Aliosha Bielenberg


In my research, I am interested in how individuals and societies negotiate difference and sameness as we form political affinities, create cultural artifacts, and build a material world together. To undertake this work, I use resources and methods from my training in history, anthropology, and philosophy. My immediate research focus is in Cyprus, with broad interests in objects, objectivity, heritage, and world-making.

My writing has appeared in EidolonTaxisAmor Mundi, and The Point. In my senior honors thesis, I explored the concept of “world-making” by focusing on Hannah Arendt, a twentieth-century German-Jewish political philosopher, and the Khoi-San, an indigenous people of South Africa. My other research projects have included an NSF-funded study of medieval North Atlantic textiles; a project on John Wesley Gilbert, a classicist and the first African-American to earn a graduate degree from Brown University; and a study of Agios Sozomenos, an abandoned village near Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, with a multi-layered past and complexly resonating present.

I began my PhD in the Department of Rhetoric in Fall 2022. I previously received my MA from the Institute of Philosophy at KU Leuven in Belgium and an MSc in Digital Cultural Heritage from the Cyprus Institute. In May 2020, I received my bachelor’s degree from Brown University, concentrating in Archaeology and the Ancient World (as a member of the Engaged Scholars Program) and Critical Thought and Global Social Inquiry (as an Independent Concentration). At Berkeley, I am also completing a Designated Emphasis in the Study of Religion.

Alongside my academic work, I am committed to building communities through relationships of generosity and hospitality — for instance, through my involvement in climate activism and shared governance. Since 2015, I have also been a volunteer with the European Youth Parliament, a peer-to-peer non-formal educational program that runs events across 40 countries. When I’m not working on any of the above, you might find me playing piano (mostly for myself) and clarinet (mostly with others, since making music in community is one of the greatest joys in life).

I am very happy to hear from you if you would like to talk about any of my work, applying to PhD programs, or anything in-between. Please feel free to send me an email!

Research interests: 

Social and political thought (Marx, Arendt, Foucault, philosophical anthropology)

Modern European philosophy (Spinoza, Kant, Wittgenstein, Levinas, philosophy of history)

History and society of Cyprus (especially Byzantine, Ottoman, and twentieth-century)