The Making of a National Park: Ruins of Nature and History in Northern Dobrudja

Calin Cotoi
  • East European Politics and Societies and Cultures, April 2017, SAGE Publishing
  • DOI: 10.1177/0888325417703185

The Making of a National Park

What is it about?

This work has both an ethnographic and a historical part. I draw from fieldwork and archival research in nature-protected areas in southeastern Romania to explore how “wild natures” are mingled with unevenly distributed memories, scientific discourses, and convoluted histories of labor, wood, and stone. In this text I focus on the area partially administrated nowadays by the Măcin Mountains National Park (MMNP) but also on neighboring nature protected zones. I attempt to describe and understand the fuzzy and shifting borders created by the interaction, in a longer period of time, between variously situated human individuals and groups and “the non-human world”. This world – made up of forests, animals, and landscapes - is an intimate part in how humans alter the past, inhabit and criticize the present, and imagine the future. An ever-flowing dialectic of ruination and modernization connects national and local resistances, development projects, critical commentaries, and socio-technical networks. All of this takes place now inside the borders of a rather new entity, one legitimated by nature protection but living in a deeply saturated and contested historical and political area.

The following have contributed to this page: Dr Calin Cotoi