About the Center

Established in 2016, the Center for the Study of Modernity and the Rural World is an independent and interdisciplinary research institute. The Center resides in a rural area, bringing together researchers from Romania and abroad concerned with a wide range of topics and issues relating to modernity and rurality.


Valer Simion Cosma is researcher in the research project: “East-West”. Vernacular religion on the boundary of Eastern and Western Chritianity: continuity, changes and interactions hosted by the HAS Research Centre for the Humanities, Institute of Ethnography in Budapest (Hungary). Member of the Seminar for Historical Anthropology (Seminarul de Antropologie istorică), Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He holds a PhD in History at Babeș-Bolyai University, and is the founder and organizer of the annual “Telciu Summer Conferences” since 2012 and Telciu Summer School since 2016. He works on peasant religiosity, vernacular religion, modernity/coloniality and religion in Eastern Europe, nationalism, populism, political economy and electoral clientelism.

Manuela Boatcă is Professor of Sociology with a focus on macrosociology at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Germany. She was Visiting Professor at IUPERJ, Rio de Janeiro in 2007/08 and Professor of Sociology of Global Inequalities at the Latin American Institute of the Freie Universität Berlin from 2012 to 2015. Her work on world-systems analysis, postcolonial and decolonial perspectives, gender in modernity/coloniality and the geopolitics of knowledge in Eastern Europe and Latin America has appeared in the Journal of World-Systems Research, Cultural Studies, South Atlantic Quarterly, Political Power and Social Theory, Berliner Journal für Soziologie, Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie, Zeitschrift für Weltgeschichte and Theory, Culture and Society.She is author of Global Inequalities beyond Occidentalism, Ashgate 2015 and co-editor (with E. Gutiérrez Rodríguez and S. Costa) of Decolonizing European Sociology. Transdisciplinary Approaches, Ashgate 2010 and ofHandbuch Entwicklungsforschung (with K. Fischer and G. Hauck), Springer 2015.

Ion Matei Costinescu is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, University of Bucharest. His research interests include the modern history of Southeastern Europe, questions of modernity/modernization, and nationalism in a comparative perspective. Matei has considerable teaching experience and his published work includes articles in Sfera Politicii and Sociologie Romȃnească. He is currently working on a dissertation analyzing the alternative rural modernity elaborated and inserted into the interwar Romanian social structure by the Bucharest Sociological School.

Ovidiu Ţichindeleanu (b.1976). Philosopher, translator and culture theorist living in Chişinău, writing on critical social theory, decolonial thought, new materialisms, Eastern Europe and the cultural history of postcommunism. Studied philosophy in Cluj-Napoca, Strasbourg and Binghamton. PhD in Philosophy, Binghamton University (2009). Editor of the biannual of critical theory and contemporary arts IDEA arts + society and collections coordinator of IDEA publishing house, Cluj, Romania. Co-founder and editor of the independent journal Philosophy & Stuff (1997-2000). Co-founder of the independent platforms Indymedia Romania (2004), CriticAtac.ro (2010) and LeftEast International (2012). Former member of the working group for the integration of Central and Eastern European Countries in the European Social Forum (2006); organizer of the Eastern Europe – Global South Initiative (WSF Tunis 2013). Member in the Board of Directors of El Taller International, an international NGO dedicated to conceiving and organizing non-retributive forms of social justice, such as the International Courts of Women. From 2012 teaches at the Decolonial School of the Roosevelt Institute, Middelburg, Netherlands and since 2016 he teaches at Telciu Summer School, Romania. Translator into Romanian of works by Silvia Federici, Sylvia Marcos, Walter Mignolo, Arturo Escobar, Immanuel Wallerstein, Ivan Illich, Giles Deleuze, Peter Sloterdijk. Author of Romanian Revolution Televised (with K. Petrovszky, IDEA, 2009); co-editor (with V. Ernu, C. Şiulea, C. Rogozanu) of The Anticommunist Illusion (Cartier 2008). In 2016 he published „Contracultură. Rudimente de filosofie critică”(Idea).

Ágota Ábrán, born in Târgu Mureș, is a doctoral student since 2013 at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom, in the Department of Social Anthropology, where she finished her master studies as well. Her research topic centres on the process of plants becoming medicinal in Romania, focusing on commodification, valuation studies, medical anthropology, and the overcoming of Cartesian dichotomies between the social and the natural.

Alina Branda is a university lecturer at the European Studies Faculty, Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, where she lectures is cultural anthropology, European ethnology, ethnicity, interethnic relations, multiculturalism, and cultural pluralism. Between 2008 and 2012 she completed her academic activities with managerial duties at the Inter- and Multicultural Studies Institute of Babeş-Bolyai University. She is the beneficiary of numerous fundings and research stages conducted abroad, as well as having a rich academic activity in studies, conference and symposium participations, and research projects. She is the member of the following national and international societies: International Society for Ethnology and Folklore, The International Association for Southeast European Anthropology, the Romanian Society for Cultural Anthropology, European Association of Social Anthropologists.

Theodor Constantiniu (born 1986) is a PhD candidate at „Gheorghe Dima” Music Academy, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. With an initial background as a violinist, he devotes his postgraduate studies to theoretical research (musicology and ethnomusicology). At the moment, he is trying to mantain a fragile equilibrium between science (computational musicology), humanities (the social and political context in which the Romanian ethnomusicology developed) and music performance (jazz/improvised music).

As a music critic, he writes for Roamanian cultural magazines such as Tribuna, Steaua or Cultura. He also covers the Romanian jazz scene in his blog (jazzdeadreptu.wordpress.com). He is a contributing author at Liga Oamenilor de Cultură Bonțideni from the first days of this site. Over the years, he participated with in several national and international conferences and parts of his research has been published in various academic journals and collective volumes.

Bogdan Vătavu (b. 1986) librarian at “Octavian Goga” Cluj County Library, graduate of Babeş-Bolyai University, the Faculty of History and Philosophy. My academic interests revolve around social history in general, with a marked interest in the history of crime. I have published several articles in scientific journals on such topics as banditry and brigandage in the early modern Romanian provinces and I currently prepare a PhD thesis on the same topic.

Norbert Petrovici is a university lecturer at the Faculty of Sociology and Social Work Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca. His research focuses social theory, urban/rural sociology, urban planning, gender studies, social anthropology, spatial planning and sustainable development.




Cornel Ban is the author of ten peer-reviewed articles on economic policy strategies in Southern Europe, Eastern Europe and Latin America, professionals and economic policy, the politics of IMF fiscal policy advice and European financial crisis management. His most recent book was published by Oxford University Press and deals with the local adaptation and crisis resilience of global economic paradigms in Spain and Romania. Dr. Ban also co-edited special issues on the IMF, the BRICS and shadow banking for leading journals such as Review of International Political Economy, Journal of Common Market and Governance. At Boston University he also serves as the co-director of the Global Economic Governance Initiative.  Currently he is Reader in International Economy at City University of London (UK) and Visiting Associate Professor at Copehagen School of Business. Dr. Ban was born and raised a few kilometers away from Telciu.