Irina Ognyanova's scientific interest is in contemporary history and politics of Southeastern Europe. Her scientific interest is in the field of Balkan history, mainly the historical development of the South Slavs. Most of her scientific works are dedicated to the actual problems of the Croatian nationalism and its relation to religion.
She became particularly interested in the extreme forms of the Croatian nationalism during the Second World War. On that issue she dedicated her Ph.D. thesis at Sofia University, Sofia, Bulgaria "Nationalism and National Policy in Independent State of Croatia (1941-1945)", which was published as a monograph in 2001.
Among the significant factors which have influenced her professional development was her short-term specialization at two foreign research institutions such as the Ohio University, Athens, USA and the Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna, Austria where she conducted research on the theme "Catholic Church and the Croatian Nationalism during the World War II and the First Post-war Years (1941-1953)". She continued with the investigation of the next step of the development of the Croatian nationalism – in Communist Yugoslavia till the breakup of the country in 1991 at the European University Institute, Florence, Italy where she was on specialization as Jean Monnet Fellow in 2002/2003.
From June 1, 2003 she has been working as an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Balkan Studies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences at the Balkans after World War II Department. There she participates in two bilateral scientific projects of the Institute – one with the History Department of the Croatian Academy of Sciences "Sources and Monographs for Croatian History 7th-20th Centuries" and the other - with the Masaryk Institute and Archive of the Czech Academy of Sciences "Nationalism and National identity in Central and South Eastern Europe (19th -20th centuries) . She also takes participation in two basic projects of the Institute of Balkan Studies - "States and Borders: Religion, Ethnos, Nations" and "Balkans and Europe - Transformation, Modernization and Integration Processes". Presently she is finalizing her second monograph "Catholic Church and the Croatian Nationalism (1941-1953)".
Irina Ognyanova was the 2011 Sotirov Fellow.
Read Dr. Ognyanova's research work as a Sotirov Fellow here.