Home » Journal issues » Vol. 4 No. 1 (2022)

Vol. 4 No. 1 (2022)

Journal of Romanian Studies, 4, No. 1 (2022)


Editors: Peter Gross, Svetlana Suveica, Claudia Lonkin 


Editors’ Note (pp. 1-2)


Lucian Boia

Briefly, About History (as I see it)  (pp. 3-6)


Victor Taki

Russophilia and Madness in Nineteenth-Century Romania: The Case of Michel Anagnosti (pp. 7-36)

This article examines the political writings of Michel Anagnosti, a French-educated Wallachian intellectual and publicist who came of age during the period of Russian hegemony in the Romanian principalities in the 1830s. Although Anagnosti was at first critical of Russian policies, the subsequent evolution of his political views placed him increasingly at odds with the “Fortyeighters”—the participants of the 1848 revolution in Wallachia that was suppressed by the Ottomans on Russia’s insistence. Whereas modern Romanian nationalism crystallized during the 1840s and the 1850s under distinctly anti-Russian slogans, Anagnosti evolved in the opposite direction and became an exponent of pro-Russian attitudes in the Romanian press of the 1860s and 1870s. Anagnosti’s unorthodox perspectives contrasted with the ideology of the “Fortyeighters” to the point of earning him the reputation of a madman and explaining his posthumous oblivion. An examination of Anagnosti’s oeuvre not only sheds light on a neglected figure of the Romanian intellectual life of the nineteenth century, but also provides an insight into the process of constructing the political mainstream in an emergent nation-state by associating critical and unorthodox perspectives with unreason.

Cosmin Koszor-Codrea

Mismeasuring Diversity: Popularizing Scientific Racism in the Romanian Principalities Around the Mid-Nineteenth Century (pp. 37-56)

This study explores a neglected episode in the history of Romanian encounters with racial classification theories before and during the mid-nineteenth century. The study begins with a brief historiographic discussion and illustrates the recent debates concerning definitions of the origins of scientific racism, as portrayed by Stephen Jay Gould and Nicolaas Rupke. Accordingly, this paper identifies three suggestive case studies (Iacob Czihac, Iuliu Barasch, and Dimitrie Ananescu) that might shed some light on the intellectual roots of racial classifications in Romania. Placing this investigation amongst emerging studies of the popularization of science, this paper argues that naturalists and physicians alike, trained and influenced by the German tradition of Naturphilosophie, expressed their authority in reproducing and diffusing racial classifications and gendered concepts of reproduction.

Valeria Chelaru

Regionalism or Otherness in Greater Romania: Bessarabia’s Response to Cultural Nationalism in the First Years after Unification (1918–1930) (pp. 57-82)

This article tackles the “thorny issue” of Bessarabia’s integration into Greater Romania. A former gubernia inside the Russian Empire for approximately one century, the population of this region, located between the Rivers Prut and Dniester, displayed reluctance to unite with Romania. The paper analyzes the sociopolitical environment that led to the union with the Kingdom of Romania in 1918; it then reassesses the policies of homogenization carried out by the Romanian state during its aggressive nationalization campaign and Bessarabia’s reaction to them. Bessarabia’s reunion with its historical sister provinces in 1918, as well as the entire period throughout which the region was part of Romania, is still a highly politicized subject. This article stresses the response of people of different identities to the reconfiguration of the center-periphery relationship, and to Romania’s mission to consolidate a “nationalizing state.” It therefore emphasizes the asymmetry between the aspirations of the center and those of the Bessarabian populations.

Dorina Roșca 

In Search of a Lost Market: The Features of Moldovan Capitalism Today (pp. 83-103)


The nature of post-Soviet Moldovan capitalism has hardly been discussed since the uncritical adoption of neoclassical economic theory by both local scholars and non-academic experts from NGOs. Most analyses are framed by theories that appear to be forcibly grafted onto empirical facts, reflecting other logics of functioning that characterize Moldovan capitalism. This article argues for viewing the Moldovan economy through, following Polanyi, the “logic of reciprocity”. In Polanyian terms, the form of economic integration based on reciprocity refers to an institutional structure—norms, practices, rules, etc.—that facilitates reciprocal informal economic and social exchanges. I argue that reciprocity characterizes, and can be observed through, monetary and in-kind transfers from Moldovan emigrants abroad. Many everyday, informal Moldovan socioeconomic exchanges and consumption practices operate based on local moral and social rules. Moreover, the logic of reciprocity coexists and interacts with Moldova’s oligarchic political economy, thus defining the dynamics of Moldovan capitalism.

Angela Lumezeanu, Judit Pál, and Vlad Popovici

Historical Data Grinder 2.0  (pp. 105-121)

Historical Data Grinder (HDG) is an EAV database model designed to store and aggregate historical information regardless of geographic space, chronological period, or topic of interest. The source code of the database is available open source at: https://github.com/angelalumezeanu/hdg_structure. This paper details the specificities of HDG within the framework of other digital tools focused on the history of Romania, describes the updates brought by version 2.0, and highlights its advantages compared to traditional relational databases. To exemplify the latter, it presents the procedure for ingesting a major data set: members of the Hungarian parliament elected in the Transylvanian constituencies between 1865–1918. The data set is available for the general public, along with other information from HDG, at www.hdgrinder.ro.

Source Translation:

Roland Clark

Excerpts from Gala Galaction, Journal, vols. 5–6 (Bucharest: Editura Albatros, 1996)

Grigorie Pișculescu (1879–1961), better known by his literary pseudonym Gala Galaction, was one of the most prominent Romanian writers and church figures in the twentieth century. In his short stories, novels, and newspaper articles, Galaction developed an idiosyncratic style that integrated Eastern Orthodox themes and imagery into the lives of his characters, most of whom were peasants or working class. Unlike most religious writers in early-twentieth-century Romania, who were committed ultranationalists, even fascists, Galaction was a socialist who believed that defending the rights of the poor constituted a central Christian duty. As a result, he became valuable to the Romanian Communist Party (PCR) after the Second World War. Written over a 57-year period, his journal provides unique insights into major changes in Romanian religion, politics, and society that took place during the twentieth century. In these excerpts he writes about being courted—and manipulated—by the PCR because of his celebrity status.

Book Reviews:
Ágoston Berecz: R. Chris Davis, Hungarian religion, Romanian blood: a minority’s struggle for national belonging, 1920–1945 (Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 2019), 248 pp. 

Paul E. Michelson: Gheorghe Cliveti, România modernă și “apogeul europei” 1815-1914 (București: Editura Academiei, 2018), 1160 pp. & Vasile Pușcaș, Marea Unire 1918 România Mare. Acte și Documente (Cluj-Napoca:  Editura Studia, 2018), 303 pp.

Gheorghe G. Pacurar: Cristina A. Bejan, Intellectuals and Fascism in Interwar Romania: The Criterion Association (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), 323 pp.

Petru Negură: Bogdan Bucur, Sociologia proastei guvernări în România interbelică. (București: RAO, 2019), 728 pp.