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Prof. Dr. Stefan Dorondel


Lead Researcher at the Francisc I. Rainer Institute of Anthropology Bucharest and the Institute for Southeast European Studies Bucharest (Romanian Academy of Sciences)


Environmental history and environmental anthropology of Southeast Europe (Romania and Bulgaria): history of the Lower Danube/fishing communities/the technological transformations of the Lower Danube Floodplain in socialism and postsocialism/alien plant and fish species/the ruined socialist infrastructure/neoliberal transformation of the agrarian landscape/illegal deforestation/ethnic groups/land reform and decollectivization processes/the agrarian question in Southeast Europe.

Studium, Beruf, Funktionen


  • 2007: Ph.D. in Rural Studies (Agricultural economics and Rural Sociology) from Humboldt University Berlin (Title: Agrarian Transformation, Social Differentiation and Land Use Change in Postsocialist Romania)
  • 2004: Ph.D. in History and Ethnology from Lucian Blaga University, Romania (Title: Water and Death. Funerary Rituals, Water Symbolism and the Otherworld Structure within the Peasant Imaginary [in Romanian])


  • 2017-2019: Invited Professor at the Faculty of Literature, Department of Ethnology and Cultural Studies (teaching The Global History of Sociocultural Anthropology)
  • Since 2016: Lead Researcher within the Department of Social Anthropology Institute of Anthropology Bucharest, Academy of Social Sciences, Romania

  • 2014-2016: Senior Researcher within the Department of Social Anthropology Institute of Anthropology Bucharest, Academy of Social Sciences, Romania

  • 2007-2014: Researcher within the Department of Social Anthropology Institute of Anthropology Bucharest, Academy of Social Sciences, Romania

  • 2000-2007: Assistant Researcher within the Department of Social Anthropology Institute of  Anthropology Bucharest, Academy of Social Sciences, Romania

  • 1997-2000: Curator at the National Village Museum Bucharest


  • 2021-2023: PI for the research project State, Communities and Nature of the Lower Danube Islands: An Environmental History (1830-2020) (Funded by the Romanian National Research Foundation) (https://danislandsproject.wordpress.com/press/)
  • 2020-2023: Local PI for the Horizon 2020 Project Citizen Science for Environmental Citizenship: Backyard Birding and the Potential for Cultivating Green Engagement with the New Europe College Institute for Advanced Studies Bucharest (https://www.envirocitizen.eu/about/aboutproject/)

  • 2020-2023: Partner in the research project Contested Waterway. Governance and Ecology on the Lower Danube, 1800–2018 (Leibniz IOS Regensburg) (https://lowerdanube.ios-regensburg.de/)

  • 2013-2016: PI for the research project Taming Postsocialist Nature. Floods, Local Strategies, and National Policies on the Lower Danube (Funded by the Romanian National Research Foundation)

  • 2020-2021: Partner in the project Europe Facing the Danube Port Cities: How to Live Contemporary Cosmopolitanism in the Daily Life? financed by the Pascal Lamy Chair "Anthropology of Contemporary Europe" at the Université Catholique de Louvain and the Evens Foundation, Belgium

  • 2013-2015: Partner in the project COST FP1207 (ORCHESTRA) Orchestrating Forest-Related Policy Analysis in Europe 


Publication List

You can find the complete list of my publications here: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8722-6242 and here https://antropologia.academia.edu/StefanDorondel and here https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Stefan-Dorondel

Books and edited volumes

  • 2022  Stefan Dorondel, Stelu Serban (eds.), A New Ecological Worder. Development and the Transformation of Nature in Eastern Europe. Pittsburgh University Press, Pittsburgh, PA. https://upittpress.org/books/9780822947172/
  • 2017  Thomas Sikor, Stefan Dorondel, Johannes Stahl and Phuc Xuan To, When things Become Property: Land Reform, Authority and Value in Postsocialist Europe and Asia. Berghahn Books, Oxford and NewYork http://www.berghahnbooks.com/title/SikorWhen

  • 2016  Stefan Dorondel, Disrupted Landscapes. State, Peasants, and the Politics of Land in Postsocialist Romania. Berghahn Books, Oxford and New York.  http://www.berghahnbooks.com/title.php?rowtag=DorondelDisrupted

  • 2004  Stefan Dorondel, Moartea şi apa. Ritualuri funerare, simbolism acvatic şi structura lumii de dincolo în imaginarul ţărănesc [Death and Water. Funerary Rituals, Water Symbolism, and the Otherworld Imaginary Among the Peasants from Southern Romania]. Paideia, Bucureşti.

  • 2005  Stefan Dorondel, Stelu Serban (eds.), Between East and West. Studies in Anthropology and Social History, Romanian Cultural Institute, Bucharest.

Guest-editor special issues 

  • 2019  Oane Visser, Stefan Dorondel, Petr Jehlička, Max Spoor (eds.), Post-socialist Smallholders: Silence, Resistance and Alternatives. In: Canadian Journal of Development Studies, 40(4)2019: 499-599.
  • 2013  Stefan Dorondel, S. Serban, At the Margins of History. The Agrarian Question in Southeast Europe. A special issue of Martor, vol. 19, 206 pages.

Peer-reviewed articles and book chapters (selection) 

  • 2023  Stefan Dorondel, Stelu Serban, Gabriela Ioana-Toroimac, Underground and Underwater Mining: State Extractivism and the Socio-ecological Transformations of Bulgaria. In: Science, Technology and Human Value (under review).
  • 2023  Stefan Dorondel, Alexandra Ion, The Entangled Life of Islands: Or, Why the Nonhuman Resettlement Project of Ada Kaleh Failed. In: F. Heidemann and Philipp Scorch (eds.), Experiencing Islandness: Oceans and Beyond (under review at The University of Hawai’i Press).

  • 2023  Stefan Dorondel, Stelu Serban, An Ethnography of Mud and Soil in the Lower Danube Floodplains. In: A. L. Araya and P. Sampat (eds.), Unsettling Land: Relational Lives in the Anthropocene, Athens, GA: University Press of Colorado (in print).

  • 2023  Stefan Dorondel, Veronica Mitroi-Tisseyre, Youssoupha Tall, Assessing the Unseen: Local Fishermen Knowledge and Scientific Expertise in Eastern Europe and Africa. In: E. O’Gorman et al. (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Environmental History. London and New York: Routledge (in print).  

  • 2022  Stefan Dorondel, Cristina Posner, Infrastructure, Feral Waters and Power Relations in Rural Romania. In: Critique of Anthropology 42(2): 172-190.

  • 2022  Stefan Dorondel, Daivi Rodima-Taylor, Marioara Rusu, Reinventing Land Mortgage in Postsocialist Europe. In: D. Rodima-Taylor and P. Shipton (eds.), Land and the Mortgage. History,Culture, Belonging, Berghahn, New York and Oxford, 2022, pp. 161-187.

  • 2021  Stefan Dorondel, Stelu Serban and Marian Tudor, Ecological Restoration in “Liquid Societies”. Lessons from Eastern Europe. In: Nature and Culture 16(2): 86-117.

  • 2021  Stefan Dorondel, Opening a Technical Field. Ecological Restoration, Local Knowledge and Citizen Science. Global Environment 14(1): 201-207.

  • 2020  Stefan Dorondel, Stelu Serban, Healing Waters: Infrastructure and the Capitalist Phantasies in the Socialist Ruins of Rural Bulgaria. In: Canadian Journal of Development Studies 41(1): 127-143.

  • 2019  Environmental History in Romania: The Travail of a Scientific Field. In: Environment and History 25(2): 313-318.

  • 2019  S. Dorondel, Stelu Serban, D. Cain, The Play of Islands: Danube Dynamics and Border Establishment in Modern Southeast Europe (1830-1900). In: Environment and History 25(4): 521-547.

  • 2019  S. Dorondel, S. Serban, Dissuading Large Agricultural Investors: Neoliberalism and Community Mobilization in Bulgaria. In: Canadian Journal of Development Studies  40(4): 564-579.

  • 2017  Stefan Dorondel, Veronica Mitroi, Nature, State and Conservation in the Danube Delta. Turning Fishermen into Outlaws, in C. Leal, W. von Harderberg, E. Wakind, M. Kelly, Nature State: Rethinking the History of Conservation, Routledge, London and New York, pp. 193-211.

  • 2016  Stefan Dorondel, Environmental Disasters, Climate Change and Other Big Problems of Our Times. A View from Southeast Europe. In: Ethnologia Balkanica 19: 11-32.

  • 2014  Stefan Dorondel, Mihai Popa, Workings of the State: Lists, the European Union Food Aid, and Local Practices of Distribution in Rural Romania. In: Social Analysis 58(3): 124-140.

  • 2014  Stelu Serban, Stefan Dorondel, Shifting Frames: Social Anthropology in Romania after 1990. In: Ethnologia Balkanica, Vol. 17: 209-240.


Vorträge (since 2019)

  • Co-organizer of the international conference Shifty Mud: Land, Water and Life in a “Patchy Anthropocene”, New Europe College Bucharest, 8-10 of May 2023
  • Co-organizer of the panel The River as a Web: Infrastructure, Environment and Governance of the Lower Danube (1800-2020), ESEH Conference, University of Bristol, 4-8 of July 2002.
  • Co-organizer of the panel Anthroposcene: Regimes of Infrastructure, Regimes of Representation, within InASEA Conference, University of Graz, Austria, 15-18 of September 2022

  • Co-organizer of the panel Future River Histories. Narrating the Rivers of the Anthropocene. The ICEHO Congress, Florianopolis, Brazil, 22-26 July 2019

  • Stefan Dorondel, Nomadic islands, nation states and riparian communities on the Lower Danube. The workshop Researching Uncertainty, Multipositionality, and Liminality of Moldavians and Ukrainians amidst War. Organized by the CNRS Paris, Centre Marc Bloch and ZOiS, Berlin, 31 of May-2 of June 2023

  • Stefan Dorondel, Daniel Cain. The “House of Locusts”: Pests, Islands and the Troubling Border Relations at the End of the 19th Century and the Beginning of the 20th. 12th ESEH Congress, University of Bern, Switzerland, 22-26 of August 2023

  • Stefan Dorondel, Why Do We Need Ecological Restoration? Global Nature, Infrastructure and Agriculture in the Former Lower Danube Floodplains, The ESEH Conference, University of Bristol, 4-8 of July 2022

  • Stefan Dorondel, Neoliberal rural decayed infrastructure and the aesthetics of useless in Romania, InASEA Conference, University of Graz, Austria, 15-18 of September 2022
  • Stefan Dorondel, The Agrarian Qyestion in Eastern Europe. Keynote sppech at the conference Just Food Transitions. Addressing the Peasant Question in Eastern Europe organised by the University of Coimbra, (online), 14 of November 2021

  • Stefan Dorondel, Planners, Experts, Bureaucrats: Transforming Nature & Economy in a European Periphery. Recent History of Technology, Mediterranean Studies, Environmental Humanities: An Encounter, international conference, Athens, 1-2 July, 2021 (online)

  • Stefan Dorondel, Redesigning Ecologies and Communities: Ecological Restoration in Late Capitalism, The Leibniz Institute IOS Regensburg & University of Regensburg, 8 of March, 2022

  • Stefan Dorondel, River Islands as Webs of Life: States, Communities and Nature along the Lower Danube, The Rachel Carson Center Lunchtime Colloquium, LMU Munich, 14 ianuarie, 2021 (On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrQLv4rJ8Fg)

  • Stefan Dorondel, River Restoration and the Eco-biography of the Lower Danube: A Multispecies Approach, keynote speaker for the international conference Rencontres internationals: Geohistoire des zones humide d’ici et d’aiileurs organized by Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès and ICEM Tulcea, Tulcea, 3-8 of July 2019

  • Stefan Dorondel, State formation, ethnic minorities and control of natural resources. Stories from Eastern Europe, keynote speaker, to the international conference “State, Roma Population and Forms of Social Resistance and Integration in Southeast Europe”, organized by the Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden, 15 of May, 2019

  1. Fakultät für Philosophie, Kunst-, Geschichts- und Gesellschaftswissenschaften
  2. Institut für Geschichte