New Europe College’s Research Team Wins Prestigious ERC Advanced Grant

30 March 2023

New Europe College is proud to announce that NEC Alumna Silvia Marton, Associate Professor at Faculty of Political Science, University of Bucharest and her team have won an ERC Advanced Grant for the project entitled Transnational histories of ‘corruption’ in Central-South-East Europe (1750-1850). Congratulations!

 Abstract of the Project:

Politicians, scholars, and popular writers between 1750 and 1850 routinely characterized South-East-Central Europe as a corrupt political space. A wide range of foreign observers portrayed graft, nepotism, and bribery as endemic. Indigenous critics echoed many of these assessments. Regional insiders and outsiders alike mobilized commentaries on “corruption” for their own political, professional, and personal ends, claiming they could run more honest and efficient administrations, military regimes, and commercial operations than those in power. These notables linked “corruption” to the region’s supposed cultural backwardness and economic under-development. In doing so, public figures naturalized notions of “corruption,” making it appear both widespread and organic in the region—popularizing tropes that have endured right down to the present. Yet, “corruption” is a historically specific concept. TransCorr seeks to construct a history of the idea of “corruption” in Central-South-East Europe in conjunction with the rise of modernity. It demonstrates how in the context of new ideas about modernity emanating from West Europe, regional leaders reframed a host of traditional customs and practices as corrupt. It examines how Great Power attempts to transform these borderlands into formal and informal imperial provinces further entrenched novel understandings of “corruption”, often pejoratively associating them with the Ottoman legacy. By tracing out this history, TransCorr reveals a genealogy of ideas, discourses, and attitudes that continue to inform analyses of and discussions within the region today. The project brings the study of this geographic area into greater dialogue with a global story of modernization and aligns the region’s historiography with new innovations in the scientific literature. It also reframes contemporary debates on patronage and graft, and reconfigures broader understandings of center-periphery relations within the region and across the continent.

About Advanced Grant ERC – European Research Council:

The ERC Advanced Grant funding is amongst the most prestigious and competitive EU funding schemes, providing researchers with the opportunity to pursue ambitious, curiosity-driven projects that could lead to major scientific breakthroughs. They are awarded to established, leading researchers with a proven track-record of significant research achievements over the past decade.

Please find more details at: Researchers across Europe receive €544m in grants from European Research Council | ERC (


Over the years, New Europe College has also been host institution for the following ERC projects:

(1) Art Historiographies in Central and Eastern Europe. An Inquiry from the Perspective of Entangled Histories
(2) Luxury, Fashion and Social Status in Early Modern South Eastern Europe

(3) Record-keeping, Fiscal Reform, and the Rise of Institutional Accountability in Late-medieval Savoy: a Source-oriented Approach
(4) The Medicine of the Mind and Natural Philosophy in Early Modern England