Honorary Research Associate

Academic Profile

Gruia Badescu, SoGE Departmental Lecturer (2015-2016), is currently an Honorary Research Associate funded through the AHRC-Labex project Criminalization of Dictatorial Pasts in Europe and Latin America in Global Perspective. Gruia's research explores urban reconstruction and the spatial dimension of memorializing war and political violence, linking the urban with the process of societal dealing with a difficult past.

Gruia has a BA (Summa cum Laude) from Middlebury College in Geography (Highest Honors) and European Studies. He obtained his MSc in City Design and Social Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science. His PhD, conducted at the Centre for Urban Conflicts Research, University of Cambridge, examined the relationship between the reconstruction of cities after war and the process of coming to terms with the past. Focusing on Belgrade and Sarajevo, it explored how place-making after war relates to narratives of the past and political emotions.

His research has focused on post-war urban reconstruction and on home-making for refugees and IDPs. He researched with various grants post-war reconstruction in Germany after the Second World War (2005-2007), Lebanon (2008-2010), Bosnia and Herzegovina (2008-2015) and Serbia (2012-2015). In Sarajevo, he was a visiting scholar at the Centre for Refugees and IDPs (CESI), where he researched the process of post-war home-making for displaced people.

Gruia is a convener of the Places of Amnesia research group, a member of the Memory Lab- Trans-European Exchange Platform on History and Remembrance, as well as of the International Network for Urban Research and Action (INURA) and the Association of American Geographers (AAG). He has taught at the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford (SoGE, St John's College, Christ Church) and has been an invited lecturer at UCL, LSE and SNSPA Bucharest.

Gruia was also involved in policy research, urban design, and strategic planning for the Center for Sustainable Destinations at the National Geographic Society, UNDP, Space Syntax Romania and worked on EU-funded local development strategies and projects in Romania, Armenia, Georgia and Moldova.

Current Research

Gruia's current research is focused on how post-dictatorial societies engage with places used for political violence during in the previous regime, with ongoing fieldwork in Chile, Croatia, and Romania, jointly funded by AHRC and Labex Les Passés dans le Present.

Furthermore, Gruia is working towards a monograph on the relationship between post-war urban reconstruction and the process of coming to terms with the past.

Research Interests:
  • post-war reconstruction: urban reconstruction, refugees and IDPs
  • coming to terms with the past after war and dictatorship, transitional justice, political emotions.


Selected Publications

Publications are those that were listed on the old website. Publications database integration forthcoming.
  • Badescu, G. (forthcoming) Entangled Memorializations: Agency in Transnational Space-Making after Political Violence in Chile and Croatia. In, Aline Sierp and Jenny Wuestenberg (eds.) Agency in Transnational Memory Politics. Oxford University Press.
  • Badescu, G. (forthcoming) Traces of Empire: Architectural Heritage, Imperial Memory and Post-War Reconstruction in Sarajevo and Beirut. Special Issue on "Ambivalent Legacies: Memory and Amnesia in Post-Habsburg and Post-Ottoman Cities". History and Anthropology.
  • Badescu, G. (forthcoming) Making Sense of Ruins: Architectural Reconstruction and Collective Memory in Belgrade. Collective Memories and Legacies of Political Violence in the Balkans (Special Issue). Nationalities Papers.
  • Badescu, G. (2017) Post-War Reconstruction in Contested Cities: Comparing Urban Outcomes in Sarajevo and Beirut. In, Jonathan Rock-Rokem and Camilo Boano (eds.) (2017) Rethinking Planning and Urban Geopolitics in Contested Cities. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Badescu, G. (2016) Justice, transition, mémoire: Les universités et les enjeux du passé dictatorial dans la société roumaine. In, Mohsen El Khouni, Mouldi Guessoumi, Mohamed-Salah Omri (eds.) University and Society in the Context of Arab Revolutions and New Humanism. Tunis: En Toutes Lettres.
  • Badescu, G. (2016) (Post) colonial Encounters in the Post-Socialist City: Reshaping Urban Space in Sarajevo. Post-socialist Cities (Special Issue). Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, 98(4): 321-329.
  • Badescu, G. (2015) Dwelling in the Post-War City: Urban Reconstruction and Home-Making in Sarajevo. Revue d'études comparatives Est-Ouest, 46(04): 35-60.
  • Badescu, G. (2014) City makers, urban reconstruction and coming to terms with the past in Sarajevo. In, Kotzen, B. and Garcia, S. (eds.) Reconstructing Sarajevo: Negotiating Socio-political Complexity. London: LSE Cities. 41 pp.
  • Badescu, G. (2011) Politics, architecture and identity in rebuilding West Germany's cities after the Second World War. In, Ledvinka, Václav şi Pešek, Jiří (eds.) European cities within the period of the World War II's end up to the Cold War's end (1945-1989) (Documenta Pragensis), Prague: Archiv hlavního města.
  • Badescu, G. (2011) Beyond the Green Line: Sustainability and Beirut's post-war reconstruction. Development, 54(3): 358-367.
  • Badescu, G. (2009) Nation-building and empire: the case of Soviet Moldova. Geopolitica, 29(5).
  • Badescu, G. and Herb, G. (2008) Nationalism between 1880 and 1945. In, Herb, G. and Kaplan, D. (eds.) Nations and Nationalism: A Global Historical Overview. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC Clio. 1863 pp. ISBN: 978-1-85109-907-8.

Selected Conference Presentations

  • Entangled Sites of Memory: Transnational Perspectives on Place, Political Violence and Memorialization in the Southern Cone. "Transnational and Global Dimensions of Justice and Memory Processes in Europe and Latin America" conference, June 2016, Paris.
  • Traces of Empire: Post-War Reconstruction and Imperial Memory in Sarajevo and Beirut. "Ambivalent Legacies: Memory and Amnesia in Post-Habsburg and Post-Ottoman Cities". Conference. April 2017, Göttingen, Germany.
  • Dwelling in the post-war city: difference, home-making and urban reconstruction in Sarajevo. Part of "Materializing exile: production of difference and diversity in the city" panel. SIEF 2017 13th Congress, "Ways of Dwelling: Crisis - Craft - Creativity", March 2017, Göttingen, Germany.
  • Urban Disruptions: Between Place-making and Places of Amnesia. "Thinking through the Future of Memory". Inaugural Conference of the Memory Studies Association. December 2016, Amsterdam.
  • Transnational Approaches to Memory and Justice: Theoretical and Methodological Dimensions in Researching Heritage and Memorial Architecture. "Transnational Approaches to Memory and Justice Processes in Europe and Latin America: Victims' activism and Trials" workshop, November 2016, Exeter.
  • Heritage and the Criminalization of Dictatorial Pasts in Europe and Latin America: Research Perspectives. "Reluctant Heritage: Revisiting Museums and Memory Sites in Central and Eastern Europe in a Transnational Perspective" conference, November 2016, Bucharest.
  • Urban Space and Dealing with the Past. "City in Transitions: Spaces of Confusion, Places of Hope. " 2016 Conference of the International Network for Urban Research and Action (INURA), September 2016, Bucharest.
  • Making Sense of Ruins: Urban Reconstruction And Political Emotions in Belgrade 1941-2000. "Reinterpreting Cities". 13th International Conference on Urban History, August 2016, Helsinki, Finland.
  • Comparative Urbanism: Insights from South-East Europe. "New Perspectives on Urban Living in Romanian and Post-socialist Cities" Workshop. University of Amsterdam, June 2016, Amsterdam.<./li>
  • Cosmopolitan Heritage? Post-War Reconstruction and Urban Imaginaries in Sarajevo and Beirut. "Inheriting the City: Advancing Understandings of Urban Heritage" International Conference, April 2016, Taipei.
  • Justice, transition, mémoire: Les enjeux du passé dictatorial dans l'Europe de l'Est. "Révolutions Arabes et Nouvel Humanisme" Colloquium, April 2016, Kasserine, Tunisia.
  • Displacement, Urban Reconstruction and Home-Making: Insights from Sarajevo. Association of Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, March 2015, San Francisco.
  • Memorializing Victimhood: Ruins, Urban Construction and Symbolic Violence in Belgrade. "The Politics of Memory: Victimization, Violence, and Contested Memories of the Past" Conference, December 2015, Columbia University, NYC.
  • Troubled Sites: Shifting Architectural Approaches and Narratives of Perpetration and Victimhood in Berlin's Topographie des Terrors. "Shared Spaces, Shared Memories, Shared Visions: Contemporary Visual Representations of the Second World War in German Cities" workshop, November 2015, Newcastle University.
  • (Re)Imagineering Cosmopolitan Heritage: Urban Reconfigurations in Post-War Sarajevo. "Urban Heritage und Urban Images: Imagineering Urban Heritage" workshop, Humboldt University of Berlin, October 2015.
  • Reimagining the Stari Grad - Urban Reconstruction, Socialist Utopia and Nation-Building in Belgrade and Sarajevo (1945-2000). "Produkt Altstadt - The Making of the Old Town. Eine Bestandsaufnahme" International Conference. Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, May 2015.
  • Rethinking Urban Geopolitics: Post-War Reconstruction and Politics of the Past in Belgrade And Sarajevo. Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, Chicago, April 2015.
  • Making Sense of Ruins: Architects, Reconstruction and Memory in Belgrade. "The 1999 NATO Bombing: Memories, Narratives and Histories" Workshop. Center for Comparative Conflict Studies, Faculty of Media and Communications (FMK), Singidunum University, Belgrade, Serbia, February 2015.
  • Beyond Contested and Ordinary Cities: Urban Reconstruction in Belgrade and Sarajevo. Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference. London, August 2014.
  • Sarajevo revisited: The commemoration of 1914 and the divided politics of memory in Bosnia and Herzegovina. "1914. Inherited. The Heritage of War". The 15th Cambridge Heritage Seminar, University of Cambridge, April 2014.
  • Refugees and urban reconstruction in the post-conflict city: A study of Belgrade and Sarajevo. 5th International Urban Geographies of Post-Communist States Conference, Tbilisi, September 2013.
  • (Post-) colonial encounters and resistance: architectural reconstruction in Sarajevo. Post-Yugoslav Spaces through the Postcolonial Prism, Manchester, June 2013.
  • Nationalism and the City: Destruction, Urban Reconstruction and Post-War Reconciliation in Sarajevo and Beirut. 17th Annual ASN World Convention: The Wages of Nationhood: Conflicts, Compromises, and Costs, Columbia University, New York, April 2012.
  • Re-shaping places, re-shaping memory: post-war reconstruction in Sarajevo and Beirut. 10th International SIEF Conference: People make places, Lisbon, Portugal, April 2011.
  • Reading the Post-War City: Sarajevo. Post-Catastrophic Cities: Total War and Urban Recovery in Twentieth Century Europe, Workshop organized by the German Historical Institute in co-operation with the Center for Contemporary History Potsdam (Zzf), Warsaw, Poland, October 2009.

Selected Invited Lectures and Public Talks

  • Reconfiguraciones espaciales y memoria de la dictadura: Memoria urbana y sitios de violencia política entre Europa del Este y el Cono Sur. Museo de la Memoria y Derechos Humanos, Santiago, Chile, March 10th, 2017.
  • Spatializing transitional justice? Memorializing sites of violence in the former Yugoslavia. Socio-Legal Talks, University of Oxford, November 12th, 2015.
  • Urban memoryscapes: space and memory in the post-conflict city. LSE Cities workshop, February 18th, 2015.
  • Keynote Lecture, European Perspectives on Public Space at The 6th European-Chinese Cultural Dialogue "Public Spaces -EU And China Sharing Perspectives", EUNIC, October 17th 2014.
  • Post-war reconstruction and coming to terms with the past in Belgrade and Sarajevo after the Second World War. La Cattolica University of Milan, June 5th 2014.
  • Post Socialist Urban Imaginations: Bucharest. Union of Architects of Armenia, Yerevan, March 2013.
  • Post-Socialist Urbanism: Insights from Bucharest. London School of Economics and Political Science, March 10th 2011.