Workshop on method:

Colonial Anxieties, Corruption Scandals and Modernization in Nineteenth-Century Infrastructure Development
19-20 October 2023, New Europe College, Bucharest
Conveners: Silvia Marton and Andrei-Dan Sorescu

The program of the event included, besides the three panels of papers and corresponding Q&A sessions, a guided tour of the Bucharest railway stations and the railway urban planning, entitled ”Stories of the Main Railway Stations in Bucharest”. The tour was organized and commented by team member Toader Popescu who also prepared detailed handouts, and historical and architectural explanations.


On October 13, 2023, team members participated to the CanCor team research seminar and discussion around the research conducted by Alex R. Tipei (from Université de Montréal) on ”Infrastructure and Scientific Commissions: The Creation of (Informal) Imperial Practices”, at the New Europe College in Bucharest.

On October 5, 2023 team member Toader Popescu talked about the railways heritage and the urban planning of train stations in Romania (interview in Romanian).

On June 14, 2023, team member Raul Cârstocea gave a seminar talk entitled Do Fascists Dream of Electric Trains? A Critical Periodisation of Conceptualising Infrastructure, Corruption, and Antisemitism in Romania, within CanCor’s second team research seminar.

All four team members participated to the 2023 Congress of the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES) organized at the University of Glasgow, from March 31 to April 2, 2023. Within the special panel dedicated to the CanCor project – panel entitled „Colonial Anxieties, Corruption Scandals and Xenophobia in Nineteenth-Century Infrastructure Development in Romania” -, team members presented individual papers: ” ‘Free from ice, free from Europe’. Romania’s anxieties and a national port in Southern Bessarabia (1860s–1870s)” by Constantin Ardeleanu; “The mission to connect the East with the West”. Railroad construction projects and controversies (1850s-1860s)” by Silvia Marton; “Antisemitism at the Intersection of Corruption and Colonialism: Continuities of Nineteenth-Century Political Rhetoric in Interwar Romania” by Raul Cârstocea; and “The Fantasy of “Jewish Colonialism”: Romania, 1860-1900” by Andrei Sorescu.

On 16-18 March 2023, Constantin Ardeleanu, Raul Cârstocea, Silvia Marton and Andrei-Dan Sorescu participated to the international conference Roads to Happiness. Traffic Infrastructure in Southeast Europe, Hegemonic Discourse, and its Challenges convened at the Humboldt University Berlin. They organized a special panel dedicated to the CanCor project, entitled “Colonial Anxieties, Corruption, and Antisemitism in Nineteenth-Century Romania. The Strusberg Railroad Concession Scandal”. Each of them presented a significant aspect of the Strusberg railway concession and analysed its long-lasting ripples in the 1860s-1880s that highlight the core dynamics at play in the process of infrastructure construction in Romania. Constantin Ardeleanu presented the paper Collateral Damage. The Strousberg scandal, Romania’s anxieties, and a national port in Southern Bessarabia (1860s–1870s); Raul Cârstocea talked about The Strousberg affair and the fragility of Romanian sovereignty: the ‘Jewish question’ as national and colonial question; Silvia Marton presented the paper „The German gang” and the „crooks”: morality of politicians, business interests, and political connections; and Andrei Sorescu talked about Teutophobia, colonialism, anti-Semitism. The Strousberg scandal, its prehistory and echoes. The conference report is available on H-Soz-Kult website here.

Workshop on method: Colonial Anxities, Corruption Scandals and Modernization in Nineteenth-Century Infrastructure Development, 19-20 October 2023: