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SRS Bylaws

The SRS Bylaws were amended in 2015 and approved by the SRS membership January 4, 2016

Society for Romanian Studies Bylaws

Article I. The Society for Romanian Studies

A. Name
This organization shall be known as the Society for Romanian Studies (SRS).

B. Purpose
1. The Society for Romanian Studies is an international interdisciplinary academic organization based in the United States of America dedicated to promoting the professional study, criticism, and research of all aspects of Romanian culture and civilization, particularly concerning the countries of Romania and Moldova.
2. The SRS shall not serve as a platform for promoting political parties, ideologies, or agendas.

C. Means
The Society holds annual meetings and periodic international congresses to promote Romanian studies.  The SRS publishes a Newsletter to keep its membership informed, maintains a website, and carries out other activities designed to advance the field of Romanian studies.

Article II: Membership

A. Eligibility
1. The Society for Romanian Studies is open to all academics (faculty, researchers, and students) who have an interest in Romanian studies, in Romania, Moldova and their diasporas, regardless of where they reside. Independent scholars, writers, jurists, retired academics, diplomats, librarians, professionals working in the private sector, students, and others with an interest in deepening their knowledge and understanding of Romanian and Moldovan society, culture, literature, history and politics are also invited to join.
2. There are six membership categories in the SRS: regular members, discount members, sustaining members, life members, sponsors, and patrons. In addition, organizational sponsors and patrons may be approved by the Board on a case by case basis. Organizational sponsors and patrons do not have a vote but their support will be acknowledged by SRS, including linking to organizational websites.
3. Members shall be subject to such dues as may be determined from time to time by the Executive Board.
4. Any person as defined under Article II.A.1 and in agreement with the statement of purpose given in Article I.B may become a member by full payment of annual dues for the calendar year in which her/his membership is to begin.
5. If a member resigns during any given year, her/his dues for the calendar year in which she/he resigns will be forfeited.
6. It is the responsibility of all members to remain in good standing with the SRS, which includes abiding by the Society’s purpose and principles as stated in these by-laws. The Executive Board of the SRS shall have the power to review membership status accordingly and decide upon contested cases.

B. Membership Year
The membership year shall start on January 1 and end on December 31. Membership in the SRS shall be renewable on either an annual or three-yearly basis, according to the fee structure determined by the Executive Board.

C. Rights
Members shall have the right to participate, subject to rules established by the Executive Board and the Bylaws, in programs and activities of the SRS. In addition, individual members shall have the right to:
1. hold office in the SRS;
2. vote for elective officers;
3. vote on matters referred to the membership by the Executive Board;
4. petition the Executive Board.

Article III: Members of the Executive Board

A. Definition and Composition
The Executive Board of the Society for Romanian Studies is the administrative unit of the Society. The Executive Board shall consist of the President, Vice-President, Immediate Past-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Newsletter Editor, Webmaster, eight Board Members at large, and two Graduate Student Representatives.

B. Terms of Office
Regular terms of office begin on January 1 and end on December 31.
1.  The President serves a three-year term.
2.  The Vice-President serves a three-year term.
3.  The Past-President serves a three-year term.
4.  The Secretary serves a four-year term.
5.  The Treasurer serves a four-year term.
6.  The Newsletter Editor serves a four-year term.
7.  The SRS Webmaster serves a four-year term.
8.  Board Members-at-large serve staggered four-year terms.
9.  Graduate Student members serve a two-year term.

C. Duties of the Board
1. The Board shall be responsible for the administration of the affairs of the Society. The Board shall have authority to execute on behalf of the SRS all powers and functions of the SRS consonant with the Bylaws.
2. The Board shall meet either in person or electronically at the call of the President or a majority of the Executive Board. The Board meetings shall be as frequent as needed and at least once every year. The Board is responsible for enabling full participation of all Board members.
3. The Board shall supervise the use of SRS funds.
4. The Board shall approve the sites and themes of International Congresses, as well as regional and other meetings.
5. The President shall be the presiding officer of the SRS and Chair of the Board. The President shall exercise the duties and responsibilities commonly associated with the office and as further defined under Article IV.

D. Decision-making
1. Valid board decisions require that a quorum of at least nine members of the Executive Board Members (including the President or Vice-President) participating and voting (either in person or virtually).
2. Decisions by the Board shall be made by a simple majority of those voting.

E. Attendance
Each elected officer has the duty to participate in Board meetings in person or electronically.

F. Vacancies
1. In the event of death, resignation, incapacity, or inability to carry out the duties of the office of the President (as determined by two-thirds of the Executive Board), the Board shall declare the office vacant, and the Vice-President shall assume the duties of the President and fill out the term.  The Executive Board may elect a new Vice-President to fill out the term or it may choose to leave the office vacant.
2. In the event of death, resignation, incapacity, or inability to carry out her/his duties of any of the other officers or of other board members, (as determined by a two-thirds vote of the Executive Board) the Executive Board shall declare such office vacant. Vacancies for other officers or Board positions will be filled for the remainder of the term on the basis of nominations made by the President and subsequently ratified by the Executive Board.
3.   To remain on the Executive Board a person must continue to be a member in good standing of the SRS.

Article IV: Officers

A. The officers of the SRS shall be President, Vice-President, Immediate Past-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Newsletter Editor, and Webmaster.  These officers, except for the Newsletter Editor and the Webmaster, shall be elected by the membership.  The Newsletter Editor and the Webmaster will be elected by the Executive Board on the recommendation of the President.

B.  The President shall call and preside at all meetings of members and shall be the Chair of the Executive Board. She/he shall sign all contracts, agreements and other instruments which may be entered into by or on behalf of the SRS.  The President shall appoint as needed non-voting members as advisory to the Board (committee chairs, such as the prize committees, program committee chairs, or ad hoc committee chairs) with the approval of the Board.  The President (assisted by the Vice-President) shall be responsible for monitoring Board participation and making recommendations to the Board in cases of perceived nonfeasance, misfeasance, or malfeasance.

C. The Vice-President shall assist the President in the execution of her/his functions and perform the duties of the President in the absence of the President. She/he shall also perform those specific duties assigned by the Executive Board.

D. The Past-President shall assist the President and the President-Elect in the execution of their functions.

E. The Secretary shall keep the minutes of all meetings of the Society and of the National Board; shall maintain the Archives of the Society; shall keep current the list of the Society’s liaison/representatives to other societies and associations that the SRS is affiliated or related to, as well as informing the President and the Board when replacements need to be made; shall receive and answer correspondence addressed to the Association in consultation with the president; and shall send out, receive, and tabulate election ballots, and report the result of elections to the Board. The Treasurer will also serve as an acting Secretary for purposes concerning the organization’s financial transactions.

F. The Treasurer shall have the care and custody of all funds of the Society which shall come into her/his hands, shall deposit the same in such manner and in such banks as the Executive Board or the President may direct, and shall disburse such funds under the direction of the Board. She/he shall keep true books of account and render statements thereof whenever required, and in no case less frequently than once a year, at the annual meeting of the Society; shall manage the collection of dues, and keep accurate lists of the members in each category; and shall provide to the annual meeting of the Society a written statement of disbursements and assets for the current fiscal year.

G. The Newsletter Editor shall have the responsibility for gathering news from members and other sources, for compiling the SRS Newsletter, and distributing the Newsletter at least twice a year, usually Fall and Spring.

H.  The SRS Webmaster shall have responsibility for editing, maintaining, and updating the SRS website under the direction of the President and the Secretary.  She/he will keep the Board apprised of trends and needs involved in keeping the SRS website current, useful, and primarily focused on SRS concerns and materials.

Article V: Elections

A. All SRS members in good standing at the start of the voting period will be eligible to vote for the election of officers.

B. Nominating Committee
1. The Past-President shall chair the Nominating Committee, which shall consist of the Past-President and two or three persons appointed by the President and approved by the Executive Board.
2. The Nominating Committee shall prepare a slate of candidates with at least one nominee for each vacancy. The Committee shall strive to promote balanced representation in regard to age, gender, professional background, locations of residence, and geographical and disciplinary areas of specialization, but shall not be bound by any particular formula.  It shall solicit nominations from the membership.  The Nominating Committee may not nominate for office any of its members.
3. The Committee shall ascertain that each candidate is a member of the SRS in good standing, and that the candidate has given formal consent to be nominated. To be eligible for election as President, Vice-President, Secretary, or Treasurer, a person must be a member in good standing for at least the calendar year prior to the election.
4. The Committee will submit a list of nominations (including a brief CV for each) to the President no later than October 1st of the election year.  The President will circulate this list to the Board for confirmation in a timely fashion so that the ballot can be prepared by the Secretary for circulation to the membership by November 1.

C. Ballots
1. Ballots shall be sent by the Secretary to the membership electronically no later than November 1 of the election year.  Opportunity will be given on the ballot for write-in votes.  2.  Ballots shall be returned to the Secretary no later than December 1 of the election year.  The Secretary shall tabulate the results and forward them to the President by December 10.  The President will announce the results no later than December 15.

D. Voting
1. The procedure for voting shall strive to ensure that voting is secret.  Only members in good standing may vote.
2. Voting will be by electronic media.

Article VI: Financial Operations

A. Fiscal Year: The fiscal year for the SRS shall be January 1 to December 31.

B. Funding: The SRS shall raise operating funds from donors and membership dues. The Board may approve additional fund-raising activities.

C. Membership Dues
1. Dues shall be set by the Board. The Board may create various categories and durations of membership.
2. If membership dues are not paid, memberships shall expire one calendar month after the renewal date.

D. Financial Control
1. The Executive Board shall exercise financial control over SRS funds. To facilitate this control, the Treasurer shall render statements thereof to the Board whenever required, in compliance with Article IV.F.
2. The Treasurer shall disburse such funds under the direction of the Board. For amounts greater than USD500, the Treasurer shall seek prior Board approval.
3. The Treasurer shall be able to disburse amounts up to USD500 as needed, to cover postage, newsletter expenses, website construction and maintenance, and the like.
4. The Board shall provide for a periodic (at least once every three years) audit of the Treasurer’s books, and at the end of a treasurer’s tenure.

Article VII: General Meeting

A. The General Meeting shall consist of a Membership Meeting on an annual basis and a planned program of discussions organized by the Board.

B. The Membership Meeting shall be called by President and shall be open to all members and guests of the SRS. Reports shall be presented by the President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Other committees and individuals as appropriate may also give reports.

C. Elections for the Executive Board and amendments to the Bylaws shall not be conducted at the General Meeting but shall be conducted in accordance with Article V.

Article VIII: Committees

A. The Executive Board or the President shall establish such committees as may be necessary for the conduct of the SRS affairs. Such committees shall be established as either standing committees or ad hoc committees.

B. Committee Membership:  The Executive Board shall serve as a Committee on Committees, advising the President as to the establishment, abolition, and composition of standing and ad hoc committees. All committee members shall be appointed by the President subject to the approval of the Executive Board.  Committee appointments expire when the President who appointed them leaves office unless otherwise specified when such an appointment is made.

C.  Standing Committees:  Standing Committees of the SRS include the following: the Nominating Committee, the Public Relations and Membership Committee, the SRS Book Prize Committee, the SRS Graduate Student Essay Prize Committee, and the International Congress on Romanian Studies Committee. Other standing committees can be created at the suggestion of the President with the approval of the Board.

D.  Program chairs of International Congresses, regional, and other meetings shall be appointed as needed by the president and approved by the Board. Their responsibilities will be mutually agreed on in writing.

E.  Committee and Program chairs shall be nominated by the President and approved by the Executive Board.  Board approval will not be needed if a chair-designate is already a member of the Board.  Committee and Program chairs who are not members of the Board will be non-voting ex officio members of the Board.

Article IX: Publications

A.  The Newsletter:  The SRS shall publish a Newsletter, usually twice a year, distributed via the organization’s major channels of electronic communication and posted on the website.  The Newsletter Editor is a member of the Executive Board.

B.  Studii Romanești/Romanian Studies. In collaboration with Polirom, the SRS shall maintain the Studii Romanești/Romanian Studies book series by publishing a number of scholarly volumes yearly. The Series editors will be appointed by the Executive Board for a five year, usually renewable term, and, in turn, will have the responsibility for naming consulting editors, advisory board members, and others, as well as reporting on a regular basis the progress of the series to the Board.  The SRS collection editors and the Polirom representatives shall jointly decide which manuscripts are worthy of publication, seeking advice from the Advisory Board as needed. With the approval of the Executive Board, the SRS shall make financial contributions towards each publication.

C.  Other Publications:  The SRS shall publish such other regular or occasional publications as the Executive Board deems necessary for the advancement of the SRS’s objectives.  This might include conference publication volumes, promotional materials, and so forth as approved by the Board.

Article X: Affiliations of SRS

The SRS is formally affiliated with the American Historical Association, the American Political Science Association, the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, the Southeast European Studies Association, and the Romanian Studies Association of America. Official SRS liaison representatives for these groups will be maintained. The National Board has the power to approve additional affiliations with other scholarly societies.

Article XI: Amendments to Bylaws

A.  Amendments to these Bylaws may be proposed by the Executive Board or by written petition to the Executive Board signed by twenty percent of the voting membership.

B.  Proposed amendments shall be submitted to the membership for formal ratification.

C.  Amendments need a simple majority of votes cast to be adopted.

Article XII: Dissolution of the SRS

The SRS can be dissolved by a membership referendum that ratifies a dissolution proposal submitted to it by the Executive Board. To be valid, such a proposal must be supported by 60% or more of the active membership when such a proposal is submitted.  In case the Society is dissolved, its assets shall be used to cover liabilities. The remaining assets shall be donated to further research and other work that is commensurate with the goals of the SRS as stated in the Bylaws. It is the responsibility of the Treasurer to provide full disclosures and reports on the financial and assets situation prior to each distribution step involved in the dissolution of the Society. While all members will be able to suggest suitable recipients for the donation, the decision shall be made by the Board with a simple majority vote. The President has the power to break a voting deadlock. A full final report by the President, officers, and the Board on all dissolution proceedings shall be distributed by electronically to the membership. With the distribution of the final report, all officers and Board members are relieved of their duties, powers, and responsibilities, and the organization ceases to exist.

Article XIII: Final Dispositions

These Bylaws entered into force on January 1, 2011 and were amended on June 15, 2015, and December 31, 2015.

Membership Categories


Members receive the SRS newsletter and electronic access to The Journal of Romanian Studies for that calendar year, become eligible to receive SRS prizes, and may vote in SRS elections.


Members receive the SRS the newsletter for that calendar year, become eligible to receive SRS prizes, and may vote in SRS elections. Discount members do not receive access to The Journal of Romanian Studies. To be eligible for a discount membership you must earn less than the equivalent of USD$14,999 per year.


Members receive the SRS the newsletter and electronic access to The Journal of Romanian Studiesfor the term of their membership, become eligible to receive SRS prizes, and may vote in SRS elections.


Members receive the SRS the newsletter and become eligible to receive SRS prizes for the term of their membership, and may vote in SRS elections. Discount members do not receive access to The Journal of Romanian Studies. To be eligible for a discount membership you must earn less than the equivalent of USD$14,999 per year.


Lifetime members receive the SRS the newsletter, become eligible to receive SRS prizes, and may vote in SRS elections for as long as both they and the SRS are alive.

SPONSOR: ($100.00)

Sponsors may direct their additional contribution to the SRS prize fund or to the conference fund. Sponsors are acknowledged as contributors to these activities. The sponsor contribution includes membership dues.

PATRON: ($300.00)

Patrons may direct their contributions towards the prize fund, the conference fund, or to support special events at conferences and annual meetings. They may consult with the SRS officers and board to fund a particular activity or initiate a new prize. The patron contribution includes membership dues.


We offer joint memberships with the SEESA (South East European Studies Association) and the RSAA (Romanian Studies Association of America). Members receive e-copies of the journal and become members of both societies.



Requests for organizational memberships will be considered by the Board on a case-by-case basis. If approved, organizations may join as Sponsors ($300) and Patrons ($500). Member organizations do not vote, but their support will be acknowledged by SRS.

All memberships are on a calendar year basis. Members are automatically enrolled in the SRS e-mail news and members only email lists.

How to Join SRS/Renew Your Membership

Membership in the Society for Romanian Studies is calendar-based, expiring at the end of December each year. Our membership categories are the following:

  • $75 – Individual membership with e-journal (income over $15,000)
  • $20 – Discount membership without e-journal (income under $14,999)


  • $215 – 3-year individual membership with e-journal (income over $15,000)
  • $50 – 3-year discount membership without e-journal (income under $14,999)


  • $92 – Joint membership with RSAA and the SRS with e-journal
  • $100 – Joint membership with SEESA and the SRS with e-journal


  • $100 – Sponsor
  • $300 – Patron
  • $1,000 – Lifetime

All prices are in US dollars.

We are currently discussing our joint membership fees with the RSAA. These will be available again soon.

Paying your dues by PayPal or credit card

To pay your dues by PayPal or credit card, please do the following:

  • Complete the electronic membership form below, and then press the “submit” button at the end of the form.

The membership form

New members, please complete the following form. Renewing members, please provide any information that has changed.

The membership form

New members, please complete the following form. Renewing members, please provide any information that has changed.


To continue with the payment, please press the “donate” button below. Note that in the box open by PayPal, you have to confirm the amount you want to „donate” by introducing that amount (e.g., 25.00 ($), 17.00, etc.). Press „Donate with PayPal” without checking the box „Make this a monthly donation.” The next screen is the payment procedure with PayPal.

Donate Button

Paying your dues by check

To pay your dues by check, please follow these easy steps:

  • Fill in and print the membership form above.
  • Please send checks made out to “The Society for Romanian Studies” to:
SRS Treasurer Roxana Cazan

8732 Pikes Peak Rd
Yukon OK, 73099
United States of America

Checks should be accompanied by the membership form (see above). Thank you!


Interviews “45 for 45”

Each week, an interview is published as part of the 45 for 45 series, which will run throughout 2018 to mark the 45th anniversary of the Society for Romanian Studies as well as the 100th anniversary of the formation of modern Romania. You might want to check the latest interviews, available at: https://society4romanianstudies.org/activities-programs/45-for-45/.


Announcements & SRS News



2022 SRS Conference

We are pleased to announce that the next SRS conference will be held in Timisoara in June 2022, in cooperation with the West University of Timisoara and the Art Museum of Timisoara.
Under normal circumstances the conference would have been held in 2021, but the global pandemic has convinced us to postpone it until the following year, when hopefully international travel will be more feasible for most people.


The Twelfth Annual Graduate Student Essay Prize

The Society for Romanian Studies (SRS) is pleased to announce the Twelfth Annual Graduate Student Essay Prize competition for an outstanding unpublished essay or thesis chapter. The submitted single-author work must be written in English by a graduate student in any social science or humanities discipline on a Romanian or Moldovan subject, broadly and inclusively understood.


The 2020 prize consists of $250 plus an individual, one-year membership to SRS that includes a subscription to the journal, valued at $75. The second-place award of honorable mention includes a one-year subscription to the journal.


The competition is open to current MA and doctoral students or to those who defended dissertations in the academic year 2019–2020. The submitted work should have been completed during the 2018–19 academic year. If the essay is a dissertation chapter, it should be accompanied by the dissertation abstract and table of contents. Expanded versions of conference papers are also acceptable if accompanied by a description of the panel and the candidate’s conference paper proposal. Candidates should clearly indicate the format of the essay submitted. Essays/chapters should be up to 10,000 words double-spaced, including citations.


Candidates should clearly indicate their institutional affiliation. Include as well your current e-mail and postal addresses so that you may be contacted.  Questions can be directed to the chair of the committee, Gerard Weber, at Gerard.Weber@bcc.cuny.edu.  Please send a copy of the essay, any accompanying documentation (as both Word and PDF please) and an updated CV to Gerard.Weber@bcc.cuny.edu


Applicants are not required to be members of SRS in order to apply.

Deadline for submissions is 15 July 2020.  The winners will be announced on 1 November 2020.


SRS Essay Prize Committee Members:

Alexandra Chiriac Gerard Weber (Chair) Rodica Milena Zaharia
Independent Scholar Department of Social Sciences Department of International Business and Economics
Bucharest, Bronx Community College
Romania City University of New York Academy of Economic Studies
ac308@st-andrews.ac.uk New York, NY, USA Bucharest, Romania
Gerard.Weber@bcc.cuny.edu milena_zaharia@yahoo.com



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 editorial-romania@mail.h-net.msu.edu. 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!!

The Society for Romanian Studies



The Fourth Biennial SRS Book Prize



The committee 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 Book Prize Committee Members: 

Alex Drace-Francis

European Studies Department

University of Amsterdam

Kloveniersburgwal 48




Peter Gross

10025 Casa Real Cove

Knoxville, TN 37922


Inessa Medzhibovskaya Eugene Lang College

The New School 65 West 11th Street New York, NY 10011 USA


About the SRS Book Prize:


For details of the Prize and past winners please see: https://society4romanianstudies.org/2016/06/18/awards-prizes/



SRS awards two prizes: the biennial Book Award and the annual Graduate Student Essay Prize. Please scroll down for submission details and past winners.


Fifth Biennial SRS Book Prize

Deadline: 1 June 2019

The Society for Romanian Studies invites nominations for the Fifth Biennial SRS Book Prize awarded for the best scholarly book published in English in the humanities or social sciences, on any subject relating to Romania or Moldova and their diasporas. To be eligible, books must have been published between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2018 as indicated by the copyright date. Books may be in any academic field, with a predominant focus on Romanian or Moldovan subject matter (including subjects relating to the activities of non-Romanian ethnic groups on Romanian or Moldovan territory). Edited books, translations, reprints or new editions of works published before 2017, and non-scholarly books are not eligible.

The prize carries with it an award of $800. Either authors or publishers of books may make submissions. Submissions should be sent to the SRS prize committee by 1 June 2019.

Three copies of each submitted book should be sent by mail, one copy directly to each committee member at the addresses below. Questions or inquiries can be sent to the committee chair, Irina Livezeanu, via email at irinal@pitt.edu The award will be announced in October 2019.


SRS Book Prize Committee Members:

Irina Livezeanu (Chair)
Department of History
University of Pittsburgh
3532 WWPH
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Radu Cinpoes
Head of Department of Politics
Kingston University
Penrhyn Road
London KT1 2EE

Monica Heintz
Maison de l’Archéologie et de l’Ethnologie (LESC)
21 allée de l’Université
92000 Nanterre


About the SRS Book Prize:

For details of the Prize and past winners please see: https://society4romanianstudies.org/2017/02/17/awards-prizes/

Eleventh Graduate Student Essay Prize

Deadline: July 1, 2019

The Society for Romanian Studies is pleased to announce the Eleventh Annual Graduate Student Essay Prize competition for an outstanding unpublished essay or thesis chapter. The submitted single-author work must be written in English by a graduate student in any social science or humanities discipline on a Romanian or Moldovan subject, broadly and inclusively understood.

The 2019 prize consists of $300. The winner will be announced on 1 November 2019. The competition is open to current MA and doctoral students or to those who defended dissertations in the academic year 2018–2019. The submitted work should have been completed during the 2017–18 academic year. If the essay is a dissertation chapter, it should be accompanied by the dissertation abstract and table of contents. Expanded versions of conference papers are also acceptable if accompanied by a description of the panel and the candidate’s conference paper proposal. Candidates should clearly indicate the format of the essay submitted. Essays/chapters should be up to 10,000 words double spaced, including reference matter.

Candidates should also clearly indicate their institutional affiliation and the type of the essay submitted. Questions can be directed to the chair of the committee, Marina Cap-Bun: marina_capbun@yahoo.com

Please send a copy of the essay, any accompanying documentation (as both Word and PDF please) and an updated CV to 2019srsPrize@gmail.com.

The members of this year’s committee are:

Marina Cap-Bun (Chair)
Romanian Language and Literature
“Ovidius” University of Constanta (Romania)

Valeska Bopp-Filimonov
Romanian Studies
Friedrich-Schiller Universität Jena (Germany)

Cristian Tileaga
Social Sciences
Loughborough University (UK)



Biennial SRS Book Prize

The Society awards a biennial book prize (worth 500 USD) to an outstanding single-authored book-length publication in the field of Romanian Studies (including Moldova) written in English. A call for submissions will be posted here in early 2017. The prize will be presented at the ASEEES National Convention in November 2017.


2017 Book Prize

Committee: Alex Drace-Francis (chair), Inessa Medzhibovskaya, Peter Gross.

The committee received a number of outstanding submissions in several academic disciplines. Four books in particular stood out. Virginia Hill and Gabriela Alboiu, Verb Movement and Clause Structure in Old Romanian (Oxford UP, 2016) show that although early Romanian texts display predominantly Latin and Romance morphology patterns, they also signal a strong manifestation of the Balkan Sprachbund where syntax is concerned. These findings help us to understand more clearly the linguistic processes that paved the way for the emergence of modern Romanian. Dennis Deletant’s British Clandestine Activities in Romania During the Second World War (Palgrave, 2016) contains priceless and rare information concerning Britain’s wartime role in Romania, that by its nature is hard to access. Deletant not only clarifies the documentary record of a contested story but offers careful and calibrated assessments of the ultimate impact of British activities, as well as providing insights from Romanian archives that have not hitherto been available to British researchers. Ştefan Ionescu’s Jewish Resistance to Romanianization (Palgrave, 2016) greatly enriches our understanding of Jewish resistance to the Antonescu regime during the Second World War. Focusing on the Jewish community of Bucharest, Ionescu defines his topic as ‘an asynchronic duel fought with legal weapons in an asymmetric warfare’. His fine analysis, based on extensive archival research, adds to our knowledge both of the Jewish community’s plight and activities, and of their impact on the social and political history of wartime Romania as a whole. In the end, the committee 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.


2015 Book Prize

Committee: Holly Case (Chair), James Augerot, Vladimir Solonari.

The winner of the Third Biennial SRS Book Prize for 2015 was Sean Cotter’s Literary Translation and the Idea of a Minor Romania (Rochester, 2014). To be eligible, books had to be in English and published between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2014 as indicated by the copyright date. In addition to the call for nominations and submissions, the committee chair also contacted several publishers who had been identified as carrying qualified titles, to which several replied with submissions. Submissions were of very high quality. In the end, Sean Cotter’s book stood out as an exceptional example of rigorous scholarship and original argument. The book wonders “Under what conditions could literary translation move to the center of the national imagination?” To do so, he makes the “minor” status of Romanian culture into an interpretive mechanism, largely through following the careers of Lucian Blaga, Constantin Noica, and Emil Cioran in the aftermath of the Second World War. Being minor is not merely a matter of size or scale, but a matter of nature and type, a “translated nation,” as he calls it. The Soviet occupation prompted Cotter’s protagonists to “rethink the country in minor terms.” Tracing literary debates, personal dilemmas, and translations of their work and ideas both within and beyond Romania, Cotter shows that the essence of “minor” cultures can be read through careful analysis of translation practices. The committee also put forward a runner-up or honorable mention, Moshe Idel’s Mircea Eliade from Magic to Myth (Peter Lang, 2013). Idel presents Eliade in an admiring light, yet does not hesitate to include the various blemishes in the wide-ranging career of one of the best-known Romanian writers of the twentieth century.


2013 Book Prize

Committee: William Crowther (chair), Holly Case, Valentina Glajar.

The prize was presented to Gail Kligman and Katherine Verdery for their  Peasants under Siege: the Collectivization of Romanian Agriculture, 1949-1962 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011), selected from among English language books published between January 2011 and December 2012. Kligman and Verdery make use of multiple types of sources, including archives, the communist press and extensive interviews, to analyze the relationship between the collectivization of agriculture in Romania and the process of party and state building that transformed the countryside and  society as a whole. In the process of collectivization, the Party  and the Securitate were not only changing property relations according to the Soviet model but also creating the new institutions of the party-state through local practices and policies they devised in and for Romania. In sum, Peasants under Siege represents a central contribution to the literature on communist Romania, and on the history of collectivization in other contexts. Because the communist past is an ongoing battlefield in the present-day politics of memory in Romania, an accurate history establishing the extent of participation in and the full range of responses to collectivization is all the more important. Kligman and Verdery write: “Blueprints may provide a plan, but social practices are not so easily hammered or welded into place.” In Romania collectivization was as much negotiated as it was violent. The authors  reconstruct what it created (a new kind of state, society and “person”) while  offering a full account of what it destroyed (communities and lives). This beautifully conceived and clearly written work of history, anthropology and sociology shows how fruitful it can be to ignore the boundaries between disciplines in the interest of gaining insight into the fraught nexus between society and state. Peasants under Siege will provide a valuable guide to scholars seeking to understand rural transformation in the region for years to come, and serve as a primary reference point for those wishing to understand what happened in the long decade of the 1950s in Romania, and what it meant for those who lived it.


2011 Book Prize

Committee: Margaret Beissinger, Peter Wagner, Lavinia Stan.

The committee unanimously chosen Tom Gallagher’s Romania and the European Union: How the Weak Vanquished the Strong (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009) as the best book in Romanian Studies published in English in 2009-2010. The study was a clear first choice because of its highly contemporary and relevant subject matter, original and provocative analyses, logical approach, and lucid style. Romania and the European Union is a remarkable account of how corruption penetrated Romania’s entry into the EU in 2007. It relates how the local elite not only managed to orchestrate admission into the EU on the basis of an astonishingly minor set of changes but also how Romania has left promises of significant reform  unfulfilled. Gallagher’s own unparalleled familiarity with Romania and its politicians greatly informs his novel interpretations. Original and courageous in his interpretations, Gallagher masterfully integrates case study and EU accession study by laboriously identifying the various points of contention that surfaced during the years of negotiation over Romania’s entry to the EU and the ways in which all of those points were disregarded and even shoved aside. The Romanians involved in the EU discussions were able to pull the wool over the eyes of the anxious and uncertain EU leadership, gaining accession with only a measly agenda for reform. He shows how local figures falsely persuaded the EU that they would satisfy many of the economic criteria for membership, thus convincing the EU to disregard the violations that would occur and even those then taking place. Gallagher furnishes a disturbing account of the long-standing deceit and exploitation among Romania’s post-communist elite as well as the EU leadership’s inability to detect and counteract such conduct. Romania and the European Union is a major contribution to Romanian and European studies, a commanding and convincing monograph that is relevant far beyond Romania as the “West” and “East” Europes of the Cold War now seek to eliminate boundaries. EU accession has been the single most important historical event in post-communist Romania. It is fitting, then, that the SRS Book Prize be awarded to Gallagher, whose intrepid and chilling account of Romanian-EU maneuvers over the past ten years offers an extraordinary analysis of these events—an original and powerful reading that boldly confronts and challenges many of the conventional political views and insights. It is a truly great case study. Congratulations, Tom Gallagher, for this seminal and provocative contribution to Romanian Studies! Tom Gallagher taught in the Department of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford.


Annual Graduate Student Essay Prize

The Society holds an annual Graduate Student Essay Prize competition for an outstanding unpublished essay or thesis chapter written in English by a graduate student in any social science or humanities discipline on a Romanian subject. The prize is worth 300 USD, and is awarded at the ASEEES conference in November each year.

2017 Student Essay Award

Committee: R. Chris Davis (Lone Star College-Kingwood), Valentina Glajar (Texas State University), Ron King (San Diego State University), Diane Vancea (Ovidius University of Constanta)

The Ninth Annual SRS Graduate Student Essay Prize is awarded to the most outstanding unpublished essay or thesis chapter written in English by a graduate student in any social science or humanities discipline on a Romanian subject during the long academic year 2016–17. The prize committee received over twenty essays from a wide range of disciplines, submitted by graduate students and recent graduates from across North America, Europe, and Asia. The committee debated the merits of many prize-worthy essays. In the end, one essay stood above the others. 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.

The committee felt three other finalists from this year’s competition deserved special mention: Kathryn Grow Allen’s “Migration, Conversion and the Creation of an Identity in Southeast Europe: A Biological Distance and Strontium Isotope Analysis of Ottoman Communities in Romania, Hungary and Croatia”; Alin Rus’s “‘Building’ Cultural Patrimony in Ceaușescu’s Neopatrimonial Romania”; and Karin Steinbrueck’s “Aftershocks: Nicolae Ceaușescu and the Romanian Communist Regime’s Responses to the 1977 Earthquake.” The quality and diversity of this year’s submissions certainly bodes well for the future of Romanian studies.


2016 Student Essay Prize

Committee: Peter Gross (Chair), Margaret Beissinger, Chris Davis, and Diane Vancea

After careful deliberation the Award Committee has decided not to offer the SRS Graduate Student Essay Prize this year. We considered that none of few submissions we received was theoretically sound and methodologically rigorous enough to merit this recognition. The Committee hopes that graduate students at universities in Romania, Moldova and other countries will continue to compete for this important award in future years. Peter Gross, Committee Chair


2015 Student Essay Award

Committee: Delia Popescu (Chair), Inessa Medzhibovskaya, and Benjamin Thorne.

The committee evaluated ten entries, most of which were high quality historical or sociological work. Ion Matei Costinescu won the prize with his “Interwar Romania and the Greening of the Iron Cage: The Biopolitics of Dimitrie Gusti, Virgil Madgearu, Mihail Manoilescu, and Ştefan Zeletin.” This is a chapter from his dissertation on The Village as Quest for Modernity: The Bucharest Sociological School and the Romanian Alternative Way, which he has been completing at the University of Bucharest. The dissertation explores the work of the Bucharest Sociological School in interwar Romania to propose an “alternative modernity project configured along biopolitical lines.” Costinescu offers a constructivist twist to a Weberian argument by recasting the notion of the iron cage in the terms of the Bucharest Sociological School. The chapter offers an impressive critical assessment of alternate visions of modernity, which propose the biopolitical transformation of the people, and the creation of a new national ethos infused with a mythos of superior moral and ethnic value. Costinescu suggests that the Weberian model was adapted to accommodate such a new vision of the state imbued with a new and mobilizing “secular magic” of Romanian nationalism. The essay leads with a robust critical argument that is well developed, interesting, and contributes to developments in the field. The strong theoretical focus of the piece offers a much needed and nuanced addition to the small but extremely important literature on Romanian biopolitics by focusing on the latter half of the compound term, politics. It is an important intervention that both deepens and expands our knowledge of the period, is well-researched and engagingly written. Many congratulations to Ion Matei Costinescu for a fascinating essay!

SRS Student Prize Winner Honorable mentions

Madalina Valeria Veres’ “Constructing Imperial Spaces: Habsburg Cartography in the Age of Enlightenment” is an important contribution to the study of historiography and the geopolitics of space in Central and Eastern Europe. Her imaginative and objective interpretation is based on the examination of rare archival material, which is organized with impeccable fairness and scholarly tact. This beautifully written piece is a comprehensive and compelling presentation of patterns by means of which constructs enter politics, a sobering invitation to take nothing for granted– and to reinvigorate the analysis of what appears to be a closed topic. The submission is part of her doctoral dissertation, titled Mastering Space: The Great Military Map of Transylvania, which she is completing at the University of Pittsburgh.

Zsuzsanna Magdo’s “Ceausescu’s Thaw and Religiosity: The Central Committee Considers Atheism, 1965-1974” examines the sort of political dialectic occasioned by the encounter of communist state policy and Romanian cultural religiosity. The essay makes use of archival documents from the Department of Religious Cults, the Committee of Historical Monuments, and the Ministry of Culture, to propose a compelling and sophisticated analysis of the “religion question” in the autochthonous modernity project delineated by the Romanian communist state. Magdo offers an interesting and well-researched historiography with a strong argument that leads to a rich picture that traces historical developments and transformations in the context of communist ideological development. Magdo recasts the politico-ideological interchange between Marxism, modernity, and national spiritual life. The clear and prominent integration of archival material on Agitprop is a particular highlight of the essay, and Magdo succeeds in being both informative, analytical, and infusing the occasional sense of humor, which smooth the way to an enjoyable and thought-provoking piece of reading.  Magdo’s entry is part of her dissertation, The Socialist Sacred: Atheism, Religion, and Culture in Communist Romania, 1948-1989, which she is completing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


2014 Student Essay Award

The Sixth Annual Graduate Student Essay Prize was presented to Roxana Lucia Cazan for her “Jewish Motherhood, Heritage, and Post-memory in Anca Vlasopolos’s No Return Address and Haya Leah Molnar’s Under a Red Sky,” a chapter from her dissertation on Contested Motherhood: The Politics of Gender, Ethnicity, and Identity in Contemporary Romanian-American Literature and Culture, which she has been completing at Indiana University Bloomington. Oscillating between disciplines and geographical scales, Cazan’s essay gave a truly transnational, comparative, and global edge to Romanian Studies. Cazan examined the meaning of motherhood in a complex prism of Romanian state communism, Jewish identity, the Shoah, communist pro-natalism and post-memory. The essay was impressive both for its conceptual approach and its contents. We learn about two fascinating books by Anca Vlasopolos (No Return to Address: Memoir of a Deplacement) and Haya Leah Molnar (Under a Red Sky: Memoir of A Childhood in Communist Romania), which, in turn, entices the reader to discover and read these books independently. Dealing with two periods of repression – the Fascist period (1920s-1940s) and the early Communist period (1950s-1960s) – Cazan reflects on identity, gender, and memory. What does a memoir by a Romanian Jewish émigré tell us about modern Romanian history, society, and debates about the past? Quite a lot: Cazan’s piece challenges more comfortable boundaries of what constitutes Romanian Studies. Not only is her work interdisciplinary, but the subject matter under investigation highlights that ‘Romanian Studies’ has a global, transnational dimension to it, and thus forces us to re-examine what and where the boundaries of Romanian Studies lie. The author and protagonist of the first novel under investigation (Vlasopolos) is a point in case: a Romanian Jew of Greek origin who leaves Romania with her mother in the early Communist period having lived through the earlier Fascist period. They end up in Detroit, via Western Europe, where Vlasopolos marries a German-American and starts a family. In this intricate web of travel, exile, and memory, Vlasopolos writes her memoir reflecting on a ruptured 20th century. Such stories and Cazan’s masterful analysis compel us to think of Romanian Studies not as an isolated field, but one that is marked by war, exile, movement, cross-border experience and multifaceted identity. Interdisciplinary and very ‘fuzzy round the edges’, Cazan’s work reminds SRS how exciting, diverse, and multifarious research in and around Romanian Studies is. Long may it continue.


2013 Student Essay Award

Committee: Roland Clark (chair), Margaret Beissinger, Oana Armeanu.

The SRS awarded the 2013 graduate student essay prize to Dr. Florin Poenaru, who successfully defended his PhD in Sociology to Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, in October 2013. The ten submissions considered for this year’s prize included a number of outstanding essays and the committee was at times fascinated, horrified, intrigued, and impressed by the findings of these authors. Poenaru’s contribution entitled “The Illusion of Anti-Communism: Articulating Anti-Hegemonic Struggles in Post-Communism” stood out for its clarity, originality, extensive research, and theoretical depth. A chapter of the author’s PhD dissertation on intellectual debates in contemporary Romania, the essay explores the challenges faced by young intellectuals disillusioned with the mainstream critiques of the country’s communist past. Poenaru uses a collected volume entitled Iluzia anti-comunismului: lecturi critice ale Raportului Tismăneanu (Chişinău: Cartier, 2008) as a case study of conflict between politically, economically, and socially influential intellectuals and a group of much younger but passionate and articulate writers. Studying networks of intellectuals as they compete for hegemony over limited resources, Poenaru exposes the limits of Romania’s post-Socialist public sphere and the impact of a transitional market economy on intellectual discourse. He shows how members of the younger generation are forming alliances with their elders to generate a conversation based on universal and standardized values that challenges the celebrity culture of mainstream anti-communism. Writing on a delicate and highly politicized subject, Poenaru’s approach is balanced, sophisticated, and highly analytical. On behalf of the SRS the committee would like to congratulate Dr. Poenaru!


2012 Student Essay Award

Committee: Margaret Beissinger, James Koranyi, and Paul Sum.

The Fourth Graduate Student Essay Award was presented at the 2012 ASEEES conference in New Orleans, LA to Jonathan Stillo (City University of New York) for his outstanding essay titled “We are the losers of Socialism”: Tuberculosis, Social Cases and Limits of Care in Romania’. A doctoral student in Cultural Anthropology at the City University of New York, Jonathan exposes the complex relationships between the state’s “social contract,” former middle-class industrial workers, and social care in post-1989 Romania. Based on two years of fieldwork, including a six-month stint living in a TB sanatorium, Jonathan presents a trenchant and revealing analysis of tuberculosis in post-socialist Romania. He effectively incorporates the testimonies of those affected by the social issues that surround tuberculosis in contemporary Romania, showcasing the disturbing and dismal plight of the victims of TB. The project that Jonathan has tackled is challenging, yet his findings are striking and indeed moving, as he places the individual voices of those who treat as well as endure TB at the very centre of his analyses. Jonathan introduces, for example, a fraught nurse in Northern Moldova attempting to help a middle-aged TB sufferer and alcoholic. He includes other equally harrowing narratives of broken individuals such as Tudor who, at the age of fifty, has been homeless for twelve years without any social network to support him. In short, Jonathan assembles a meticulously researched mosaic, which informs broader debates on health and society in contemporary post-socialist Europe and indeed the wider world. The research presented in this essay is much-needed and promises to generate additional work that will comprise important contributions to the field. The SRS Graduate Student Essay Prize committee was unanimous in selecting Jonathan’s work as the very best from a truly excellent array of submitted essays. It is clear from Jonathan’s findings and his writing that a great deal of both academic and emotional labour has gone into his work, and for this he is hugely deserving of the 2012 Graduate Student Essay Prize of the Society for Romanian Studies.


2011 Student Essay Award

The Third Graduate Student Essay Prize was presented at the 2011 ASEEES conference in Washington, D.C. to Cristina Onose (University of Toronto) for her paper “EU Funding to Romanian SMEs: A Blueprint for Bankruptcy?”


2010 Student Essay Award

The Second Graduate Student Essay Prize was presented to Anca Mandru (University of Illinois) for her paper “Recurrent, Integrative, and Anti-Statist? Cultural Nationalism as Embodied in the Summer School at Valenii de Munte, Romania (1908-1940).” The essay was chosen because of its excellent style, grounded connections to theory, and overall contribution to the field of Romanian Studies. The goal of the paper is to apply John Hutchinson’s theory of cultural nationalism to the case of a series of summer schools organized by Nicolae Iorga at Valenii de Munte before and during the Greater Romania period between the World Wars. The case study also tests the validity of Hutchinson’s model. The essay is clearly and engagingly written, providing substantial background on both the relevant theories of nationalism and the historical context of the treated summer schools. The discussion and conclusions highlight how the summer schools contributed to the historical and political events of the time in considerable detail, however the essay remains accessible and informative even for the non-specialized reader. The essay is an outstanding example of how a case study can inform both historical knowledge and broader theoretical concerns. For this reason, Mandru’s essay stood out for all evaluators as the winner. The paper examines the summer school organized by the Romanian nationalist historian and politician Nicolae Iorga at Valenii de Munte in the interwar period from the perspective of John Hutchinson’s theory of cultural nationalism. Iorga’s summer school is here used as a case-study for testing the theory’s main premises, namely the recurrent, integrative and anti-statist character of cultural nationalism. Examining the challenges posed by the creation of Greater Romania and the subsequent integration of minorities and Romanians from the new provinces in the new state, the paper argues that Iorga’s otherwise traditional ideology was nevertheless integrative, aiming at creating a unified national culture. While Iorga’s project was characterized by strong anti-statist rhetoric, this paper argues that in fact the survival of cultural nationalism in the form promoted by the summer school at Valenii de Munte depended on support from, and cooperation with, the authorities, thus undermining John Hutchinson’s assumption of the essentially adversarial relation between cultural nationalism and the state. Anca Mandru is a doctoral student in History at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She holds a Master’s degree in Central European History from the Central European University in Budapest and a Bachelor’s degree in History from the American University in Bulgaria. She has received numerous awards related to her outstanding academic work, has presented two conference papers, and has a research article under review at a major journal. Her winning essay was written in the Spring Semester, 2010, for a course entitled “Introduction to Historical Writing.”


2009 Student Essay Award

Committee: Margaret Beissinger, Lavinia Stan, and Ileana Orlich.

The First SRS Graduate Student Essay Prize went to Roland Clark, a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, for his paper “Singing Fascist Style: Music in the Romanian Legion of the Archangel Michael.” The committee wrote: “It was a very fine essay. We found that it was well written, well documented, with a clearly defined research question, and well argued. Clark’s findings on the role of music in the Iron Guard were fascinating and his interpretations were superb. His essay contained definitions ‘of appropriate terms (‘legionary’) based on a diversity of information sources, included Securitate documents obtained recently by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.’ We also all felt that it was a topic that has not been covered adequately in the English-language literature on the Iron Guard.” Exploiting a support base built by earlier Romanian anti-Semites, the Legion of the Archangel Michael was established by Corneliu Zelea Codreanu (1899-1938) in 1927, and took power in a coup together with General Antonescu in 1940, ruling for five months before the regime disintegrated in an open legionary rebellion. Song lyrics articulated legionary ideology, but the music also communicated messages about unity, virulence, and ethnic specificity. It expressed the legionaries’ love affair with the peasantry, their romanticization of the natural world, their obsession with death, and the religious symbolism that characterized every aspect of legionary public life. Legionaries sang about highly emotional themes, and made frequent use of the imperative tense in their songs. Ron Eyerman and Andrew Jamison argue that in many social movements, “collective structures of feeling are actually made and reorganized … through song.” By claiming that their music expressed the Romanian soul, legionaries hoped to transform spectators into sympathizers and incorporate them into an imagined national community that Legionaries claimed to be appealing to a peasant base, and yet even though early legionary songs celebrated peasant life, they rarely reproduced peasant musical forms. Music, more than many forms of culture, often reflects class distinctions very clearly through both song structure and lyrical content, so how did legionaries use music to attract peasants? Songs expressed the Legion’s mythology, they created its style, and they provided the basis for its convivial sociability. In this paper, I situate legionary songs within the group’s wider semiotic web, suggest why certain musical styles were preferred over others, and show how legionaries used song to form solidarities with diverse sections of the population. Roland Clark is a a doctoral student in History at the University of Pittsburgh.

Under preparation

The SRS-Polirom Romanian Studies series has a number of translations and original manuscripts under consideration. The following titles are scheduled to be published in 2020 and 2021:

Cristian Cercel, Romania and the Quest for European Identity. Philo-germanism without Germans, London and New York, Routledge, 2019.


Cristian Cercel_coperta

Exploring the largely positive representations of Romanian Germans predominating in post-1989 Romanian society, this book shows that the underlying reasons for German prestige are strongly connected with Romania’s endeavors to become European. […] Cercel argues that representations of Germans in Romania, descendants of twelfth-century and eighteenth-century colonists, become actually a symbolic resource for asserting but also questioning Romania’s European identity. Such representations link Romania’s much-desired European belonging with German presence, whilst German absence is interpreted as a sign of veering away from Europe. Investigating this case of discursive “self-colonization” and this apparent symbolic embrace of the German Other in Romania, the book offers a critical study of the discourses associated with Romania’s postcommunist “Europeanization” to contribute a better understanding of contemporary West-East relationships in the European context.”

                                                                                                         (from the publisher’s web page)

What people are saying about it:

”This is an original work which examines the political and cultural expression of a Romanian nostalgia for the German past and the former presence of Germans in Romania.“ (Margit Feischmidt, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences)

”[Cristian] Cercel pune cu succes în lumină aspectele subiective care au stat la baza reprezentării unei comunități generice a germanilor din România care în perioada ultimilor 30 de ani – de altfel epicentrul cronologic al studiului de față – s-a aflat, în mare parte, relocată în Germania, altfel spus o comunitate cu o existență diasporică, beneficiară a unei alterității idealist – pozitivate și ca urmare a opțiunii de a se salva prin exil într-un stat de același neam. Aspectele socio-economice care au stat în spatele recuperării nostalgice și eminamente pozitive a germanului au fost condiționate de această relocalizare a germanilor din România în acest puternic stat central european asociat de români cu prosperitatea, progresul și implicit cu proiectul european. În această constelație de factori trebuie înțeles „filo-germanismul fără germani” al românilor. Cum bine arată autorul acestui studiu, dubla asociere/afinitate simbolică a germanilor locuind cândva în teritoriile actualului stat român modern cu „patria” (Heimat), respectiv, cu statele germane central europene, a fost o trăsătură a imaginii de sine încă din discursurile promovate de către membrii acestor grupuri chiar din veacurile anterioare. Această dublă afiliere le-a conferit, mai mereu, un capital de imagine în mediul românesc chiar și în situații mai contondente (ca perioada postbelică marcată de deportări pe criteriul etnic) lucru confirmat de faptul că diverși decidenți politici români nu au fost adepții unor discursuri denigratoare de lungă durată.” (Marian Zăloagă, Anuarul Institutului de Cercetări Socio-Umane „Gheorghe Şincai”)


About the author:

Cristian Cercel is currently a researcher with the Institute for Social Movements at Ruhr University Bochum. He has a BA in European Studies (University of Bucharest), an MA in Nationalism Studies (Central European University), and a PhD in Politics (Durham University). Before his current appointment, he held research positions and fellowships at several institutions, including New Europe College (Bucharest), the Centre for Contemporary German Culture at Swansea University, and the Centre for Advanced Study (Sofia). He has published in refereed academic journals such as Nationalities Papers, East European Politics and Societies and Cultures, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, and History and Memory. He is also active as a translator from German and Italian into Romanian.


More information about Dr. Cercel is available at:




Books published to date

Maria Bucur, Eroi și victime. România și memoria celor două războaie mondiale, Iași: Polirom, 2019.

Bucur_copertaHeroes 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)


Diana Dumitru, Vecini în vremuri de restriște. Stat, antisemitism și Holocaust în Basarabia și Transnistria, Iași: Polirom, 2019.

dumitru_polirom-copertaBased on original sources, this important new book on the Holocaust explores regional variations in civilians’ attitudes and behavior toward the Jewish population in Romania and the occupied Soviet Union. Gentiles’ willingness to assist Jews was greater in lands that had been under Soviet administration during the interwar period, while gentiles’ willingness to harm Jews occurred more in lands that had been under Romanian administration during the same period. While acknowledging the disasters of Communist rule in the 1920s and 1930s, this work shows the effectiveness of Soviet nationalities policy in the official suppression of antisemitism. This book offers a corrective to the widespread consensus that homogenizes gentile responses throughout Eastern Europe, instead demonstrating that what states did in the interwar period mattered; relations between social groups were not fixed and destined to repeat themselves, but rather fluid and susceptible to change over time.

What people are saying about it:

“Dumitru’s multifaceted, detailed description of the still under-researched events in Bessarabia and Transnistria is based on many previously untapped sources. Her attempts […] have unearthed a lot of facts about Jewish history in the region. The book is thus a pioneering comparative work that furthers research on a hitherto neglected part of the Shoah.” (Markus Bauer, H-Net Reviews)

“Can states school their citizens for genocide? Does valuing cultural diversity, by contrast, create a lasting buffer against state-organized violence? Diana Dumitru’s thesis is provocative: that the Soviet ideology of ‘friendship of peoples’ attenuated popular antisemitism. Using the Romanian-Soviet borderland as a kind of natural experiment, Dumitru finds substantial differences between how neighboring populations in Romania and the USSR viewed their Jewish neighbors. Dumitru’s work will open new debates about the power of political choice in determining the course of the Holocaust in different lands.” (Charles King, author of Odessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams)

”Dumitru’s history shows the incredible power of the state’s rhetoric and regulations to shape the attitudes and beliefs of its citizenry. This is a shocking and essential story for scholars of Central and Eastern Europe.” (Kate Brown, author of A Biography of No Place: From Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland)

”The Holocaust in Bessarabia and Transnistria is much less familiar than that in Poland and the Baltic states, while by many accounts it was just as bestial. Diana Dumitru’s research explores an even less familiar reality: that Stalin’s totalitarianism fostered a climate that was relatively benevolent toward the Jews by comparison with the hostility fostered by the more traditional authoritarianism of Romania. In bringing to the surface this apparent irony, she demonstrates how the Holocaust remains an inexhaustible field of study, which continues to shed a revealing and troubling light on our present.” (Robert D. Kaplan, author of Balkan Ghosts: A Journey through History, and In Europe’s Shadow: Two Cold Wars and a Thirty-Year Journey through Romania and Beyond)

”Diana Dumitru’s important contribution to the burgeoning study of the Holocaust in the East demonstrates convincingly that Transnistrian Moldova, under Soviet rule from 1918 to 1940, witnessed far less collaboration than did Bessarabian Moldova, under Romanian rule. Her argument that Soviet internationalism explains this difference is an important challenge to both Holocaust Studies and Soviet history.” (Terry Martin, author of Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923‒1939)


Cristina Văţulescu, Cultură şi poliţie secretă în comunism, Iasi: Polirom, 2018.

Carte Vatulescu PoliromThe documents emerging from the secret police archives of the former Soviet bloc have caused scandal after scandal, compromising revered cultural figures and abruptly ending political careers. Police Aesthetics offers a revealing and responsible approach to such materials. Taking advantage of the partial opening of the secret police archives in Russia and Romania, Vătulescu focuses on their most infamous holdings—the personal files—as well as on movies the police sponsored, scripted, or authored. Through the archives, she gains new insights into the writing of literature and raises new questions about the ethics of reading. She shows how police files and films influenced literature and cinema, from autobiographies to novels, from high-culture classics to avant-garde experiments and popular blockbusters. In so doing, she opens a fresh chapter in the heated debate about the relationship between culture and politics in twentieth-century police states.

What people are saying about it:

“Vatulescu insightfully draws upon archival material from both Russia and Romania to shed valuable light on the way the secret police informed—or in formed on, as the case may be—artists of the era . . . Although her subject matter lies in a shadowy, politicized realm located somewhere between ‘subversion and complicity,’ Vatulescu provides her readers with much needed illumination of that murky penumbral realm.” (Tim Harte, Slavic Review)

“In this fascinating and ambitious study, Cristina Vatulescu examines secret-police files, surveillance methods, and interrogation techniques in the Soviet era, and the impact of resulting ”police aesthetics” on writers and films directors. Like a good mystery novelist, Vatulescu draws us into rooms forbidden to the average reader – courtrooms, interrogation rooms, and secret police archives – creating and image of Soviet culture that is at odds, as herself asserts, with easy binary oppositions. Instead, she presents us with a complex network of imagery and associations that underlies texts from the Soviet period, ranging from police files to underground novels.” (Eric Laursen, Slavic and East European Journal)

“Police Aesthetics most deservedly received the Barbara Heldt Prize in 2011: Vatulescu opens up new lines of investigation (to stay within the police jargon) for a reading of the relationship between fact and fiction in Stalinist culture.” (Birgit Beumers, Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema) 

“Vatulescu’s outstanding book focuses on the fate of the unregimented creative intelligentsia in Stalin’s Russia and Stalinized Romania, the interplay between artistic creation and police supervision, coercion, and persecution. Drawing from secret police archives in Russia and Romania, this superbly researched and original book captures the tragic destinies of major artists caught at what Lionel Trilling called the bloody crossroads where politics and literature meet.” (Vladimir Tismăneanu, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History)

“This is a very important, groundbreaking book, one of the most original and illuminating works I have seen in recent years in comparative Slavic studies. Police Aesthetics will unquestionably position Cristina Vatulescu as one of the foremost scholars of Soviet culture.” (Catharine Nepomnyashchy, Columbia University)

“Rarely have I encountered a book that managed to incorporate original archival research (and what findings!), new work in history, literary, and film theory, and close analysis in such a clear and compelling way.” (John MacKay, Yale University)

“Sunt trei domenii, deci, convocate, pentru a intra, în sumă, cumva „prin la­te­ral“ într-o tematică deloc demodată (chiar dacă, aparent, ea aparține, istoric, mai degrabă de secolul trecut): literatura, filmul și narațiunile despre poliția secretă. Urmarea acestei atât de fecunde intersecții e un studiu și o carte așa cum, pentru mi­ne, nu e niciun dubiu, nu avem în ro­mâ­nește. Mai precis: nu aveam până la acest volum.” (Cristian Patrasconiu, 22)

“Volumul – impresionat și ca efort de documentare, și în privința liniilor de discurs atins, și ca ipoteze de cercetare propuse (și foarte bine argumentate) – sta la umbra unui citat oarecum misterios și, în orice caz, intrigant din ”Vorbește, memorie” a lui Vl. Nabokov … Foarte pe scurt: nu aveam un studiu pe această tematică de asemenea finețe, anvergură și cuprindeere. De acum îl avem – și este foarte bine că e așa. (Cristian Patrasconiu, Banatul Azi)


Lavinia Stan și Diane Vancea, coord., România postcomunistă: trecut, prezent, viitor, Iasi: Polirom, 2017.

romania-postcomunista-22014 marked the 25th anniversary of the collapse of communist regimes in Eastern Europe. The events of 1989 are widely seen as having ushered in new all-encompassing reforms in almost all areas of life. In few other places were reforms more contested and divisive than in Romania, a country that suffered greatly under the sultanistic-cum-totalitarian dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu, faced the region’s only bloody anti-communist revolt, and as such had the longest to travel on the road from communism to democracy. We now have a generation’s worth of experience with these wrenching reforms that have deeply affected Romania’s political institutions and political culture, and ultimately allowed it to become a member of the coveted European Union club. This volume gathers key lessons for democratic theory and practice from Romania’s first twenty-five years of post-communist transformation. Written by leading experts in the field of Romanian Studies, the chapters focus on the most important factors that have shaped the country’s political transformation since 1989. The volume includes contributions written by Radu Cinpoes, Monica Ciobanu, Dennis Deletant, Tom Gallagher, Peter Gross, Ronald F. King, Duncan Light, Cosmin Gabriel Marian, Mihaela Miroiu, Csaba Zoltan Novak, Cristina Parau, Levente Salat, Lavinia Stan, Marius Stan, Paul E. Sum, Vladimir Tismaneanu, Diane Vancea, Katherine Verdery, and Craig Young. Dennis Deletant and Mihaela Miroiu presented their chapters as keynote speeches at the 2015 Conference of the Society for Romanian Studies.

What people are saying about it:

“This new book… brings together timely contributions from younger and more established scholars from two continents that shed fresh light on the evolution of the fledgling Romanian democracy after 1989. It reminds us that Romania’s image and transition to democracy must be linked to the absence of market reforms and the lack of a vibrant civil society under communism. The book also demonstrates that the rapid proliferation of political parties after December 1989 brought about a weak form of pluralism that was not conducive to genuine political competition. The new political parties had weak constituencies, little grass-roots support, and lacked well-defined doctrines and internal discipline. The volume also points out several directions in which Romania must still make progress in order to catch up with its neighbors in the West. It will be of interest to political scientists, sociologists, and historians as well as to those studying Eastern Europe and transitions to democracy.” (Aurelian Crăiuţu, Indiana University, Bloomington)

“This timely volume marks the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the communist regime in Romania and explores the evolution of Romanian democracy by addressing the social and institutional development of the country since 1989. The editors have selected key themes which guide us on Romania’s democratic journey, and the contributors to the volume are some of the best scholars on Romania, providing important insights to the country’s political transformation. For anyone interested in understanding Romania’s democratic transition and the role that state, non-state and international actors have played, this is a must read.” (Steven D. Roper, Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan)

“Scholars in transition and Europeanization will find plenty of useful data, and the book is highly informative, yet accessible enough for a wider readership. At the same time, for all its ambition of a symbolic (self-)assessment and critical reflection, I cannot imagine a potentially more interested audience than the Romanian public itself—for this book raises fundamental questions of interest to anyone who cares about democracy. “(Nicolae–Emanuel Dobrei, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania)

“A comprehensive view of Romania 25 years after the collapse of Ceausescu’s regime…The chapters present first-rate scholarship from some of the experts in this area and a great deal of methodological diversity as well. The diversity in methods and content is a definitive strength of the book…Though the focus of the book is on Romania, much is applicable to the other post-Communist countries in the region.” (J. R. Clardie, Northwest Nazarene University)

“Several of these chapters provide an original extension of the existing academic literature, and the volume itself yields probably the fullest picture of Romania’s post-communist evolution. It is an instructive read for anyone interested in the country’s recent past.” (Endre Borbath, European University Institute, Italy)

“O singură observație, sumară și în registru pozitiv, despre aceas­tă carte care ar merita multe serii și tipuri de dezbateri: alături de alte titluri cu tematică similară (dar nu foarte multe – și, semnificativ, bu­nă parte dintre ele rea­lizate de autori care sunt în SRS sau care gravitează în jurul acestei organizații), România post­co­mu­nistă – prezent, trecut și viitor e un re­du­tabil, rafinat, remar­ca­bil și, cred, de ne­ocolit manual de istorie con­temporană a României.” (Cristian Patrasconiu, 22)

“The book gathers an impressive list of well-known scholars of Romanian studies, mostly from universities and research centers in the USA, the United Kingdom, and Canada … The present volume exceeds the value of many other previous contributions from Romania.” (Florin Anghel, Analele Universitatii Ovidius din Constanta – Seria Stiinte Politice)


Alex Drace-Francis, Geneza culturii române moderne. Instituțiile scrisului și dezvoltarea identității naționale, 1700-1900Iaşi: Polirom, 2016.

genezaHow do literacy and the development of literary culture promote the development of a national identity? This well-researched and readable book explores the rise of Romanian-language literary, educational and printing institutions in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, bringing out a story that has not been fully explored in English. He builds on and engages with current knowledge about print culture, modernization, national identity and state formation, to make an original contribution to ongoing debates in these areas. Alex Drace-Francis is an Associate Professor of Literary and Cultural History of Modern Europe at the University of Amsterdam.

What people are saying about it:

“An enormously erudite study… [F]or anyone interested in the origins of modern Romanian literary production and education in the context of the Enlightenment, modernization, and state-formation this is an indispensable book.” (Irina Livezeanu, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies)

“Alex Drace-Francis has produced a highly accurate and often outstandingly subtle piece of research. This British scholar observes things that his Romanian colleagues, being too familiar with them, have tended to gloss over.” (Ovidiu Pecican, Observator Cultural)

“Solid and extremely well informed, Alex Drace-Francis’s book not only brings together a great mass of information and hypotheses, but also asks important questions about a cultural legacy whose investigation is still plagued by stereotypes.” (Mircea Anghelescu, Romanian Review of Book History)

“Admirably balanced in its critical use of sources, perfectly mature in discussing a difficult topic, Drace-Francis’s book is an exceptionally insightful and stimulating analysis of emergent Romanian modernity and a model for future approaches.” (Doris Mironescu, Slavonic and East European Review)

“Drace-Francis has a knack of raising your intellectual game without leaving you fumbling for the ball. His occasional wit is dry but playful. If you know anyone who loves Romania enough to dig deep into its intellectual soil, the roots are here.” (Mike Ormsby, author of Never Mind the Balkans – Here’s Romania)


Roland Clark. Sfântă tinereţe legionară. Activismul fascist în România interbelic. Iaşi: Polirom, 2015.

Founded in 1927, Romania’s Legion of the Archangel Michael was one of Europe’s largest and longest-lived fascist social movements. In Holy Legionary Youth, Clark draws on oral histories, memoirs, and substantial research in the archives of the Romanian secret police to provide the most comprehensive account of the Legion in English to date. Clark approaches Romanian fascism by asking what membership in the Legion meant to young Romanians. Viewing fascism “from below,” as a social category with practical consequences for those who embraced it, he shows how the personal significance of fascism emerged out of Legionaries’ interactions with each other, the state, other political parties, families, friends, and fascist groups abroad. Official repression, fascist spectacle, and the frequency and nature of legionary activities changed a person’s everyday activities and relationships in profound ways. Clark’s sweeping history traces fascist organizing in interwar Romania to nineteenth-century grassroots nationalist movements that demanded political independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It also shows how closely the movement was associated with the Romanian Orthodox Church and how the uniforms, marches, and rituals were inspired by the muscular, martial aesthetic of fascism elsewhere in Europe. Although antisemitism was a key feature of official fascist ideology, state violence against Legionaries rather than the extensive fascist violence against Jews had a far greater impact on how Romanians viewed the movement and their role in it. Approaching fascism in interwar Romania as an everyday practice, Holy Legionary Youth offers a new perspective on European fascism, highlighting how ordinary people “performed” fascism by working together to promote a unique and totalizing social identity.

What people are saying about it:

“Roland Clark’s Sfântă tinereţe legionară is a truly remarkable book. … Without detracting from the movement’s criminal nature, Clark’s book brings to our attention their sincere idealism and thirst for spiritual fulfillment. In this way, he helps us better understand not only this movement’s appeal in the interwar and World War II periods but also the endurance of Legionaries’ myth in Romania today.” (Vladimir Solonari, H-Net, 3 March 2016 )

“Clark tries to immerse himself in the lives of the legionaries. He is interested in the Legionary “everyday,” in the experiences of Codreanu’s followers. The everyday is defined in such a way that the “willingness to make sacrifices for the national battle” against the “Jews” and the “system” lifts up the everyday and permanently exults it. If my reading is correct, one must affiliate oneself with the Legion as if it was a “drug”: activity replaces helplessness; building activities; demonstrations; only the unutterable can be uttered; music; lyrics; parades; discussions. Whoever wants to join the Legion cannot complain about lacking employment, excitement, or appreciation.” (Armin Heinen, H/Soz/Kult, 15 August 2015)

Holy Legionary Youth is more than just a book about the meaning of fascism for rank-and-file activists in the legionary movement; its achievement is a social history of the Iron Guard, an organization that is considered to be among “the biggest fascist movements in Europe (p. 15) in terms of the number of members per capita. Roland Clark is interested in how fascism transformed the lives of ordinary people, and it is no accident that the book begins with the funeral of a young girl from Craiova, Maria Cristescu, a teenage sympathizer of the legionary movement: her funeral mobilized hundreds of people in a ceremony with specifically legionary motifs, including political ones.” (Cristian Vasile, Contributors.ro, 13 September 2015)

“Clark quickly and distinctively differentiates his book from other histories of the Legion. For the first time we have a study that analyzes the legionary movement not just, or even primarily, in terms of its leaders or in terms of the major events that punctuated its birth, rise, and fall. We have in this book one of the most ‘colorful,’ nuanced, and dense works on the subject.” (Cristian Patrasconiu, Revista 22, 1 September 2015).

“Highly interdisciplinary, analytically comprehensive, and informed by a prodigious array of both primary sources and secondary literature, Clark’s book is a much-awaited reading for researchers, university professors, and students alike.” (Ionut Biliuta, Hungarian Historical Review, 5/1 (2015): 194-196).

“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…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.” (The 2017 SRS Book Award Committee)


Vladimir SolonariPurificarea națiunii: dislocări forțate de populație și epurări etnice în România lui Ion Antonescu, 1940-1944. Iaşi: Polirom, 2015.

In Purifying the Nation Vladimir Solonari shows that the persecution of Jews and Roma by the Antonescu regime had its roots in traditional Romanian ethnic nationalism that long preceded the 1940s. This ethnic nationalism was not completely compatible with national socialist German racism and its revolutionary agenda, but the Nazis’ emphasis on “biology” as the only “scientific” foundation of modern society resonated with Romanian radical nationalists who had long suspected all national minorities of disloyalty to the Romanian nation and who considered an ethnically pure state the only “natural” form of modern societal organization. Solonari follows the way in which the policy of “ethnic purification” was pursued during the war and explains why the treatment applied to different minorities was vastly dissimilar. He devotes about a third of the book to the analysis of this policy in two eastern provinces, Bessarabia and Bukovina, where “ethnic purification,” in the first place against Jews, was carried out with extraordinary brutality and without regard to any legal and moral constraints. He explains that these provinces were singled out by the regime as “models” for post-war Romania, which had to be ethnically cleansed and reeducated in the spirit of the “New Europe.” Solonari also shows how and why the deportation of the nomadic Roma as well as Roma with criminal records was part of the campaign of ethnic purification. The book is the fruit of years-long research in the archival collections of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, which holds copies of documents from Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, and Russia, as well as archives in Bucharest, Romania. It also reflects numerous recent publications of archival documents, memoirs, diaries, and other documents from the period.
What people are saying about it:

“Solonari shows how in the southern border zone with Bulgaria, Bessarabia, and above all in the occupied southern Ukraine, the Romanian leadership shunted people around and massacred them with an energy that left even Germans astonished.” (Mark Mazower, Times Literary Supplement)

Purifying the Nation makes a major contribution to the literature on ethnic cleansing during World War II. … The Antonescu government consisted of personalities from a range of parties, not just the military. Antonescu himself and the number two man in his government, Mihai Antonescu, had been pro-western before becoming “realists” and seizing the Hitlerian moment in order to purify Romania and reclaim territories taken by the Soviets in 1940. Solonari’s argument is thus aimed at the Romanian right and public opinion more broadly, and not just at “Marshall Antonescu.” (Irina Livezeanu, Slavic Review)

“Carefully researched and exhaustively documented, Purifying the Nation is a fine piece of scholarship and an invaluable contribution to our knowledge of this dark period.” (Peter Sherwood, Holocaust and Genocide Studies)

“Vladimir Solonari’s book about Romania from the late 1930s to 1944 is a very major addition to the scholarship on the subject.” (Daniel Chirot, Journal of Modern History)

Solonari’s book “is by far the best account of genocide and ethnic cleansing under the Antonescu regime.” (Stanley G. Payne, The International History Review)

“Solonari’s work is exciting to read and his thesis is vigorously argued. The material is well organized into chapters, with a good narrative and excellent illustrations…” (Alex Drace-Francis, European History Quarterly)

“The conclusion of this book [that the Romanian program of ethnic purification had its roots in Romania’s own interwar radical nationalist thought rather than in Nazi doctrine] is memorable and worth our careful and honest reflection.” (Cristian Pătrășconiu, Revista 22, 1 September 2015).

“Vladimir Solonari’s book is more than a history of the Holocaust in Romania. This book makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of the way the modern Romanian nation was built in relation to its ethnic minorities…. It is a call to remember, and it is addressed not only to erudite professional historians but to all of us. Let’s listen to it with the attention and seriousness it deserves.” (Petru Negură, Observator cultural, May 13, 2016).


Mentoring Program

The Society for Romanian Studies is launching a new mentoring program that pairs scholars at different stages of their careers or in different parts of the world to facilitate mutually beneficial discussions and communication.  Junior scholars gain local information formally from their supervisors and informally from others they come into contact with. Informal mentorship is particularly important for students and scholars working in the West whose primary supervisors are not themselves specialists in Romania and Moldova. Similarly, students and scholars based in Eastern Europe will find it beneficial to establish informal relationships with their colleagues abroad, with whom they can discuss disciplinary trends and other questions of mutual interest. Mentoring also benefits senior scholars by helping them stay abreast of new literatures and trends in the field as well as providing insights into other universities and other countries.


The purpose of the SRS Mentoring Program is to provide SRS members with invaluable support and established scholars the opportunity to help shape the future of the field and support new research. Responsibility for making the mentoring relationship work rests with the individual mentor/mentee, but the SRS acts as a sponsoring organization that matches mentors and mentees and suggests parameters for the relationship. The SRS aims at facilitating formal mentoring initiatives in cases where mentors and mentees do not know each other, have no clear understanding of their current expertise areas, and need help to connect.


Mentoring relationships may either be established around specific, short-term goals, such as writing a book proposal or developing strategies for acceptance into graduate schools, or may involve a series of discussions career trajectories, publication plans, accessing libraries, archives, or fellowships, or other issues of mutual interest to the mentor and mentee. Individual pairs should agree on the nature and longevity of the commitment, but we envisage that most mentoring relationships will involve several informal conversations over a period of six months.


If you are willing to consider becoming a mentor, could you please fill out a short form here. Your bio (but not your contact details) will then be available online for potential mentees.


For further details please contact Roland Clark (clarkr@liv.ac.uk) or any of the other members of the Mentoring Committee:

Margaret Beissinger (mhbeissi@princeton.edu)

Petru Negură (petru.negura@gmail.com)

Robert Ives (rives@unr.edu)

Cristina Plămădeală (montrealcp@gmail.com)

Anca Şincan (anca.sincan@gmail.com)