Proiecte de cercetare

Institutul de Cercetări Socio-Umane "Gheorghe Șincai"








Codul proiectului/Project code: PN-III-P4-PCE-2021-0688
Contract nr. 29/27.05.2022
Acronim/Acronym EDERA
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  1. Cornel Sigmirean, PhD, Senior researcher, History, the “Gheorghe Șincai” Institute for Social Sciences and the Humanities, Professor, University of Medicine and Pharmacy (UMFST), Târgu Mureș.


  1. Laurențiu-Dănuț Vlad, PhD, History, Professor, University of Bucharest
  2. Carmen-Maria Andraș, PhD, Comparative literature and culture, Senior researcher, the “Gheorghe Șincai” Institute (retired).
  3. Ionuț-Florin Biliuță, PhD, History, Researcher, the “Gheorghe Șincai” Institute.
  4. Anca Maria Șincan, PhD, History, Researcher, the “Gheorghe Șincai” Institute
  5. Sonia D. Andraș, PhD, Cultural Studies, assistant researcher, the “Gheorghe Șincai” Institute.
  6. Roxana Mihaly, PhD, History, assistant researcher, the “Gheorghe Șincai” Institute.

Scientific and cultural importance

Historian and literary critic Virgil Nemoianu (1997) described the ‘ethos of instruction’ as crucial in Central European modern society as social recognition of individual ideals. Romania’s 19th century intelligentsia became an active agent in intercultural and political transfers, shaping its identity through history, language, culture in the European context (Charle 2001). Central and East European empires collapsed under the pressure of the Great War trauma and violent nationalism, in favor of national states. The end of World War I produced a schism between eras. Yet the new order could not abandon the past (Schmitt 2019). The interwar era was built around European cultural and educational centers, encouraging modernization of national education (Nastasă-Matei 2016, 46). But new power centers emerged, including the US as a political, economic, military and cultural sphere of influence, under temporary Central and East European decline. Cultural negotiation shifted its interest from European academic centers, towards the American cultural and political model (Huntington 1981). The project topic expands the literature on Romanian-US relations from diplomacy, politics and sociology (Răceanu 2005) towards education, culture, intellectual life, religion, gender, art. It aims to decode and correlate negotiations between cultures and disciplines. It offers a clear insight into how collective identity was recalibrated at the Age of Empires’ end, amid turbulent power center fluctuations. The world’s new political configuration brought a more solid and persistent redistribution of cultural and university centers, with the United States in full affirmation. This contribution is especially important in recovering the ignored or deliberately omitted facts regarding the interwar dialogues between Romania and the United States. As this relationship is ever more important in the 2020s, this project joins the post-1989 significant strides in restoring productive cultural and educational negotiations between the two partners. America’s growing attention towards Romania in the interwar era extended beyond history, politics and diplomacy, with financial, cultural and educational investments. The interwar RomanianAmerican relations thus imply inherent complexity and dynamism. This project offers innovative methodologies and themes analyzed through interdisciplinary, multi-perspective and inter-cultural approaches stemming from notions like negotiation, dialogue or educational and cultural communications. The timeframe covers two crucial decades in Romania’s history, from 1920 with Romania’s recognition as a national state, until 1940 as Romania aligned itself with the Axis as a National Legionary State. 1930 is both a midpoint and a landmark of Romania’s veering towards increasingly extremist political, cultural and social movements. This project follows the complex negotiations between Romania and the United States as direct consequences of political and diplomatic debates and decisions in the interwar era and the first years of World War II. The research adds to the current literature on American Romanian relations and archival documents before 1920 (Rus 2018) with a comparative methodology, beyond the traditional description of the merican-Romanian relations primarily in terms of America’s unilateral political and economic interests in Central and East Europe. It thus highlights flexibility, mobility and interchangeability, replacing the rigid hierarchies established on binary terms like center and periphery. This project examines instances of both successful and unsuccessful Romanian-American formative cultural and educational negotiations, beyond interpretations of unilateral transfers from the center, as the United States and the marginal Other, as Romania. It transcends self-focused perspectives, culpabilization and self-victimization, favoring panoramic intercultural and transnational views. The approach is interdisciplinary, ranging from history (cultural, intellectual, social, political, economic, history of education, history of religion, art history) to cultural (religious, fashion, travel, memory, identity) studies, and imagology. The research applies cultural studies concepts (negotiation, difference, diversity, discourse, power relationship, representation) to historical investigation to further relativize the borders between disciplines, identities and cultures


The goal is to offer an outstanding contribution to knowledge on the Romanian-American relations between 1920-1940, with insights into under-researched aspects. It reflects this dialogue’s dynamic qualities, demonstrating how intercultural communications transcended national or bilateral political interests for mutual understanding. This project aims to prove the benefits of studying cultural and educational relations for a better appreciation of Romanian and American cultures, art, history and formative experiences. It reconstructs the dynamism and complexities of the historical and cultural context with interdisciplinary, comparative and multi-perspective approaches. It also plans to ascertain how cultural communication evolves during and after political, ideological and military conflicts for a more comprehensive image of Romanian-American cultural and educational exchanges. It gathers a team of researchers with internationally recognized contributions.

Historical context

The historiography published in the United States about interwar Romania, World War II and the instauration of the Communist regime is extensive and richly documented (Clark 1922; Fischer-Galati 1970; Hitchins 1977, 1994; Livezeanu 1995; Quinlan 1995; Tismăneanu 2012). Romanian and United States interests did not reach concurrence and balance until the early twentieth century, with dialogues transcending commercial, political or immigration themes (Florescu 1993; Quinlan 1988; Stanciu and Cernovodeanu 1985). American diplomats continued to abide by the Monroe Doctrine and the insights from George Washington’s Farewell Address and refrained from political entanglements with foreign states especially in Europe, favoring trade instead (Razi 1988). By the interwar era, Romania’s geostrategic positioning between increasingly unstable influence spheres determined the United States to shift its diplomatic strategy in the region. The two nations officially became military allies when Romania forewent its neutrality in World War I and joined the Entente in 1916. The international key political players seized the chance to reconfigure the political geography around the now-defunct empires after the end of the Great War in 1918, when AustroHungary and Germany formally acknowledged their capitulation against the Entente. President Woodrow Wilson participated as the United States representative at the Paris Peace Conference. He actively lobbied for democracy and self-determination to be the core elements in Europe’s reconstruction. Wilson’s ideas expressed as Fourteen Points strongly impacted Central Europe, moving the balance of power from its European-centered tradition to the notion of collective security (Peterson 2014), which also led to the formation of Greater Romania (Devasia 1970). Romania and the United States maintained dialogue throughout the 1920s towards the mid-1930s, despite the Great Depression and growing isolationism (Stanciu 1996) and focus on the ‘petroleum policy’ (Buzatu 2011). Central and East European nationalism and subsequent restrictionism were perceived by US authorities as hindrances to economic exchanges (Randall 2005; Pearton 1971). Romania’s lack of satisfactory strides regarding minority rights, especially for the Jewish community, was also a serious concern for the United States (Quinlan 1977).


This project aims to correlate the Romanian research on cultural, artistic and educational Romanian-American relations before and after 1989 offering comprehensive understanding of the interwar dialogue and its later echoes until the twenty-first century. The interdisciplinary, multi-perspectival and comparative research highlights fluidity and mobility outside of pre-established hierarchies. It is thus an outstanding contribution to the knowledge of interwar cultural, artistic and educational Romanian-American dialogues, highlighting instances of convergence and negotiations


This project applies the concept of negotiation recently adapted in cultural studies from business and media studies (Brooker 2003; During 2005). It builds upon the director and team’s prior research applying cultural studies concepts and methodologies in cultural and intellectual history. Following this approach, it aims to analyze the juxtapositions difference/regularity, divergence/agreement, conflict/concord, in a space of in-betweenness, intermediality, transgression, and liminality, where negotiation can shift the direction from discord to resolution. Negotiation can mediate national, cultural, social, gender, religious, political, ideological ruptures in communication, by avoiding clashes in case there is a will to build a positive future.

Elements of difficulty

The project topic and approach are challenging. The topic implies a good knowledge of the Romanian-American relations and their cultural and historical contexts. Experience is of utmost importance in interdisciplinary and comparative methods. The project takes these issues into account by synchronizing the researchers’ experience with the topic.

Original contribution

The project addresses under-researched aspects of interwar Romanian-American relations and investigates the cultural negotiations between the two countries in a comparative and interdisciplinary manner applied to the envisaged research sub-themes:

(T1) The ethos of education. Intellectual itineraries.. This under-researched theme focuses on the Romanian-American academic mobility (Romanian intellectuals’ migration to the US and their relocation in Romania) and the promotion of Romanian-American relations, intellectual elite formation, and transfers of models. It will continue and enrich previous studies on Romanian academic itineraries (Sigmirean, see previous sections), the Romanian intellectuals’ migration to the US, their participation in cultural events or the US science, politics, arts or literature, the Romanian diaspora’s organization, the Romanian-American societies and institutions in the US promoting cultural bilateral relations (Society of Friends of Rumania, Institute of Rumanian Culture in the United States) (Dobrinescu 1993; Sasu 1993). It envisages a comprehensive investigation of Romanian intellectual itineraries to the US, their interests in disciplines and professions, American academic centers, staff and curricula, or the students’ life, focusing on scholarship holders. Beside Rockefeller Foundation recipients in the fields of health, hygiene, sociology, demographic statistics, sciences, literature, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, in education (Petrina 1997; Stanciu 1996) will also be investigated. Further examination is expected to uncover data about the American professionals in Romania and their contribution to interwar Romania’s modernization (from culture and education to architecture and telecommunication; air and automobile transportation; oil production, refinery and marketing, financial and insurance systems). It is an interdisciplinary (history of intellectual elites, cultural and social history, and history of international relations) exploration of primary sources (archives and published memoirs, the Rockefeller Foundation Annual Reports, the Carnegie Endowment Year Books).

(T2) The Ethos of World Fairs: Romanian - American negotiations and propaganda at the New York World Fair (1939-1940).The chapter continues with further research and documentation the author’s previous interests in Romania’s participation to interwar international fairs, the United States included (Vlad 2006). Symbolizing the persistence of the American dream even though the great depression, the theme of the 1939 New York World’s Fair was “The World of Tomorrow” (Dascălu 1998; Ureche 2015; Kargon et al 2015). Romania thus experienced the American dream and devoted herself to the ethos of dialogue, education, culture, history, respect for identity values and hope for the future within the two Romanian pavilions (ANIC 1938; AMAE vol. 212). The exhibition envisaged by D. Gusti, the Romanian Commissioner General and supported by Radu Irimescu, the Romanian Minister to the United States, contributed to the cultural dialogue and negotiation between Romania and the United States, beyond the propaganda directed to King Carol II’s dictatorship regime.

(T3) Negotiating between objectivity and stereotypes. American correspondents in Romania:: In the context of the world wars and the growth of American interests in Central and Eastern Europe, the American press agencies dispatched their reporters there (Gorrell 2009). The research focuses on interwar American correspondents who traveled to Romania and whose memoirs have been published in volumes. The topic is under-researched, except for synthetic articles (Latham 2012). This study focuses on discourse analysis of an extended choice of war correspondents, the cultural negotiations between Romanian propagandistic policies and the American reporters who did not cooperate with the Romanian authorities (Dascălu 1998). It will juxtapose objectivity with prejudice or propaganda. The American war correspondence offers a complex image of the interwar Romanian political, social and cultural life, including dictatorships and anti-Semitism, both perceived as common Central and East European phenomena (Vasvàri and Tötösy 2009). Discourse analysis will concentrate on primary sources, including the American reporters’ volumes, archival manuscripts and press collections. The topic is approached interdisciplinarily (comparative literature, cultural, identity, memory, travel studies, imagology) and builds upon the fluidity of transnational borders (Mihăilă and Georgescu 2000; Branea 2017).

(T4) Romanian American inter-religious relations: The current emphasis placed by specialists in global history (Zahra 2017; Sarkisian, 2019; Hillis 2021) also impacted religious studies. Even if there were attempts to map the interactions between the North American religious landscape and Eastern Europe in the interwar period (Carlson 1993; Miller 2012; Clark 2020), the joint mobility of concepts and theologians/clergy members between the two areas remain highly under-researched. Previous scholarly research on Romanian-American religious interactions (Gârdan 2007; Săsăujan, in Bremer 2008; Clark, 2020) limited their focus only to the Romanian context. Dwelling on a vast array of archival material (Romanian National Archives, regional branches of the National Archives), this study endeavors to comparatively highlight the mutual theological transfers between the American Protestant groups and the Romanian Orthodox Church during their interwar encounters. The dissemination of Evangelical ideas in the Romanian émigré milieu in the United States eventually echoed at home and led to the Orthodox popular religion hybridization and the formation of Orthodox groups of re-evangelizations known as the Lord’s Army (Oastea Domnului). Through its Orthodox bishopric, the Romanian presence in the US determined a constant accommodation of both the American state’s policies and the American religious landscape, especially in the Orthodox diasporas.

(T5) Re-inventing post Wilsonian Eastern Europe: The US specialists on Romania after the First World War(T5) Re-inventing post Wilsonian Eastern Europe: The US specialists on Romania after the First World War: An Eastern European “school” surfaced during the First World War and was connected to Wilson’s vision of a new Europe of national states. The geography, languages, history, politics, and religion experts housed in academic institutions, political and diplomatic tracks, and diaspora communities directed the policy on this newly designed geographical and political area following the empires’ dissolution. This contribution to the project looks at the particularities of this post-Wilsonian school, the interests these specialists had in Eastern Europe and specifically in Romania. What did they know about it? What research is considered politically significant? Who were they and what were their positions in academia, politics and diplomacy? What were their connections with Eastern Europe? What did the US export in Eastern Europe (specialists, diplomats, religious men) and how they collected and supplied the data back home? These are a few of the questions the chapter attempts to answer. The ideological developments in the Soviet Union directed an academic interest in Eastern Europe, translated into US diplomacy. Since the closed border offered little access to information, the Eastern European border nations became portals into this new world developing in Russia. This concern was useful during and after the World War 2 when this Eastern European “school” became crucial in designing the US Cold War policies. The contribution uses research in the US National Archives and the Archives of the Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister, on primary literature (memoirs, travel books, histories of Eastern Europe from the period) and journal articles (Byrnes 1982; Case 2018; De Santis 1980; Kohlrrausch 2021; Little 1983; May 1973; Ramet 2020; Seegel 2018; Wolf 2020).

(T6) Embodying the American feminine ethos: Renegotiating Romanian women’s identity from Hollywood to Rockefeller: This contribution explores the evolving ideals of women as markers of modernity in their dialogue with the United States though women’s fashion and representation. It builds upon the double understanding of embodiment as an experience mediated by culture (Entwistle 2014) of inhabiting a physical body in relation to beauty hygiene (Turda 2013) and gender (Bucur 2002) and as clothing the body (Giorcelli and Rabinowitz 2011) suggesting fashion and modernity (Wilson, 2010). The aim is to identify and decode the mechanisms of gendered negotiations between Romania and the United States on fashionability and their larger implications. This chapter uses an interdisciplinary model for a textual and visual semiotic analysis of relevant interwar Romanian discourse. It offers a panoramic, multi-faceted and comparative perspective on how gender norms were invented, disseminated and applied through fashion advice literature (Lees-Maffei 2001). It highlights the importance of fashion in shaping women’s lives to uncover interwar Romania’s subtle social, cultural, ideological and artistic practices in relation to the United States. This contribution continues a larger research on how fashion-consuming women mirrored interwar Romanian political, social, cultural and economic realities and offers the framework for future fashion studies research on Romanian topics.

(T7) The influence of the Romanian artistic movement in America: The twentieth century, the era of interconnections, implies constant relationships between diverse fields of knowledge and mobility of ideas. Thus, an artist’s work became a nexus of ideas giving sense to an entire cultural epoch. One of the notable 20th century events, the 1913 International Modern Art Exhibition in New York opened the Romanian artists’ way to America through sculptor Constantin Brâncuși’s participation. A year later, he held his first personal exhibition in New York, conquering the art collectors’ world. In 1926, his American experience would bring him one of the most famous lawsuits in the world of art against the state, which redefined the ‘work of art’ notion. In the interwar era the Romanian Avant Garde theme is unavoidable. In the early 1920s, upon returning home, Romanian artists were attempting to revolutionize the artistic and literary scene. Constantin Brâncuși, Victor Brauner, Max Herman Maxy, Marcel Janco, Hans Mattis-Teusch, Arthur Segal or Jules Prahim were influenced by the modern artistic movements and entered a “battle” with Romanian traditionalism. Romania’s late opening towards modern art did not hinder painter Eustanțiu Stoenescu in the early 1930s to exhibit in US galleries and museums, catching the attention of many important collectors.

Concrete objectives

  1. Granting a wide international visibility to Romanian research through an inter-cultural thematic, comparative and interdisciplinary methodology, and alternative channels of dissemination (online communication and interaction).
  2. Building an internationally competitive research team, especially encouraging, forming and supporting young researchers to contribute with original research, and participate in international events.
  3. Attracting Romanian and internationally recognized scholars with remarkable results abroad, especially young researchers with foreign degrees and scholarships from notable institutions.
  4. Funding the project consistent with the research team’s individual and collective performance, with research results quality, dissemination and impact.

Elements of originality

The project contributes to the knowledge in less researched aspects of the Romanian American cultural, artistic and educational dialogues in the interwar era. It highlights the dynamism and mobility of cultural communication and negotiation. It proposes a multitude of research directions and offers a multiperspectival and dynamic image of interwar Romanian-American relations.


The main methodological approach is interdisciplinary, intercultural and comparative. Interdisciplinary and intercultural studies can prove the mobility of cultural relations and relativize rigid power hierarchies between disciplines or cultures. The working hypothesis is the importance, permanence, consistence and prevalence of cultural and intellectual negotiations in the frame of interwar Romanian-American political and economic relations. Through the comparative perspectives, the two terms of the bilateral relations are not interpreted in terms of “antonyms” or “polar opposite” (Rodgers 1998). By comparing and contextualizing Romania’s relations with the United States within the general European American context, the project intends to demonstrate that the American interests were fluctuant not only in Romania, but throughout Europe. Neither self-victimization for America’s lack of interest, nor the American dream, are endemic to Romania. It was “an island of world historical immunities, insulated from the Old World’s fate and historical process,” or at other times, with a “messianic turn,” Europeans imagined that “the torch of liberty would ultimately return from the New World to an outworn Europe” (Ibid.). This approach emphasizes diversity and communication instead of inflexible difference, and, consequently, the two terms of comparison and negotiation are no longer “locked in their mutually reinforcing differences” (Ibid.). Interpreted from interdisciplinary and international perspectives, the interwar Romanian-American relations reflect the general trends of Europe and United States interactions. Even if not entirely “symmetrical”, the mobility of ideas, influences, models and people developed considerably under the American growing interest in Europe after World War One (Ibid.; see also Moore and Vaudagna 2002).


Data collection and research sources

Besides secondary sources, the project relies on direct sources: Romanian and American public archival research (the National Archives, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Romania; the Library of Congress Archives, or different US university archives); Romanian and American interwar published sources (memoirs, yearbooks, journals and magazines, travel accounts, war correspondence, etc.).

Data analysis

Collected information is analyzed according to the conceptual and methodological frameworks of the project and its thematic structure. Elements of cultural negotiation, dialogue and mobility is identified and processed from interdisciplinary perspectives and in correlation with the research sub-themes allocated to the research team members.

Expected results

  1. Contribution to Romania’s academic visibility through collective volumes, original articles submitted to Romanian and international important journals with a wide-ranging visibility.
  2. Offering the opportunity for unaffiliated scholars to become full- time staff in a Romanian government institution, thus growing the number of officially contracted outstanding researchers in Humanities.
  3. Attracting contributions from foreign researchers for events and publications, extending the project results global spread, adding to Romanian research recognition abroad.
  4. Providing young researchers professional development and the necessary experience for successful European and international research project and grant applications.
  5. Abiding by the success indicators: publishing articles in Romanian and international journals indexed in Web of Science, SCOPUS, ERIH PLUS, CNCS A; book chapters and collective volumes submitted to publishers with an international renown in academic publishing and CNCS A category Romanian publishers.


Etosul educației și dialogului: Negocieri culturale româno-americane (1920- 1940)

Proiectul urmărește negocierile culturale și educaționale complexe dintre România și Statele Unite și consecințele dezbaterilor politice și diplomatice din era interbelică. Reperele temporale acoperă două decenii cruciale în istoria României, din 1920, cu recunoașterea României ca stat național și 1940, când România s-a aliniat la Axa. Tema sa continuă literatura vastă despre relațiile româno-americane de la diplomație, politică și sociologie până la domeniile culturii, artei și educației. Scopul este decodarea și corelarea negocierilor pe teme educaționale, intelectuale, culturale, etnice, religioase, artistice sau de gen, pentru a determina efectele și implicațiile acestora. Astfel, se oferă o perspectivă mai clară asupra modului în care identitatea colectivă și individuală au fost recalibrate la sfârșitul Epocii Imperiilor, pe fondul schimbărilor turbulente ale centrelor de putere. Noua configurație politică a lumii a adus o redistribuire mai persistentă a centrelor culturale și academice, cu Statele Unite în deplină afirmare. Această contribuție recuperează faptele ignorate sau omise în mod deliberat cu privire la dialogurile interbelice dintre România și Statele Unite. Se bazează pe experiența directorului de proiect în istoria educației, istoria intelectuală și participarea la universități străine de către studenții români. Se bazează pe expertiza membrilor proiectului în istorie culturală și intelectuală, studii culturale, istoria religiei, artelor și științe politice.

Cercetarea completează lucrările de specialitate cu privire la relațiile româno-americane și la documentele de arhivă dinainte de 1920, folosind o metodologie comparativă, dincolo de descrierea tradițională a relațiilor româno-americane din prisma intereselor unilaterale politice și economice ale Americii în Europa Centrală și de Est. Se evidențiază astfel flexibilitatea, mobilitatea și comunicarea în cadrul acestor relații, evitând ierarhiile rigide stabilite pe termeni binari precum centrul și periferia. Acest proiect examinează diferite aspecte ale negocierilor formative culturale și educaționale româno-americane, depășind ideea de transfer unilateral de la centru, Statele Unite, către marginalul Celălalt, adică România. Proiectul transcende perspective centrate pe sine, culpabilizarea și auto victimizarea, favorizând perspective panoramice interculturale și transnaționale. Abordarea este interdisciplinară, de la istorie (culturală, intelectuală, socială, politică, economică, istoria educației, istoria religiilor, istoria artelor) la studii culturale (studii religioase, de modă, economice, de memorie, de identitate) și imagologie. Cercetarea aplică concepte ale studiilor culturale (negociere, diferență, diversitate, discurs, relații de putere, reprezentare) în investigația istorică pentru a relativiza în continuare granițele dintre discipline, identități și culturi. Scopul este de a oferi o contribuție remarcabilă la cercetarea relațiilor româno americane între anii 1920 și 1940, insistând asupra unor aspecte insuficient studiate. Proiectul reflectă calitățile dinamice ale dialogului, analizând modul în care aceste comunicări interculturale transcend interesele naționale sau bilaterale ale înțelegerii reciproce. Acest proiect demonstrează beneficiile studierii relațiilor culturale și educaționale pentru o mai bună apreciere a culturilor, artei, istoriei și a experiențelor formative atât din România, cât și din America. Acesta reconstruiește dinamismul și complexitatea contextului istoric și cultural prin abordări interdisciplinare, comparative și multi-perspectivale. Se dorește de asemenea o analiză a modului în care a evoluat comunicarea culturală în timpul și după conflicte ideologice și militare pentru a construi o imagine mai cuprinzătoare a schimburilor culturale și educaționale româno-americane.

Acest proiect își propune să coreleze cercetarea românească despre relațiile culturale, artistice și educaționale româno-americane dinainte și după 1989, oferind o abordare mai cuprinzătoare a dialogului interbelic și ecourile sale de mai târziu până în secolul XXI. Cercetarea interdisciplinară, multi-perspectivală și comparativă subliniază fluiditatea și mobilitatea în afara ierarhiilor prestabilite. Este deci o contribuție remarcabilă la cercetarea dialogurilor culturale, artistice și educaționale româno-americane, subliniind momente de convergență și negocieri.


PROIECT CNCS-UEFISCDI - Crossing Borders: Insights into the Cultural and Intellectual History of Transylvania (1848-1948) / Dincolo de frontiere: Aspecte ale istoriei culturale si intelectuale a Transilvaniei (1848-1948) - Code PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-0841/Contract no 220/2011


INTRODUCTION The project proposes a multi- and interdisciplinary approach to Transylvania’s intellectual and cultural life in the 19th century and first half of the 20th century (1848-1948), at the border of intellectual history, cultural history, social history and political science. The epoch witnesses the redesign of frontiers, from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the National Romanian State, and the configuration of national and confessional identities, owing to the intellectuals’ great efforts: they fought for national emancipation, making use of the cultural and ideological resources offered by the West, which they adapted to national interests and traditions. It is an epoch of disillusionment too, since great ideals turned into disappointment and, finally, into repression. In other words, 1848 and 1948 draw up the boundaries of the intellectual elite’s existence in Central and Eastern Europe, Transylvania included, from its birth to its temporary downfall. Owing to the complexity of this multicultural space and the multitude of perspectives from which aspects of the intellectual, cultural, social and political life can be discussed, we resort here to the key-concept of border. The accent is thus laid on its intermediality and in-betweenness, favouring communication, mobility, dialogism, polyphony, instead of conflictual difference. It may refer to concrete political and geographical borders, or to symbolical borders: interdisciplinary, intercultural (or identity borders), inter-institutional, interethnic, and international borders. The project takes into account both the external reality of the Transylvanian borders (national, cultural, social, ethnical, religious etc.) with their materialization into institutions, and the subjective, mental, preconceived realities of mutual representations. Transylvania itself can be defined as a space of cultural border, not only because of its diverse interethnic and intercultural relations, but also its location in a meeting space between the East/Orient and the West, tradition and modernity, European cultural influences and national values, centre and periphery, urbanity and rurality, at the boundaries of empires and political interests etc. The results of each year’s activities consist in the publication of 2 volumes based on theoretical and applied approaches to the project’s main concepts and methodologies in different contexts (Itineraries beyond Borders of Cultures, Identities and Disciplines (2012), In-between Difference and Diversity: Studies of Cultural and Intellectual History (2013)), and the final volume centred on the specific theme of the project: CrossinCrossing Borders: Insights into the Cultural and Intellectual History of Transylvania (1848-1948) (2014).


11 members: Carmen Andraş (Project leader), Cornel Sigmirean (Director of the “Gheorghe Şincai” Institute for Social and Human Researches), Corina Teodor (the “Petru Maior University, the “Gheorghe Şincai” Institute for Social and Human Researches), Iulian Boldea (the “Petru Maior University), Mariana Neţ (the “Iorgu Iordan-Al. Rosetti” Institute of Linguistics), Marian Zãloagã (the “Gheorghe Şincai” Institute for Social and Human Researches), Anca Maria Şincan (the “Gheorghe Şincai” Institute for Social and Human Researches), Novak Zoltan Csaba (the “Gheorghe Şincai” Institute for Social and Human Researches), Irina Nastasã-Matei (the University of Bucharest, the “Gheorghe Şincai” Institute for Social and Human Researches), Nicoarã Mihai Teodor (the “Gheorghe Şincai” Institute for Social and Human Researches), Ramona Pop (the Cluj Branch of the Romanian Academy).



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