Aberdeen scholar receives prestigious professorship

A University of Aberdeen scholar has been awarded a prestigious British Academy Wolfson Professorship.

Professor Robert Frost, Professor of Early Modern History, is one of four academics who will undertake a major research study, co-ordinated by the British Academy and funded by the Wolfson Foundation.

He was selected from a strong field of 176 applicants for the professorships, which recognise the most outstanding scholars in the UK, providing £150,000 in research funding over three years.

He will investigate the Polish-Lithuanian Union, 1386-1815, and the lessons which can be learned for current and future European political unions.

Professor Frost said: “It is a great honour to receive this prestigious award. It is interesting that I should do so in a year in which the Scotttish National Party has challenged the future of the British Union by setting out its referendum vision for Scottish independence..

“Historians tend to study nation states and unions are often overlooked, yet modern Europeans can learn much from unions in the past..

“It will not be until 2013 that the Anglo-Scottish Union will have outlasted the Polish-Lithuanian Union, which also included much of what is now Belarus, Ukraine, and, for a time, parts of Latvia and Estonia.

Professor Frost will speak for the first time about his research today (Tuesday December 15) at a special event at the British Academy in London.

Wolfson Professorships for 2009-2012 have also been awarded to Professor Roy Foster FBA, Carroll Professor of Irish History, University of Oxford; Professor Mary S Morgan FBA, Professor of History and Philosophy of Economics, London School of Economics; and Professor David Perrett FBA, Bishop Wardlaw Professor of Psychology, St Andrews University

Professor Frost added: “The funding, over three years, will enable me to make more widely known this remarkable political creation.

“Few people outside eastern Europe know anything about the Polish-Lithuanian union because of the dominance of Russian and German perspectives on the European past.

“Yet Poland-Lithuania was one of the great European states whose citizens developed a radical vision of decentralised power that is still of relevance today, when Poland and Lithuania have recently been welcomed into the European Union.”

Robin Jackson, Chief Executive, the British Academy said: “These are major awards reflecting the very best research in the UK.  They encompass a wide range of intriguing topics.  We look forward to the outcomes of their work.”