SRS awards three prizes: the annual Graduate Student Essay Prize, the biennial Book Award, and the biennial Keith Hitchins Dissertation Prize. Please scroll down for the winners of the three prizes.
2022 Keith Hitchins Dissertation Prize
In 2021 Professor Keith Hitchins passed away after retiring from a long and rich career at University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Soon thereafter, the Society for Romanian Studies established a prize to honor his legacy for the study of Romania and Romanian related topics. A major figure for the development of interest in Romania in the United States in the second half of the twentieth century, Professor Hitchins worked with several generations of scholars, now themselves active in universities across North America and in Europe. His own research gravitated around questions about nationalism, religion, and intellectual history, but his generous mentorship enabled his students to develop expertise on many other topics.
The Keith Hitchins Prize is to be awarded for the best dissertation completed in English or Romanian by a scholar in any social science or humanities discipline on a Romanian or Moldovan subject, broadly and inclusively understood. This may encompass focus on themes related to Romania (as it currently exists and in its various past iterations), to the people who have lived in or currently inhabit Romania, or those who self-identify as Romanian but reside beyond Romania’s borders. Studies connected to ethnic minorities in Romania are also eligible.
For the inaugural competition, the committee received dissertations completed in five different countries, in fields ranging from sociology and art history to history of science. Their breadth in topics and methods are testimony to the cultural richness that Romania presents for scholars all over the world.
The selection committee (Maria Bucur, Călin Cotoi, and Radu Vancu) is pleased to announce the co-winners of the inaugural competition for best dissertation in Romanian studies (2022): Cosmin Koszor-Codrea and Rucsandra Pop. In the spirit of our organization and in recognition of the languages in which these two projects were completed, we offer a brief description in the language of each dissertation.
Cosmin Koszor-Codrea, “The Word of Science: Popularising Darwinism in Romania, 1859-1918,” 2021, Oxford Brookes University
Cosmin Koszor-Codrea’s doctoral thesis places Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory within the Romanian cultural context of the second half of the nineteenth century, a period of great activity in the area of science research and writing. In doing so, he presents a fascinating case study of the twin political and scientific construction of knowledge, and of the ways in which cultural hegemonies have been challenged and created. The research focuses on both the written and spoken word of the leading voices of Romanian nineteenth-century naturalists. The impact of Darwinism is followed in a comparative way, secular and religious. In addition, a closer look is reserved to the ways in which scientific ideologies served different political and racial local and transnational ideologies. Koszor-Codrea provides an original and rich contribution to the field of history of sciences, to East European studies, and, more broadly, to the social history of scientific ideas.
Rucsandra Pop, “Mihai Pop de la școala sociologică la școala etnologică—o biografie intelectuală,” 2020, Universitatea din București
Biografia intelectuală a lui Mihai Pop, așa cum a fost ea proiectată și realizată de către Rucsandra Pop, reprezintă considerabil mai mult decât o anunță titlul ei: ea nu e doar reconstituirea unui destin individual – ci reconstituirea metonimică, pars pro toto, a destinului științelor umaniste din România inter- și postbelică. Fiindcă Rucsandra Pop alege să vadă (și justifică admirabil această alegere) în persoana și opera lui Mihai Pop unul dintre agenții modernizatori esențiali ai umanioarelor românești: intelectual arhetipal al Europei Centrale, cu o poliglosie acoperind nu doar limbile uzuale ale culturilor majore, ci și pe cele ale culturilor din întreaga Mitteleuropă, participant direct la constituirea școlii de la Praga, acceptat inter pares de Roman Jakobson & co., activ deopotrivă și în mediile intelectuale care construiau sociologia română, în interiorul cărora transferă seminal și în timp real ideile occidentale, Mihai Pop mediază ideal prin opera lui (prin care Rucsandra Pop subînțelege nu doar opera scrisă, ci și întreaga acțiune instituțională și personală) circulația ideilor între “estul și vestul științific”, sincronizând decisiv câmpul științific autohton cu centrele relevante de cercetare din întreaga lume. Întemeiată pe 15 ani de interviuri și de muncă de teren, coagulând cantități masive de informație din domenii dintre cele mai diverse, originând într-o mobilitate intelectuală extraordinară (comparabilă cu a subiectului lucrării), teza Rucsandrei Pop articulează strălucitor o istorie socială a întregului câmp intelectual românesc din ultimul secol.
2022 Graduate Student Essay Prize
The Fourteenth Annual Graduate Student Essay Prize 2022 is awarded to Leah Valtin-Erwin, PhD Candidate, Department of History, Indiana University Bloomington, for her submission entitled Professional Customers: German Cash & Carry Wholesale in Romania (1996-1999). The entry examines, based on the case study of Metro Cash and Carry, the transformation of the retail industry in Romania under the entrance of foreign competitors. The analysis is going behind the common discourse on the benefits of foreign investments, looking to the ways foreign companies appealed “economic anxieties and historically-situated ideas about culture and commerce to make customers of Eastern European entrepreneurs – and their clients – in the 1990s.” The investigation proposed by Leah Valtin-Erwin received appreciation based on the interesting approach that question the civilizational discourses and the savior position foreign companies, as Metro, promoted itself. The entry caught reviewers’ attention by drawing a rich literature, a wealth of sources (from periodicals to interviews), a coherent chronological structure, and a well written paper.
An honorable mention is extended to Irina Nicorici, PhD, for the entry The Curious Case of Soviet Citizenship for Sale. It was a very close runner-up for the prize given Irina’s unique contribution on citizenship for sale phenomenon (the investor citizenship) in late Soviet Moldova. The entry contributes to a reconsideration of the welfare socialist state, based on a rich literature and on recently opened archives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Republic of Moldova.
With many thanks to the prize committee, consisting of Rodica Milena Zaharia (chair), Iemima Ploscariu, and Marius Wamsiedel.
Winner: Roxana-Talida Roman, The Edge of Europe – Heritage, Landscape and Conflict Archaeology: First World War Material Culture in Romanian Conflictual Landscapes (Oxford: Bar Publishing, 2020).
Honorable Mentions: Péter Berta, Materializing Difference: Consumer Culture, Politics, and Ethnicity among Romanian Roma (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019), and Călin Cotoi, Inventing the Social in Romania, 1848–1914: Networks and Laboratories of Knowledge (Paderborn, Germany: Ferdinand Schoeningh, 2020).
2021 Graduate Student Essay Prize
Winner: Alexandra Ciocănel (University of Manchester)
Honorable Mention: Iemima Ploscariu (Dublin City University)
2020 Graduate Student Essay Prize
Winner: Cosmin Koszor Codrea (Oxford Brookes University)
Honorable Mention: Cosmin Tudor Minea (University of Birmingham)
Winner: Bruce O’Neill, The Space of Boredom: Homelessness in the Slowing Global Order (Duke University Press, 2017).
Honorable Mention: Irina Marin, Peasant Violence and Antisemitism in Early Twentieth-Century Eastern Europe (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).
2019 Graduate Student Essay Prize
Winner: Adela Hîncu (Central European University)
Honorable Mention: Elena Radu
2018 Graduate Student Essay Prize
Winner: Alexandra Chiriac (University of St. Andrews)
Honorable Mentions: Nicoleta Simonia Minciu, Iemima Ploscariu (Dublin City University), and Matthew Signer (Stanford University)
Winner: Roland Clark, Holy Legionary Youth: Fascist Activism in Interwar Romania (Cornell University Press, 2015).
Honorable Mentions: Virginia Hill and Gabriela Alboiu, Verb Movement and Clause Structure in Old Romanian (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), Dennis Deletant, British Clandestine Activities in Romania During the Second World War (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), and Ştefan Ionescu, Jewish Resistance to Romanianization (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).
2017 Graduate Student Essay Prize
Winner: Dana Mureşan
Special Mentions: Kathryn Grow Allen (University of Buffalo), Alin Rus (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) and Karin Steinbrueck (Northwestern University)
2016 Graduate Student Essay Prize
No prize awarded.
Winner: Sean Cotter, Literary Translation and the Idea of a Minor Romania (Rochester, 2014).
Honorable Mention: Moshe Idel, Mircea Eliade: From Magic to Myth (Peter Lang, 2013).
2015 Graduate Student Essay Prize
Winner: Matei Costinescu (University of Bucharest)
Honorable Mentions: Madalina Vereş (University of Pittsburgh) and Zsuzsanna Magdo (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
2014 Graduate Student Essay Prize
Winner: Roxana Cazan (Indiana University, Bloomington)
Winner: Gail Kligman and Katherine Verdery, Peasants under Siege: the Collectivization of Romanian Agriculture, 1949-1962 (Princeton University Press, 2011).
2013 Graduate Student Essay Prize
Winner: Florin Poenaru (Central European University)
2012 Graduate Student Essay Prize
Winner: Jonathan Stillo (City University of New York)
Winner: Tom Gallagher, Romania and the European Union: How the Weak Vanquished the Strong (Manchester University Press, 2009)
2011 Graduate Student Essay Prize
Winner: Cristina Onose (University of Toronto)
2010 Graduate Student Essay Prize
Winner: Anca Mandru (University of Illinois)
2009 Graduate Student Essay Prize
Winner: Roland Clark (University of Pittsburgh)