Conference 2012 Report:
Romanian Studies Conference at Indiana University,
At the end of March 2012, the Bloomington campus of Indiana University hosted its fifth annual conference on Romanian Studies, organized by the Romanian Studies Organization. The featured presentations developed several themes, grouped into four panels. The diversity of the proposals we received indicate the great attention and interest which Romanian history, culture, politics and modernity continue to stimulate, and the commitment of Romanian Studies programs to highlight their quality scholarship. We were honored with the presence of academicians from the US and abroad, visiting scholars, and well-established authors.
This year, we were graced with the presence of Professor Dennis J. Deletant, Emeritus Professor of Romanian Studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, and Visiting Ion Ratiu Professor of Romanian Studies at Georgetown University. A great team of twelve young scholars joined Professor Deletant in discussing pertinent issues about Romania’s past, present and future. Professor Deletant’s talk offered a compelling look at the political life of Marshall Ion Antonescu. It highlighted the effects on the Romanian body politic of the Holocaust in Transnistria, a question of extreme importance for the history of the Second World War.
Apart from Professor Deletant’s contribution, we had productive conversations about presentations on the cultural and social history of the early 1940s, the lives and contributions of Romanian intellectuals, conflicts in rural areas during and after Communist rule, and the impact of totalitarianism on gender, sexuality and reproduction in Romania and the diaspora. These discussions attracted an audience of 40 to 50 members. Pondering on the importance of scholarly gatherings such as the Romanian Studies Conference, Professor Deletant expressed his enthusiasm to see such a young gathering of post-graduates working in the field of Romanian studies, who had the opportunity to access the archives in ways in which some of us in the older generation did not have; and the fact that they are using that access to such good effect, opening our eyes to a more nuanced understanding of Romanian realities which are sometimes glossed over, especially in the press. The whole series of Romanian studies conferences in Indiana consolidates the view that Romania is an extremely complex country, one which always offers surprises.
His opinion was seconded by J Professor Maria Bucur-Deckard, who holds the John W. Hill Chair of European History at Indiana University, as well as being Associate Dean and a Romanian Studies faculty mentor. She said: “Like the earlier events we have held over the last four years, this conference was an intellectual feast where scholars had a great deal to offer each other in terms of making connections between disciplines, between topics, and of course, between generations, as well as showing how rich Romania is as a site for research and scholarly endeavors.”
Of course, none of these conferences would have been possible without Professor Bucur- Deckard’s consistent help and belief in the work we all do. We also received wonderful support and encouragement from the distinguished Professors Jeffrey Veidlinger, Aurelian Craiutu, and Christina Zarifopol Illias, as well as professors, colleagues from other departments, and friends who joined us. Thank you everyone! We heartily thank our sponsors at Indiana University: the Borns Jewish Studies Program, the History Department, the Russian and East European Studies Institute, Horizons of Knowledge, and the Romanian Studies Organization (especially to Catalin Cristoloveanu, Roxana Cazan, Leonard Leid, Ben Thorne, and Jason Vincz), without whom our conference would not have been possible. We are convinced that in the years to follow, we will be able to expand and strengthen the intellectual network of scholars of Romanian Studies.