Cristian Capotescu

Cristian Capotescu
Cristian Capotescu, Columbia University

Project Summary

Cristian plans to build on the values-based framework of the HuMetricsHSS Community Fellowship to develop community-academic collaborations on trust between marginalized groups and public institutions that are equitable and responsive to community needs and actionable within academia.


Cristian co-leads various research projects and public-facing initiatives as a Postdoctoral Scholar at INCITE's Mellon Sawyer Seminar on Trust and Mistrust of Science and Experts. His scholarship reaches across the Humanities and qualitative Social Sciences and focuses, in an eclectic fashion, on disasters, economic life, refugees and migration, humanitarianism and ethics, as well as social welfare and authoritarianism in the twentieth century. Cristian's current book project on "private humanitarians" in the socialist period connects multiple conceptual threads such as post-disaster solidarities, Cold War mobilities, and aid-giving under authoritarian rule through historical as well as multi-sited historical-ethnographic analysis. More recently, his work has also explored the social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. From 2020-21, he served as Postdoctoral Scholar of the Mellon Sawyer Seminar Humanitarianisms: Migration and Care through the Global South as the PI of a population health equity grant at the University of Washington. This interdisciplinary research project funded by the intercollegiate Population Health Initiative studied the efficacy and challenges of distance learning for low-income students of color during COVID-19. Cristian received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan in 2020. His writing has appeared in academic venues and a variety of public outlets such as The Conversation, The Washington Post, and Psychology Today.