Mykhailova, Iryna

Core areas

History of philosophy, Medieval and Renaissance philosophy, intellectual history, exile studies

Research project: “Humanism in Exile: German Renaissance Scholars in the United States

Intellectual heritage of German-Jewish exiles has been widely studied over the last decades. Scholars return to the dramatic biographies and rich theoretical legacy of European displaced intellectuals again and again, since their unique experiences and ideas, their ability to preserve European values and stay humanists in the “Dark Times” represent an endless and inexhaustible source of interpretation. There is no doubt that German exile scholars have made a significant contribution to the culture and intellectual life of the countries where they settled, just as they themselves experienced personal transformation due to cultural exchange. My research focuses on six Renaissance scholars who escaped Nazi Germany in 1930-1940 and found their “second home” in the United States: Hans Baron, Ernst Cassirer, Felix Gilbert, Elizabeth Feist Hirsch, Paul Oskar Kristeller and Erwin Panofsky. Basing myself on the archival materials and the published works of German Renaissance scholars, I plan to reconstruct their ideas on culture and education, politics and humanism, democracy and European values.

As a part of my research project, I intend to edit Paul Oskar Kristeller’s Reminiscences – a 1000-page typescript text based on twenty interviews, which were recorded between March 13, 1981 and February 25, 1982 in New York for the Columbia Oral History Project.

Academic background

I have completed my Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv in 2011. My dissertation in Renaissance philosophy focused on theoretical relations between 15th century Florentine Neo-Platonism and doctrine of German theologian Nicholas of Cusa. Since 2012, I have been teaching various courses in Philosophy at the Kyiv National Linguistic University (Ukraine). In 2014-2015, I was a Fulbright Visiting Researcher at the State University of New York at Albany (USA). My research project was devoted to the life and legacy of German-American exile historian of philosophy Paul Oskar Kristeller.

Selected publications

  • “Paul Oskar Kristeller und Karl Jaspers: ein Dialog, der nie stattgefunden hat“ in Freiburger Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie, 62 (Freiburg, 2015), 337-349.
  • “Florentine Neo-Platonism between Humanism and Philosophy: Variety of Interpretations” in Messenger of Kyiv National Linguistic University: History. Economics. Philosophy, 18 (Kyiv, 2013), 170-178.
  • “The Principle coincidentia oppositorum of Nicholas of Cusa and Florentine Neo-Platonism” in Coincidentia Oppositorum from Nicholas of Cusa to Nicholay Berdyaev. Ed. By O.E. Dushin, (Saint-Petersburg, 2010), 351-361.