The American Academic Mistaken for a Spy

Press Coverage

The American Academic Mistaken for a Spy

The New Republic, 7.17.18

Over the course of the 1970s and 80s, Katherine Verdery—now a distinguished professor of anthropology at The Graduate Center, CUNY specializing in Southeastern Europe—traveled regularly to Romania to conduct fieldwork, first as a graduate student and later as a tenured professor. As an American researcher in Ceausescu’s Romania, Verdery knew it was reasonable to assume that she was being watched. But when she formally requested access to her Securitate file in 2008, what she found was far more extensive than the routine monitoring of a foreign academic. Encompassing over 2,700 pages of informer reports, surveillance, phone taps, intercepted correspondence, and officer notes, the file constructed an alternate version of her life in Romania, one in which her scholarly work was merely a cover for her real identity as a spy.

Submitted on: JUL 17, 2018

Category: Anthropology | GC Press Coverage