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Vol. 3, No. 1 (2021)

Journal of Romanian Studies, 3, no. 1 (2021)

Editors: Peter Gross, Svetlana Suveica, Iuliu Raţiu


Dennis Deletant

Keith Hitchins (1931-2020) (pp. 9-10)


Roland Clark

The Shape of Interwar Romanian History (pp. 11-42)

This article reviews some of the major frameworks that histori- ans use to tell the stories of interwar Romania, asking why they became pop- ular and how useful they are in the twenty-first century. It examines the problems of periodization and the placement of the nation-state at the cen- ter of Romanian history, then traces the evolution of four major framing narratives: (1) the problems of a small state; (2) the collapse of democracy; (3) the march of progress; and (4) the consequences of state-building and centralization. Such approaches give the impression that interwar Romania was an intolerant, chauvinistic society that marginalized anyone who was not male, Orthodox, and ethnically Romanian. The best new histories, how- ever, not only uncover alternative, suppressed narratives but also reveal how people were able to live and sometimes thrive in a society as diverse as interwar Romania undeniably was.

Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu

The Romanian Orthodox Church and its Financial Dealings in Post-Communism (pp. 43-64)

This article introduces the main sources of revenue and wealth of the dominant Romanian Orthodox Church as subventions from the state, the restitution of assets confiscated by the communist authorities, donations collected from various groups and individuals, money obtained for services and religious artifacts offered to believers, and other revenue-generating activities. It then discusses two instances in which the Orthodox Church has come under attack for the way it collects and uses money, the contributions it receives from the reserve fund of the government and the church’s efforts to finance the building in downtown Bucharest of a monumental national cathedral. Finally, the article tests the degree of secularization in Romania, based on the observations of José Casanova and Vyacheslav Karpov, to measure if and how much the country has secularized, especially in light of the economic and financial aspects of church activity presented here.

Valeska Bopp-Filimonov

Shaping, Questioning, Contradicting “Bad Communism:” Aspects of Generational Memory in Romania after 1989 (pp. 65-84)

Families in Romania, I was told when presenting my research topic in front of Romanian audiences in 2005, would not openly discuss the socialist past, neither within the family nor with a foreign researcher. My research—based on interviews with Romanian families—confirmed that different age groups remembered communism not only differently (which is to be expected due to variation in cohort and life experience), but also sep- arately, and rarely shared their memories. Instead, what all interview ac- counts had in common was the extensive examination of the overall nega- tive public discourse on “bad communism.” This paper presents the respond- ents’ particular strategies of examination, expanding our understanding of how the historical consciousness of a society in transition can be analyzed and understood. Of particular interest is how respondents reflected upon the socialist past, which came to an end in 1989.

Amelia Miholca

Re-envisioning Cubism in Romanian Avant-Garde Magazines (pp. 85-112)

Art historians and literary scholars have written little about the relationship between Cubism and the Romanian avant-garde. This paper seeks to remedy this oversight by analyzing images of cubist paintings and theoretical texts about Cubism, published by the Romanian avant-garde mag- azines Contimporanul and Integral, the platforms for the Romanian avant- garde and the magazines containing the most cubist art in the early to mid- 1920s. The considerable amount of cubist artworks, via photographic repro- ductions, in Contimporanul and Integral point to a serious engagement with Cubism on behalf of Romanian avant-garde artists. Specifically, artists and magazine editors Marcel Iancu of Contimporanul and M.H. Maxy of Integral exalted Cubism’s prominence in the formal development of avant-garde art while producing cubist still lifes and portraits, akin to the cubist paintings of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Their unusual turn to Cubism at the stage of the movement when critics and artists began to see Cubism as out-of-date signifies not only the stylistic hybridity of the Romanian avant-gardists but also their willingness to traverse the space between avant-garde and modern art as they sought to conceptualize their integralist art.

Radu Pârvulescu

The Romanian Judicial Professions Database: An Open-Source Tool for Researching the Romanian Legal System (pp. 113-120)

Justice is a perennial topic in scholarship on Romania, from so- cialist legality, through transitional justice, and to anti-corruption studies. Systematic study of law and justice has been stymied, however, by lack of basic information: who was doing what, where, when, and how? To begin to address this shortcoming, this brief article introduces the Romanian Judicial Professions Database, a new, open-source tool which provides yearly, indi- vidual data on 10,000 judges, 6000 lawyers, 5500 prosecutors, 3000 nota- ries public (notari publici), and 1000 bailiffs (executori judecătoreşti), in some cases going back to the 1970s. The database can be downloaded at https://osf.io/gfjke/ and supporting software is available at https:// github.com/r-parvulescu/ro_judicial_professions.

Book Reviews

Constantin Iordachi. Liberalism, Constitutional Nationalism, and Minorities: The Making of Romanian Citizenship, c. 1750–1918. Leiden: Brill, 2019. 682 pp. (review by Mara Mărginean) (pp. 121-124).

Sabrina P. Ramet. Interwar East Central Europe, 1918–1941: The Failure of Democracy-building, the Fate of Minorities. New York: Routledge, 2020. 331 pp. (review by Francesco Magno) (pp. 125-126).

Dorina Roșca. Le grand tournant de la société moldave. “Intellectuels” et capital social dans la transformation post-socialiste. Paris: Presses de l’Inalco, 2019, 359 pp. (review by Petru Negură) (pp. 127-130).