Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 2016-2017
Michail (Michalis) Sotiropoulos earned his PhD from the School of History of Queen Mary, University of London. He also holds a D.E.A (EHESS, Paris) and a MA (University of York) in History and a BA in Political Science (University of Athens). During his studies he taught several courses on modern European history, the history of ideas and Southern-European history, while more recently he worked in the Greek parliament as an advisor to the Chairman of the Committee on Defense and Foreign Affairs. Michalis’ research interests lie in the intertwined fields of intellectual and transnational history. In particular he focuses on the history of Southern Europe in the long nineteenth century and in the ideas and the processes (revolts, revolutions, secessions, unifications, constitution-making and state-building) that changed both the political culture and eventually the map of the region. In his thesis he explored these themes by focusing on the role of liberal jurisprudence in the formation of the Greek state in the first decades after independence (1830-1880). His most recent research project seeks to explore the political imagery, the language and the ideology of the Greek revolution (1821-28) by situating it within the Southern revolutionary moment of the 1820s.
The project is an original study of Greek liberalism and its political implications in the first decades after independence from the Ottomans. By locating Greek liberalism into its Mediterranean context, the project builds on, and contributes to recent works on the history of nineteenth-century political thought, which have gone beyond derivative models of political change. It does so by exploring Greek jurisprudence and the ways in which, a number of very influential jurists facilitated a ‘transformation of thought’, in particular after the 1840s. By relating this transformation to the ‘long revolution’ of the 1860s (1862-1875)—a ‘liberal moment’ in which they jurists played a key role—the project shows that Greek jurisprudence provided the intellectual foundations upon which the modern Greek state was build. Its first aim is thus to provide a more comprehensive account of Greek liberal thought. The second, is to inquire into the distinctive features of liberalism in the wider Mediterranean region by putting Greek liberals in a dialogue with liberals from Spain, the Italian states, Portugal and the Greek world more generally. Liberals in the region did not only go through common political and intellectual experiences: constitutional movements against absolutism, wars, reforms, experiments with representative governments and a sense of falling from past greatness. They also thought and talked extensively about the source, nature and location of political power, the institutional form it would take, and increasingly about the state, how to reform it and the role of the people in it.