Irina Velicu is a political scientist working on socio-environmental conflicts in post-communist countries at the Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal. Irina has previously worked as a Marie Curie Experienced Researcher within the ENTITLE European Network of Political Ecology coordinated by Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona). Her research interests revolve around the issues of socio-environmental justice, equality, social transformation and aesthetic politics. Her recent publications can be found in Geoforum, New Political Science, Globalizations, Studies in Social Justice.
She holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Hawaii (USA) and an MA in International Studies from the University of Warwick (UK). Her PhD dissertation, written under the guidance of Professor Michael Shapiro, is entitled “To Sell or Not To Sell: Resistance to Neo-liberal Globalization and the Aesthetic Post-Communist Subject”. Based on one year of field research funded by the Soros Foundation, it makes a case-study of anti-gold mining “Save Rosia Montana”, the largest socio-environmental movement in post-communist Romania.
Her work at ICTA-UAB built on the PhD research by looking at a similar anti-mining conflict in Krumovgrad, Bulgaria. The current publication work in-progress is examining the Romanian and Bulgarian movements comparatively looking at the interplay of various factors within the context of post-communism: the reactions, perceptions and interpretations people make, how they decided to mobilize themselves, their understanding of the space they defend, their alliances/strategies/tactics, the environmental and health problems prompting resistance.
Dr. Velicu's near future plans also include fieldwork in Serbia and the Czech Republic to document cases similar to Rosia Montana, namely, the Kolubara region and respectively Horni Jiretin. These cases constitute the subjects of her future book on the nature of anti-capitalist resistance in post-communist countries.
Irina Velicu has been awarded the Teaching Assistantship three years consecutively in the USA (University of Hawaii) and the Chevening Scholarship at the Warwick University in the UK. Irina has also worked as an environmental project coordinator for TERRA Mileniul III Foundation being involved in a Romanian network of environmental organizations. She contributed to the writing of various professional reports based on surveys, participant observation and policy-analysis regarding environmental protection and awareness in Romania. She is also a Lecturer in International Relations and Globalization (on temporary leave) at the Spiru Haret University in Bucharest.
Socio-environmental justice, equality, social transformation, aesthetic politics