UCL Anthropology


Maria Iancu


Email: ucsamia@ucl.ac.uk
Year of start: 2011
Subject: Social Anthropology

Research Topic/ Provisional Dissertation Title

Ada Kaleh Tales: Topographies of Displacement, Memory and Translocal Imaginaries


First: Dr. Charles Stewart
Second: Dr. Ger Duijzings (SSEES Department)


The focus of my PhD is the dynamics of the past on the former dwellers of the now-sunk Ada Kaleh island in Romania. In searching for the propositional, emotional, and embodied forms through which the past reverberates, I aim to investigate the inner experiential and inter-subjective consequences of forced displacement. I analyse the Ada Kale-li cultural pattern of recounting memories by giving an outlook to the communicative pragmatics of the environment that determine the textual content of memories, as opposed to a pre-existent order of narratives that structure the self to creates notions of belief and truth.

I further enquire on the emotional investment and actualization of a grievous loss (Feuchtwang) and its informing into a type of fluid identity that combines some specific determinants of historical, behavioural, linguistic, and moral order.  
Lastly, I interpret the mundane experiences, with particular reference to day-dreaming and doing nothing to outline the perception of time, as both symbolic and agentive towards some assumed ideals of moral expiation and compensation, which could potentially become substantiated in the rebuilding of Ada Kaleh.

Academic Background/Education

MSc in Social and Cultural Anthropology, University College London, 2011
MA in Anthropology and Community Development, University of Bucharest, 2010
BA in Sociology, University of Bucharest, 2008

Honours and Awards

Best Master Paper in Anthropology. Awarded by the Romanian Cultural Institute (ICR) and The Romanian Society for Cultural Anthropology (SACR), 2011.