THE RATIU FORUM HISTORY PRIZE

2022 Calls for Papers

Confronting the Totalitarian Past: The History and Memory of Communism in Romania  
We are pleased to invite MA and PhD History students to submit their research papers aimed at investigating the history and memory of the communist regime in Romania. The call is included in the Ratiu Forum History Prize, part of the Teaching of History Programme, exploring the various versions of history that are taught in Romanian schools and how these versions are influencing, among others, public attitudes towards socio-political realities and the subsequent developments of illiberal democracies in the Balkan region, with a special focus on Romania. 

The submitted research papers can cover one of the following topics:

  • Romania’s transition to communism – Nicolae Ceausescu’s strategies to legitimize and consolidate power
  • Resistance/dissidence under Ceausescu’s regime
  • The cult of personality – between the “Ceausist” and the communist regime in Romania
  • The long road to the fall of communism in Romania
  • Communism in the national curriculum: 1990 – present. Comparative approaches. 
 
The author of the best research paper will be awarded a 350 Euro grant and the article will be published on the Ratiu Forum website. In addition, the recipient of the Ratiu Forum History Prize will be invited to an awarding event in August 2022 (date to be confirmed).
 
Please submit a 300-word abstract in English at claudia.silvasan@ratiudemocracycenter.org until Friday, 13 May 2022. All abstracts submitted will be reviewed by a panel. Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified and invited to send their full research papers (maximum 3.000 words).  

2022 Calendar

call for papers: March-June 2022
 

deadline for submitting abstracts

13 May 2022

deadline for confirming selected abstracts

20 MAY 2022

deadline for submitting final papers

13 june 2022

Reviewers Panel

Dennis Deletant OBE is an Emeritus Professor at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. He was formerly the Visiting Ion Rațiu Professor of Romanian Studies at Georgetown University until 2021. His previous books include Ceaușescu and the Securitate and Communist Terror in Romania, both published by Hurst Dennis Deletant OBE is Emeritus Professor at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. He was formerly the Visiting Ion Rațiu Professor of Romanian Studies at Georgetown University. His previous books include Ceaușescu and the Securitate and Communist Terror in Romania, both published by Hurst.

Prof Carol Capiță graduated from the University of Bucharest, Faculty of History-Philosophy, in 1988. After a brief period as a Secondary School teacher (both in rural and urban schools), he became a staff member of his alma mater since 1990. He holds a PhD in Ancient History and a PhD in Educational Sciences. His interests (in the field of Education) lie in the area of curriculum development, the use of sources in History teaching, and the initial teacher training of History teachers. He published a number of articles on the Didactics of History, as well as being co-author (with Laura Capiţă) of two books on the Didactics of History, various teaching materials for the initial and continuing teacher training, and several History textbooks. He worked as an independent expert with the Council of Europe for the last 16 years.

Luciana Jinga (IICCMER) holds since September 2011 a PhD in History with a thesis on women within the Romanian Communist Party, 1944-1989. Since October 2007 she is a researcher at The Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile in Bucharest Romania. She is also a research associate at UMR CNRS 6258, Université d’Angers, France. Her latest publications: coauthor of “The demographic programme of Nicolae Ceausescu’s regime. A comparative study” (Corina Doboș, Florin Soare) vol. I, Polirom, Iaşi, 2010; coauthor and coordinator of the second volume “Institutions and practices” (Corina Doboș, Florin Soare) Polirom, Iaşi; “Citoyenneté et Travail des Femmes dans la Roumanie Communiste”, in “History of Communism in Europe”, vol. III-Communism, “Nationalism, and State Building in Post-War Europe”, Zeta Books, București, 2012. She coordinates since 2010 “The Yearbook of the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile: Between transformation and adaptation. She has a strong interest in the evolution and characteristics of the communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe and in gender-related research (women’s political activism, pronatalist politics) and also in the history of childhood during the second half of the XX century.

Dalia Bathory (IICCMER) is a PhD in European Studies and International Relations, Babes-Bolyai University, researcher and coordinator of the yearbook History of Communism in Europe, edited by the Institute of the Investigation of the Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile. Her areas of research and most recent research projects include history and memory in postsocialist Central and Eastern Europe, the history of the Hungarian minority in Communist Romania, political protest and detention during the 80s Romania, illegal border crossings during the 70s and the 80s Romania. Latest publications: “Maghiarii din România în comunism: între internationalism și naționalismul românesc” [Hungarians in Romania during Communism: between Internationalism and Romanian Nationalism], in Liliana Corobca (ed.) Panorama comunismului în România [Panoramic over Communism in Romania], Polirom, Iași, 2020; Borbély Ernő, Academia politică de la Aiud. Deținuți politici în România anilor ՚80 [The Political Academy in Aiud. Political Prisoners in 80s Romania], Polirom, Iași, 2019 (Dalia Bathory, Andreea Cârstea eds.); Dalia Bathory, Stefan Bosomitu, Cosmin Budeanca (coord.), România de la comunism la postcomunism. Criză, transformare, democratizare [Romania from Communism to Post-communism. Crisis, Transformation, Democratization], Anuarul Institutului de Investigare a Crimelor Comunismului și Memoria Exilului Românesc, vol. XIV-XV, 2019-2020, Polirom, Iași, 2020.

Dr Raul Cârstocea is a lecturer in Twentieth-Century European History at Maynooth University, Ireland. He has previously worked as a lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Leicester, as a lecturer in European Studies at Europa Universität Flensburg, as a senior research associate at the European Centre for Minority Issues, and as a teaching fellow at University College London. He has held research fellowships at the Imre Kértesz Kolleg Jena, the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam, and at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies. His research interests focus on antisemitism, Jewish history, nationalism, fascism, and the Holocaust, and more broadly on state formation and nation-building processes in the XIX and XX century Central and Eastern Europe and their consequences for minority groups. He has co-edited with Éva Kovács a volume entitled “Modern Antisemitism in the Peripheries: Europe and its Colonies, 1880-1945” (Vienna, 2019) and has published extensively on the history of antisemitism, fascism, and the Holocaust in Romania and, more broadly, Eastern Europe. He is co-editor with Paul Jackson of the “Modern History of Politics and Violence” book series at Bloomsbury Academic, and a member of the editorial board of the academic journal S:I.M.O.N. Shoah: Interventions. Methods. Documentation. He is also Vice-Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Observatory on History Teaching in Europe at the Council of Europe.

Dr. Leon Hartwell is a Sotirov Fellow at IDEAS, the London School of Economics, and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington D.C.  His research interests include conflict resolution, genocide, transitional justice, diplomacy, democracy, and the Western Balkans. Previously, Hartwell was CEPA’s Acting Director of the Transatlantic Leadership Program and a Title VIII Fellow.  From 2012 to 2013, he was also the Senior Policy Advisor for Political and Development Cooperation at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Zimbabwe, where his work included government and civil society engagement, political reporting, peacebuilding projects, and supporting human rights defenders. Prior to that, he was a policy officer at the Netherlands Embassy in South Africa, where he conducted project management and analyzed domestic and regional issues, including elections, peace processes, and democracy. In 2019, Hartwell completed a joint doctoral degree summa cum laude at Leipzig University (Germany) and Stellenbosch University (South Africa). His thesis analyzed the use of mediation in the resolution of armed conflicts. He also holds undergraduate and graduates degrees from the University of Pretoria, where from 2005 to 2009, he lectured in the Political Sciences Department on international relations and politics. In addition, Hartwell has also lectured at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga and presented guest lectures at universities and institutions in the U.S., Japan, Australia, Latvia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. He has published extensively in professional journals and mainstream media ranging from the Negotiation Journal (Harvard-MIT-Tufts) to Balkan Insight. He speaks Afrikaans, English, Dutch, and Latvian, which he studied at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute.

Lavinia Betea graduated from the History and Philosophy Faculty, the Philosophy-History department, and obtained a PhD in Psychology at the ”Babeş-Bolyai” University, in Cluj-Napoca. She is currently a professor of social and political psychology and director of the European Institute “Serge Moscow” at the ”Aurel Vlaicu” University, in Arad. She has been enabled as a PhD coordinator in humanistic sciences by the ”Paul Valery” Montpellier 3 University and in communication sciences by the ”Babeş-Bolyai” University. A printed press and television journalist, she has established and led the Recent History section of newspapers Jurnalul Național (2004-2011) and Adevărul (2011-2013). She is currently a collaborator of the Romanian national broadcaster TVR for the documentary series called Adevăruri despre trecut. She published, as an author or as a coordinator, 25 volumes, around one hundred scientific articles and over two thousand media articles. In 2003, she received the “Nicolae Bălcescu” Prize from the Romanian Academy for her book Lucrețiu Pătrășcanu – moartea unui lider comunist, the Humanitas Publishing House, Bucharest, 2001. Her areas of scientific interest include political psychology, recent history, oral history, media communication.

The Ratiu Forum History Prize 2021 edition

We are pleased to launch the Ratiu Forum History Prize. Designed as an annual call for papers contest, it aims to raise awareness among history students about their future role as educators of the younger generations and also to challenge the general public to reconsider the importance of understanding and acknowledging history as part of the collective memory.

The award contributes to the enrichment of the theoretical framework related to controversial topics in Romanian history, encouraging critical thinking and innovative research papers. By addressing sensitive topics, the Prize stimulates a critical approach in analyzing not only specific national historical patterns, but also public attitudes towards minorities and extremist beliefs.

The Prize is part of The Teaching of History programme, which seeks to explore the various versions of History that are taught in school and how these versions further influence public attitudes towards the socio-political realities.

The first edition of the Ratiu Forum History Prize focused on the commemoration of the Odessa Massacre. Read the selected paper here.

80 Years after: The Odessa Massacre between Truth and Denial

Between 1999 and 2002, the main street of the largest neighborhood in Cluj-Napoca (Mănăştur) was named Mareşal Ion Antonescu. Despite the Emergency Ordinance (OUG) No. 31/2002 and the subsequent Law No. 217/2015 on amending and supplementing the OUG 31/2002 on the prohibition of fascist, racist or xenophobic organizations and symbols and on the promotion of the cult of persons guilty of committing crimes against peace and humanity, in 2019 we could still find 9 Romanian streets named after the war criminal Ion Antonescu.

For over 60 years after the end of the Second World War, Romania was unable (or unwilling?) to acknowledge its own role during the darkest episode in the history of humankind. According to Professor Michael Shafir, Romanian society expressed a “selective negationism”. This “does not deny the Holocaust as having taken place elsewhere, but it excludes any participation of members of one’s own nation in the perpetration”. Thus, “nowhere in post-Communist East Central Europe is selective negationism so blatant as in Romania”.

Although important steps have been taken into unveiling the real implications and dimensions of the pogroms against the Romanian Jewish community (i.e. the 1941 Odessa Massacre and the 1941 Iaşi Pogrom), and against the Roma community (i.e. the 1942 deportation of Roma from Romania to Transnistria), the prevalent public opinion is yet incapable of accepting and understanding the historical truth. In 2017, only 33% of Romanians stated that the Holocaust took place not only in other European countries but in Romania as well, while only 22% of these respondents regarded the Antonescu Government as the main responsible (55% of the respondents have indicated Germany as the main responsible of the Holocaust).

The Ratiu Forum invites BA, MA, and PhD History students to submit their research papers aimed at investigating the Holocaust in the Romanian collective memory. The best research paper will be awarded with 350 Euro and will be published on the Ratiu Forum website. In addition, the recipient of the Ratiu Forum History Prize will be invited to attend the in-person Teaching of History Workshop taking place in September 2021.

Research papers might focus on the following topics:

  • Holocaust denial in the public discourse after 1989
  • Holocaust in the national curricula – communist and post-communist curricula comparative approach
  • Historical perspectives on the victimhood attitude towards the Romanian Holocaust – causes and explanations on (not)taking responsibility
  • Lessons to be (yet) learned: Romanian historians influencing public consciousness

All the submitted abstracts are currently reviewed by a panel. Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified and invited to submit their full research papers (maximum 3.000 words).

Reviewers Panel

Ana Bărbulescu, PhD, Institutul Național pentru Studierea Holocaustului din România “Elie Wiesel” (The ”Elie Wiesel” National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania)

Carol Căpiță, Professor at the Faculty of History, University of Bucharest

Dennis Deletant, Emeritus Professor of Romanian Studies School of Slavonic and East EuropeanStudies, University College, London

Alexandru Muraru, Researcher and Associate Lecturer in Political Science, Faculty of Philosophy, Social and Political Sciences (Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași); Special Representative of the Romanian Government for Promoting the Policies of Memory, for Fighting against Antisemitism and Xenophobia

Michael Shafir, Professor Emeritus at Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca 

The 2021 Rațiu Forum History Prize is developed in partnership with Institutul Național pentru Studierea Holocaustului din România “Elie Wiesel”