The Ratiu Forum History Teaching Programme

The Ratiu Forum Teaching of History Programme is a three-year project consisting of a series of online and offline workshops to be held between 2021 and 2023 in Turda, Transylvania, at the Ratiu Democracy Centre. The workshops follow a strategy devised by LSE IDEAS, which is based on the analysis of pilot workshop held in Turda in February 2020, attended by 20 history teachers from 9 Romanian counties, who requested follow-up workshops. The 2021-2022 programme agenda includes webinars and offline events, as well as research paper competitions for master and doctoral history students. 

mission

  • The History Teaching Workshops address the hidden history of Romania and the region – what is not covered today by the school curriculum. We bring together experts from the Balkan region to share experiences on how best to tackle the issue of low historical content and to advise on how to approach problematic historical events. 

vision

  • When citizens of a society are critical and well-informed about their society, and their past, they are better placed to engage with democratic institutions and participate in civic life.

  • The Ratiu Forum Teaching of History Programme aims to challenge uncritical thinking about the past and aims to improve the didactic teaching of history. 

  • We envisage a Romania in which students of history learn about a past that is as complex and rich as human beings are, rather than a simplistic tale of national accomplishments or a zero-sum game of winners and losers. We support an education system that encourages young minds to approach historical narratives with a critical appreciation of its complexity and an understanding that events in the past continue to influence contemporary society.

ACTIVITIES IN 2022

THE RATIU FORUM TEACHING OF HISTORY WEBINAR

29-30 January 2022

SPEAKERS

Adrian-Nicolae Furtună graduated from the Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, the Department of Sociology of the University of Bucharest and the master’s programme in Advanced Sociological Research from the same university. He is currently working on his PhD thesis on the social memory of Roma slavery at the Quality of Life Research Institute of Romanian Academy. Since 2010 he has published a series of oral history papers and scientific articles on Roma slavery and Roma deportation to Transnistria, including: “Why don’t they cry? Roma Holocaust and its true story” (2012): “Roma culture between <cardboard boats> and reality” (2015); “Romanian Roma and the Holocaust. History, theory, culture” (2018); “Roma slavery in Wallachia. Fragments of social history. Children sales/ donations. Marriages. Petitions for emancipation” (2019); “The deportation of Roma soldiers’ families to Transnistria: Between administrative and biopolitical imperatives” (Furtuna et al., 2021). He is the director of Cultural
and Social Research Center “Romane Rodimata” and counsellor in the Documentation and Research Department of the National Centre of Roma
Culture from Romania.

Emanuel–Marius Grec is a PhD Researcher in History at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. ELES Research Fellow until September 2021 and
Saul Kagan Fellow in Advanced Shoah Studies from September 2021. His research areas include the Holocaust in Romania, transitional justice, and the History of Eastern European Jews. Emanuel holds a BA in History from Vasile Goldiș University of Arad, an MA in Comparative History from Central European University in Budapest, and an MA in Jewish Studies from Hochschule für Jüdische Studien in Heidelberg. He is the winner of the 2021 Ratiu Forum History Award.

Luciana Jinga 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 political activism, pronatalist politics) and also in the history of childhood during the second half of the XX century.

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.

Louisa Slavkova is the director of the Sofia Platform Foundation. She is an advisory board member of the European Network for Civic Education. In 2021 she co-founded the pan-European platform for civic education – THE CIVICS Innovation Hub. Since 2019 she is co-head of the Capacity Building Program at Civic Europe, a program for locally rooted civic actors in so-called civic deserts in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. Prior to that, Louisa has been a Ronald Lauder Visiting Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University, NYC, programs manager at ECFR and adviser to Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Nickolay Mladenov. She is author and editor of several books and publications on foreign policy, democracy development and civic education, as well as co-author of a textbook on civic education in Bulgaria.

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.

Currently a reporter working for the alternative publication Dela0,  Diana Oncioiu is also a member of the Să Fie Lumină project, initiated by Dela0.ro and the Center for Media Investigations. She has a background in broadcasting, having worked for five years for Realitatea TV and Digi24. She covers mainly social topics – domestic violence, education, social assistance, extreme poverty, social exclusion – and is the author of a series of in depth reportages covering topic like: the social reintegration of former inmates, life in the undergrounds of the Bucharest neighborhood Ferentari, human trafficking and the trialing of sexual crimes with child victims. Diana Oncioiu is the 2020 recipient of the Ion Ratiu Journalism Award.

AGENDA*

Saturday 29 January 2022

Sunday 30 January 2022

 11.00 – 11.30

Introduction

Mr Nicolae Rațiu and Prof Christopher Coker

11:30 – 13:45

Representation of women in modern history

Speakers: Alexandra Ghiț (CEU, Austria), Luciana Jinga (Université d’Angers, France)

15:30 – 17:45

The history of minorities in Central and Eastern Europe 

Speakers: Adrian Furtună (Research Institute for Quality of Life – Romanian Academy), Dalia Bathory (PhD in International Relations and European Studies), Emanuel Grec (University of Heidelberg, Germany)

11:30 – 13:00

History national curriculum challenges 

Speakers: Raul Cârstocea (Maynooth University, Ireland), Carol Căpiță (University of Bucharest, Romania)

14:00 – 15.30 

Why does history matter?

Speakers: Louisa Slavkova (Sofia Platform Foundation, Bulgaria), Raul Cârstocea

15.30 – 16.00

Wrap up session

Prof Christopher Coker

 

The event will unfold in English and is open to history teachers and history university students
Participation is free, based on application. Registration deadline: 17 January 2022 
Please provide all the required information on English.
*timings are currently provisional and may be subject to slight alteration
 

ACTIVITIES IN 2021

TEACHING OF HISTORY WEBINAR - spring edition

The webinar is scheduled for 8-9 May 2021 and is open to history teachers and final year history university students. The number of participants will be limited to 25 and candidates will go through a selection process.

The application stage is now closed. 
 
SPEAKERS
Prof Christopher Coker (LSE IDEAS)
Mr Vlad Zigarov (LSE IDEAS)
Dr Eric Weaver (University of Debrecen)
Professor Slobodan Markovich (University of Belgrade)
Prof Carol Căpiță (University of Bucharest)
Dr Raul Cârstocea (University of Leicester)
 
AGENDA*

Saturday 8 May 2021

Sunday 9 May 2021

9.00am UK / 11.00am RO

Welcome and Introduction

Christopher Coker and Nicolae Ratiu

09:30-11.00 UK /11:30-13:00 RO

The politicisation of history

Speakers: Christopher Coker and Vlad Zigarov

Moderator: Christopher Coker

12.30–14:00 UK / 14:30–16:00 RO

Teaching Romania’s darker past

Speakers: Carol Căpiţă and Raul Cârstocea

Moderator: Carol Capiţă

09:30-11.00 UK /11:30-13:00 RO

Nationalism and the curriculum

Speakers: Eric Weaver and Slobodan Markovich

Moderator: Christopher Coker

11.30-12:00 UK / 13:30-14:00 RO  

Concluding thoughts and wrapping up

Christopher Coker and panellists

*timings are currently provisional and may be subject to slight alteration
 

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”

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Ratiu Forum 

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