PhD alum wins fellowship to do research in Sweden

George Mason History Ph.D. alumnus Alexandru Lesanu has been selected for a Visby Programme Scholarship for postdoctoral researchers to continue their academic work in Sweden. Lesanu will be affiliated with the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University from September 1, 2018 through September 1, 2019, where he will be working on a book manuscript focused on post-World War II technological transfers of German factories to the Soviet Union. The manuscript is based in part on his 2015 George Mason doctoral dissertation, “A Sweet History in Bitter Times: Refining Sugar in the Transnistrian Borderlands, 1898-2015,” a microhistory of a sugar factory in the town of Rybnitsa, located in today’s contested Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova. The sugar factory survived multiple changes in borders and socio-economic and political regimes over a turbulent 20th century only to succumb to the transition to market economics and conflict that marked the post-Soviet period. The Rybnitsa sugar factory was one of thousands of Soviet localities to acquire German factory equipment and technology in the aftermath of World War II, a broader subject Lesanu is now pursuing as he explores the complex interactions of German equipment and technology with the work force and socio-economic system inside the Soviet Union.