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Olaru, Vasile Mihai

Vasile Mihai Olaru, Ph.D.

Former Visiting Fellow



Der rumänische Historiker Vasile Mihai Olaru, Ph.D. ist von Mitte Mai bis Anfang Juni 2016 Gastwissenschaftler an der Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität München und an der Graduiertenschule für Ost- und Südosteuropastudien. In seinem gegenwärtigen Forschungsprojekt "Writing Like a State. Recordkeeping and State Power in Eighteen century Wallachia" beschäftigt er sich mit fürstlichen Verordnungen und der Staatstransformation in der Walachei des 18. und frühen 19. Jahrhunderts.

Olaru, der aus Cluj-Napoca stammt, wurde 2013 an der Central European University (CEU) in Budapest mit der Arbeit "Writs and Measures. Symbolic Power and the Growth of the State Infrastructure in Wallachia, 1740-1800" promoviert. Seinen Master machte er 2005 ebenfalls an der CEU. Von September 2014 bis August 2015 hatte er ein Postdoctoral Fellowship der Universitatea Babeş-Bolyaia (UBB) in Cluj-Napoca inne. Seit Oktober 2015 ist er Postdoctoral Fellow des New Europe College (NEC) in Bukarest (bis Juli 2016).

Reserach Project

My research explores the link between the collection and storing of social knowledge and the exercise of state power in Wallachia from the late 17th to 1831. Focusing on the emergence, content and especially employment of registers in administration and justice and on the collection of geographical information, I contend that the nature of the Wallachian state during the mentioned period was significantly altered. On the one hand, the development of means of storing information increased the infrastructural reach of the state. On the other, the centralization of administrative knowledge constituted the state as an impersonal, impartial and objective entity, detached from the person of the prince and from sectional interests. By making these two claims, my study goes against two bodies of literature: the historiography on the Phanariot period and the theories of early-modern state formation.


  • Visiting Fellow at the Graduate School and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, May - June 2016

Publications (selected)


Recordkeeping and State Making. The County Registers in Wallachia, 1775-1831, Working papers, Centre for Advanced Study, Sofia (forthcoming).
Journal Articles and Book Chapters

"The Princely Fathom. Uniformization of Measures and State Making in Wallachia, 1775-1831", in: Studia Universitatis Babeş-Bolyai 2015 (forthcoming).

"The 'Juridist' Fallacy. Methodological Aspects of the Study of Weights and Measures in Wallachia", in: Philobiblon. Transylvanian Journal of Multidisciplinary Research in Humanities, 2015, pp. 434-446.

"Trecut în condică". Stocarea informaţiei şi puterea statală în Ţara Românească în secolul al XVIII-lea ["Transcribed in the Register". The Storing of Information and State Power in Wallachia during the Eighteenth Century], in: Revista istorică, tom XXV, no. 3-4, 2014 pp. 323-348.

"From Local Custom to Written Law. Agrarian Regulations and Infrastructural Growth in Wallachia, 1740-1800", in: Studia Universitatis Babeş-Bolyai, 2013, pp. 155-180.