Dr Bogdan Iacob

Curriculum Vitae

Bogdan C. Iacob came to the Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena as a junior fellow in April 2013. Prior to that, he was a project manager at the Romanian Cultural Institute. From 2010 to 2012 he was secretary of the Scientific Council of the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile. He holds a PhD in comparative history from the Central European University. The title of his dissertation is “Stalinism, Historians, and the Nation. History-Production During Communism in Romania, 1955–1966”. He was a research fellow at the Centre for Advanced Studies at Leipzig University and the Center for the Study of Post-communist Societies at the University of Maryland (College Park), and was also awarded a research grant as part of the SCOPES Programme (hosted by the University of Fribourg).

Research project at the Kolleg 

The title of my project is “Product of Appropriation: A Comparative Analysis of South Eastern European Studies in Communist Romania (1963–1989)”. It examines the way in which South Eastern European studies became an important facet of the massive appropriation of pre-communist traditions by the communist regime in Romania. Despite its significance as a form of transnational scholarly exchange, the fate of South Eastern European studies in Romania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia during the communist period is a subject that is often ignored and seriously under-researched. The project highlights an interesting paradox: on the one hand, the re-affirmation of the Balkan regionalist historical imagination indicated the return of the Nation in state socialism; on the other hand, it was also a way of asserting an alternative symbolic geography in a divided Europe, which both disclaimed Cold War rhetoric and reinforced cultural, political, and epistemic regional entanglements. An analysis of the evolution of South Eastern European studies raises at least four crucial research questions in relation to the regime’s cultural politics and the function of historiography. What was the role of South Eastern European studies in Romania’s re-positioning of itself within Soviet bloc dynamics? What role did this discipline play in the cultural diplomacy of the Romanian Communist Party across the East–West divide? What was the relationship between historically constructed national identities and the symbolic economy of the South Eastern European peoples (the role of the autochthonous element and successive imperial legacies (Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman))? This research project sheds new light on claims by the regime and historians of an original and continuous Europeanness beyond Cold War alignments. It is crucial to a better understanding of the co-existence of scholarly and para-scholarly phenomena in the context of post-1956 attempts to formulate new geopolitical and historiographical syntheses within the Soviet bloc.

Main areas of research

  • Comparative cultural, institutional, and political history of communist regimes/movements in Europe
  • Twentieth-century intellectual history in East Central and South Eastern Europe
  • Comparative research on ideologies