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Katherine Verdery Talks Socialism and What Came Next / Leon Feraru Conferences Online

Updated: Aug 4, 2020

On July 1st, 2020 we were proud to welcome Professor KATHERINE VERDERY, one of the most influential contemporary anthropologists and the author of several seminal studies about life in socialist Romania and the post-communist transition in Eastern Europe, as the last guest in the spring season of our FERARU CONFERENCES ONLINE program. Starting from her latest book, My Life as a Spy, a meticulous and fascinating reconstruction of Ceaușescu’s dictatorship through her own Securitate file, the conversation attempted a summation of a lifelong exposure, at once intimate and scholastic, to Romania’s complicated recent history.  

KATHERINE VERDERY is Julien J. Studley Faculty Scholar and Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the City University of New York and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was Eric R. Wolf Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center of Russian and European Studies at University of Michigan. Since 1973 she has conducted field research in Romania, initially focusing on the political economy of social inequality, ethnic relations, and nationalism. After the fall of communism in 1989, her work has shifted to problems of the transformation of socialist systems, with a special interest in changing property relations in agriculture. She published extensively on all these topics, her best known titles including National Ideology under Socialism: Identity and Cultural politics in Ceausescu's Romania (1992), What Was Socialism, and What Comes Next? (1996), The Political Lives of Dead Bodies: Reburial and Postsocialist Change (1999), The Vanishing Hectare: Property and Value in Postsocialist Transylvania (co-authored with Gail Kligman, 2003), My Life as a Spy: Investigations in a Secret Police File (her memoirs from the vantage point of the feared Securitate, 2018).

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