Cosmin Koszor-Codrea

Thesis title: ‘The Word of Science’: The Popularization of Darwinism in Romania, 1860–1918

Start year: 2015


Supervisor(s): Dr Tom Crook, Professor Marius Turda

Research topic

The main objective of this study is to place Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory within Romanian cultural context and trace its consequences throughout the public sphere. In doing so, the history of Romanian science popularization is of crucial importance, as it gives not only a picture of the interconnectedness between the political and scientific construction of knowledge but also a glimpse of the cultural hegemony of certain scientists and intellectuals on public opinions.

My research will focus on both the written and spoken word of the leading voices of Romanian nineteenth-century naturalists. Special attention will be given to science popularization journals, periodicals, brochures and various public conferences which addressed the evolutionary theory in accordance with their readership and audience’s social status. However, a closer look on science popularization discourse will reveal the appearance of popular science which stood as a weapon of individual social and political liberation.

The structure of my thesis will involve also an important comparative approach, examining both religious and secular currents of thought. In particular, it will try to demonstrate that Darwinism not only impacted conceptions of the relationship between humankind and divinity but also served as an ideological prop for different political and racial ideologies. In this way, by tracing how the zeitgeist of the “survival of the fittest” played out in the context of the nineteenth century Romania, the project will provide an original contribution to the field of Eastern European history of sciences well as, more broadly, to the history of the humanities and social history of scientific ideas.


Darwinism, History of Science, Romanian History, Popularization of Science, Knowledge Transfer, Social History of Ideas, Social Darwinism

General research interests

History of Science, History of Modern Romania, Science Popularization, Social History of Science, Intellectual History, History of East-Central Europe, Book History, Race Theories, Eugenics

Academic school / department

School of Education, Humanities and Languages


Work in progress

  • Anarchism and Science Popularization in Nineteenth-Century Romania
  • Social and socialist Darwinism within Romanian Public Discourse

Conference papers

  • Marius Turda, Idea de Superioritatea Nationala in Imperiul Austro-Ungar, 1880-1918. Editura Argonaut, 2015 To be published in Trivium Journal of Iasi
  • Book Review. Roland Clark, Holy Legionary Youth. Fascist Activism in Interwar Romania, Cornell University Press, 2015 in the European History Quarterly, Vol. 47, Issue 1, 2017, pp.115-117.
  • ’ceputurile popularizarii darwinismului cultura romanian’ [Notes on popularization of Darwinism in Romanian Culture] in Revista Cultura No. 12, 2017, p. 24.
  • (Forthcoming Book Review) Richard McMahon, Races of Europe Construction of National Identities in the Social Science 1839-1939 Palgrave Macmillan: London, 2016
  • Conference Report on ’Subcultures in East-Central Europe’

Further details

Academic and professional training

  • BA (Hons) History and Archive Studies at ‘Babeş-Bolyai’ University of Cluj-Napoca, with a thesis on intellectual history and historiography 2009–2012
  • MA Archive and Librarianship Studies at ‘Babeş-Bolyai’ University of Cluj-Napoca, with a thesis on Romanian interwar cultural history and historiography 2012–2014
  • PhD Social History of Science Oxford Brookes University 2015 – ongoing

Scholarships and prizes

  • Research Travel stipend offered by HPR Postgraduate Research Fund 2016
  • Archive Travel stipend offered by HPR Postgraduate Research Fund 2017
  • Archive Research Grant offered by British Society for the History of Science 2017