My last class of PSCI 335 in the soon-to-be-demolished NH Friday, Apr 7 2017 

PSCI 335

And the party after… Friday, Apr 7 2017 

Thesis presentations a huge success Friday, Apr 7 2017 

Last month we had two sets of thesis presentations in the department. Besides the traditional presentations attended by students and professors from the Department of Political Science, we tried for the first time ever 90-second thesis presentations. We even had prizes for the best presentations. Good luck, to all our graduates!

Some photos from the event:

 

Delayed recognition for CUP anniversary book Friday, Apr 7 2017 

Post-Communist Transitional Justice: Lessons from Twenty-Five Years of Experience, a title I co-edited with Nadya Nedelsky for the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the communist regimes in Romania, has been included in a short presentation of books recently published by StFX faculty. Published by Cambridge University Press, the volume includes chapters signed by reputable experts in the field.

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Taking stock of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the collapse of the communist regimes of Central and Eastern Europe, this volume explores the ways these societies have grappled with the serious human rights violations of past regimes. It focuses on the most important factors that have shaped the nature, speed, and sequence of transitional justice programs in the period spanning the tumultuous revolutions that brought about the collapse of the communist dictatorships and the consolidation of new democratic regimes. Contributors explain why leaders made certain choices, discuss the challenges they faced, and explore the role of under-studied actors and grassroots strategies. Written by recognized experts with an unparalleled grasp of the region’s communist and post-communist reality, this volume addresses far-reaching reckoning, redress, and retribution policy choices. It is an engaging and carefully crafted volume, and it covers a wide variety of cases and discusses key transitional justice theories using both qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Romanian civic spirit at its best Tuesday, Feb 14 2017 

A short piece I wrote for EUCAnet, a Canadian-EU network. Thanks to Beate Schmidtke at the University of Victoria for soliciting this piece:

Romanian civic spirit at its best

Feb 14, 2017 – by Lavinia Stan, President, Society for Romanian Studies, Department of Political Science, St. Francis Xavier University

For almost two weeks now, hundreds of thousands of Romanian ordinary citizens and civil society activists have taken to the street in Bucharest, across the country, and even in cities like London where significant numbers of Romanian migrants live and work to protest against the Social Democratic government of Sorin Grindeanu. A little known politician with no previous ministerial experience, Grindeanu was nominated as prime minister by the Social Democrats, who in the December 2016 elections won almost half of all seats in the bicameral parliament. Grindeanu’s name might have never been proposed if President Klaus Iohannis had accepted Social Democratic Party leader Liviu Dragnea as prime minister. But Dragnea was under investigation for fraud, and thus Iohannis warned that unscrupulous corrupt politicians should not occupy high-ranking government positions.

When it joined the European Union ten years ago, Romania was urged to step up its anti-corruption fight as it was registering high levels of political corruption that gripped everyday life at all levels. The country remains the second most corrupt EU member state. Corruption levels have not skyrocketed mainly because the National Anti-corruption Department has investigated, indicted and brought before the courts numerous politicians, party leaders, government officials at national and local level, judges, prosecutors, university presidents, and police officers. More Social Democratic Party leaders have been found to engage in bribery, embezzlement, influence peddling, and misconduct than members of any other political party in Romania. That is hardly surprising, since the Social Democrats have held a tight grip on the Romanian post-communist state institutions for most of the past 28 years. Social Democratic cabinets have ruled the country in 1989-1996, 2000-2004, 2008-2009, and 2012-2015, and they controlled the local administration for most of the remaining years. Whereas other parties responded to anti-corruption calls by screening their electoral candidates to sideline corrupt politicians, the Social Democrats adamantly refused to blame even leaders convicted by the courts.

Read more at: http://www.eucanet.org/news/media-tips/351-romanian-civic-spirit-at-its-best

The CIRO restitution case Sunday, Feb 5 2017 

For the past several months I’ve been drafted as an expert in the case of Jak and Edward Suskyas, who are suing Romania and RADEF in a Los Angeles Court. The brothers have claims to the former Cinegrafia Romana (CIRO), a post-production lab and studio founded before the communist take-over.

Their case is presented in some detail in this article: http://www.courthousenews.com/2015/03/19/romanian-expats-seek-billion-dollar-film-studio-confiscated-by-communists.htm.

Romania postcomunista. Trecut, prezent si viitor Saturday, Feb 4 2017 

The Romanian translation of a volume I coedited with Diane Vancea in 2015 for Rowman & Littlefield is already advertised by Polirom among its soon-to-be publications. The list of upcoming Polirom titles is available here: http://www.polirom.ro/noutati/carti-in-pregatire/pagina_02.html.

Political Data Yearbook – the 10th Report on Romania Tuesday, Jan 24 2017 

This is the tenth year I coauthor with Razvan Zaharia the report on Romania for the Political Data Yearbook, which has been published by the leading European Journal of Political Research for over a decade. We started the first report in 2007, writing on political developments that marked Romania during the preceding year. It was an interesting journey for us, and a huge responsibility for the editors, who gathered a distinguished group of contributors writing on most countries in Europe, North America, and Australia. We hope the report and the data meticulously included in it each year assist government officials, political analysts, researchers and graduate students in understanding that country. I’ve been told that data on cabinet composition and elections for all countries included in the PDY has been widely used for analysis. We are glad Romania is included, and glad to be part of this group!

Some data is available freely at: http://www.politicaldatayearbook.com

Romania postcomunista la 25 de ani Sunday, Jan 8 2017 

Today we settled on the front cover of the Romanian translation of a book published last year with Rowman & Littlefield: Post-Communist Romania at 25: Linking Past, Present and Future. The translation will appear this year as part of the SRS-Polirom Romanian Studies book series (https://society4romanianstudies.org/2016/06/18/book-series/). We thank Polirom for their support in seeing this volume published.

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The book is presented this way on the Rowman & Littlefield website: 2014 marked the 25th anniversary of the collapse of communist regimes in Eastern Europe. The events of 1989 are widely seen as having ushered in new all-encompassing reforms in almost all areas of life. In few other places were reforms more contested and divisive than in Romania, a country that suffered greatly under the sultanistic-cum-totalitarian dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu, faced the region’s only bloody anti-communist revolt, and as such had the longest to travel on the road from communism to democracy. We now have a generation’s worth of experience with these wrenching reforms that have deeply affected Romania’s political institutions and political culture, and ultimately allowed it to become a member of the coveted European Union club. This volume gathers key lessons for democratic theory and practice from Romania’s first twenty-five years of post-communist transformation. Written by leading experts in the field of Romanian Studies, the chapters focus on the most important factors that have shaped the country’s political transformation during the first 25 years of post-communism (https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781498501101/Post-Communist-Romania-at-Twenty-Five-Linking-Past-Present-and-Future#).

New volume to appear in February 2017 Sunday, Jan 8 2017 

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Dust cover will include two blurbs:

Romania is an understudied example of the course of transitional justice in East Central Europe since the fall of Communism and few scholars have devoted as much analysis to the country’s record in this domain as have Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu. This present volume, in which the two author-editors assemble contributions from other notable experts in the field, constitutes an invaluable case-study by demonstrating that Romania’s hesitant approach to addressing the iniquities of the Communist past raises questions with which scholars of transitional justice continue to grapple. This collection will become a reference point for an understanding of contemporary Romanian politics and society and for an appreciation of them in a comparative East Central European context. Dennis Deletant, Visiting Ion Rațiu Professor of Romanian Studies, Georgetown University

Delving into Romania’s complex and sometimes confounding approach to its communist past, this volume illuminates an understudied case and its relevance to the study and practice of transitional justice worldwide. At once deep and expansive, it is an important contribution to the literature. Nadya Nedelsky, Chair, International Studies, Macalester College

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