Conference: Justice and Imagination: Building Peace in Post-Conflict Societies Friday, Feb 28 2014 






How can societies build lasting peace when they emerge from violent internal conflicts facing widespread trauma and loss of life, a disintegration of the social fabric, weakened state institutions, and broken economic structures? From Syria to Guatemala, countries around the world wrestle with this question. The conference brings together leading authorities from around the world to analyze which processes of transitional justice, forms of reconciliation and memory and conditions for economic and social policies increase the effectiveness of peace building and reconstruction in post-conflict environment.

The conference program is available here.


Forthcoming Book: Genre and the (Post) Communist Woman Friday, Feb 28 2014 

Routledge has announced the publication in September 2014 of another volume to which I contributed a chapter. It is Genre and the (Post)Communist Woman. Analyzing Transformations of the Central and Eastern European Female Ideal, ed. by Florentina Andreescu and Michael Shapiro. My chapter talks about the way in which some prominent Romanian intellectuals have positioned themselves vis-a-vis Mona Musca, a former Securitate informer, and Herta Muller, a former victim of the communist political police. This was unchartered territory for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed researching and writing that piece.

The volume is presented as: “

This work is a critical intervention into the archive of female identity; it reflects on the ways in which the Central and Eastern European female ideal was constructed, represented, and embodied in communist societies and on its transformation resulting from the political, economic, and social changes specific to the post-communist social and political transitions. During the communist period, the female ideal was constituted as a heroic mother and worker, both a revolutionary and a state bureaucrat, which were regarded as key elements in the processes of industrial development and production. She was portrayed as physically strong and with rugged rather than with feminized attributes. After the post-communist regime collapsed, the female ideal’s traits changed. As the consumer-oriented societies began displacing the state-dominated command economies of the communist period, the female ideal lost its close association with the state’s authority and with the industrial production and instead took on the feminine attributes that are familiar in the West’s consumer-oriented societies. As a result, the post-communist female ideal is tightly connected to various commodities (fashion products and luxury items), while the female herself has become a commodity in both marriage markets and illicit sexual exchanges associated with prostitution and sex trafficking.

Each chapter in the volume explores different aspects of these changes and links those changes to national security, nationalism, and relations with Western societies, while focusing on a variety of genres of expression such as films, music, plays, literature, press reports, television talk shows and ethnographic research. The topics explored in this volume open a space for discussion and reflection about how radical social change intimately affected the lives, identities and the positions of women in society that resulted in various policy initiatives involving women’s social and political roles. The book will be of interest to students and scholars of gender studies, comparative politics, Eastern European studies and cultural studies.”

No cover is yet available, but more information is available here.

New Book: Religion and Politics in Post-Socialist Central and Southeastern Europe Friday, Feb 28 2014 

Recently, Lucian and I received copies of a new volume to which we contributed a chapter. The chapter is Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu, “The Orthodox Churches and Democratization in Romania and Bulgaria,” published in Religion and Politics in Post-Socialist Central and Southeastern Europe. Challenges since 1989, ed. by Sabrina P. Ramet (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), pp. 263-295.

The book is presented as follow: “Since the crash of communism in Central and Southeastern Europe in 1989, almost everything in the region has changed – from politics to economics to popular culture to religion. There have been new challenges to confront and new dilemmas. This volume examines the political engagement of religious associations in the post-socialist countries of Central and Southeastern Europe, with a focus on disputes about property restitution, revelations about the collaboration of clergy with the communist-era secret police, intolerance, and controversies about the inclusion of religious instruction in the schools. Each of the countries in the region is analyzed with research grounded in on-site interviews, as well as extensive use of literature in local and Western languages.”

More information is available here.


New book reviews in European Legacy Tuesday, Feb 18 2014 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading and commenting on No Return, No Refuge: Rites and Rights in Minority Repatriation, an important book written by Howard Adelman and Elazar Barkan (Columbia University Press, 2011), and Peasants under Siege: The Collectivization of Romanian Agriculture, 1949–1962, a volume signed by Romanian Studies veterans Katherine Verdery and Gail Kligman (Princeton University Press, 2011). Both reviews just got out in European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms, vol. 18, no. 6.

Proofs of chapter in upcoming book Tuesday, Feb 18 2014 

Today Lucian and I went over the long overdue proofs of a chapter on “The Romanian Orthodox Church” we wrote for Lucian Leustean’s upcoming edited volume Eastern Christianity and Politics in the Twenty-First Century, which will be published soon with Routledge. This is an important contribution, which gathers analyses of all Eastern Orthodox Churches – I know of no similar book in depth and breadth. More details on the book are available here.