Classics professor awarded coveted Humboldt fellowship

Medical students at Florida State University love Svetla Slaveva-Griffin’s class.

Not because she’s an easy A.

Rather, listening to her lectures on ancient medicine, philosophy and religion — and how they intersect — offers a rare glimpse into the history and origins of their field.

“It’s fun working with students in the sciences because they don’t typically get exposed to the history and foundation of what they study,” said Slaveva-Griffin, an associate professor of classics who was recently awarded a prestigious 2013-2014 Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers.

The international award is aimed at young scholars and allows them to spend between six and 18 months in Germany conducting research.

The Humboldt Foundation grants approximately 600 Humboldt Research Fellowships for postdoctoral researchers and experienced researchers annually. The prize is coveted and generally an indicator of great scholarly success.

It’s easy to see how Slaveva-Griffin earned such honors. The Bulgarian-born professor, who earned her doctorate at the University of Iowa, teaches courses in multiple areas including classics, religion and Florida State’s History and Philosophy of Science program.

Being part of the Humboldt network “is quite advantageous,” said Margaret Wright-Cleveland, the director of Florida State’s Office of Faculty Recognition. Since 1953, 48 Humboldt winners have gone on to win Nobel prizes.

In the spring, Slaveva-Griffin will travel to Germany for 18 months to continue her study on the interaction between medicine and philosophy in the Late Antiquity period, which stretched from approximately the 2nd century to the 8thcentury A.D.

She will study at the Institute for Philosophy at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany, and plans to write a book about the relationship between Neoplatonism and medicine in the period from the third to the sixth century A.D. To date there is no comprehensive study examining the nature of the relationship between the two disciplines.

For more information, contact Slaveva-Griffin at (850) 644-4073 or