Cristian Capotescu, doctoral candidate in history, has been selected as the first Robert J. Donia Graduate Student Fellow to permit his summer 2019 research project, “Humanitarianism in Socialism. On Authoritarian Rule and Private Humanitarian Work in Ceausescu’s Romania.” This fellowship supports a graduate student engaged in research on human rights over the summer.
Cristian Capotescu is a doctoral candidate in history specializing on modern Europe and the global world. His teaching and research interests span a broad range of topics including borders and mobility, economic life, humanitarianism, social unrest, and welfare politics. His ongoing dissertation, titled “Giving in the Time of Socialism: Humanitarianism, Economic Life, and Mobility in Postwar Europe,” uncovers the shadow existence of the Cold War’s private humanitarians. This transnational history of charitable workers and volunteers in Austria, West Germany, East Germany, Hungary, and the United States investigates how economic and environmental crises became transformative moments of private humanitarian action in socialist Romania in the 1970s and 1980s. National grants from the Association for Slavic, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies; the Fulbright Commission; and the Social Science Research Council; among others, have supported his research. Cristian has written for The Washington Post and his most recent journal article, “Continuing Politics by Other Means: Giving in Cold War Europe,” has appeared in the International Journal for History, Culture, and Modernity.