Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Wayne State University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2009
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, City University of New York (CUNY) / Graduate Center
Magic Mountains in Romania: Citizenship, Poverty and the New Role of Tuberculosis Sanatoria

Since the work of T.H. Marshall, citizenship has long been considered a matter of political and social rights and obligations. Recent scholarship suggests, however, that it is now tied with consumption (e.g., Berdahl 2005). More specifically, Petryna (2002) argues for the case of Chernobyl sufferers in Ukraine, medical benefits are becoming an adjunct of citizenship, such that we can speak of "biological citizenship." Postsocialist contexts like Ukraine offer good opportunities for exploring this theme, as governments have cut most social welfare provisions, I propose to examine this process in Romania, where a TB rate of 109 per 100,000 people makes it home to one of the worst Tuberculosis (TB) epidemics in Europe and Central Asia. There is a heated debate over the future of the country's TB sanatoria, still a major part of TB control. In a region where Ukrainians work tirelessly to qualify for Chernobyl benefits and Georgian prisoners "cheat" to test positive for TB to be relocated to prisons with more humane conditions, I will live at Romania's Moroeni TB Sanatorium to examine the possibility that these institutions serve as sites of dependency where citizenship claims are made to avoid the negative effects of Romania's transition from socialism. I will examine this from the point of view of the patients, their kin and friends, health professionals and the surrounding community. I will analyze their views of the contemporary situation in the context of their memories and understandings of these institutions historically and the possible role they are playing a role in citizenship and rights negotiations.