03 August 2008

Davin Ellicson

ROMANIA / Maramures / Valeni / February 2003 Peasants on
their way to
take down a haystack. Village land in Maramures
is divided into many small
plots and each haystack
in this scene belongs to a different family.

Photograph © Davin Ellicson / Anzenberger.

Making a haystack for the winter, Valeni, Maramures, Romania, 2003.
Photograph © Davin Ellicson / Anzenberger.
Davin Ellicson is a young American photographer engaged in a long-term project documenting the entry of Romania into "Europe" and especially the impact of that transition on the rural areas of the country. This is a topic about which I know extremely little other than having read the work of distinguished anthropologist Katherine Verdery, who has written extensively on the transformation of property rights in post-communist Romania. That said, I especially learned from another essay of hers, published at least a decade ago, entitled "Civil Society or Nation? 'Europe' in the Symbolism of Post-Socialist Politics." In the essay she recounts the ways that differentially situated political actors sought to deploy the idea of 'Europe' in ways that worked to the detriment of adversaries and, conversely, to their own advantage. (She also wrote a slender, penetrating volume entitled The Political Lives of Dead Bodies ~ Columbia UP, 1999, which I wholeheartedly recommend as an exploration of how political actors seek to populate the political world, largely for the same purposes.)

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