Reprint of article on “Religion, Politics and Sexuality in Romania” Wednesday, May 21 2014 

Routledge prepares a four-voume on Religion, Sexuality and Spirituality to be published next year under the editorship of Carole Cusack and Jason Prior. Though quite expensive, the volumes aim at providing a comprehensive look at the way religion, sexuality and spirituality intersect across various countries from different regions of the world. Lucian Turcescu and I are happy the press decided to reprint, as part of these volumes, our article on “Religion, Politics and Sexuality in Romania,” published in Europe-Asia Studies in 2005. Though published almost ten years ago, this piece remains our most cited by far. The article can be found here.

Videos from he Mount Holyoke University transitional justice conference Friday, May 9 2014 

Eva Paus, the conference organizer, has posted links to the conference website, which includes videos and other materials. 

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A short comment I posted today Friday, May 9 2014 

As my name was mentioned these days in an open letter addressed by Relu Craiutu and Vladimir Tismaneanu to the Romanian Minister of Finance, I posted this short comment:

“Ma alatur si eu demersului initiat de profesorii Craiutu si Tismaneanu. Este incontestabil faptul ca, sub conducerea domnului Patapievici, ICR a dat dovada de o deschidere fara precedent, initiind si finantand o serie de programe si conferinte care au reusit sa sparga izolarea in plan international in care se afla comunitatea academica din Romania si sa ii permita acesteia sa se conecteze cu personalitati din lumea stiintifica de prima mana din Occident. Fiecare leu investit in acele programe a adus un profit net in imbunatatirea imaginii internationale ale Romaniei, aratand ca sunt si in acea tara cercetatori si profesori care fac treaba buna si, prin aceasta, se departajeaza de segmentele incompetente, corupte, plagiatoare, nepotistice ale mediului universitar romanesc. Romania este divizata iremediabil pe falii ideologice, toti luptand contra tuturor celorlalti. Insa in ciuda diferentelor ideologice care separa guvernul actual de fosta conducere ICR, domnul Ponta ar trebui sa recunoasca stilul managerial net superior al echipei domnului Patapievici. Romanii se plang ca nu vad rezultate concrete – la ICR s-au inregistrat rezultate concrete si progrese remarcabile care pot fi clar atribuite unei singure echipe. Rezultate similare nu au fost atinse nici inainte de numirea dansului, nici dupa plecarea sa (iar noua echipa are o stacheta inalta de atins). Faptul ca acest cumul net a fost inregistrat sub “ceilalti”, dusmanii ideologici, ar trebui sa inspire dorinta de emulare mai mult decat dorinta de demolare.”

The open letter I am reacting to is

Scrisoare catre doamna Ioana Petrescu, ministru de finante, din partea lui Aurelian Craiutu si Vladimir Tismaneanu

available at: http://www.contributors.ro/global-europa/scrisoare-catre-doamna-ioana-petrescu-ministru-de-finante-din-partea-lui-aurelian-craiutu-si-vladimir-tismaneanu/#comment-185030.

I am including below only its first paragraph:

Stimata doamna ministru, Va adresam aceste randuri in calitatea noastra de intelectuali publici si de membri ai comunitatii academice din Statele Unite din care faceti parte si Dvs. Va scriem intrucat suntem ingrijorati si revoltati de recentele afirmatii ale premierului Victor Ponta la adresa unor intelectuali de prim rang ai Romaniei, personalitati cunoscute pentru consecventul lor angajament in favoarea societatii deschise. Am participat amandoi la evenimente organizate de Institutul Cultural Roman in perioada 2005-2012, cand aceasta institutie era condusa de H.-R. Patapievici, Mircea Mihaies, Tania Radu si Dan Croitoru. Asemeni atator altor oameni de cultura din Romania si din afara ei, depunem marturie pentru exemplara deschidere a acestei institutii spre valorile autentice ale lumii de azi. Consideram utilizarea unor formulari gen “opinii anti-romanesti ori chiar fasciste” atribuite fara nici un temei fostei conduceri a ICR drept o calomnie inacceptabila si un afront adus imaginii Romaniei in lume.”

Elections for the European Parliament – the campaign in Romania Wednesday, May 7 2014 

Just collected a number of ads of candidates for the European Parliament. So of them are better than others, but thought I might share.

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New book: Post-Communist Romania at 25: Linking Past, Present and Future Monday, May 5 2014 

This month I started working on a new book that will bring together a number of outstanding contributions authored by a stellar cast of Romanian Studies specialists, including Radu Cinpoes, Monica Ciobanu, Dennis Deletant, Tom Gallagher, Peter Gross, Ronald King, Duncan Light, Cosmin Marian, Mihaela Miroiu, Iulia Motoc, Zoltan Novak, Cristina Parau, Levente Salat, Marius Stan, Vladimir Tismaneanu, Katherine Verdery, and Craig Young. The book is titled Post-Communist Romania at 25: Linking Past, Present and Future, and will appear in early 2015. It will be co-edited with Diana Vancea.

Upcoming volume with Cambridge University Press Monday, May 5 2014 

Within months the volume on Post-Communist Transitional Justice: Lessons from 25 Years of Experience I edited with Nadya Nedelsky for Cambridge University Press will be out.

The year 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Eastern European communist regimes, after which Eastern Europe attempted to reckon with the many crimes committed between 1945 and 1989. The region experimented with court trials of former communist decision makers and secret agents, lustration (the banning or public identification of communist leaders and secret agents occupying post-communist public offices), access for ordinary citizens to the extensive secret documents compiled on them by the secret political police forces, history commissions, official apologies and condemnations, restitution of abusively confiscated property, rewriting history textbooks, rehabilitation of former political prisoners, compensation packages, as well as extensive memorialization projects. Most of these programs have been formulated, funded and completed by domestic state and non-state actors, while a handful were supported by international actors.  We now have a generation’s worth of experience with these wrenching processes. This period spans the tumult of the revolutions to the consolidation of new regimes with now-adult citizens who don’t remember communism. Our volume’s 14 chapters gather, from this remarkable period, key lessons for both theory and practice. Its purpose is not to present comprehensive summaries of each country’s accomplishments and failures in redressing communist human rights violations – these are already available as peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. Instead, the proposed volume focuses on the most important factors that have shaped transitional justice in the region’s first 25 years after communism.  The volume is divided into four parts, each dedicated to a different overarching, but interrelated, theme. Part 1 explores the causes of transitional justice, Part 2, its effects, Part 3, key challenges, and Part 4, neglected actors and factors in coming to terms with the past. This division of focus allows for targeted engagement with key theoretical debates in the broader context of now long-term regional transition.

The volume, whose foreword was written by Constantin Goschler from Ruhr-Universität Bochum, includes the following contributions:

Introduction – Nadya Nedelsky and Lavinia Stan

Part I. Determinants of Transitional Justice

Transitional Justice and Political Goods– Brian Grodsky

Transitional Justice as Negotiated Justice – Chris K. Lamont

Transitional Justice as Electoral Politics – Robert Austin

Explaining Late Lustration Programs – Aleks Szczerbiak

Part II. The Impact of Transitional Justice

The Adoption and Impact of Transitional Justice – Moira Lynch and Bridget Marchesi

Lustration and Its Social and Political Impact – Roman David

Part III. Key Challenges

Time and Transitional Justice Benefits – Cynthia M. Horne

The Challenge of Competing Pasts – Monica Ciobanu

Diffuse Diffusion and Passive Leverage – Helga A. Welsh

The Mythologizing of Communist Violence – Jelena Subotic

Part IV. History, Justice and Public Memory

Historical commissions and the politics of history – Andrew Beattie

Public Memory, Commemoration and Transitional Justice – Duncan Light

Theater and Transitional Justice – Olivera Simic

Unofficial Disclosure Campaigns – Lavinia Stan

Conclusion – Nadya Nedelsky

New chapter in book edited by Sabrina P. Ramet Monday, May 5 2014 

Religion and Politics in Post-Socialist Central and Southeastern Europe. Challenges since 1989, edited by Sabrina P. Ramet, has been published with Palgrave Macmillan. The volume is presented this way on the website of the press:

“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.”

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It includes the following:

1. Religious organizations in post-communist Central and Southeastern Europe – An Introduction; Sabrina P. Ramet 
2. The Catholic Church in Post-Communist Poland: Polarization, privatization, and decline in influence; Sabrina P. Ramet 
3. The Catholic Church in the post-1989 Czech Republic and Slovakia; Milan Reban
4. The Kádár Regime and the Roman Catholic Hierarchy; Krisztián Ungváry
5. The Catholic Church and politics in Slovenia; Egon Pelikan
6. Church and state in Croatia: Legal framework, religious instruction, and social expectations; Siniša Zrinšcak, Dinka Marinovic Jerolimov, Ankica Marinovic, & Branko Ancic 
7. The Cross, the Crescent and the Bosnian War: The Legacy of Religious Involvement; Janine Natalya Clark
8. Religion and Democracy in Serbia since 1989: The Case of the Serbian Orthodox Church; Radmila Radic & Milan Vukomanovic 
9. Islam and Politics in the Serbian Sandžak: Institutionalisation and feuds; Aleksander Zdravkovski 
10. The Orthodox Churches of Macedonia and Montenegro; Aleksander Zdravkovski & Kenneth Morrison
11. The Orthodox Churches and Democratization in Romania and Bulgaria; Lavinia Stan & Lucian Turcescu 
12. Religion and Politics among Albanians of Southeastern Europe; Isa Blumi 
Afterword by Robert F. Goeckel