Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2017
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Feminist Studies, University of California / Santa Cruz
Technologies of Displacement: Contours of Gentrification in Bucharest and Cluj, Romania

Since the mid-2000s, Romania's digital technology industry has emerged as one of Europe's most competitive, with the country boasting the continent's fastest internet connection as well as a growing number of startups and Western research and development branches, inciting claims of it having become the "Silicon Valley of Europe." My research project will situate this recent tech growth within both socialist and postsocialist urban histories, looking to developments in informatics, informal network infrastructure, and global IT capital. By conducting interviews and by engaging in participant observation in Bucharest and Cluj, as well as by studying infrastructural, archival, and media pieces ethnographically, I will trace shifting subject relations to modernity, utopics, Europe, and peripherality that accompany technological transformation. In doing so, my research maintains a temporal approach to theorize what Romania's current Silicon Valley status indexes of its postsocialist global present, and what socialist and transitional era histories presage of the contemporary moment. Further, contributing to ongoing conversations on IT transnational infrastructure and postsocialist urbanization, I will map Romania's imaginative and material technoscapes, questioning what, methodologically, charting Romanian technological shifts uniquely offers to an anthropology of technology and postsocialism.