Zevedei Barbu (1914-1993) and the Critique of Totalitarianism. Revisiting a Political Apostasy.

The event will take place on the 18th of January 2018, at 3 p.m., Conference Room (102), Faculty of Sociology and Social Work (Șos. Panduri), Bucharest.

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Based on Marius Stan’s postdoctoral monograph project focused on one of the main voices in the totalitarian debates during the first decades of the Cold War, the presentation retrieves the political and intellectual biography of the Romanian-British sociologist Zevedei Barbu (1914-1993). The main goal is to apprehend and deconstruct the canvas of apostasy related to the humanist Leftist intellectual turned into an important anti-totalitarian thinker. Furthermore, the presentation discusses Barbu’s main contributions to the field of historical psychology and his conceptual framework. Zevedei Barbu was convinced that democracy and totalitarianism could not be explained without studying history, a discipline of paramount importance when merged with other contemporary methods of applied sociology and psychology. In doing so, he discovers labels such as “flexibility”, in the case of democracy, and “rigidity”, in the case of totalitarianism. His “ideal types” are not definitive, but his work in the era was prolegomena to any comparative psychological analysis of political systems.


Marius Stan holds a PhD in political science from the University of Bucharest (2011), served as the editor of the journal “History of Communism in Europe” (2011-2013), headed a department at the Institute for the Investigation of the Crimes of Communism, and is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Bucharest. He is the author of books published in Romania and Poland, and of numerous articles in international scholarly journals. He is currently completing an intellectual biography of Romanian/British political sociologist Zevedei Barbu and, together with Vladimir Tismaneanu, is working for a book titled “Two Sisters in Dark Times: Jewish Identity and Revolutionary Fates.” His research focuses on political biographies, revolutionary ideologies and movements, communism and post-communism. Together with Vladimir Tismaneanu, he is the author of “A Stalin Dossier: The Genialissimo Generalissimo” (Curtea Veche, 2014), “A Lenin Dossier: The Magic of Nihilism” (Curtea Veche, 2016), and a forthcoming book from Cambridge University Press on democracy, memory, and justice in post-communist Romania.

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