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WORKSHOP PROGRAM // Shifty Muds. Land, Water and Life in a ‘Patchy Anthropocene’ – 8-10 June 2023, Bucharest, Romania

Convenors: Ștefan Dorondel, Adrian Deoancă and Stelu ȘerbanOrganizing institutions: Romanian Academy: ‘Francisc I. Rainer’ Institute of Anthropology; The Institute for Southeast European Studies; New Europe College Institute for Advanced Studies Bucharest Venue: New Europe College Institute for Advanced Studies Bucharest, Strada Plantelor no. 21, Bucharest, 023971

The Danube at Corabia (Olt). Photo essay by Ovidiu Petrita

We continue the guest post series where we invite locals to share their own understanding of the Danube. The following photos and comments are signed by Ovidiu Petrita, a wildlife photographer from Corabia, Olt county. Ovidiu’s snapshots and stories show us the islands of Băloi and Chirța in the vicinity of the city, the animalsContinue reading “The Danube at Corabia (Olt). Photo essay by Ovidiu Petrita”

Tourism and the relationship with the environment on the young beaches of the Danube

The year 2020 has brought a lot of changes in our lives, including in the way we spend our spare time, our holidays, or vacations, all of us looking not only for enjoyable journeys, but also for safe conditions regarding our health protection. The most sought-after destinations within the country’s borders were the places thatContinue reading “Tourism and the relationship with the environment on the young beaches of the Danube”

Clams and the low Danube. “Neama voda, neama riba”

Stefan Dorondel sent us several snapshots taken during the fieldwork in Belene (Bulgaria), images of a Danube caught in a post-apocalyptic scenario. 50m from the shore the water is no deeper than 20cm. The low waters (historical minimum depths) extend the surface of the islands and reveal the fact that the bottom of the riverContinue reading “Clams and the low Danube. “Neama voda, neama riba””

Victor’s pigs: pig-boar interspecies

Teeming with both wildlife and domestic animals thanks to their richness in fodder and forage, the aluvial plains along the Lower Danube can be fertile grounds for interspecies hybridization. A telling example of productive  intermixing is the drift of pigs herded by Victor (a pseudonym), a forest ranger from Teleorman County in Southern Romania. TheContinue reading “Victor’s pigs: pig-boar interspecies”

Our trip to the island near the border village Pojarevo (Bulgaria)

“I like geography best, he said, because your mountains & rivers know the secret. Pay no attention to boundaries.” ― Brian Andreas, Story People Photos by / Fotografii de Ana Maria Nae.

Kikinete Island through the eyes of a local, Stefan Efimovici Petrov     

The following are memories shared with us by Stefan Efimovici Petrov about Kikinete island. This is a translated version in English and Romanian of the original Bulgarian text. We aim to offer a platform for locals to show us Danubian islands through their eyes. In this, we shift power dynamics in the fieldwork, between anthropologistsContinue reading “Kikinete Island through the eyes of a local, Stefan Efimovici Petrov     “

Doing environmental anthropology field research in Southeast Europe. Looking at the nearness of remoteness

Fieldwork on and about Danube’s islands along the Romanian-Bulgarian border gives you a strange feeling. The islands seem to be unwanted gifts, at least for the authorities on both sides responsible for administering the Danube waters. Partly they are newly emerged territories as a result of the dynamics of a still-powerful river, albeit one thatContinue reading “Doing environmental anthropology field research in Southeast Europe. Looking at the nearness of remoteness”

Reigning Danube: Forests, islands, birds and people

Srebarna, a village close to Silistra town, shelters a natural park, one of the “nature’s havens on the Danube” (Sevcsik 2014).  A kingdom of lakes, backwaters, animals, birds and an endless cover of reed and forests. Although there has been an attempt of the socialist Bulgarian government to drain the area for reclaiming agricultural landContinue reading “Reigning Danube: Forests, islands, birds and people”

How Earth Observation from space supports island dynamics analysis

Corabia is a small harbour town on the left bank of the Danube River, between 628-636 km (Olt County, Romania). Even if the founding act of Corabia is quite recent (1881) and the component settlements have been certified starting with the 16th century, traces of living in these lands go back to ancient times asContinue reading “How Earth Observation from space supports island dynamics analysis”

Notes from the fieldwork: from Islaz to Calafat

On a rainy Sunday of last month, the three of us – Ștefan, Stelu and I – packed our bags in a little Fiat and off we went to meet some islands. Our destination: the area between the river Olt and Cetate village (Dolj county). Later on, Gabriela, our geographer colleague joined us. For theContinue reading “Notes from the fieldwork: from Islaz to Calafat”

Danubian Islands, the in-between places

There is a paradox around Lower Danubian islands: they are visible, but hidden, connected, but closed-off, present, but also missing. They are the ultimate in-between places. In a newspaper entry* from 18 August 1935 we read about a trip to the now submerged Ada Kaleh** island. The visitors cross the river on a boat andContinue reading “Danubian Islands, the in-between places”

Opening a technical field. Ecological restoration, local knowledge and citizen science

In the latest issue of  Global Environment Stefan Dorondel takes a critical view to ecological restoration projects in light of ‘citizen science’. Stefan discusses a couple of high-profile examples of such projects along the Danube river, in Romania and Bulgaria to argue for new approaches to ecological restoration that take into account local knowledge. EcologicalContinue reading “Opening a technical field. Ecological restoration, local knowledge and citizen science”

Islands in the archives

Daniel Cain discovered a copy of the first map of the Lower Danube islands dated at the end of 19th century. The original map goes back to 1830 when a Mixed Commission drew the boundary along the Danube between the Ottoman Empire and Wallachia and Moldavia. The geography of the Lower Danube appeared strange andContinue reading “Islands in the archives”