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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
This organization shall be known as the Society for Romanian Studies (SRS).
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Each elected officer has the duty to participate in Board meetings in person or electronically.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/.
Call for Editors – Journal of Romanian Studies
The Journal of Romanian Studies is the flagship periodical published by the Society for Romanian Studies in partnership with the German press Ibidem, distributed in the US by Columbia University Press. A peer-reviewed publication, the journal seeks to strengthen the field of Romanian Studies by gathering high-quality manuscripts on relevant themes written from a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. The JRS has been published twice a year, in April and October, starting in 2019. Each issue contains five to eight articles together with three book reviews. Special issues are put together on topics of great scholarly interest or in anniversary years by guest editors.
At this time, the Society for Romanian Studies is calling for expressions of interest for a new editorial team able and willing to shepherd the JRS for the next three years. The team will consist of two co-editors, one book editor, and an editorial assistant. Expressions of interest from individuals or teams are welcome. The two co-editors should be scholars working in and familiar with Romanian Studies with a record of publications in recognized, reputable venues. The co-editors will receive manuscripts, conduct the double blinded review process, inform authors of the progress of their manuscripts, and edit the texts for clarity and scholarly strength. The book editor commissions reviews of recent publications that are written in Romanian, English or some other language and advance knowledge in the field significantly. We are also looking for an articulate and energetic PhD student who can serve as the editorial assistant by advertising the journal and soliciting manuscripts in consultation with the co-editors. These JRS positions are non-remunerated, but they make for great additions to any cv.
Individuals interested in any of these positions should email the search committee members the following: a one-page letter of interest outlining the position and their plans for the next three years, if accepted, as well as a complete cv, including list of refereed publications. Editorial teams should add to these a one-page description of the way in which they plan to advance the JRS during their term, if selected.
Search committee members:
Please subscribe to H-Romania as soon as you are able so as not to miss out on important SRS news, information, and book reviews: https://networks.h-net.org/h-romania. H-Romania is an H-Net discussion network for scholars, students, and professionals interested in Romanian Studies (broadly conceived). It focuses primarily on the countries of Romania and Moldova but also attends to numerous other past and present political, ethnic and social groups, including minorities and diasporas, in terms of their significant connections to present-day Romanian territory. To join H-Romania, first set up an H-Net account. Go to https://networks.h-net.org, click on “Sign up to subscribe & contribute,” and follow the instructions from there. Once you’ve created an H-Net account and profile, you can then go to the H-Romania page and click “Subscribe to this network to join the discussion.” Before allowing any contributions we do ask that you complete your H-Net profile, indicating institutional affiliation, degrees, short bio and areas of interest. You can do this by clicking on the accounts icon in the upper right, then selecting the “Profile” option from the drop-down menu. We are also interested in building our Reviews and Reports pages, including book and film reviews as well as and conference and exhibition reports. If you have any questions please feel free to contact the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also let us know if you are interested in joining the editorial team or becoming a reviewer or blogger at H-Romania. Thanks, and please spread the word to colleagues and students!!
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:
European Studies Department
University of Amsterdam
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/
Currently SRS has the following committees:
Prepares slate of candidates for four Board positions to be elected in early 2018.
Chair: Irina Livezeanu (email@example.com)
Members: Roland Clark, Mihaela Diaconu and Mihaela Serban
Conference Organizing Committee
Organizes the summer 2018 international committee in Bucharest.
Chair: F. Peter Wagner (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Members: Margaret Beissinger (liaison with RSAA), Alexandra Ghit (student Representative), Rodica Zaharia, Anca Sincan and Petru Negură (representatives in Romania and Moldova), Svetlana Suveica and Delia Popescu
Graduate Essay Prize Committee
Selects the best graduate student paper relevant for Romanian Studies.
Chair: Jennifer Cash (cashjennifer10gmail.com)
Members: Chris Davis and Marina Cap-Bun
Coordinates SRS mentorship activities.
Chair: Roland Clark (Roland.Clark@liverpool.ac.uk)
Members: Margaret Beissinger, Robert Ives, Petru Negură, Cristina Plămădeală, Anca Șincan
Examines the membership fee structure, and explores issues of membership recruitment and retention.
Chair: Roland Clark (email@example.com)
Members: Lavinia Stan, Margaret Beissinger, Bill Crowther, Petru Negura, Philippe Blasen, Monica Heintz
Reviews the SRS relationship with H-Romania.
Chair: Roland Clark (Roland.Clark@liverpool.ac.uk)
Members: R. Chris Davis, Valentin Săndulescu, Oana Suciu, Irina Livezeanu, Alexandra Ghit
Monitors and updates the website.
Chair: Petru Negură (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Members: Irina Livezeanu, Margaret Beissinger, Cristina Plămădeală, Raluca Viman-Miller
The Society for Romanian Studies,
1973-2015: A Brief History
Paul E. Michelson (Huntington University) joined the executive board of the SRS in 1976, when he also served as a temporary secretary. He was officially elected secretary and newsletter editor in 1978. He continued doing both jobs for many years, and established the first SRS website in 1995. Paul stepped down as secretary in 2005, but continued editing the newsletter until 2006 and the website until 2010. He became secretary again in 2011 for one last term until December 2015.
The year 2013 marks the fortieth Anniversary of the Society for Romanian Studies. (1) The SRS originally came into existence as The Romanian Studies Group (RSG, 1973-1977), primarily on the initiative of Jim Augerot and Michael Impey. Their experiences in Romania in the 1960s and early 1970s had led them to the realization that there was both a pressing need for a professional organization dealing with Romanian Studies in the United States and a sufficiently large critical mass of scholars – created in large part by the Fulbright and the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) programs with Romania that began in the 1960s – to make such an organization feasible and viable. The initial organizational step was taken by Augerot, who called and coordinated a “Conference on Romanian Language and Literature” at the University of Washington on May 12-13, 1972. The meeting had as special guests and speakers the prominent historian Constantin Giurescu, who was teaching for the year at Columbia, Dan Grigorescu of the Romanian Library in New York, and Georgene Lovecky of the Fulbright Program. It was during this conference, the first of its kind in the US after World War II, that conversations, public and private, led to the idea of organizing a Romanian studies group.
The formal steps toward organizing the RSG were subsequently taken at the Kentucky Foreign Language Conference in April 26-28, 1973, where it was decided that the group would include all areas of the humanities and social sciences, not just language and literature. Michael Impey (Comparative Literature, University of Kentucky) and James Augerot (Language and Literature, University of Washington) were elected as the first executive officers of the Charter Board (President and Secretary-Treasurer respectively), and an advisory board was established composed of Robert Austerlitz (Language and Folklore, Columbia University), Jan Harold Brundvand (Folklore, University of Utah), Charles M. Carlton (Linguistics, University of Rochester), Stephen A. Fischer-Galati (History, University of Colorado), Keith Hitchins (History, University of Illinois), Barbara Jelavich (History, Indiana University), and Eric Hamp (Linguistics, University of Chicago). Forty-one charter members joined the organization. (2) Augerot also began publishing the first in a series of RSG newsletters. He served as Secretary-Treasurer until April 1977, and as Treasurer until September 2010.
The first RSG conference was held November 15-16, 1974 at the University of Colorado, hosted by Stephen Fischer-Galati. This was followed on October 12-13, 1975 by the Second RSG conference/Annual Meeting at the University of North Carolina, hosted by Augustin Maisse. Approximately fifty were in attendance including the Romanian Ambassador, Corneliu Bogdan.
In 1976, Radu R. N. Florescu (History, Boston College) became President and E. Garrison Walters (History, Ohio State University) became the Newsletter Editor. Paul Michelson (History, Huntington College), who had been elected to the Executive Board, became secretary pro-tem in 1977. During Florescu’s presidency, the third (and final) RSG conference was held at Ohio State University in Columbus on April 6, 1977, dedicated to the “Centennial of Romanian Independence.” The celebration was co-sponsored by the Romanian Academy and IREX. This was linked to the Association for South Eastern Studies Symposium/Conference on Southeastern Europe which took place on April 7-9, 1977. OSU had taken the lead in the AASES. It had also catapulted into a leading role in Romanian studies since launching the most successful ever Romanian Program in the US under the leadership of Rodica Boţoman in 1975. The success of her first Romanian language course in 1974 led to the establishment in 1975 of the OSU Romanian Culture and Civilization Program which by 1977 had over 140 students. By 1980, the OSU program had over 360 students studying Romanian and Romanian civilization. (3) The 1977 OSU conference was a watershed for South East European Studies and Romanian studies in the US. The Romanian Academy sent a full delegation and the vast majority of American Romanianists participated. Romanian studies emerged as the largest and strongest of the participating South East European area groups, with 4 panels at the RSG conference and 16 panels at the Symposium-Conference (Yugoslavia had 2, Bulgaria 5, Greece 3, Albania 1, and Southeastern Europe had 14). The program committee for the RSG waså led by Radu Florescu and included R. V. Burks (Wayne State), Walter M. Bacon (Political Science, University of Nebraska-Omaha), Rodica Boțoman (Slavic and East European Languages, The Ohio State University), and Paul Michelson.
At the 1977 annual business meeting, held during at the conference/symposium, on April 7, the RSG formally emerged as the Society for Romanian Studies. The SRS agreed at this meeting to become an affiliate of the American Association for Southeast European Studies (whose unfortunate acronym AASES provided so much hilarity and ribald commentary over the years that the group eventually changed its name to the South East European Studies Association or SEESA). The AASES had developed out of the American Association for South Slavic Studies and its publication, Balkanistica, became a flagship journal for the RSG/SRS.
The 1978 SRS annual business meeting was also held at Ohio State University on October 14 in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (AAASS), October 12-15, 1978. Special events were again organized by the OSU Romanian Program.
Officers for 1978-1980 were elected in November 1978, with Stephen A. Fischer-Galati chosen as President of the SRS, Walter M. Bacon, Jr. as Vice-President, Paul E. Michelson as Secretary and Newsletter Editor, and Jim Augerot as Treasurer. Michelson served as Newsletter Editor until 2007, publishing 30 volumes of the newsletter, and continues as secretary to the present. The national meeting of the SRS was held in New Haven CT, on October 12, 1979, as part of the AAASS meeting, October 10-13, 1979, though no separate program was held. This was followed in 1980 with a splendid stand-alone SRS conference at Lafayette College in Easton PA, November 8, hosted by Earl A. Pope.
Mary Ellen Fischer (Government, Skidmore College) was elected President of the SRS in 1980-1982, and Gerald J. Bobango (History, Romanian-American Heritage Center) served as Vice-President. The 1981 annual meeting was once more held at Ohio State University, April 9-11, 1981.The SRS program again held in conjunction with the Second AASES Symposium/Conference at OSU. Once more the SRS had the most panels at the symposium with eight full sessions. A similarly sparkling annual meeting was held at Boston College, Boston MA, April 30-May 1, 1982, with a broad program of panels, music, and other activities. The program, celebrating the George Enescu Centennial, was organized by Fischer and hosted by Radu Florescu.
It was during Fischer’s tenure as president that the SRS came under increasing pressure (which continued throughout the 1980s) from the Romanian communist regime which was not pleased by some of the papers being presented at our meetings, particularly those dealing with post-1945 Romania. It is almost needless to say that Fischer (and his successor Rodica Boţoman) firmly informed the Romanian authorities that the SRS would brook no attempts to interfere with the academic freedom of conference participants to present their research findings at our meetings and that if they didn’t like it they didn’t have to send people to participate. This made program planning a bit more difficult as delegations were promised, then withdrawn, then promised, then didn’t show up. In the end, the Romanian regime realized that it was damaging itself more than the SRS and resumed sending people to SRS meetings. The tradition of defending the right of scholars to have their say no matter how unpopular this might be to political or cultural authorities has, I am pleased to say, has continued strong down to the present.
Fischer was succeeded as President in 1982-1984 by Rodica Boţoman and Walter M. Bacon, Jr. was elected Vice-President. The highlight of this period was the 1983 National Meeting, a gala event held in Kansas City MO on October 21-22, celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the SRS. Ten panels spanning the breadth of Romanian studies were presented at this meeting and affirmed the solidity of the foundations laid by Augerot and Impey in 1973. (Perhaps exhausted by this outstanding effort, no national meeting was held in 1984.) Discussions of idea of holding an international congress on Romanian studies were begun with Sorin Alexandrescu of the University of Amsterdam.
Walter M. Bacon, Jr. served as President in 1985 and 1986, as the term of office was shifted to a calendar year basis. Michael Impey was Vice-President. A stand-alone Annual Meeting was held at Ohio State University on April 4-6, 1985, a lively program that included Romanian food and dancing as well as eleven scholarly sessions. Rodica Boţoman hosted; her husband, George, was again the star of OSU’s Haiducii Romanian dance ensemble.
The events of 1985-1986 were capped by the First International Congress on Romanian Studies at The Sorbonne in Paris, France, July 1-4, 1986. A joint project with the European Asociaţia Internaţionale de Studii Româneşti, this was the largest-ever gathering of Romanian Studies specialists in the world to date. Walter M. Bacon, seconded by Rodica Boţoman and Paul Michelson for the SRS, was North American program chair; Catharine Durandin (Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales) and Claude Karnoouh (Institut de Monde Soviétique, d’Europe Centrale et Orientale, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) were program chairs on the European side. Selected papers from this congress were published in The International Journal of Rumanian Studies (Amsterdam), edited by Sorin Alexandrescu. Several members of the SRS also joined the board of the IJRS at this time.
In 1987-1988, Earl A. Pope (Religion, Lafayette College) was President and Barbara Jelavich was Vice-President. Another impressive stand-alone Annual Conference was organized at Emerson College, Boston, by George Ursul (History, Emerson College), held on November 7, 1987. The 1988 Annual Meeting and program were held at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln NE, October 21-22, 1988, excellently hosted by Walter M. Bacon. The program included a number of Romanian guests.
Barbara Jelavich succeeded to the presidency for 1989-1990, with Katherine Verdery (Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University) as Vice-President. This, obviously, was a time of considerable turmoil and exhilaration as the Communist regime in Romania came tumbling down. The future of Romanian Studies in North America also changed significantly. We held our National Meeting in Chicago IL, November 3, 1989, in conjunction with the AAASS meeting of November 2-5, but with no stand-alone program. This was followed in October 18, 1990, with a business meeting also in conjunction with the AAASS, October 18-21, accompanied by a special program at the Romanian Embassy. In 1990, through Jelavich’s efforts, the SRS became an official affiliate of the American Historical Association.
In 1991, George R. Ursul was elected President with Rodica Boţoman as Vice-President. They served from 1991 to 1993. The 1991 Annual Meeting was a separate session held in Miami FL, November 22-25, in conjunction with the AAASS. The 1992 business meeting was at the AAASS convention in Phoenix AZ, November 19-22, 1992, though without a separate program.
The major preoccupation of the SRS, aside from adjusting to new conditions in Romania, was the planning and execution of our Second International Congress on Romanian Studies in Iaşi in Summer 1993. The SRS decided that logistically and financially having the meeting in Romania made more sense than a possible meeting in the United States. The cooperation of the Romanian Academy was significant, as were contributions of the Romanian Cultural Foundation. Cornelia Bodea of the Romanian Academy and Paul Michelson were joint program chairs and Dumitru Vitcu handled local arrangements for the University of Iaşi and the Xenopol Institute of History. The congress, held on July 6-10, 1993, was a rousing success, particularly in introducing Romanian academics to American-style congresses, with less formality and a wide variety of panels, round tables, and social events. There were 67 academic sessions at the Iaşi meeting, along with a myriad of extra-curricular events, a concert, and other protocol events so beloved by President Ursul.
Joseph Harrington (History, Framingham State College) served as President from 1994 to 1996, and Lory Wallfisch (Music, Smith College) was Vice-President. The indefatigable Harrington organized or promoted more meetings and conferences than any of his predecessors or successors: a National Meeting at the Romanian Cultural Center, New York NY, February 18-19, 1994; another at the Romanian Cultural Center, New York NY, November 15-16, 1994; a business meeting in Philadelphia PA, November 19, 1994, in conjunction with the AAASS, November 17-20; (4) a first-ever SRS Graduate Student Conference at the Romanian Cultural Center, New York NY, April 8, 1995; a National Meeting at the Romanian Embassy, Washington DC, October 24-25, 1995; an annual business meeting Washington DC, October 27, 1995 in conjunction with the AAASS, October 26-29, 1995; a first-ever SRS Conference on Business and Politics at the Romanian Embassy, Washington DC, April 26, 1996; a stand-alone National Meeting at Boston College, Boston MA, November 12, 1996; and the 1996 business meeting in Boston MA, November 15, 1996 in conjunction with the AAASS meeting, November 14-17. The year 1995 was also significant in that the SRS website went live in the summer, hosted at Huntington College and administered by Paul Michelson until 2010.
The 1997-2000 (5) Presidency of Paul Quinlan (History, Providence College) and Vice-Presidency of Grant Harris (Librarian, Library of Congress) also featured a significant number of important conferences. The 1997 Third International Congress on Romanian Studies, held in Cluj-Napoca, July 1-6, was the main achievement. The Romanian Academy again collaborated with the SRS thanks to the work of Cornelia Bodea. Paul Michelson was program chair again, and Vasile Puşcaş and Nicolae Bocşan handled local arrangements for the Babeş-Bolyai University. There was an increased number of non-traditional disciplines represented, that is, disciplines outside of history, language, and literature.
Other meetings during Quinlan’s tenure were a stand-alone National Meeting at the University of Washington, Seattle WA, November 19, 1997, and a business meeting in Seattle, November 20, 1997, in conjunction with the AAASS meeting, November 20-23; a fine 25th Anniversary SRS Conference at the Romanian Embassy and Georgetown University, Washington DC, March 20-21, 1998, hosted by Charles King; a National Meeting at the Romanian Cultural Center, New York NY, April 17, 1999; an annual business meeting in St. Louis MO, November 19, 1999, in conjunction with the AAASS meeting, November 18-20; and an annual business session in Denver CO, November 10, 2000, in conjunction with the AAASS, November 9-12. It became clear, however toward the end of the 1990s, that the efforts devoted to the planning and execution of the international congresses meant that the days of stand-alone SRS conferences were coming to a close.
Also in 1999, under the Quinlan presidency, the SRS became an affiliate of the American Political Science Association (APSA) and in 2000 the SRS began a joint-membership arrangement with the newly-refounded South East European Studies Association (SEESA) as well as becoming an affiliate organization of SEESA. The purpose of SEESA was to make sure that Southeastern Europe didn’t get lost in the shuffle of changing currents in the AAASS and the potential swamping of Romanian studies interests in favor of Central European and Russian studies. Augerot and Michelson have served as officers of SEESA from the start and have provided strong ties between SEESA and the SRS.
Jim Augerot, President, and Henry (Chip) Carey (Political Science, Georgia State University), Vice-President, were elected for 2001-2004. The Fourth International Congress on Romanian Studies at the University of Suceava on July 9-12, 2001, was another major event for the SRS. Attendance was about the same as at the previous two congresses, but regionalism (or, perhaps better said, “provincialism”) seemed more apparent. Participants were mostly from northeastern Romania as Romanian participants seemed unwilling to travel to other regions of the country, especially if these were a little out of the way. Paul Michelson was program chair; local arrangements were handled by the University of Suceava and the Center for Romanian Studies in Iaşi. We held our annual gathering in Arlington, VA on November 16, 2001, in conjunction with the AAASS meeting on November 15-18. A highlight of that meeting was the publication of a Festschrift for Cornelia Bodea. Other annual business meetings took place at Pittsburgh PA, November 22, 2002, in conjunction with the AAASS meeting, November 21-24; Toronto Canada, November 21, 2003, in conjunction with the AAASS meeting of November 20-23; and Salt Lake City UT, November 4, 2005, in conjunction with the AAASS meeting, November 3-6.
From 2006 to 2010, Paul E. Michelson served as President, and Ileana Orlich (Languages, Arizona State University) was Vice-President; Jim Augerot handled the Secretarial duties along with the Treasury. In 2007, Dan Pennell (Library, University of Pittsburgh) became Newsletter Editor. We held a spring program session at the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York on March 24, 2006, followed by a joint meeting with the Association for the Study of Nationalities at Columbia University in New York on March 25, 2006. The ASN sessions were useful since they brought us into contact with quite a number of graduate students and recent PhDs. The annual business meeting was in Washington DC, November 18, 2006, in conjunction with the AAASS meeting, November 16-19. Michelson, Orlich, and several SRS representatives engaged in dialogue with the Romanian Cultural Institute in several meetings held in Washington D.C. about redirecting their involvement in Romanian studies.
The Fifth International Congress on Romanian Studies was held at Ovidius University in Constanţa on June 25-28, 2007. Paul Michelson was chair and Adina Ciugureanu (Ovidius University) was responsible for local arrangements. With an attendance of well over 200, this was perhaps the largest congress we have held. We had a better regional turnout than at Congresses 3 and 4. On the other hand, participation by the Romanian Academy was nil and Romanian intra-mural academic disputes affected attendance. The quality of the program continued to rise and for the first time younger scholars outnumbered the veterans of Congresses one to four.
The 2007 business meeting was held in New Orleans on November 17, 2007, in conjunction with the AAASS meeting of November 15-18. Similar business meetings were held in Philadelphia PA on November 21, 2008, in conjunction with the AAASS meeting of November 20-23; and Boston MA on November 13, 2009, in conjunction with the AAASS meeting of November 12-15. We participated in the First Central Europeanists reception at the Philadelphia AAASS in 2008, where SRS members were able to meet others interested in the “Lands in Between” and to publicize the SRS. Another new venture was the presentation of the First 2009 SRS Graduate Student Essay Prize to Roland Clark (History, University of Pittsburgh) at Boston. Margaret Beissinger (Folklore, Princeton University) was chair of the selection committee.
Irina Livezeanu (History, University of Pittsburgh) was elected President for 2010-2014, with Bill Crowther (Political Science, University of North Carolina/Greensboro) as Vice-President. When Jim Augerot retired as Treasurer in the fall of 2010, Bill was persuaded to replace him and Lavinia Stan (Political Science, St. Francis Xavier University, Canada) was chosen as Vice-President. In the same year, Ashby Crowder (University of Maryland) took over as the website guru. In 2011, Roland Clark became the Newsletter Editor and, beginning with Vol. 34 (2011), the newsletter was published electronically which allowed us to expand the size and use improved graphics. In 2013, Lara McLaughlin (independent scholar) became our web site manager.
We added a graduate student representative to the National Board for the first time in 2010 in the person of Ashby Crowder. He was succeeded by Catherine Hansen (Princeton University) in 2011.
In the summer of 2010, a brand new, redesigned SRS website was launched at http://www.society4romanianstudies.org. Ashby Crowder, who had agreed to edit the site, also set up and handled our new Facebook page. We presented the second Graduate Student Essay Prize to Anca Mândru (University of Illinois) in 2010; Margaret Beissinger was chair of the selection committee. This prize was announced at the annual business meeting in Los Angeles CA on November 19, 2010, held in conjunction with the ASEEES meeting of November 18-21. At the same meeting, Jim Augerot was recognized for his long service to the SRS.
The big news of 2011 was the implementation of a formal set of SRS Bylaws in January 2011. These had been developed during 2010. The major step forward was that, effective in 2011, membership in the Society for Romanian Studies was opened internationally. Obstacles to international membership had gradually fallen by the wayside in an electronic age and we have been pleased by the response from Romania and elsewhere. The SRS also created several new categories of membership, including supporting, sponsor, and patron members, with a view toward increasing funding for the organization.
In 2011, Cristina Onose (University of Toronto) was awarded the third Graduate Student Essay Prize at the National Business Meeting in Washington DC on November 18, 2011, held in conjunction with the ASEEES meeting of November 17- 20. Matt Ciscel (English, Central Connecticut State) served as committee chair. The same year we presented the First SRS Book Prize to Tom Gallagher (University of Bradford UK). Margaret Beissinger chaired the book prize committee. The Romanian Embassy held a reception in honor of Romanian scholars attending ASEEES on November 18, 2011.
As usual, pride of place in 2012 went to our Sixth International Congress on Romanian Studies held at Lucian Blaga University, Sibiu, Romania, July 2-4, 2012, with the theme of “Europeanization and Globalization: Romanians in Their Region and the World.” This was our first themed congress, the others had been general conferences. In a great venue and centrally located, we were served a rich intellectual fare in a significant historical ambiance. Support for the congress was provided by Universitatea Lucian Blaga, the Romanian Cultural Institute, the American Embassy, the Universitatea Naţională de Arte, and the Sibiu Primăria. Attendance included probably the best mix of nationalities, regions of Romania, and new participants ever. There were three plenary lectures and 52 panels along with collateral events. Things went so well we decided that five year intervals for the congresses is just too long. Matt Ciscel was the chair of the International Conference Committee that included Irina Livezeanu, Lavinia Stan, Margaret Beissinger, Narcis Tulbure, Monica Ciobanu, and Catherine Hansen; local arrangements were handled by Alexandra Mitrea, Mihaela Grancea, Mirela Ocinic, and Anca Iancu. Later in 2012, we held a business meeting in New Orleans on November 16, 2012, in conjunction with the ASEEES meeting of November 14-17. The 2012 SRS Graduate Student Essay Prize was won by Jonathan Stillo (Anthropology, City University of New York).
In 2013, a major initiative was the creation of an H-Romania site, with R. Chris Davis (History, Lone Star College) and Valentin Sandulescu (University of Bucharest) as editors. Davis became our liaison with H-Net. It is anticipated that this site will become our most widely-used vehicle for scholarly interchange. The Book Prize Committee, chaired by Bill Crowther, awarded the Second Biennial SRS Book Prize to Gail Kligman (Sociology, UCLA) and Katherine Verdery (Anthropology, CUNY); while the Graduate Student Essay Prize committee, chaired by Roland Clark, awarded the annual SRS Graduate Student Essay Prize to Florin Poenaru (Sociology, Central European University). These prizes were awarded at the annual meeting being held in Boston, MA, on November 22, 2013 in conjunction with the ASEEES meeting, November 21-24. Lastly, in 2013, the SRS began a joint-membership arrangement with the Romanian Studies Association of America.
NOTE: For an extensive SRS chronology, including a listing of all officers, board members, meetings, and significant events, see www.huntington.edu/history/pmichelson/srs_chronology.pdf
- Sources: Michael Impey, “The Present State of Romanian Studies in the United States and Canada. A Review Article,” Modern Language Journal, 59 (1975): 262-272; Jim Augerot’s contribution to Lilliana Ursu, Ioana Ieronim, and Archbishop Chrysostomos, eds., Să vezi lumea cum o văd ceilalţi/To See the world as others see it: American and Romanian Alumni Share Their Fulbright Impressions (Bucharest: Editura Vremea, 2003), 22-23; a fairly complete file of RSG and SRS newsletters; and personal recollections. On the early days of Romanian studies in the US and UK, see also Michael Impey, “The Land of Rushing Streams: Returns and Departures,” New International Journal of Romanian Studies, 2/1-2 (1999): 84-108; and Michael Impey, “Some Reflections on Romanian Studies in the United States and Europe, 1975-2007,” in Marina Cap-Bun, ed., Studiile româneşti în lume în 2008/Romanian Studies Around the World in 2008 (Bucharest: Editura Universitară, 2009) 58-73.
- Thereafter, in December 1973 meeting of the Modern Languages Association, Romanian language specialists formed the Romanian Studies Association of America as an affiliate of the MLA. Impey, “Romanian Studies,” 271. Regrettably, this association, led and formed primarily by Romanian émigrés, remained generally apart from the RSG/SRS, but in 2012, the RSAA leadership participated enthusiastically in the SRS Sibiu Congress. Subsequently, a joint membership was created for those who wanted to join both the RSAA and the SRS, and this new cooperation between the SRS and RSAA will continue in the future. In 1974, Sorin Alexandrescu, University of Amsterdam, organized the Asociaţia Internaţionale de Studii Româneşti. The First Congress on Romanian Studies at the Sorbonne in 1986 was a joint project of the SRS and the AISR.
- See Paul E. Michelson, “Discovering Romanian…and Romania: Rodica Boţoman and Romanian Studies at the Ohio State University, 1974-2003,” Lingua: Language and Culture, NS, 9/1 (2010): 51-65.
- At this meeting, it was unanimously decided that Presidential and Vice-Presidential terms would be three years.
- The term of office was extended to four years to avoid complications with the planning and execution of our international congresses.
James Augerot, University of Washington
James Augerot served as the first SRS secretary and treasurer from 1973-1978 and then remained on as treasurer until 2006, when he took on both roles once again, serving until 2010.
The importance of exchanges such as Fulbright cannot be overestimated. I was given one in 1964 and spent two years in Cluj-Napoca. The experience itself was fascinating and delightful. I stood on the sidewalk with thousands to watch Nicolae Ceauşescu triumphantly drive through town a couple of months after Dej died. But the lasting effect was even greater. After a few years when my initial Romanian experience was beginning to fade into the past, many of the people I met at various conferences and further trips to Romania encouraged us to propose a conference on Romanian Language and Literature. After an AAASS Congress in 1970 I returned to the University of Washington determined not to lose the wonderful connections I had established, so I wrote the “powers that were” in D.C. that we needed to gather some scholars and put out some information about this rather hidden jewel of South East Europe. They agreed and we – Michael Impey (another Fulbrighter whom I had met on the beaches of the Black Sea) and I – sent out an invitation to everyone we thought fit the purpose. It resulted in a conference on the UW campus in 1972 that in turn provided the impetus for our formation of the Romanian Studies Group. We were pleased that many outside our group of mainly literature and language people welcomed our proposition and after a rather informal election in 1973 the deed was done and I became the Secretary-Treasurer. We had many excellent officers and board members in those early days but the crucial one, I believe, was Paul Michelson, who took over the presidency and took the newsletter duties away from me. I believe that it is to him we owe the continuing existence and influence of our Society for Romanian Studies.