Anca Șincan

Anca Șincan has a Ph.D. in history from Central European University in Budapest, Hungary with a research on religion in communist Romania.

She completed her academic training at Padova University, Oxford University, the European History Institute in Mainz, and New Europe College in Bucharest. Her research interests revolve around recent history of East Central Europe, history of historical writing, memory and remembrance, church history, religion and politics on which she published articles and book chapters.

She took part as an expert in the Presidential Commission for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania for the chapter Church/ religious denominations under communism. She teaches courses at the History and International Relations Department at University of Medicine, Farmacy, Science and Technology in Tîrgu-Mureș. She lectured at the Political Science Department (Bucharest University) and was a guest lecturer at the Religious Studies Program and History Department at Central European University. She is a researcher at the “Gheorghe Șincai” Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities of the Romanian Academy in Tîrgu-Mureș. She is a postdoctoral researcher in the European Research Council Project Creative Agency and Religious Minorities: Hidden Galleries in the Secret Police Archives in Central and Eastern Europe (Hidden Galleries) at University College Cork.

Currently, she is junior fellow at Polish Institute for Advance Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw.

Research project: In the Absence of Men: How Women Took Over the Underground Church in 1950s Romania

It is often the case that the history of the church in East Central Europe during communism is a narrative about men. A top down interpretation that is linked with hierarchies and power, with the meeting between secular and religious central administrations of state and church is rarely a narrative that includes women. Research into institutional archives (church archives (both local and central) and the archives of the State Secretary for Religious Denominations) reveal a world dominated by men, structural hierarchies of power where the women have marginal roles. However, one particular archive preserves, if rather distorted, a view on religious women: the archive of the secret police. In the process of surveilling church leadership, clergy and church elders the secret police uncovered the new roles that women took over in the church when the church and religious life were under the control of the totalitarian state that was trying to do away with religion.

This project focuses on several women that took up leadership roles in their religious communities in clandestinity. With the help of archival research and oral interviews Dr. Șincan attempts to reconstruct the context and conditions that surrounded their access to new positions in the religious community, the change they went through to fulfill this new role and the reactions of the community to their assuming a power role in institutions that were traditionally led by men.

Dates of stay: 01 October 2019 - 29 February 2020