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

Happy holidays from The Society for Romanian Studies Friday, Dec 23 2016 

In 2016 the Society of Romanian Studies further consolidated its position as the world leader in the field of Romanian Studies, broadly defined.

Our membership remains strong, and we are continuing our activities, including scholarly prizes and publications. We have recently launched a new mentorship program to link junior and senior scholars interested in Romania, Moldova, their minorities, and diaspora communities. As we welcome the new year, we are looking forward to awarding the graduate student essay prize and the book prize in 2017, to publishing cutting-edge studies in the Romanian Studies book series at Polirom, and to beginning preparations for the summer 2018 SRS international congress in Bucharest.

On behalf of the Society we want to thank you for your continuous support and donations, and for your invaluable input and participation in SRS. We are eager to hear about your current research projects and publications!

Happy New Year!

Lavinia Stan
SRS President

Best wishes to all of you! Friday, Dec 23 2016 

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscientious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all, and a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2017, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our country great (not to imply that Canada is necessarily greater than any other country), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.
* By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher.  This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.  Phew! I think that just about covers it! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! 🙂

Justice, Memory and Redress – dust cover Friday, Dec 9 2016 

Glad to see for the first time the dust cover for the new volume co-edited with Lucian Turcescu — Justice, Memory and Redress in Romania: New Insights. The book includes a number of important contributions signed by scholars from inside and outside Romania. It was long overdue, since Romania remains an under researched country. Thank you to Dennis Deletant and Nadya Nedelsky for agreeing to write the blurbs.

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First transitional justice textbook in print Wednesday, Nov 23 2016 

The first textbook in the field, An Introduction to Transitional Justice, published by Routledge (https://www.routledge.com/An-Introduction-to-Transitional-Justice/Simic/p/book/9781138943223), is available now in bookstores. The textbook was put together by Olivera Simic with contributions on a diverse range of relevant topics. I authored the chapter on “Lustration and Vetting,” which gave me the opportunity to review those methods once again. This is a great addition that should be of interest to students and faculty members alike!

The Routledge website promotes the book: “An Introduction to Transitional Justice provides the first comprehensive overview of transitional justice judicial and non-judicial measures implemented by societies to redress legacies of massive human rights abuse. Written by some of the leading experts in the field it takes a broad, interdisciplinary approach to the subject, addressing the dominant transitional justice mechanisms as well as key themes and challenges faced by scholars and practitioners. Using a wide historic and geographic range of case studies to illustrate key concepts and debates, and featuring discussion questions and suggestions for further reading, this is an essential introduction to the subject for students.”

Table of Contents

1. An Introduction to Transitional Justice, Anja Mihr  

2. The Development of Transitional Justice, Andrew Reiter  

3. Intermational Criminal Justice, Rachel Kerr  

4. Gender and Transitional Justice, Annika Björkdahl and Johanna Mannegren Selimovic  

5. Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, Agata Fijalkowski  

6. Amnesty, Agata Fijalkowski  

7. Lustration and Vetting, Lavinia Stan  

8. Local Transitional Justice: Customary Law, Healing Rituals, and Everyday Justice, Lars Waldorf

9. Reparations, Jemima Garcia-Godos  

10. Transitional Justice and Peacebuilding, Lia Kent  

11. Arts and Transitional Justice, Olivera Simić 

12. Memorials and Transitional Justice, Annika Björkdahl and Susanne Buckley-Zistel 

13. Measuring the Success (or Failure) of Transitional Justice, Andy Reiter  

14. Doing the Fieldwork: Well-being of Transitional Justice Researchers, Olivera Simić

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