The Danube Delta, one of the largest and most valuable wetland areas in Europe, combines high ecological value and vulnerability with a largely unrecognized cultural complexity. In our project, started in 2003, we analyze that cultural complexity, in processes of social remembering and of looking forward with various cultural groups and administrations. We investigate the potential for spatial planning and design in this environment, potential to balance nature and culture.

Cooperation with Petruta Teampau, Babes Bolyai University, Cluj- Napoca; Patrick Devlieger, Leuven University; Gert Verschraegen, University of Antwerp; Gabriel Badescu, Babes Bolyai University, Cluj- Napoca; Constantin Iordachi, Central European University, Budapest; Raoul Beunen, Wageningen University.

An edited volume (Constantin Iordachi, Kristof Van Assche editors) on Biopolitics and the Danube Delta will be published soon by Central European University Press. Contributions look at the natural and cultural history of the delta, resource use, adaptation, policy formation and implementation.

A number of papers were published, among which several included social memory as a central concept: an article in Ethnologia Balkanica focused on social memory and the European future in Sulina. An article in Memory Studies highlights the intricate connections between remembering and looking forward, between social memory and planning, and articulates the concept of deep forgetting. In a paper for Anthropology of Eastern Europe Review, the daily enactment of cultural identity in Sulina, city space is investigated, with implied notions of social memory and implications for planning. In a paper in Identities, we investigate the interweaving of personal narratives and city identity narratives through a biographical approach. A study published in Studia Sociologia investigates aspects of marginality in the Delta, through the lens of the palimpsest concept.

In addition, there are papers in Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning and Journal of Environmental Planning and Management on the evolution of policy and planning in and for the delta, path dependence and interdependence, and the discursive construction of the local. A paper in Environmental Values looks at problematic citizen participation from the angle of local constructions of nature, partly emerging out of historical trauma and negative experiences with governance.

Work in progress focuses on diasporic and discontinuous identities, and on local mythologies of cosmopolitanism.

For full references and links, see the Publications page.

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