Mihai-Dan Cîrjan: Research & CV

Indebtedness and Credit Relations in Times of Crisis: Reinventing the State by Governing Economic Life in Post-Liberal Romania (1929-1944)

Research Area 1 – Displacements, “Dépaysements” and Discrepancies: People, Knowledge and Practices

Contact: mihai-dan.cirjan@cefres.cz

As a comparative social historian, most of my work focuses on the history of interwar capitalism in Eastern Europe and Latin America. My current research looks at the contentious debates regarding the restructuring of Romanian credit relations after the Great Depression, with a special emphasis on the private debt of rural communities and the state’s sovereign debt. It shows how, following one of the most dramatic debt crises of the 20th century, the social conflicts surrounding debt and credit became one of main arenas for articulating contending views of market relations and the capitalist economy.

Rather than a mere regional trait, these discussion were part and parcel of a transnational dialogue about the role of credit institutions in a post-crisis context and the necessity of reforming the global financial system. The outcome of these debates, the “post-liberal” state developed in Romania throughout the 1930s, represented a global co-creation: the result of a constant interaction between international organizations and expertise networks (League of Nations, transnational creditors, central banks, etc.), the constraints of the international financial inequalities, and local class conflicts. The PhD project is built at the crossroad of several scholarly traditions which, throughout my work, I try to merge into a dialogue: historical sociology, political economy, and economic anthropology.



2011—: Central European University, Department of History: Ph.D. in Comparative History. Title of the proposed Ph.D. dissertation: Money and Debt Relations in the Aftermath of the Great Depression: Reinventing the State by Governing Economic Life in Post-Liberal Romania (1929-1944)

2009- 2011: Central European University, Department of History: M.A. in Comparative History

2006-2009: University of Bucharest, Faculty of Letters: B.A. in Romanian and English Studies

Selected Grants and Adwards

  • 2015-2016: Fulbright Junior Scholar: Visiting Researcher at New York University, Department of History
  • 2014-2015: CEU Research Grant for organizing the workshop “Assembling the Post-Liberal Order: Central and Eastern European Societies in the aftermath of the Great Depression (1929-1956)”
  • 2011-2014: Full CEU Doctoral Fellowship
  • 2012: CEU Academic Achievement Award
  • 2010: The CEU Academic Pro-Rector’s Excellence Award
  • 2009-2011: Roma Interregional Scholarship

Selected Publications

  • Review of Lampland, Martha. The Value of Labor : The Science of Commodification in Hungary, 1920-1956, The University of Chicago Press, 2016, in Hungarian Review (forthcoming).
  • Review of Ekaterina Pravilova, A Public Empire: Property and the Quest for the Common Good in Imperial Russia, Princeton University Press, 2014, in English Historsity Press: 2014, in rical Review (forthcoming)
  • Review of Kristen Ghodsee, The Left Side of History: World War II and the Unfulfilled Promise of Communism in Eastern Europe, Duke University Press, 2015, in European Review of History 20.1 (2015)
Articles in Progress
  • “Reinventing the Labour Market: Psychotechnics and the Evaluation of Work in Interwar Romania”.
  • “Recreating the Periphery: Exchange Controls as a Model of Economic Governance in Interwar Romania”.

Selected Talks and Conference Papers

  • “Between Austerity and Debt: The Global Co-Creation of a Post-Liberal Romania (1928-1935), ASEEES annual convention, Washington DC, November 2016.
  • “The Temporal Politics of Economic Reform in Interwar Democracies: Agricultural Credit and the Infrastructure of Backwardness in Pre-Socialist Romania” Princeton University, Center for Human Values: Princeton, April 2016.
  • “Talking about Work: Romanian Psychotechnics and the Evaluation of Labour after the Interwar Capitalist Crisis” Columbia University, Science, Knowledge and Technology Workshop: New York, April 2016.
  • “Managing the State by Managing Sovereign Debt:  Exchange Controls as a Model of Economic Governance”, Cornell University, History Department: March 2016.
  • “Managing Dependency, Managing the Crisis: Europe and Interwar Romania through the Eyes of Financial Institutions (1929-1934)”, paper presented at the Europe and the World workshop organized by Princeton University, CEU, EUI and SciencesPo: Budapest, June 2013.


Romanian (Native), English (Academic Level), French (Reading and conversation), Portuguese (Reading),  Bosnian-Serbo-Croatian (Beginner)