The project aims to investigate – from an entangled and global histories perspective and in connection with recent developments in the transdisciplinary field of quarantine studies – the various functions of the quarantine system established in the eighteenth century and institutionalized after 1829 along the Lower Danube. A special focus will fall on the period stretching between 1829 and 1853, the climax of the Danubian preventive system, but it will also document quarantine arrangements made, in the second half of the nineteenth and in early twentieth centuries, by an international organization, the European Commission of the Danube, and by riparian states (Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania).

This project is funded by a grant from UEFISCDI, as part of the funding agency’s ‘Basic and frontier research’ scheme. It is kindly hosted by the New Europe College – Institute for Advanced Study in Bucharest and it will run from June 2022 to December 2024.

The project will bring empirical and theoretical insight to the burgeoning field of quarantine studies, turned mainstream in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Empirically, it will showcase the Danubian quarantine system as a hybrid version of the Russian, Austrian and Mediterranean models and will reveal how transnational sanitary cooperation looks like from the vista of small states. Lazarettos will be turned into paradigmatic hubs for the transfer of knowledge, technology and human resources in peripheral societies. Theoretically, the project aims to devise a model for how sanitary crises fuel modernization, based on a polynomial function that considers geopolitical, political, economic, societal, and sanitary factors.