Europe
  • Moczarski Prize in History
  • Literature Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters
  • Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding
  • Phi Beta Kappa Emerson Book Award
  • Gustav Ranis International History Prize
  • Jean-Charles Velge Prize
  • Tadeusz Walendowski Book Prize
  • Wacław Jędrzejewicz History Medal
  • Cundill Prize Recognition of Excellence
  • American Association for Ukrainian Studies Book Prize (twice)
  • George Louis Beer Prize, American Historical Association
  • Przegląd Wschodni (Eastern Review) Best Foreign Academic Book
  • Jerzy Giedroyc Scholarly Award, Marie Curie-Skłodowska University
  • Oskar Halecki Prize, Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences

Ongoing Projects:

Professor Snyder is completing a short book about the history of Ukraine and its current crisis, is working on a history of Eastern Europe as well as a family history of nationalism, serves as Series Editor for the Rochester Studies in East and Central Europe, and is on the Editorial Board of New Studies in European History (a series at Cambridge University Press), of the Journal of Modern European History, and of East European Politics and Societies.

He also leads the “United Europe-Divided Memory” project at the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen, which examines the possible formulation of a postwar transnational European history.