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Vol. 5 No. 1 (2023)

Journal of Romanian Studies, 5, No. 1 (2023)



Svetlana Suveica, Jill Massino, Iemima Ploscariu


Svetlana Suveica, Jill Massino

Editors’ Note

 (pp. 1-3)


Maria Bucur

The Vanishing Invalid: Visual Representations of Disabled Veterans in Interwar Romania (pp. 5-25)

In Romania after World War I, visual representations of disability became both a necessity and a problem for developing a vocabulary to describe the everyday experience of more than 200,000 disabled veterans who lived in nearly every town and village. By exploring the history and signification of the Last Grenade monument in relation to other visual representations of disabled veterans, the author teases out how disability came to be understood in public discourse, performance, and policy both for those who returned home as visible “invalids,” as well as those who could hide disabilities or those who did not experience them.

Sonia D. Andraș

From Monitorul Oficial to Calea Victoriei: Decoding 1930s Bucharest through Women’s Fashion (pp. 27-54)

This paper explores the contrasts between the draconic taxation policies affecting garment production, dissemination, and intake in 1930s Romania and the concurrent glamour displayed by fashion-consuming women in public spaces in Bucharest. The focus is on the relationship between the Romanian state and the idea of fashionability represented by the flâneuses promenading Calea Victoriei. This paper employs visual and written text analysis to determine the commonalities in messaging and language used in the literature related to women’s fashion in interwar Bucharest. The sources range from fiction and non-fiction interwar books, illustrated and glossy periodicals, photographs, and postcards from the author’s personal collection. This research is built on the interdisciplinary model of fashion studies, borrowing methods from semiotics, cultural, fashion, and Romanian studies. Through the lens of fashion, the aim is to decode the negotiations between state authority agendas and women’s wish for prosperity and modernity.

Liviu Bordaș

On the Ḥadīth Corpus of Mircea Eliade: Preliminary Notes and an Open Gloss

(pp. 55-71)

The article is an introduction to the text of Mac Linscott Ricketts’s research interviews with Mircea Eliade, between 1981 and 1984 (with a supplementary conversation with Christinel Eliade dating from 1986). The editor’s note is preceded by an overview of the corpus of Eliade’s interviews and followed by a gloss on two of the less discussed radical criticisms of Eliade during the years 1985–1994, whose authors are referred to in the text of the interviews. In conclusion, it argues that the possibility of such diametrically opposed constructions of a “hidden” Eliade calls for a contextual examination of all the “reconstructions” which claim either to denounce or to annex him.

Source Translation: 

Liviu Bordaș

Mac Linscott Ricketts: Encounters with Mircea Eliade (pp. 73-103)

Ion Luca Caragiale (1852–1912) is best known as the leading Romanian dramatist from the nation-building period at the end of the nineteenth century. Caragiale also wrote satirical sketches on social issues of his day, capturing the appearance of new social types and issues of identity and alterity. The following two sketches, published in the Bucharest newspaper Universul in 1899 and 1909 respectively, not only offer entertaining snapshots of cultural formations but also anticipate more formal analyses of modern Romanian society in the making.

Book Reviews (pp. 105-120)

Gheorghe Gelu Păcurar

Maria Bucur. The Nation’s Gratitude. World War I and Citizenship Rights in Interwar Romania. New York: Routledge 2022. 238 pp.

Constantin Ardeleanu

Alex Drace-Francis. The Making of Mămăligă. Transimperial Recipes for a Romanian National Dish. Budapest: CEU Press 2022. 226 pp.

Alyssa Grossman

Raluca Mateoc and François Rüegg (eds). Recalling Fieldwork: People, Places and Encounters. Zürich: Lit Verlag, 2020.256 pp.

Christene d’Anca

Alexandra Chiriac. Performing Modernism: A Jewish Avant-Garde in Bucharest. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter 2022. 232 pp.

Book Essay:

Letitia Guran

FEM: Revelation as a Path to a New Kind of Feminism

Call for Coeditor, Journal of Romanian Studies

Description automatically generatedThe Journal of Romanian Studies is currently seeking a new Coeditor, to replace Svetlana Suveica, beginning in July 2023. The Coeditor will work with Jill Massino (Coeditor), Iuliu Raţiu (Book Review Editor) and Iemima Ploscariu (Editorial Assistant)

This biannual peer-reviewed journal published by the Society for Romanian Studies in collaboration with Liverpool University Press examines critical issues in Romanian Studies broadly conceived, linking work in that field to wider theoretical debates and issues of current relevance, and serving as a forum for both junior and senior scholars.

The journal considers original manuscripts that draw on various theoretical, conceptual and methodological perspectives as understood in disciplines ranging from history, political science, philosophy, law and justice studies, anthropology, sociology, ethnography, and education to literature, linguistics, economics, business, religion, gender, film and media studies, art history, and music. It considers theoretically informed manuscripts that examine political, socioeconomic and cultural developments in Romania and Moldova, the situation of their ethnic minorities and their relations with the ethnic majority, as well as the position, culture, and history of Romanians and Moldovans living outside the shifting boundaries of those countries.

The journal also welcomes articles that connect Romania and Moldova comparatively with other states and their ethnic majorities and minorities, as well as with other groups by investigating the challenges of migration and globalization, changes and opportunities in international relations, and the impact of the European Union. Both articles with a historical focus and studies dealing with contemporary events will be considered.

Coeditors serve three-year, renewable terms and are responsible for:

·     Directing the editorial content and policy of the journal;

·     Liaising with LUP on production and all other publishing matters;

·     Soliciting articles, book reviews, translations, and special issues;

·     Reviewing article-length manuscripts to determine if a piece should be sent out to complete the double-blind peer-review process.

·     Quality assurance in the final proofs for publication.

The editors are not compensated for their effort. Guest editors have been used for special issues and this practice will continue as opportunities and needs present themselves.

If you would like to be considered for either of these positions, please send a current curriculum vitae and a letter of intention by Friday 31st March 2023 to the President of the Society of Romanian Studies, James Kapaló (j.kapalo@ucc.ie) and Secretary of the Society for Romanian Studies, Dana Trif dana.trif@gmail.com

Society for Romanian Studies in Solidarity with Ukraine

As the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine approaches, the Society for Romanian Studies would like to send a renewed message of support for the Ukrainian people, for Ukrainian sovereignty and democracy. As an academic society, we stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and with our Ukrainian academic colleagues who not only face violent attack but also the onslaught of Russian propaganda and denial of Ukrainian culture, history and identity. We pledge to continue to support our Ukrainian colleagues in whatever way we can in the time ahead.

James A. Kapaló

President of the Society for Romanian Studies

Society for Romanian Studies—Call for Nominations

As the calendar year draws to a close, so do four SRS executive mandates: President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. According to our by-laws, the President and Vice-President serve for three years (January 2023 – December 2025), whereas the Secretary and the Treasurer serve for four years (January 2023 – December 2026). The Nominating Committee would like to call for nominations to these four positions on the SRS Executive Board, to replace Roland Clark, Rodica Zaharia, Anca Sincan and Vladimir Solonari.

Please send nominations or self-nominations, specifying clearly the position, by December 10 to Lavinia Stan, Past President and Chair of the Nominating Committee, via e-mail at lstan@stfx.ca.

The nomination should include a current email address and institutional affiliation, a 200-word bio, as well as a brief personal statement about your goals on the SRS Executive Board (up to 300 words). Please consult the SRS by-laws for details about SRS governance, available at https://srstudies.org/srs-bylaws/

The Society for Romanian Studies is an international interdisciplinary academic organization dedicated to promoting the professional study, criticism, and research of all aspects of Romanian culture and civilization, particularly concerning the countries of Romania and Moldova. The Nominating Committee strives to promote balanced representation in regard to age, gender, professional background, locations of residence, and geographical and disciplinary areas of specialization, but is not be bound by any particular formula.

Qualifications include being a member of SRS and being actively engaged in the field of

Romanian Studies. To be eligible for election as Treasurer a person must be a member in good standing for at least the calendar year prior to election.


The open positions and a brief description of duties are as follows:

The President shall call and preside at all meetings of members and shall be the Chair of the Executive Board. She/he shall sign all contracts, agreements and other instruments which may be entered into by or on behalf of the SRS.  The President shall appoint as needed non-voting members as advisory to the Board (committee chairs, such as the prize committees, program committee chairs, or ad hoc committee chairs) with the approval of the Board.  The President (assisted by the Vice-President) shall be responsible for monitoring Board participation and making recommendations to the Board in cases of perceived nonfeasance, misfeasance, or malfeasance.

The Vice-President shall assist the President in the execution of her/his functions and perform the duties of the President in the absence of the President. She/he shall also perform those specific duties assigned by the Executive Board.

The Secretary shall keep the minutes of all meetings of the Society and of the National Board; shall maintain the Archives of the Society; shall keep current the list of the Society’s liaison/representatives to other societies and associations that the SRS is affiliated or related to, as well as informing the President and the Board when replacements need to be made; shall receive and answer correspondence addressed to the Association in consultation with the president; and shall send out, receive, and tabulate election ballots, and report the result of elections to the Board. The Treasurer will also serve as an acting Secretary for purposes concerning the organization’s financial transactions.

The Treasurer shall have the care and custody of all funds of the Society which shall come into her/his hands, shall deposit the same in such manner and in such banks as the Executive Board or the President may direct, and shall disburse such funds under the direction of the Board. She/he shall keep true books of account and render statements thereof whenever required, and in no case less frequently than once a year, at the annual meeting of the Society; shall manage the collection of dues, and keep accurate lists of the members in each category; and shall provide to the annual meeting of the Society a written statement of disbursements and assets for the current fiscal year.

Please send nominations or self-nominations to the chair of the Nominating Committee until December 10, 2022: Lavinia Stan (lstan@stfx.ca)


SRS selects Board members through an electronic ballot of all members in good standing. Open balloting will take place from December 12-24, 2022 and the results will be announced no later than January 1, 2023.

The nominating committee consists of:

Lavinia Stan (chair), St Francis Xavier University, Canada, lstan@stfx.ca

Ruxandra Trandafoiu, Edge Hill University, UK, trandar@edgehill.ac.uk

Matei Gheboianu, University of Bucharest, Romania, matei.gheboianu@gmail.com

Open Letter Regarding the Romanian National Archives

În atenția:

Klaus Iohannis, președinte

Gabriel-Cristian Pișcociu, consilier de stat

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă, prim-ministru

Marcel Ciolacu, președinte al Camerei Deputaților din România

Alina Gorghiu, președintele Senatului României

Lucian Nicolae Bode, Ministerul de Interne

Lucian Romașcanu, Ministerul Culturii

Valeria Oana Zaharia, manager, Institutul Național al Patrimoniului

Cristian Anița, director al Arhivelor Naționale ale României

Alina Pavelescu, director adjunct al Arhivelor Naționale ale României

Mă adresez în numele Societății de Studii Românești (SRS), o asociație internațională de cercetători din Europa, America de Nord și Asia dedicată promovării studiului profesional, criticii și cercetării tuturor aspectelor culturii și civilizației românești, în special în ceea ce privește România și Republica Moldova. SRS susține categoric petițiile recente și este în asentimentul expresiilor de frustrare și îngrijorare referitoare la noile reguli privind accesul la documentele de arhivă ale Arhivelor Naționale ale României.

Conform declarației UNESCO din 2011, „Arhivele constituie un patrimoniu unic și de neînlocuit transmis din generație în generație. Surse de informație credibilă pentru o guvernare responsabilă și transparentă, arhivele joacă un rol esențial în dezvoltarea societăților contribuind la constituirea și salvarea memoriei individuale și colective”. Ca cercetători, prețuim libertatea academică, bazată pe diverse garanții constituționale (art. 30 libertatea de exprimare, art. 31 dreptul la informație, autonomia universitara art. 32 para. 6). Prin urmare, suntem consternați de restricțiile actuale privind accesul la documentele de arhivă și de lipsa finanțării și a sprijinului acordat arhivelor. Noi vă rugăm să acordați:

  1. Acces egal și nerestricționat la toate documentele din colecția Arhivelor Naționale. Precizăm că toate aceste documente nu prezintă vreun risc pentru securitatea României, ele fiind create înainte de 1989, iar unele în perioada celui de-al Doilea Război Mondial sau chiar și mai înainte. Accesul la documentele de arhivă este un pas crucial în tranziția de la o societate totalitară la una democratică deschisă și este in conformitate cu articolul 24 al Legii 182/2002, care prevede că nu pot fi clasificate, ca secrete de stat, informații, date sau documente „în scopul ascunderii încălcărilor legii, erorilor administrative, limitării accesului la informațiile de interes public, restrângerii ilegale a exercițiului unor drepturi ale persoanelor sau lezării altor interese legitime” și nici documentele referitoare „la o cercetare științifică fundamentală”, care nu au „o legătură justificată cu securitatea națională”. Până acum, dacă un cercetător avea acces la un document, acesta nu putea fi refuzat altcuiva. Multe dintre documentele cu acces acum interzis au putut fi cercetate înainte de instituirea restricțiilor, iar unele au fost și publicate. Istoricii, cercetătorii și arhiviștii nu își pot îndeplini sarcinile profesionale fără acces la aceste colecții de arhivă. Solicităm, așadar, ca restricțiile actuale să fie eliminate cât mai repede posibil.
  • O nouă lege a arhivelor care să garanteze accesul public și egal al cercetătorilor la toate fondurile Arhivelor Naționale, în conformitate cu Recomandarea Nr. R (2000) 13 al Consiliului Europei, care se referă la accesul și utilizarea arhivelor istorice ale Uniunii Europene (HAEU).
  • Trecerea Arhivelor Naționale din jurisdicția Ministerului de Interne la Ministerul Culturii. Standardul internațional pentru arhive este că Arhivele Naționale sunt fie autonome, fie în subordinea Ministerului Culturii sau echivalentului acestuia. Pentru că se referă la patrimoniul național, misiunea Arhivelor Naționale – aceea de a colecta, păstra, administra și garanta transmiterea memoriei colective prin intermediul documentului istoric – ține de responsabilitatea Ministerului Culturii și nu a Ministerului de Interne. Conducerea Arhivelor Naționale nu trebuie să implice cenzură sau vreo implicare a DGPI.
  • Asigurarea unei finanțări adecvate pentru a permite arhivelor să își îndeplinească atribuțiile prevăzute de lege. Conform Strategiei Arhivelor Naționale 2015-2021, “principala instituție de arhivă a statului român a fost nevoită să supraviețuiască cu mijloace învechite, extrem de reduse: o concepție și o bază juridică întruchipate de Legea nr. 16/1996, repede depășite de realitate, lipsa modernizării, în primul rând a informatizării, personal insuficient, în reducere drastică după 2008 și parțial deprofesionalizat din cauza lucrărilor de nivel inferior, un buget simbolic, de supraviețuire. A rezultat o slăbire continuă a instituției și o creștere a discrepanței dintre obligațiile legale și posibilități. Toate au culminat cu seria de măsuri din perioada 2006-2011 (obligarea prin lege de a prelua state de plată, degradarea în rang administrativ la toate nivelurile, reducerea drastică de personal, reduceri bugetare ș.a.), care au adus instituția practic în prag de colaps.” În calitate de utilizatori ai Arhivelor Naționale, membrii noștri nu au văzut nicio îmbunătățire de când aceasta a fost scrisă acum șapte ani. Dimpotrivă, Curtea de Conturi a România a raportat în 2017 că “reorganizarea instituției la nivel de direcție a atras retrogradarea de nivel a tuturor funcțiilor de conducere din subordine, aspect care a influențat negativ relațiile de autoritate, de reprezentare și de control la creatorii și deținătorii de documente, în special în cazul celor 42 de structuri teritoriale. În ceea ce privește numărul de posturi prevăzute, în perioada 2009-2015, reorganizările succesive de la nivelul instituției au însemnat atât modificarea statutului instituției, cât și desființarea unor posturi, fiind înregistrată astfel o scădere semnificativă a acestora, de la 1.728 posturi la 714 posturi (număr menținut și în anul 2015).”

Trebuie luate măsuri urgente în lumina acestei situații de criză.

Vă mulțumim pentru înțelegere.

În speranța unei soluționări pozitive,

Dr. Roland Clark, FHEA, FRHistS

President, Society for Romanian Studies


Statement on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The Society for Romanian Studies and the PLURAL Forum for Interdisciplinary Studies:
Considering the military aggression of the Russian Federation against the territorial integrity, the sovereignty, and the independence of Ukraine,
Considering the atrocities committed by the Russian Armed Forces against the civilian population in Ukraine, including children,
Considering the repression by the Russian State of the people who use their freedom of speech,
Aware of their mission to defend human rights and democratic values and to spread this awareness,
jointly PROTEST against the Russian invasion of Ukraine,
STAND IN SOLIDARITY with the people of Ukraine and with our Ukrainian academic colleagues,
and pledge to HELP them in whatever way they can,
BACK the petitions of their fellow associations ASEEES, BASEES, and IARCEES,
SUPPORT the protests of the Russian intellectuals and the entire Russian people,
and HOPE for peace and for justice.

Resources for Scholars Affected by the War in Ukraine

Thanks to the Feeding the Elephant team from H-Net Books.

  • #ScienceForUkraine is a community group of volunteer students and research scientists from academic institutions in Europe and around the world whose mission is to collect and disseminate information about support opportunities at the university, national, and international levels for graduate students and researchers directly affiliated with a Ukrainian academic institution. On Twitter @Sci_for_Ukraine.
  • Ukraine Crisis Scholar Support Group is a private Facebook group (requires users to join) that shares opportunities, contacts, and advice.
  • Resources for Helping Displaced Scholars from Ukraine compiled by the ASEEES International Task Force for Displaced Scholars (ITFDS).
  • Twitter thread of open calls for Ukrainian academics compiled by Jared Warren.
  • H-Ukraine regularly shares opportunities. To receive email notifications, users should create an H-Net profile and subscribe to the H-Ukraine network. Scholars can also check posts tagged Emergency Resources for Ukrainian Scholars.
  • Resources for scholars in danger is an extensive Google Doc of institutions offering opportunities and support for displaced scholars, artists, and cultural workers compiled by the Postsocialist and Comparative Memory Studies working group and maintained by Anna Topolska. (h/t Rossen Djagalov for this and the following three suggestions)
  • Scholars at Risk Network works with its global network of higher education institutions around the world to arrange short-term, temporary research and teaching positions for threatened scholars. They also provide advisory, referral, and career support services for scholars.
  • City of Asylum Exiled Writer and Artist Residency Program is a long-term residency for literary writers and other artists who are in exile from their home countries and under threat of persecution because of their work.
  • International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) is an independent organization of cities and regions offering shelter to writers and artists at risk, advancing freedom of expression, defending democratic values and promoting international solidarity.

Vol. 4 No. 2 (2022)

Journal of Romanian Studies, Vol. 4 No. 2 (2022)

Special issue: Rhetorical Strategies and Political Engagement in Post-1989 Public Discourse


Peter Gross, Svetlana Suveica, Claudia Lonkin 

Guest Editors: 

Bogdan Ștefănescu and Noemi Marin


Guest Editors’ Note

Introduction: Rhetorical Strategies and Political Engagement in Post-1989 Public Discourse in Romania (pp. 151-163)


Andreea Deciu Ritivoi

Surviving on Soy Salami: Dissidents, Exiles, Prisoners, and the Rhetoric of Affect in Post-communist Romania (pp. 165-186)

After decades of being seen, or rather heard, through Radio Free Europe as moral and political authorities preserving Romania’s values and hopes from abroad, exiles of the Cold War had a disappointing political career in the postcommunist transitional society. The main figures hailing on behalf of historic pollical parties failed to win the election in 1990, and failed to convince the electorate that they could lead them to freedom and democracy. The former dissidents who had lived overseas likewise did not manage to become opinion leaders, at least not compared to local intellectuals, and eventually damaged each other’s reputation in public fights and scandals. Why weren’t these exiles, once so full of promise for a democratic future in Romania, more impactful? The answer may point to their systematic undermining orchestrated by the neo-communist power brokers of the transitional era. Yet the answer is rather more complicated, one that this paper offers by focusing on the rhetoric of the early postcommunist decade and its emphasis on the shared deprivation experienced under communism. The slogan built around hunger—“who ate soy meat with us”—was part of a larger effect of political survivalism that viewed exiles as outsiders. I show that the contest of moral superiority, pitting those who had been imprisoned against those who had fled, fed a rhetoric of suffering that would eventually marginalize the exiles and any political contribution they could have made after 1989.

Andrei Nae

The Pure Romanian: (Re)writing Romanian National Identity in Dan Puric’s Romanian Soul (pp. 187-200) 

This paper investigates Romania’s auto-image as described by Dan Puric in his book Suflet Românesc (Romanian Soul). By employing imagology, this article first shows how Romanian national identity is constructed in opposition to Western culture and modernity. And by drawing on imagology and Hayden White’s approach to historiography, I provide a discursive analysis of the Romanian auto-image provided in the text. I show that Puric’s writing of Romanian national identity is a Romantic one rendered in the anarchist mode. The author alleges that Romanians are born with a “Romanian soul,” which guarantees their adherence to a Christian Orthodox worldview, one to which Western culture and modernity are inimical. The dominant metaphor used to represent Romanianness is the folktale, whose main traits—being set in illo tempore, a focus on a stark moral antithesis between good and evil where the former prevails, and favouring intuition over reason—are allegedly shared by “pure” Romanians. After revealing the pillars of Romanianness in Puric’s view, I trace the intellectual and cultural continuities between his Romanian auto-image and Romania’s far-right views on nation and nationhood, as well as the national communist view on Romanianness. As far as the former is concerned, I highlight the structural similarities between Puric’s nationalism and anti-Semitic discourse. With respect to the latter, I draw attention to Puric’s reliance on two of the several national communist myths identified by Romanian historian Lucian Boia: the myth of continuity and the myth of conspiracy. Puric’s book dovetails with national communist discourse by postulating the alleged continuity between the peoples and cultures that have existed in Romania’s current geographic location across the centuries and retains its communist fears of foreign conspiracy.

Gheorghe Andrei

Discursive Strategies of a Populist Leader in 2020 Romanian Legislative Elections. The Rhetoric and Political Style of George Simion (pp. 201-213)

Rhetoric and the politician’s political style are some of his/her most important tools and the technological and media revolution, mobile devices and social networks, have further emphasized their importance. The social networks help politicians to target a very circumscribed audience with their rhetoric, while mobile devices enable them to retain contact with their supporters and to exhibit their political style, in this instance populism. The article examines the speeches of the leader of the Alliance for the Union of Romanians Party (AUR), a new national-populist Romanian party, through the perspective of Chaim Perelman’s New Rhetoric and the populist style. The theory developed around the concept of fake news was also used in the development of the argument. According to this theory, the latest developments in the communication industry boosted the fake-news phenomenon, which, in turn, helped the populist leaders. The article is divided into four parts, each part addressing the theory around the new rhetoric; the theory of political style, i.e. populism; the qualitative case study; and the conclusions.

Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield

The Rhetoric of Inner Freedom: Possibilities and Impossibilities for Dissent in Post-1989 Romania (pp. 215- 227)

The well-known “resistance through culture” practiced by the philosophers of the so-called Păltiniş school in the last decade of communism sought to educate a group of men (and they were all men) in the cultural values necessary for the “regeneration” of Romanian society. The remembrance of these values was premised on the notion of “inner freedom,” an undertheorized yet familiar appeal of dissidents under conditions of repression, as it is even today. But politically, the ontology of “inner freedom” is questionable. It presupposes a metaphysics of the autonomous subject which is problematic for dissent, in that it contends that freedom of thought is possible without freedom of expression, an argument which favours quietism and may perhaps induce self-censorship or even complicity. Indeed, Herta Müller charges Gabriel Liiceanu, a leading member of the Păltiniş school, with not speaking out in order to maintain an advantageous position within the system of repression. Jean-Paul Sartre goes further in his critique of “inner freedom”: he calls it a “hoax.” George Orwell calls it a “fallacy.” For Hannah Arendt, it is derivative. I am in broad agreement with these positions. Furthermore, I argue that a conception of culture premised on the values of inner freedom and “‘not speaking out” is a conception of culture in which corruption is harbored within the concept. “Not speaking out” is conducive to and constitutive of corruption, so rife in Romania and other ex-communist societies after 1989, and hence part of the problem rather than of the solution, in ways which I demonstrate. However, I wish to put forward another conception of inner freedom, a non-metaphysical one, a positive conception for dissent today. Namely inner freedom as a rhetorical construct. Not an immaterial space which is presupposed in order to found dissent, but one which is materially formed by dissent. Arguing for inner freedom to be seen as a rhetorical response rather than a metaphysical presupposition involves showing that inner freedom is dependent on language. 

Source Translation: 

Alex Drace-Francis

Ion Luca Caragiale, ‘Identity‘. First published as ‘Identitate’ (Universul, Bucharest, 27 April 1909). (pp. 229-236)

Ion Luca Caragiale (1852–1912) is best known as the leading Romanian dramatist from the nation-building period at the end of the nineteenth century. Caragiale also wrote satirical sketches on social issues of his day, capturing the appearance of new social types and issues of identity and alterity. The following two sketches, published in the Bucharest newspaper Universul in 1899 and 1909 respectively, not only offer entertaining snapshots of cultural formations but also anticipate more formal analyses of modern Romanian society in the making.

Book Reviews (pp. 237-249)

Emanuela Grama

Mihaela Șerban. Subverting Communism in Romania: Law and Private Property, 1945-1965. Lenham: Lexington Books, 2019. 294 pp. 

Svetlana Suveica

Gaëlle Fisher, Resetters and Survivors. Bukovina and the Politics of Belonging in West Germany and Israel, 1945-1989. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2020, 304 pp.

Iemima Ploscariu

Roland Clark. Sectarianism and Renewal in 1920s Romania: The Limits of Orthodoxy and Nation-Building. London: Bloomsbury, 2021. 232 pp.

Cristina A. Bejan

Mihaela Gligor, ed. Memories of Terror: Essays on Recent Histories. Frankfurt am Main: CEEOL Press, 2021. 266 pp.

Laura Balomiri

Mădălina Diaconu. Ideengeschichte Rumäniens. Paderborn: Brill/Ferdinand Schöningh, 2021. 346 pp.

Vol. 4 No. 1 (2022)

Journal of Romanian Studies, 4, No. 1 (2022)


Editors: Peter Gross, Svetlana Suveica, Claudia Lonkin 


Editors’ Note (pp. 1-2)


Lucian Boia

Briefly, About History (as I see it)  (pp. 3-6)


Victor Taki

Russophilia and Madness in Nineteenth-Century Romania: The Case of Michel Anagnosti (pp. 7-36)

This article examines the political writings of Michel Anagnosti, a French-educated Wallachian intellectual and publicist who came of age during the period of Russian hegemony in the Romanian principalities in the 1830s. Although Anagnosti was at first critical of Russian policies, the subsequent evolution of his political views placed him increasingly at odds with the “Fortyeighters”—the participants of the 1848 revolution in Wallachia that was suppressed by the Ottomans on Russia’s insistence. Whereas modern Romanian nationalism crystallized during the 1840s and the 1850s under distinctly anti-Russian slogans, Anagnosti evolved in the opposite direction and became an exponent of pro-Russian attitudes in the Romanian press of the 1860s and 1870s. Anagnosti’s unorthodox perspectives contrasted with the ideology of the “Fortyeighters” to the point of earning him the reputation of a madman and explaining his posthumous oblivion. An examination of Anagnosti’s oeuvre not only sheds light on a neglected figure of the Romanian intellectual life of the nineteenth century, but also provides an insight into the process of constructing the political mainstream in an emergent nation-state by associating critical and unorthodox perspectives with unreason.

Cosmin Koszor-Codrea

Mismeasuring Diversity: Popularizing Scientific Racism in the Romanian Principalities Around the Mid-Nineteenth Century (pp. 37-56)

This study explores a neglected episode in the history of Romanian encounters with racial classification theories before and during the mid-nineteenth century. The study begins with a brief historiographic discussion and illustrates the recent debates concerning definitions of the origins of scientific racism, as portrayed by Stephen Jay Gould and Nicolaas Rupke. Accordingly, this paper identifies three suggestive case studies (Iacob Czihac, Iuliu Barasch, and Dimitrie Ananescu) that might shed some light on the intellectual roots of racial classifications in Romania. Placing this investigation amongst emerging studies of the popularization of science, this paper argues that naturalists and physicians alike, trained and influenced by the German tradition of Naturphilosophie, expressed their authority in reproducing and diffusing racial classifications and gendered concepts of reproduction.

Valeria Chelaru

Regionalism or Otherness in Greater Romania: Bessarabia’s Response to Cultural Nationalism in the First Years after Unification (1918–1930) (pp. 57-82)

This article tackles the “thorny issue” of Bessarabia’s integration into Greater Romania. A former gubernia inside the Russian Empire for approximately one century, the population of this region, located between the Rivers Prut and Dniester, displayed reluctance to unite with Romania. The paper analyzes the sociopolitical environment that led to the union with the Kingdom of Romania in 1918; it then reassesses the policies of homogenization carried out by the Romanian state during its aggressive nationalization campaign and Bessarabia’s reaction to them. Bessarabia’s reunion with its historical sister provinces in 1918, as well as the entire period throughout which the region was part of Romania, is still a highly politicized subject. This article stresses the response of people of different identities to the reconfiguration of the center-periphery relationship, and to Romania’s mission to consolidate a “nationalizing state.” It therefore emphasizes the asymmetry between the aspirations of the center and those of the Bessarabian populations.

Dorina Roșca 

In Search of a Lost Market: The Features of Moldovan Capitalism Today (pp. 83-103)


The nature of post-Soviet Moldovan capitalism has hardly been discussed since the uncritical adoption of neoclassical economic theory by both local scholars and non-academic experts from NGOs. Most analyses are framed by theories that appear to be forcibly grafted onto empirical facts, reflecting other logics of functioning that characterize Moldovan capitalism. This article argues for viewing the Moldovan economy through, following Polanyi, the “logic of reciprocity”. In Polanyian terms, the form of economic integration based on reciprocity refers to an institutional structure—norms, practices, rules, etc.—that facilitates reciprocal informal economic and social exchanges. I argue that reciprocity characterizes, and can be observed through, monetary and in-kind transfers from Moldovan emigrants abroad. Many everyday, informal Moldovan socioeconomic exchanges and consumption practices operate based on local moral and social rules. Moreover, the logic of reciprocity coexists and interacts with Moldova’s oligarchic political economy, thus defining the dynamics of Moldovan capitalism.

Angela Lumezeanu, Judit Pál, and Vlad Popovici

Historical Data Grinder 2.0  (pp. 105-121)

Historical Data Grinder (HDG) is an EAV database model designed to store and aggregate historical information regardless of geographic space, chronological period, or topic of interest. The source code of the database is available open source at: https://github.com/angelalumezeanu/hdg_structure. This paper details the specificities of HDG within the framework of other digital tools focused on the history of Romania, describes the updates brought by version 2.0, and highlights its advantages compared to traditional relational databases. To exemplify the latter, it presents the procedure for ingesting a major data set: members of the Hungarian parliament elected in the Transylvanian constituencies between 1865–1918. The data set is available for the general public, along with other information from HDG, at www.hdgrinder.ro.

Source Translation:

Roland Clark

Excerpts from Gala Galaction, Journal, vols. 5–6 (Bucharest: Editura Albatros, 1996)

Grigorie Pișculescu (1879–1961), better known by his literary pseudonym Gala Galaction, was one of the most prominent Romanian writers and church figures in the twentieth century. In his short stories, novels, and newspaper articles, Galaction developed an idiosyncratic style that integrated Eastern Orthodox themes and imagery into the lives of his characters, most of whom were peasants or working class. Unlike most religious writers in early-twentieth-century Romania, who were committed ultranationalists, even fascists, Galaction was a socialist who believed that defending the rights of the poor constituted a central Christian duty. As a result, he became valuable to the Romanian Communist Party (PCR) after the Second World War. Written over a 57-year period, his journal provides unique insights into major changes in Romanian religion, politics, and society that took place during the twentieth century. In these excerpts he writes about being courted—and manipulated—by the PCR because of his celebrity status.

Book Reviews:
Ágoston Berecz: R. Chris Davis, Hungarian religion, Romanian blood: a minority’s struggle for national belonging, 1920–1945 (Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 2019), 248 pp. 

Paul E. Michelson: Gheorghe Cliveti, România modernă și “apogeul europei” 1815-1914 (București: Editura Academiei, 2018), 1160 pp. & Vasile Pușcaș, Marea Unire 1918 România Mare. Acte și Documente (Cluj-Napoca:  Editura Studia, 2018), 303 pp.

Gheorghe G. Pacurar: Cristina A. Bejan, Intellectuals and Fascism in Interwar Romania: The Criterion Association (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), 323 pp.

Petru Negură: Bogdan Bucur, Sociologia proastei guvernări în România interbelică. (București: RAO, 2019), 728 pp.

Vol. 3, No. 2 (2021)

Journal of Romanian Studies, 3, no. 2 (2021)

Special issue: Media and Communication

Guest editors: Raluca Radu and Ioana A. Coman

Editors: Peter Gross, Svetlana Suveica, Iuliu Raţiu


Notes from the Editors (pp. 11-13)


Digital Revolution and De-Institutionalization in Central and Eastern Europe (pp. 15-20)

Paolo Mancini


Post-Communist Media Freedom and a New Monopoly on Truth (pp. 21-38)

Andrei Richter

The author suggests a set of legal instruments to enable freedom of the media in East, Central and South-East Europe. The failure to introduce and fully implement these instruments has led to the governments’ increased grip on the media and information flows. Additional possibilities to limit freedom of information have been provided by the current global responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The article argues that the media capture in parts of the region leads to an establishment of a state monopoly on information and eventually to a monopoly on truth.

Public Opinion, Mass Media, and Foreign Policy of the Republic of Moldova: Between the Two Realms (pp. 39-62)

Alla Rosca

This paper examines public opinion among Moldovans regarding their country’s foreign policy and the role the mass media play in its formation. A logistic regression analysis indicates that trust in the Russian media that are present in Moldova strongly correlates with foreign policy opinion and trust in foreign leaders. Media consumption did not correlate significantly with any foreign policy decisions. In addition, the findings show a strong correlation between political preference and foreign policy opinion. The overall results support the Almond-Lippmann consensus that public opinion is volatile and does not have structure or coherence.#

Striving and Surviving: Romanian Journalism on the Quest for Funding Models (pp. 63-80)

Marius Dragomir, Manuela Preoteasa, Dumitrița Holdiș, Cristina Lupu

During the past decade, Romania’s media market has been experiencing massive shifts, particularly when it comes to its funding models. As elsewhere, these changes were triggered to a large degree by technological advances. The financial health of Romania’s media was also affected by local factors, including business practices, changes in government spending and media consumption patterns. This article describes the key trends in journalism funding in Romania in recent years and takes stock of the impact that the Covid-19 crisis is having on the industry’s financial health to understand the salient fi-nancial threats and opportunities that the country’s independent journalism is likely to face in the near future.

Romanian-language Conspiracy Narratives: Safeguarding the Nation and the People (pp. 81-109)

Onoriu Colăcel

The article investigates Romanian-language conspiracy narratives as tell-tale signs of foreign media influences and culture-bound knowledge claims. News and opinion samples are considered in order to analyze conspiracy theorizing in the commercial media of Romania and the Republic of Moldova. Conspiratorial discourses are traced to tropes and trends in the Romanian literary culture. They permeate conspiracy thinking across public discourses about the nation. The findings suggest that anxieties over the wellbeing of the country and its people are underlying local conspiracism. Ultimately, they tie in with concerns central to Romanian-language cultures.

Measuring Pseudoscience in Online Media: A Case Study on Romanian Websites (pp. 111-128)

Radu Silaghi-Dumitrescu

Abstract: To limit the negative effects of pseudoscience in public discourse, it may be useful to classify/quantify the occurrence of pseudoscientific topics – so that sources of such discourse may be effi-ciently identified and addressed. Here, the occurrence of 15 topics representative of pseudoscientific subjects is analyzed in a set of online mass-media pages in Romanian language. Correlations are found between some topics, yielding two main sets, centered on threats either to life/health or to identity/existence. The latter set appears innate to Romanian-language media, whereas the former do not. None of the 15 pseudoscience terms, nor their average or their total occurrence, correlate with the number of views of the respective websites – thus suggesting that pseudoscience alone is not a predictor of commercial success in Romanian-language online media.

Media Sources and Dissidents in the Romanian Revolution of 1989 (pp. 129-143)

Lucian-Vasile Szabo

This study highlights the way in which the media, particularly foreign outlets, contributed to Romania’s regime change in December 1989. Both news and the opinion articles and broadcasts appearing in the foreign Romanian language media are analysed, with a focus on broad- casts made from countries contiguous to Romania, as some of them could be received by its citizens. The study also examines the protest movement that began in Timisoara, correlated to the stances taken by a number of Romanian dissidents in and outside the country against Nicolae Ceauşes- cu’s dictatorial regime and in support of fundamental rights and liberties. Despite the terror, the hunger and widespread shortages, and in spite of the regime’s extremely harsh repressive measures, there were always indi- viduals who raised their voices against abuses. Their messages were picked up and amplified by the media outside the country. This was a difficult process, sometimes marked by errors and confusion. Nevertheless, the for- eign media, accessed clandestinely, by played an important role in chang- ing the course of history in December 1989.

Romanian Journalists’ Perception of Freedom of the Press and the Role Played by the Media in Countering Fake News (pp. 145-164)

Antonio Momoc

Abstract: This study is a preliminary investigation into the Romanian journalists’ perception of the role that newspeople play in identifying and fighting fake news. Prominent Romanian journalists were asked about the challenges of media digitalization, editorial independence during the economic crisis, how newsrooms relate to the fake news phenomenon, why they believe that some news websites are misinfor-mational, their own trust in the media, and journalists’ responsibility regarding media education, fact-checking, and countering fake news.


Socialism under Scrutiny: Juggling Time, Planned Economy, and Heritage (review by Dana Domșodi) (pp. 165-168):

  • Alina Cucu. Planning labour. Time and the foundations of industrial socialism in Romania. New York: Berghahn Books 2019. 246 pp.
  • Emanuela Grama. Socialist Heritage: the Politics of Past and Place in Bucharest. Bloominton: Indiana University Press 2019. 247 pp.

James Kapaló and Tatiana Vagramenko eds. Hidden Galleries: Material Religion in the Secret Police Archives in Central and Eastern Europe. Zurich, LIT Verlag, 2020, 104 pp. (review by Roland Clark) (pp. 169-170)

Călin Cotoi. Inventing the Social in Romania, 1848–1914: Networks and Laboratories of Knowledge. Leiden: Brill, 2020. 278 pp. (review by R. Chris Davis) (pp. 171-173)

Ágoston Berecz. Empty Signs, Historical Imaginaries. The Entangled Nationalization of Names and Naming in a Late Habsburg Borderland. New York: Berghahn Books, 2020. 350 pp. (review by Anca Șincan) (pp. 175-176)


Unexpected Encounters and Turnin Points (pp. 177-180)

Mihaela Gligor

Tribute for Mac Linscott Ricketts at 90 (pp. 181-183)

Doulas Allen

Encounters with Mac Linscott Ricketts and Mircea Eliade (pp. 183-191)

Liviu Bordaș

A Destiny on a Barricade (pp. 191-192)

Sebastian Doreanu

Mac Linscott Ricketts’ Translation of Eliade from Romanian into English (pp. 193-208)

Bryan Rennie