Dana Muresan wins the 2017 SRS Graduate Student Essay Prize
It is with great pleasure that the committee awards this year’s Graduate Student Essay Prize to Dana Muresan for her essay “Brancusi: The Construction of a Romanian National Hero.” Muresan’s well-researched and highly sophisticated essay examines through the lens of Brancusi the complex relationship of art and nationalism. It explores the role of Romania in the formation of Brancusi’s universal modern art and, in turn, the role of Brancusi and his art in the formation of Romanian identity and promotion of national culture. In particular, Muresan addresses the value the Romanian state derived from claiming Bransuci as a national hero, as a cultural symbol combining historic identity and contemporary sophistication. Yet this appropriation explicitly could not include full appreciation for the content of the work, given that Brancusi the émigré was producing art that was distinctly non-socialist in theme and format. The paper beautifully explores this contradiction, especially as it played out in official Romanian artistic discourse, highlighting both statements and silences of that official discourse. All at once, Muresan reflects on the legacy of Brancusi’s biography and art in both Romania and Paris; widens the analytical frame of Romanian identity discourses; and makes a significant contribution to an array of scholarly fields, including nationalism studies, identity studies, and art history, among others. Equally important to the committee, the essay showcases the field of Romanian Studies in an international context. Finally, Muresan achieves something very rare in academic writing these days, namely the ability to communicate ideas to specialists and non-specialists alike.
Clark as winner of the 2017 SRS Book Award
The selection committee formed of Alex Drace-Francis (chair), Inessa Medzhibovskaya, and Peter Gross agreed unanimously to award the prize to Roland Clark, Holy Legionary Youth: Fascist Activism in Interwar Romania (Cornell UP, 2015). Clark’s book offers a comprehensive reinterpretation of the interwar Legionary movement from the perspective of the history of everyday social life. Moving away from abstract paradigms of ‘the nature of Romanian fascism’, Clark tells us more about what the Legionaries actually did (and did not) do, using a large number of new archival sources. His book covers the career of the movement from beginning to end and treats a remarkable range of topics, with a good structure, contextualization, regional coverage, and comparison with other fascist movements. Especially impressive is the way Clark situates interwar Romanian political phenomena in the context of broader paradigms of international social, cultural, political and religious history; and brings the topic up to date with a closing reflection on the memory of Legionary activity in post-war and present-day Romanian society. For the breadth and depth of its analysis, its rich documentation and clear writing style, Clark’s work stands out against a very strong field.
SRS Statement of support for CEU
An island of academic empowerment in East Central Europe, Central European University (CEU) sees its existence threatened by the wave of populist and illiberal politics that have swept the region in the last few years. Academic life in Turkey and Russia has already been disrupted by those governments’ interventions. Now it seems to be the turn of the Hungarian government to interfere with CEU’s academic freedom and smooth functioning. This comes after months of the Orban government’s harassment of NGOs and the CEU, directed against what this government perceives as one of the last bastions of liberal thinking in a country that has gradually come to embrace authoritarian illiberalism.
We, in the Society for Romanian Studies, feel that is it our duty as colleagues and academics to signal our regret and dismay about the attack on CEU. We offer our solidarity and support in this moment of crisis. We, members of the Society for Romanian Studies, are connected in so many ways to this Center of research excellence in Eastern Europe some of us being now or in the past, students, alumni, professors, mentors, and researchers at this University, that it is impossible to stand idly by.
Society for Romanian Studies #westandwithceu
SRS Annual Meeting at ASEEES 2017
The Society for Romanian Studies will hold its Annual General Meeting at the ASEEES annual convention (November 9-12, 2016) in Chicago (see http://www.aseees.org/convention). We are booked for Thursday, November 9, at 3:00 – 4:45 pm in Marriott Downtown Chicago, 2nd, Lakeview. If you want to add items to the agenda, please email Lavinia Stan (email@example.com) by November 3.
Please subscribe to H-Romania as soon as you are able so as not to miss out on important SRS news, information, and book reviews: https://networks.h-net.org/h-romania. H-Romania is an H-Net discussion network for scholars, students, and professionals interested in Romanian Studies (broadly conceived). It focuses primarily on the countries of Romania and Moldova but also attends to numerous other past and present political, ethnic and social groups, including minorities and diasporas, in terms of their significant connections to present-day Romanian territory. To join H-Romania, first set up an H-Net account. Go to https://networks.h-net.org, click on “Sign up to subscribe & contribute,” and follow the instructions from there. Once you’ve created an H-Net account and profile, you can then go to the H-Romania page and click “Subscribe to this network to join the discussion.” Before allowing any contributions we do ask that you complete your H-Net profile, indicating institutional affiliation, degrees, short bio and areas of interest. You can do this by clicking on the accounts icon in the upper right, then selecting the “Profile” option from the drop-down menu. We are also interested in building our Reviews and Reports pages, including book and film reviews as well as and conference and exhibition reports. If you have any questions please feel free to contact the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also let us know if you are interested in joining the editorial team or becoming a reviewer or blogger at H-Romania. Thanks, and please spread the word to colleagues and students!!