Maria Bucur, Heroes and Victims. Remembering War in Twentieth Century Romania (Indiana University Press, 2010).
Heroes and Victims explores the cultural power of war memorials in 20th-century Romania through two world wars and a succession of radical political changes—from attempts to create pluralist democratic political institutions after World War I to shifts toward authoritarian rule in the 1930s, to military dictatorships and Nazi occupation, to communist dictatorships, and finally to pluralist democracies with populist tendencies. Examining the interplay of centrally articulated and locally developed commemorations, Maria Bucur’s study engages monumental sites of memory, local funerary markers, rituals, and street names as well as autobiographical writings, novels, oral narratives, and film. This book reveals the ways in which a community’s religious, ethnic, economic, regional, and gender traditions shaped local efforts at memorializing its war dead. Maria Bucur is John W. Hill Chair in East European History and Associate Professor of History at Indiana University Bloomington. She is author of Eugenics and Modernization in Interwar Romania and editor (with Nancy M. Wingfield) of Gender and War in Twentieth-Century Eastern Europe (IUP, 2006).
What people are saying about it:
“In this superbly researched book, Bucur juxtaposes state-sponsored commemorative activities with localized, private memories. […] The book’s source-base, its theoretical sophistication and its wide-ranging scope make it an invaluable study in the way that communities and states work together—and independently—in remembering the past.” (Roland Clark, Cultural and Social History)
“Heroes and Victims demonstrates not only how individual, local, and national discourses of remembrance have operated in the complex geopolitical and ethnic world of 20th-century Romania but also how and why post-communist Romanians and others in the 21st century have moved to a post-memory discourse.” (Melissa Bokovoy, University of New Mexico)
“An important book by one of the major emerging voices in east European studies.” (Charles King, Georgetown University)
“[A] historical tour de force, compellingly written and powerfully demonstrated. … Bucur’s truly illuminating study explores the Romanians’ tortuously dramatic efforts to accomplish a long-delayed coming to terms with their past.” (Slavic Review)
“An engaging read, written in an elegant style accessible to both academics and non academics, this volume will be of interest to historians, scholars of Romanian history and politics, as well as anthropologists and sociologists alike.” (European Legacy)
“[Bucur] is to be congratulated on a superb piece of scholarship which both sheds light on existing questions and raises important new ones. As such it can be recommended to teachers and researchers alike.” (European History Quarterly)
“[T]this is an ambitious book that effectively straddles disciplines, historical eras, and analytical levels. The data are remarkably comprehensive for such a difficult theme. Bucur’s narrative tells a complex story that few historians of Eastern and Central Europe could handle in such a sophisticated manner.” (Canadian American Slavic Studies)
“This is an ambitious and important contribution to the field of European memory studies and the study of war and its commemoration in the twentieth century.” (Women’s Studies International Forum)
Margaret Beissinger, Speranța Rădulescu, Anca Giurchescu, eds., Manele in Romania: Cultural Expression and Social Meaning in Balkan Popular Music, Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016.
This edited volume examines manele (sing. manea), an urban Romanian song-dance ethnopop genre that combines local traditional and popular music with Balkan and Middle Eastern elements. The genre is performed primarily by male Romani musicians at weddings and clubs and appeals especially to Romanian and Romani youth. It became immensely popular after the collapse of communism, representing for many the newly liberated social conditions of the post-1989 world. But manele have also engendered much controversy among the educated and professional elite, who view the genre as vulgar and even “alien” to the Romanian national character. The essays collected here examine the “manea phenomenon” as a vibrant form of cultural expression that engages in several levels of social meaning, all informed by historical conditions, politics, aesthetics, tradition, ethnicity, gender, class, and geography.
What people are saying about it:
„Manele in Romania provides the first comprehensive analysis of one of the most controversial, but also one of the most dynamic popular music genres to emerge on the Romanian music scene during the past thirty years, a genre whose roots extend, however, as far as the 19th century, as several of the contributors to the volume claim. […]For students of post-1989 Southeast Europe and Romania, this volume might well serve as an alternative history textbook, its often specialized terminology notwithstanding. For scholars of the region, as well as for those dealing with broader issues, such as the interrelation between music genres and society, Westernization, Orientalism, national identity deconstruction, the book under review is bound to become an indispensable, or, at least, a highly valuable reference.” (Claudiu Oancea, MARTOR)