The Book Prize committee – Ruxandra Trandafoiu, Michael Stewart and Dragoş Petrescu (chair) – reviewed fourteen books in the field of Romanian Studies in history, political science, international relations, anthropology, and cultural studies. Some of the books integrate theories, perspectives and concepts from two, three or more disciplines. The books reviewed were published in English in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands and Romania in 2019 and 2020.
The Book Prize committe voted unanimously to awarda the Sixth Biennial SRS Book Prize Roxana-Talida Roman for her book The Edge of Europe – Heritage, Landscape and Conflict Archaeology: First World War Material Culture in Romanian Conflictual Landscapes (Oxford: Bar Publishing, 2020). The decision was made considering the quality of the chapters based on extensive fieldwork, the novelty and importance of the topic for the field of Romanian studies and the contribution made to the advancement of knowledge on WWI in Romania. The book explores Romanian WWI sites as places of remembrance and heritage, and focuses on the particular case of the Prislop Pass in the Maramureş region in northern Romania. By addressing the dual significance of WWI sites in the Maramureş region and introducing the concept of conflictual landscapes, Roman’s book opens a new line of research on the material culture of WWI in Romania and provides a model for further research in a field dominated so far by diplomatic and military history.
The committee decided to award two honorable mentions:
Péter Berta, Materializing Difference: Consumer Culture, Politics, and Ethnicity among Romanian Roma (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019), for his innovative research on the consumer subculture organized around prestige silver objects of some Roma communities in Transylvania;
Călin Cotoi, Inventing the Social in Romania, 1848–1914: Networks and Laboratories of Knowledge (Paderborn, Germany: Ferdinand Schoeningh, 2020), for his insightful approach to major issues in the social and intellectual history of what is generally known as the Old Kingdom of Romania from the mid-19th century to the outbreak of WWI.