45 for 45 is launched Wednesday, Jan 10 2018 

The Society for Romanian Studies celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2018. We are far from its humble beginnings, when a handful of graduate students and professors in American universities, and Romanian diaspora members, gathered for the first time in 1973 to found the Society. This year, close to 450 individuals have proposed papers, panels, roundtables, poetry readings, art installations, as well as documentary movies as part of the June international congress we will organize at Academia de Studio Economice in Bucharest.

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To celebrate this historical marker for the Society, which also coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Romanian modern state, we launched “45 for 45” – a series of 45 weekly interviews with SRS members teaching in Western universities to be published in LaPunkt, a reputable electronic platform in Bucharest. The brain behind this project is historian Anca Sincan.

I had the honour to be the first interviewee in this anniversary series, and took this chance to talk a bit more about the Society and its general direction. The interview is available here. Stay tune – more of them are coming soon!

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Review of Justice, Memory and Redress in Romania. New insights (2017) Wednesday, Jan 10 2018 

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Mihaela Ursa was kind enough to draw my attention to a newly published review of a book I edited last year with Lucian Turcescu: Justice, Memory and Redress in Romania. New Insights (Cambridge Scholars, 2017). We thank Adrian Tataran for taking the time to read the book and write his glowing comments, and the Metacritic Journal for Comparative Studies and Theory at the University Babes-Bolyai in Cluj for publishing the review.

Tataran observes that: “One of the volume’s strengths lies precisely in its extensive analysis and critical reflection dedicated to the tortuous politics of memory, remembrance and oblivion, as well as to the construction and staging of public narratives which help shape the collective mnemonic landscapes. Furthermore, the fact that what are generally considered to be the “soft” aspects of transitional justice practices (such as the reshaping of the urban “memoryscapes” through memorialization initiatives, or the analysis of the various artistic or personal (counter)narratives) are given extensive scrutiny adds a welcomed critical bonus to the volume.”

It goes on to add that “By also including complementary approaches which analyse the intricate processes of remembering (with their present social and personal dimensions) and by critically reflecting on the way in which memory is shaped politically and culturally mediated, the volume gains coherence and conceptual density. The volume does, overall, more than just to fill a hiatus corresponding to the transitional justice studies concerning Romania. A multifaceted approach ensures both a comprehensive overview of the challenges and developments associated with the country’s complicated path towards reckoning and valuable theoretical insights which prove to be important for further research and reflection.”

It is important to see young Romanian scholars gaining an interest in transitional justice, a field which remains understudied in that country, squeezed between writings on memory and writings on communism. It is equally encouraging to see awareness of the importance of non-state methods of redress, including memorialization, and the input of civil society actors like the dominant Orthodox Church. We hope that a growing number of scholars both within and outside of Romania will give attention to this important volume.