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Katherine Verdery

(PhD Stanford U, 1977; Prof) Property relations, socialism & postsocialism, ideological processes; Eastern Europe (kverdery@gc.cuny.edu)

Katherine Verdery is Julien J. Studley Faculty Scholar and Distinguished Professor of Anthropology. Since 1973 she has conducted field research in Romania, initially emphasizing the political economy of social inequality, ethnic relations, and nationalism. With the changes of 1989, her work has shifted to problems of the transformation of socialist systems, specifically changing property relations in agriculture. From 1993 to 2000 she did fieldwork on this theme in a Transylvanian community; the resulting book, The Vanishing Hectare: Property and Value in Postsocialist Transylvania, was published by Cornell University Press (2003). She is now completing a large collaborative project with Gail Kligman (UCLA) and a number of Romanian scholars on the opposite process, the formation of collective and state farms in Romania during the 1950s.  The resulting book, Romania’s War on the Peasants: Collectivization 1949-1962, will be published in 2010.  Her teaching interests include contemporary and socialist Eastern Europe, the anthropology of property, and time and space. Future projects will probably take off from her interest in land restitution into exploring other property issues, such as cultural property, rights in bio-information, cyberspatial properties, and other forms of appropriation based in new technologies. Additionally, she has received her Secret Police file from Romania and plans to write her field memoirs from the vantage point of the police who followed her.

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