Home » 2022 Graduate Student Essay Prize

2022 Graduate Student Essay Prize

The Fourteenth Annual Graduate Student Essay Prize 2022 is awarded to Leah Valtin-Erwin, PhD Candidate, Department of History, Indiana University Bloomington, for her submission entitled Professional Customers: German Cash & Carry Wholesale in Romania (1996-1999). The entry examines, based on the case study of Metro Cash and Carry, the transformation of the retail industry in Romania under the entrance of foreign competitors. The analysis is going behind the common discourse on the benefits of foreign investments, looking to the ways foreign companies appealed “economic anxieties and historically-situated ideas about culture and commerce to make customers of Eastern European entrepreneurs – and their clients – in the 1990s.” The investigation proposed by Leah Valtin-Erwin received appreciation based on the interesting approach that question the civilizational discourses and the savior position foreign companies, as Metro, promoted itself. The entry caught reviewers’ attention by drawing a rich literature, a wealth of sources (from periodicals to interviews), a coherent chronological structure, and a well written paper. 

An honorable mention is extended to Irina Nicorici, PhD, for the entry The Curious Case of Soviet Citizenship for Sale. It was a very close runner-up for the prize given Irina’s unique contribution on citizenship for sale phenomenon (the investor citizenship) in late Soviet Moldova.  The entry contributes to a reconsideration of the welfare socialist state, based on a rich literature and on recently opened archives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Republic of Moldova.

With many thanks to the prize committee, consisting of Rodica Milena Zaharia (chair), Iemima Ploscariu, and Marius Wamsiedel.