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Dr Stefan Dorondel, PI

Stefan is a researcher at the ‘Francisc I. Rainer’ Institute of Anthropology and at the Institute for South-East European Studies (Romanian Academy). He has a doctorate in history from Lucian Blaga University (Sibiu) and a doctorate in rural studies from Humboldt University (Berlin). He is the author of ‘Disrupted Landscapes. State, Peasants and the Politics of Land in Postsocialist Romania’ (Berghahn Books, Oxford & New York, 2016, paperback 2021) and co-author of ‘When Things Become Property. Land Reform, Authority, and Value in Postsocialist Europe and Asia’ (Berghahn Books, 2017).

The main topic of his research is the interaction between humans and the natural environment. He is passionate about rivers, wetlands, animals and plants and he is a relentless ecologist.


Dr Stelu Şerban

Stelu is a sociologist at the Institute for South-East European Studies, Romanian Academy. He is interested in topics such as post-socialist transformations in Southeast Europe, everyday life in rural societies, ethnicity, and political ecology.

He is the author of the book ‘Elites, parties and the political spectrum in interwar Romania’ (Paideia, 2006) and he has edited and co-edited several volumes in both Romanian and international languages. Stelu Şerban has published in prestigious international academic journals, with the latest article: “Techno-Nationalizing the Levees on the Danube: Romania and Bulgaria after World War II,” Nationalities Papers, 2020, 48 (2): 373-387).


Dr Gabriela Ioana-Toroimac

Gabriela is a lecturer at the Faculty of Geography, University of Bucharest. She works in physical geography and studies rivers based on old maps, aerial photos, and satellite imagery in GIS. Gabriela tries to understand a river’s behavior in terms of channel dynamics, water, and sediment variability. Her overall objective is to set priorities for river restoration.


Dr Marina Vîrghileanu

Marina has a PhD in Geography (2018) and a Master in Geographic Information Systems (2013). She is assistant professor at the Faculty of Geography, University of Bucharest, where she teaches Remote Sensing, Analysis and Interpretation of Satellite Images, Cartography and GIS.

Her main areas of expertise are the processing of optical satellite images for the production of geospatial data and the analysis of changes in geographical space using GIS and remote sensing techniques.


Google Scholar Profile

Dr Daniel Cain

Daniel is a researcher at the Institute for South-East European Studies, Romanian Academy. With studies in Bucharest and Sofia, he has a PhD in History (2008) with a thesis on Romanian-Bulgarian diplomatic relations at the beginning of the 20th century.

He is the author of many volumes and studies on the realities of Southeast Europe around 1900. One of the recent edited texts are the memoirs of a Romanian shepherd: ‘Nicolae S. Șucu, Viața și aventurile unui cioban român în Bulgaria în vremuri de război 1908–1918′ [Nicolae S. Șucu. The life and adventures of a Romanian shepherd in Bulgaria during the war 1908-1918’ (Humanitas, 2017)


Dr Adrian Deoancă

Adrian is a researcher at the ‘Francisc I. Rainer’ Institute of Anthropology of the Romanian Academy. He also teaches social theory at the University of Bucharest and at the National School of Political and Administrative Sciences. Adrian earned his doctorate in sociocultural anthropology from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, U.S.A) in 2020, with the dissertation End of the Line: State Infrastructure, Material Ruin, and Precarious Labor along Romanian Railroads.

He has published widely on issues pertaining to infrastructural governance, material brokenness and repair labor in both academic journals and popular magazines. His most recent published work  can be read in Transfers: Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies, Social Anthropology, and in Scena9

He is particularly interested in the cultural lives of public infrastructures, be them ‘natural’ such as waterways or rather ‘artificial’ such as railroads, their political and economic force, the forms of governance and sociality that they constrain and invite of these structures that underpin contemporary life, and the work that goes into fending off their ruination. profile

GoogleScholar profile

Research Gate profile


Dr Cornelia Florea

Cornelia has a degree in Geography (2004), a Masters`degree in Ethnology, Cultural Anthropology and Folklore (2015) and a doctorate about Valea Jiului (2019) – The Anthropology of Miners and Mining in the Jiu Valley. An Approach from Literary Studies, published under the title Noroc bun! O antropologie a minerilor şi minelor din Valea Jiului. 

She is very keen to travel and interested in the study of communities and their relation with the environment.

Dr Alexandra Ion

Alexandra is an osteoarchaeologist and anthropologist, telling stories about old human remains and the scientists who study them. Currently a researcher at the ‘Francisc I. Rainer’ Institute of the Romanian Academy, she brings to the project an interest in boundary objects (objects that inhabit multiple social/epistemic worlds), and in understanding the creation and life of scientific objects in archives.

She published the volume ‘Regi, sfinți si anonimi. Cercetători și oseminte umane în arheologia din România’ [Kings, saints and the anonymous dead. Researchers and human remains in the archaeology from Romania] (Cetatea de Scaun, 2019) and she is on Twitter as @BodiesAcademia.


Ana Maria Nae

Ana Maria is a committed young biologist and aspiring researcher, currently working in the field of microbiology as a quality control specialist for pharmaceutical natural products and also as an assistant researcher at at the ‘Francisc I. Rainer’ Institute as a member of this project.

Ana Maria Nae holds a master’s degree in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management, as well as a BA degree in Biology, both earned at the University Of Agronomic Sciences And Veterinary Medicine Of Bucharest, with ambitious plans for future doctoral studies.

She will help us transcribe the informants’ interviews and also with her biology insights.

Administrative support

Luminița Mihăilă

Chief Accountant at the ‘Francisc I. Rainer’ Institute of Anthropology, our host institution. Luminița is in charge of the administrative parts of the project, making everything run smoothly and efficiently.

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