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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

Call for Papers: Shifty Muds Land, Water, and Life in a “Patchy Anthropocene”, 8-10 June 2023

Convenors: Ștefan Dorondel, Adrian Deoancă and Stelu ȘerbanInstitutions: Francisc I. Rainer Institute of Anthropology Bucharest, The Institute for Southeast European Studies Bucharest, New Europe College. Institute for Advanced Studies Bucharest This workshop takes mud as a capacious metaphor for all those soggy, dynamicand ambiguous wetland environments – freshwater islands, banks, floodplains, marshes, swamps, bogs, andContinue reading “Call for Papers: Shifty Muds Land, Water, and Life in a “Patchy Anthropocene”, 8-10 June 2023”

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     “

The restored island

The first river restoration project in Romania was completed in 1994 on Babina Islet (area of 22 km2) in the northern part of the Danube Delta on the Chilia arm. Levees were opened to let the islet be flooded. Nearly 30 years post-restoration we questioned the hydrological effectiveness of river restoration. The analysis was basedContinue reading “The restored island”

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”

Ruins in the archives

 “What’s old collapses, times change, And new life blossoms in the ruins” (Friedrich Schiller). Detail of Ada Kaleh island citadel wall, 1969. Photograph from the Institutul National al Patrimoniului Archive (Simian archive).  /// Ruine in arhive “Ce e vechi se prabuseste, timpurile se schimba, si viata noua infloreste dintre ruine” (Friedrich Schiller). Detaliu al zidului cetatii dinContinue reading “Ruins in the archives”

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”

Dynamic islands: fieldwork in the Galați area

Stefan Dorondel and Stelu Serban started the fieldwork in the project. Their first two stops: Insula Cailor (Island of the Horses) near Galați and Cotul Pisicii (Grindu) village, Tulcea county. What is the role of these landmarks in the life of communities? How does their dynamic geomorphology affect humans and non-humans alike? At Cotul PisiciiContinue reading “Dynamic islands: fieldwork in the Galați area”

Unpacking an island. Ada Kaleh and its plants

This post is the first in a series – Notes on Ada Kaleh– where we share ongoing research on the Ada Kaleh island. The aim is to present fragments of its history, and to bring the non-specialist public behind the scenes of research work. These posts will show our work in progress, and how itContinue reading “Unpacking an island. Ada Kaleh and its plants”

Islands in the Anthropocene

Islands indicate a river’s pattern. They are large or small, streamlined or irregular, formed through the deposition of sediments or covered in vegetation. Through their features, islands are indicators for a river’s flow variability, as well as for the power and competence of transporting the sediment load. Rivers with islands also have a higher varietyContinue reading “Islands in the Anthropocene”

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”