Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena

Dr Adela Hîncu

Dr Adela Hincu (c) Imre Kertész Kolleg

Leutragraben 1 | 07743 Jena
Phone: + 49 (0) 3641 9 440 70

Adela Hîncu is an intellectual historian who writes on state socialism, social thought, feminism, and the history of the social sciences and humanities in Romania. She received her PhD in Comparative History from Central European University in 2019; from 2019 to 2020, Hîncu was a visiting professor at Ilia State University, Tbilisi and held fellowships at New Europe College, Bucharest in 2020–21 and from 2021 to 2022 at the Centre for Advanced Study, Sofia as part of the project ‘Lost in Transition’. She is a member of the research project on the history of philosophy in Socialist Romania hosted by the ‘Alexandru Dragomir’ Institute of Philosophy in Bucharest.

Research project at the Kolleg

My research project is a historical investigation of knowledge about ‘the social’ in relation to social policy from the early 1980s to the late 1990s in Romania. My project defines ‘the social’ as the result of epistemic and political contestation over 1) what constitutes social reality; 2) how the social reality relates to the economy, the state and to nature; and 3) who has agency to either intervene in or withdraw from it. Specifically, I ask how knowledge about ‘the social’ is created, circulated and mobilized for intervention by social scientists during social crises. The austerity measures of the 1980s and in the period of accelerated transition to market economy in the second half of the 1990s incurred high social costs. How did ideas about ‘the social’ play into the articulation and roll-out of these measures and the management of their concomitant social consequences? How was knowledge that was relevant to social policy obtained and how was it circulated through transnational institutions? Who were the actors involved and marginalized in the policy making process? How did crises redefine the social in late socialist and post-socialist Romania?

My project will address these larger questions on the basis of three case studies that bridge the late socialist and post-socialist periods: quality of life research; research on the Roma; and ideas about environmental crisis and degradation. This work serves to finalize the manuscript of my first monograph, provisionally titled The Social in Transition: Expert Knowledge and Social Thought in Socialist and Post-socialist Romania.

Main areas of research

  • The intellectual and social history of state socialism
  • The history of the social sciences and humanities; the history of knowledge
  • Marxist thought, feminism, and women’s rights discourses

Positions and memberships

  • Member of the platform for the History of Science in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe and co-organizer of the Flying Colloquium for the History of Science in CESEE
  • Member of the Intellectual History in East Central Europe research network
  • Member of the LeftEast editorial collective

Edited volumes

Adela Hîncu and Victor Karady, eds., Social Sciences in the “Other Europe” since 1945 (Budapest: Pasts, Inc., Central European University, 2018).


Adela Hîncu, ‘Social Science and Marxist Humanism beyond Collectivism in Socialist Romania’, History of the Human Sciences, forthcoming 2022.

Adela Hîncu, ‘Ambivalentes Empowerment. Sozialwissenschaftliche Forschung über die Ungleichstellung von Frauen im spätsozialistischen Rumänien’, Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung, forthcoming 2022.

Adela Hîncu, ‘American Anthropologists in Socialist Romania: Epistemic Encounters and Reflections on Fieldwork’, New Europe College Yearbook 2021–22, forthcoming.

Adela Hîncu, ‘Academic Mobility and Epistemological Change in State Socialist Romania: Three Generations of Sociologists, Western Social Science, and Quality of Life Research’, Serendipities: Journal for the Sociology and History of the Social Sciences 5, no. 1 (2021).

Adela Hîncu, ‘Introduction: “Peripheral Observations” and Their Observers’, in Social Sciences in the ‘Other Europe’ since 1945, eds. Adela Hîncu and Victor Karady (Budapest: Pasts, Inc., Central European University, 2018), 1–25.

Adela Hîncu, ‘“A Common Front?”: Social Structure Research in 1970s Socialist Romania’, in Social Sciences in the ‘Other Europe’ since 1945, eds. Adela Hîncu and Victor Karady (Budapest: Pasts, Inc., Central European University, 2018), 209–23.


Review of Libora Oates-Indruchová, Censorship in Czech and Hungarian Academic Publishing, 1969–1989: Snakes and Ladders, in Hungarian Historical Review 9, no. 4 (2020): 752–55.

Review ofZsófia Lóránd, The Feminist Challenge to the Socialist State in Yugoslavia, in Hungarian Historical Review 9, no. 1 (2020): 166–68.