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About Timothy Snyder

Timothy Snyder
Photo: © Ine Gundersveen

Timothy Snyder is the Richard C. Levin Professor of History at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. He speaks five and reads ten European languages. His eight chief books are Nationalism, Marxism, and Modern Central Europe: A Biography of Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz (1998); The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999 (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); Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (2010), Thinking the Twentieth Century (with Tony Judt, 2012); Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning (2015); On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017); and The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America (2018). He has also co-edited three further books: The Wall Around the West: State Borders and Immigration Controls in Europe and North America (2001); Stalin and Europe: Terror, War, Domination (2013); and The Balkans as Europe (2018). His essays are collected in Ukrainian History, Russian Politics, European Futures (2014), and The Politics of Life and Death (2015). Snyder’s work has appeared in forty languages and has received a number of prizes, including the Emerson Prize in the Humanities, the Literature Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Václav Havel Foundation prize, the Foundation for Polish Science prize in the social sciences, the Leipzig Award for European Understanding, the Dutch Auschwitz Committee award, and the Hannah Arendt Prize in Political Thought. Snyder was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford, has received the Carnegie and Guggenheim fellowships, and holds state orders from Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland. He has appeared in documentaries, on network television, and in major films. His books have inspired poster campaigns and exhibitions, films, sculpture, a punk rock song, a rap song, a play, and an opera. His words are quoted in political demonstrations around the world, most recently in Hong Kong. He is researching a family history of nationalism and finishing a philosophical book about freedom.

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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.

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