Ioana Macrea-Toma

Ioana Macrea-Toma
Associate Research Fellow

I joined the Archives in 2012. I am interested in the study of knowledge formation through the perspective of archival and media theories, the history of science, philosophy of history, and history of intellectuals. To date, I have been teaching courses and seminars on theoretical and methodological issues related to historiography both generally and also applied to the history of the Cold War. I also curated an exhibition about academic libraries (Bibliotheca: the Future of the Library), organized archival seminars and movie screenings.

I am an interdisciplinary scholar trained in philology, comparative literature, and history. My scholarly trajectory is perhaps typical of a literary historian in search of interpretive paradigms beyond the formal and context-free approaches within regional literary studies. In my dissertation about the literary field in Romania under Communism, I made a case for understanding political and literary choices as a matter of professional ethos, transnational interactions, and position-taking within a set of possible discursive frames. Currently, I am broadening these insights in order to write a book on the interplay of perceptions about the Other through the perspective of mutually observing cognitive systems during the Cold War (Radio Free Europe, secret police, intellectuals within the literary field, and listeners to the radio).

At Blinken OSA, I aim to embed my research interests in the Cold War and knowledge systems within the Archives’s ongoing archival activities, and to participate in the development of an Archival Laboratory. I see research, curatorial activity, and teaching as complementary parts within an ongoing project (both personal and institutional) of mapping history through the cognitive lenses of the archives. I am actively involved in archival projects while reflecting on their very epistemic assumptions. I do research and teach about genealogies of information-gathering practices from the early 1950s up to the current digital age. My interest in the relationship between forms, methods and content of knowledge make me also draw on perspectives from artistic research and art history. I integrate film screenings and exhibitions with the design of seminars as both objects of cultural history and heuristic tools in thinking about methodologies and various historical perspectives. In doing so, my research on cultural fields and my current focus on knowledge theories come together once again.

Fellowships and Awards:

  • 2011–2012 EURIAS Fellowship, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
  • 2011 Center for Advanced Studies Fellowship, Sofia, Bulgaria
  • 2010 Fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C.
  • 2009–2010 New Europe College Fellowship, Bucharest
  • 2008–2009 Central European University Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship


  • PhD in Comparative Literature Department, Université d’Artois (France),
  • Babeş-Bolyai University (Cluj-Napoca)
  • MA in History, Central European University, Budapest
  • MA in Comparative Literature, Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca 

Major publications (selection):


  • Privilighenția. Instituţii literare în comunismul românesc [ Privilighentsia. Literary Institutions under Communism in Romania ] , Cluj-Napoca: Casa Cărţii de Ştiinţă, 2010. 


  • “Metapolitics: Recommitting Literature in the Populist Aftermath” in Christian Moraru, Andrei Terian, Alexandru Matei (eds.), Theory in the “Post” Era: A Vocabulary for the 21st-Century Conceptual Commons (London: Bloomsbury, 2021).
  • “The Eyes of Radio Free Europe: Regimes of Visibility in the Cold War Archives,” East Central Europe (thematic issue: Go Betweens: Family Resemblances of Collaboration), Volume 44, No. 1, 2017, pp. 99–128.
  • The Archive as Blueprint. Information in Mass Dictatorships,” in Jie-Hyun Lim & Paul Corner (eds.), Handbook of Mass Dictatorship (London: Palgrave, 2016), pp. 141–155.
  • “The Intricacies of a (Cold) War of Ideas. Radio Free Europe from Above and from Below,” in A. Bischof & Z. Juergens (eds.), Voices of Freedom – Western interference? (Munich: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015) pp. 109–147.
  • “Între politică și morală. Percepția drepturilor omului la Radio Europa Liberă prin cazul Paul Goma” [Between politics and morals. The perception of human rights at Radio Free Europe through the case of Paul Goma], in Liliana Corobca (ed.), Paul Goma. Exilul Etern [Paul Goma. The eternal exile], pref. by Matei Cazacu (Oradea: Ratio and Revelatio, 2016), pp. 35–52.
  • “La Censure institutionnalisée et incorporée. Le régime des publications dans la Roumanie communiste” in Communisme, No. 91–92, 2007, pp. 217–234.