Collectors and collections of cultural opposition at the University of Bucharest

Research results in the frame of the H2020 project COURAGE

The event will take place on the 11th of January 2018, at 3 p.m., Council Room, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work (Schitu Măgureanu. nr.9) , sector 5, Bucharest.

The Horizon 2020 projects must answer the current problems of contemporary societies by innovative research, which must produce an output able to generate a process of self-reflection in the communities they address.  To respond the problems common to all European societies which experienced communist dictatorships and are still in the process of democratic consolidation, the COURAGE project seeks to identify those agents of change or, more precisely, those groups and persons who have interiorized the values of the European Enlightenment from before the regime change of 1989 to become later the social segment which have supported the transition. The methodological novelty of the COURAGE project lies in its approach based on the study of these agents of change through their collections of material or digital items that bear witness today to the diverse forms of critical thinking and independent action from the system of values imposed by the former communist dictatorships, which the project names collections of cultural opposition. Their collectors were neither heroes nor mere opportunists, but “common” individuals who have become – sometimes without realizing this – the silent agents of the transition to democracy, on whom the COURAGE research focuses. Among the professors at the University of Bucharest there are several owners of such collections of cultural opposition, who have contributed before and after 1989 to the renewal of education and research in this elite institution of higher learning by their efforts. We invite you to find out who are these UB silent agents of change, whose stories are now widely accessible through the electronic registry of the COURAGE project, and to reflect together upon the way these stories change the concept of our own role and of the UB role in Romanian society!

Cristina PETRESCU is Associate Professor in Modern European History at the Faculty of Political Science, University of Bucharest, and National Task Manager in the H2020 project COURAGE – Cultural Opposition: Understanding the Heritage of Cultural Dissent in Former Socialist Countries, financed by the European Union. She authored From Robin Hood to Don Quixote: Resistance and Dissent in Communist Romania (Bucharest: Editura Enciclopedică, 2013), contributed as expert to Raport Final al Comisiei Prezidenţiale pentru Analiza Dictaturii Comuniste în România (Final Report of the Presidential Commission for the Analysis of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania) (Bucharest: Humanitas, 2007), and co-edited the volume Nation-Building and Contested Identities: Romanian and Hungarian Case Studies (Budapest: Regio Books, 2001). She published in international volumes and peer-reviewed journals in the United States, Great Britain, Spain, Germany, Poland and Hungary more than 30 studies on communism and the memory of this recent past in East-Central Europe.

Cristian PĂTRĂŞCONIU is a journalist with over fifteen years of experience in central mass media, who is currently researcher in H2020 project COURAGE – Cultural Opposition: Understanding the Heritage of Cultural Dissent in Former Socialist Countries, financed by the European Union. He is the author of several books of interviews, among which Repere intelectuale ale dreptei românești (Intellectual models of the Romanian political right) (Bucharest: Humanitas, 2010); Noua școală de gândire a dreptei (The political right’s new school of thought) (Bucharest: Humanitas, 2011); Cartea președinților (The book with presidents) (Bucharest: Humanitas, 2013); Trântind ușa (Slamming the door) (Bucharest: Humanitas, 2016); Întrebări puse La Punkt (Questions asked on La Punkt blog) (Timișoara: Editura Universității de Vest, 2017); America la răscruce: Un dialog transatlantic (America at crossroads: A transatlantic dialogue) (Bucharest: Humanitas, 2017).

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