August 11, 2022, 16.00-19.30 (Romanian time, hybrid, in English)
Comparing these disparate regions opens a window into many dimensions of the contemporary Romanian problematic, if not of post-communist societies more generally. Both the Jiu Valley coal region and Țara Făgărașului, with extensive chemical factories, experienced intense industrialization during communist times and a difficult transition after 1989, that brought economic decay and accentuated depopulation. Today, to uneven effects, both regions struggle to redefine themselves and regain their footing with new economic and cultural initiatives. The aim of the roundtable is to explore where the regions find themselves, more than thirty years after the fall of communism, how these conditions came about, and investigate prospects for their future development by comparing their uses of assets such as industrial patrimony, natural landscape, and local history.
Alexandru Kelemen is a social worker, coming from Jiu Valley Romania, a former mono-industrial areal, experienced in social services and NGO sector. He has been the coordinator for Caritas Regional Branch for more than 14 years working at grass-root level with vulnerable people. In 2018, together with other members of civil society has founded the Valea Jiului Implicată, a coalition of now 22 members, active in social, environmental and cultural sector in the area. He currently holds the Vice-president position in the governing body of the region and is an expert on social services from the Labor Ministry in Romania.
Hannah Bartels is a PhD Candidate at Hamburg University, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology. She has been working on the question of. how do Jiu Valley’s young adults make plans for their futures for the last two years, completing 14 months of field research in-situ in the Jiu Valley, as well as the Netherlands, Timișoara, and București. Her dissertation will be based on interviews with youth from the area, and their families and on participant observation with the young adults and their friends. She is currently preparing and analysing her data.