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 programme agenda includes a spring webinar, an offline workshop, and a research paper competition for master and doctoral history students. 


  • 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 We bring together experts from the Balkan region to share experiences on how best to tackle the issue of low historical content and to advise on how to approach problematic historical events. 


  • 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.


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. 
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)

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

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 will focus on the commemoration of the Odessa Massacre.

2021 Call for Papers - closed

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 

No. 1, Piata 1 Dec. 1918 Turda, jud. Cluj, Romania


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