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Subject Area: Nation-Building and Modern Architecture in East-Central Europe 

Title: Nation Building from Outside: Transnational Practices and the Architectural Heritage in Modern Romania  (1878 – 1918)

The thesis analyses the European-wide networks of architects and intellectuals that led to the creation, restoration and promotion of a national architectural heritage in late 19th century Romania. Thus, a nation-building phenomenon appears the creation of local and foreign actors that acted between  European cultural centres and the context of a newly created nation-state. Theories of nationalism and modernisations in East Central Europe as well as the concept of "national" architectural style in the region will be brought to firstly expose the constructed nature of concepts like Romanian art and heritage, and then to reveal the dynamic relations between foreign and local actors that complicates and problematizes the straightforward concept of Europeanisation.

The research looks at how the architecture from the past was restored, given new forms and promoted so as to be deemed part of the Romanian national heritage. The historical monuments were instrumentalised to represent the modern Romanian state, its national past and future aspirations. The methods of restoration and promotion ranged from invasive ones like completely demolishing the old buildings and recreating brand new ones, to only assigning them new connotations and meanings. Some of the architects who restored, rebuilt and argued for or against the historical monuments in Romania and who will be central to my study are the French André Lecomte du Noüy (1844-1914) and Charles Le Coeur; the Italians Domenico Rupolo (1861-1945) and Giulio Magni (1859 - 1930); the Austrian Karl A. Romstorfer (1854 - 1917); or the Romanians Dimitrie Berindei (1831-1884), George Sterian (1860 – 1936), Constantin Băicoianu (1859 - 1929). The majority of them referred to the buildings as being in the "Byzantine" style, a fluid artistic concept through which one could at the same time support the idea of Romania as inheritor of the Byzantine cultural heritage, one of the main pillars of the national ideology; and diminish the importance of the Ottoman architecture, another central drive of the national Romanian discourse, which was looking to discard the Oriental influences

The broader goal of the thesis is to depict the way in which the transfers of expertise and ideas between Romania and Western Europe could defined national cultural identities and offer a way for analysing nation-building processes in a transnational paradigm. 


Supervisors: Matthew Rampley (UoB); Kenneth Morrison (DMU)

Teaching and Academic Roles:

2017 and 2019: Teaching Assistant, Department of History, University of Birmingham. Module: The Making of the Contemporary World (two seminar groups per week)

2016 - 2018:     Teaching Assistant, Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies, University of Birmingham. Module: Historical Concepts in Art History (first year module, one-three seminar groups per week for three consecutive years).

2017:               Conference co-organiser, GCfE Annual Conference, Reassessing Britain’s relations with Europe: From role-model to enfant terrible?, 11-12 May 2017, University of Birmingham

2016-2018:      Committee Member, Graduate Centre for Europe, University of Birmingham.


Publications :

  • (in preparation) ‘Ion Mincu (1852-1912) and the Romanian Style in Architecture’, to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal in April 2019.
  • (forthcoming) ‘Romanian architecture at Paris World Fairs of 1889 and 1900’ in Joep Leerssen and Eric Storm, eds., World Fairs and International Exhibitions: National self-profiling in an internationalist context, 1851-1940, (submitted to BRILL, 2019)
  • (forthcoming) “Between Europe and the Balkans: the Romanian Architectural Heritage”, in Dragan Damjanović et all. (eds), Art and Politics in Europe in the Modern Period, (University of Zagreb, 2018). 
  • “Curtea de Argeș Monastery and Romanian Architectural Heritage in Late 19th Century” in Studies in History and Theory of Architecture, University of Architecture, Bucharest, Vol. 4, 2016. URL:

  • “A National Image in Front of the World: The Balkan Country’s Architecture at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1889” in Miklos Szechely (ed), Ephemeral Architecture in Central-Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, (forthcoming with L'Harmattan, Paris, 2015). 
  • Double Review: Ruxandra Nemţeanu, Villa in Neoromanian Style. The Expression of the Search for a Local Model in the Individual Urban House; Maria Camelia Ene, The National Style in Visual Arts. Decorative Arts. (Centropa, September, 2015).
  • MA Thesis (Hanák Prize for the best dissertation of the year): An Image for the Nation: Architecture of the Balkan Countries at 19th Century Universal Exhibitions in Paris, (CEU, Budapest, 2014). Online access: 


Research Stages:

2019-2020:      Seminar series, 'Periodization in the History of Art'.  Getty Foundation, Connecting Art Histories initiative  at New Europe College, Bucharest

2018:               Winter Academy ‘Revisiting the Nation. Transnational Contact Zones in Eastern

                        Europe’, February 26 – March 7, Bucharest, organised by Prisma Ukraïna and New

                        Europe College. Paper: Architecture, Heritage and Nation in Modern Romania (1860-1918)

2017-18:          Visiting Doctoral Fellow at the Leibniz Institute for European History in Mainz, for 8 months (December 2017 – July 2018)

2016:               École internationale de Printemps/ Springtime Academy, Villa Medici, Rome, 16-21 May; organized by The International Consortium on Art   History and Maria Grazia Messina (Florence), Michela Passini (Paris),  Bronwen Wilson (UCLA), Todd Porterfield. (Montréal).

2015:               Midlands3Cities Public Engagement Training, Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds 

2015:               Start-up Scholarship: 4 month pre-doctoral training at Bielefed Graduate School in History and Sociology (April 1 to July 31)    

2014:               Research stage at National Archives, Paris and at the Musee d’Órsay funded by Central European University, Budapest         

2012-2013:      Ion Mincu Group Project, Romanian Architects Order, Bucharest. Title: Architect Ion Mincu: a study of his local insertion from a regionalist perspective. Project Coordinator: Ada Hajdu

2012:               Summer School in Comparative and Transnational History, EUI, Florence. Organisers: Professors Pavel Kolář, Luca Molà and Steve Smith



Grants, Scholarships and Awards

2019:                Ion Ratiu Foundation research grant

2017-2018:       Doctoral Fellowship at the Leibniz Institute for European History in Mainz, for 8 months (December 2017 – July 2018,

2016:               Study Fellowship (September), Institut national d'histoire de l'art, Paris

2015:               PhD Scholarship (tuition fee and maintenance grant), Midlansds3Cities, Art and Humanities Research Council, UK and University of Birmingham

2015:               Start-up Scholarship (April-July), Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology

2014:               Hanák Prize, Central European University, Budapest, Awarded annually for the best MA Thesis of the History Department

2013 – 2014:   Master of Arts Fellowship, Central European University, Budapest Full tuition scholarship, accommodation and a monthly living stipend offered by the Department of History

2012-2013:      Ion Mincu Scholarship Prize, Romanian Architects Order, Bucharest. Research and Travel Grant.

2010:               Travel and Study Grant, National University of Arts Bucharest and Accademia di Romania, Rome




  • 2019:  Monarchy and Modernity since 1500, University of Cambridge.Paper: The Romanian Monarchy and the Restoration of Historical Monuments in the Late 19th Century
  • 2018: Society for Romanian Studies Biennial Conference, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest.  Paper: ‘Romanian Architectural Heritage in the Decades Before 1918’
  • 2018: World Fairs and International Exhibitions: National self-profiling in an internationalist context, 1851-1940, University of Amsterdam. Organisers: Joep Leerssen and Eric Storm. Paper: Romanian architecture between Bucharest and the Paris Universal Exhibitions of 1889 and 1900.
  • 2017:   (I)mobilities Postgraduate Conference, UCL, London Paper: “Romanian architecture between Bucharest and Paris in the late 19th century”
  • 2017: Ruler Visibility, Modernity, and the Ethnonational Mindset, Workshop at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS), Denmark Paper: ‘Old monuments for modern times: King Carol and the Romanian architectural heritage in the late 19th century’

  • 2017: International Forum for Doctoral Candidates in East European Art History, Humboldt University, Berlin Paper: ‘Europe in the Balkans: The Creation of a National Architectural Heritage in Modern Romania (1875-1918)’

  • 2017: The Graduate Centre for Europe (GCfE) seminar: Echoes of Empire in European architecture, history and politics. Paper: Architecture and Cultural Colonialism at the Fringes of Empires

  • 2016Art and Politics in Europe in the Modern Period, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, CroatiaPaper: “National Architectural Heritage in Late 19th Century Romania”

  • 2016: ASMCF / SSFH Postgraduate Study Day: Patrimoine, Queen Mary, University of London. Paper: “Restoring Historical Monuments in Late 19th Century Romania”

  • 2016: International Postgraduate Conference on Central and Eastern Europe, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL, London. Paper: “Architecture and Cultural Colonialism: the Activity of André Lecomte du Nouÿ in late 19th Century Romania and its Global Context”. 

  • 2014: Turkey and Romania: Historical Ties and Future Collaboration in the Balkans, Organized by Istanbul University in Bucharest, Romania.  Paper: “National Representation Undermined: Romania as an Oriental Country at19th century Universal Exhibitions in Paris”
  • 2014: Budapest-Vienna Special Seminar: Imperial Metropoles - Habsburg and Ottoman Cities in the Long Nineteenth Century, Institute for East European History, University of Vienna and CEU Budapest. Location: Vienna, Austria. Paper: Balkan Countries Paradoxical Architecture at the Paris Universal Exhibition in 1900”
  • 2013: Ephemeral Architecture in Central-Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary Paper: “Creating a National Architecture: the Pavilions of the Balkan Countries at two 19th Century Universal Exhibitions”
  • 2013:Annual Symposium, National University of Arts, Bucharest, Romania Paper: “The Romanian Restaurant by Ion Mincu and Other Pavilions at 19th Century World Exhibitions
  • 2012: European University Institute Summer School, Florence, Italy. Paper: "National Architecture in Balkans and the Paris 1900 Universal Exposition"


Public Engagement:

2018-2019:       Postgraduate ambassador, University of Birmingham. Open day talks, art history talks, campus tours, promotion of the department

2017-2018:      Articles in the Romanian Historia magazine: four articles in a series on Curtea de Argeș Monastery, 500 years (1517-2017); one article about Royal Symbolism at the Funerals of King Michael of Romania

2015-2018:      Postgraduate Student Ambassador, University of Birmingham. Participant in open-day talks, PhD café and answering questions from potential future PhD students through the online profile:

2016-2017:      Co-organiser, Graduate Centre for Europe Movie Nights, University of Birmingham

2016-2017:      Welcome and history of art talks, Open Days, University of Birmingham, Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies

2016-2017:       Three articles in the Romanian think-tank

2015:               Midlands3Cities Public Engagement Training, three workshops in Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds 

2014:               Volunteer for European University Sports Association at the European University Games, Rotterdam, Netherlands

2007 – 2013:    Assistant editor, reporter, sports commentator (full and part-time). ProTV, Bucharest, Romania.

Duties: broadcasting of live and recorded sports events; writing articles; field interviews

2012:               Organisers of architectural tours in Bucharest, Romania with the Art History Association.

2008:               Co-curator, Exhibition of Photo Journalism, Arta Gallery, Câmpulung Muscel,Argeş County, Romania. 



Language Skills:

  • English: Bilingual proficiency (reading, speaking and writing)
  • French: Full professional proficiency (reading, speaking and writing)
  • Italian:  Professional working proficiency (reading)
  • German: Limited working proficiency (reading and speaking)
  • Romanian: native  





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