Secrets and Truths. Knowledge Practices of the Romanian Secret Police
The anthropologist Katherine Verdery authored influential books about topics central to Romanian history since the 19th century, such as rural society, land property, the concept of nation, cultural politics, gender, socialism, and post-socialism. Furthermore, she could be considered the anthropologist who is most intensively received and quoted outside of her specific scientific community. This is due to her ability to explain and transcend, but also theorize about the real as well as perceived particularities of Romania so that her writings about Romanian case studies can always be read as valuable contributions toward a better understanding of problems of European, even global scope.
In keeping with anthropological tradition, in her Oskar-Halecki-Vorlesung Katherine Verdery attempts a self-reflection about the context of her field work in Romania. The fact that this does not lead to navel-gazing, but rather an analysis of overlapping rationalities and practices of a cultural anthropologist and the Romanian Securitate can be read as a renewed proof of her ability to depict the large and the small in their inseparable entanglement.