Irina Marin

junior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2018/2019
discipline History
Gastprofessorin, University of Augsburg

Research project

The Rational, Irrational and Political: Knowledge and Innovation in Central and Eastern Europe at the End of the 19th, Beginning of the 20th Century


This project proposes a cross-border interdisciplinary examination of knowledge acquisition and usage among the rural population of Central and Eastern Europe at the end of the 19th, beginning of the 20th century.

The main geographical focus of the study is the triple frontier between the Austro-Hungarian, Tsarist and Ottoman Empire, which by 1878 had metamorphosed along the Danube into several independent and semi-independent nation states. The project, therefore, seeks to account for the inroads made by agricultural modernization in this region and the disparities in development between seemingly similar regions. It seeks to answer questions such as: why was it that some rural communities and/or ethnic groups seemed more receptive than others to innovation and improvement? what were the factors that influenced the dissemination and adoption of innovation and life-improving techniques and what were those that stood in the way of a more rational approach to agriculture?


The project will be looking comparatively at the underdeveloped borderlands of the Austro-Hungarian and Tsarist Empires, on the one hand, and at the Balkan states that emerged from the European fringes of the Ottoman Empire: Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria, on the other hand. It will explore economic factors (the nature of peasant emancipation and land tenure, preservation of latifundia, presence of markets, the existence of virtuous circles such as that of colonization exemption and privilege, and vicious circles such as the emergence of neo-servile relations), political factors (representation, antagonism between imperial and regional elites, national cleavages superimposed on economic cleavages), cultural factors (religion, village mentalities, prejudice, work ethic). For the purposes of this project, I will be drawing on an interdisciplinary framework bringing together insights from communication studies and the sociology of innovation as well as from economic and social history and ethnography.




Irina Marin is currently Gastprofessorin at the University of Augsburg. She holds a PhD in History from University College London and has taught and researched at SSEES/UCL, Oxford University, University of Leicester and the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies.

She has recently finished working on a project about the circulation of news, rumour and violence across the triple frontier between Tsarist Russia, Romania and Austria-Hungary at the beginning of the 20th century. Her research so far has focussed on identity politics in the Habsburg Empire, frontier studies, and social conflict.


Selected publications


Peasant Violence and Antisemitism in Early Twentieth-Century Eastern Europe, Palgrave Macmillan, London/New York/Shangai, 2018.


‘Raubwirtschaft and Colonisation: The Jewish Question and Land Tenure in 1907 Romania’, in R. Cârstocea & É. Kovács (eds), Modern Antisemitisms in the Peripheries: Europe and Its Colonies 1880–1945, New Academic Press, Vienna, 2018, pp. 237-255. 


‘Imperial into National Officers: K.u.K. Officers of Romanian Nationality Before and After the Great War’, in P. Miller & C. Morelon (eds), Embers of Empire. Continuity and Rupture in the Habsburg Successor States after 1918, Berghahn Books, New York/Oxford, 2018, pp. 136-156.


‘Reforming the Better to Preserve: a K.u.K. General’s Views on Hungarian Politics’, in T. Buchen & M. Rolf (eds), Eliten im Vielvölkerreich - Imperiale Biographien in Russland und Österreich-Ungarn (1850-1918), De Guyter, Oldenbourg, 2015, pp. 155-177.


‘World War One and Internal Repression: the Case of Major General Nikolaus Cena’, Austrian History Yearbook, vol. 44, 2013, pp. 195-208.


Contested Frontiers in the Balkans: Ottoman and Habsburg Rivalries in Eastern Europe, I.B.Tauris, London, 2012.


Four Empires and an Enlargement: States, Societies and Individuals in Central and Eastern Europe, with D. Brett, C. Jarvis (eds), UCL, London, 2008.



senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2015/2016
Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM)
discipline Law
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2016/2017
Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM)
discipline Literature
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2012/2013
Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM)
discipline Philosophy
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2014/2015
Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM)
discipline History