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Book Launch: Intellectuals and Fascism in Interwar Romania

January 23, 2020 @ 9:00 am - 11:00 am EST

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, invites you on Thursday, January 23 starting at 2:00 pm to discuss Cristina Bejan’s latest book “Intellectuals and Fascism in Interwar Romania: The Criterion Association (Modernity, Memory and Identity in South-East Europe).” She will be joined by Professor Vladimir Tismăneanu, Director of the Center for the Study of Post-communist Societies at University of Maryland (College Park). The event will take place at the Center located in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, One Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania, Ave., NW, Washington, DC.

In 1930s Bucharest, some of the country’s most brilliant young intellectuals converged to form the Criterion Association. Bound by friendship and the dream of a new, modern Romania, their members included historian Mircea Eliade, critic Petru Comărnescu, Jewish playwright Mihail Sebastian and a host of other philosophers and artists. Together, they built a vibrant cultural scene that flourished for a few short years, before fascism and scandal splintered their ranks. Cristina A. Bejan asks how the far-right Iron Guard came to eclipse the appeal of liberalism for so many of Romania’s intellectual elite, drawing on diaries, memoirs and other writings to examine the collision of culture and extremism in the interwar years. The first English-language study of Criterion and the most thorough to date in any language, this book grapples with the complexities of Romanian intellectual life in the moments before collapse.

Cristina A. Bejan is a Rhodes and Fulbright scholar. She has had fellowships at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), the Wilson Center and Georgetown University. She received her Masters and DPhil in Modern History from the University of Oxford and her BA in Philosophy (Honors) from Northwestern University, where she also studied theater. While a researcher for USHMM, she authored 64 articles on camps in Africa and Europe for the “Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos – Vol. 3.” Most recently she taught history at Duke University. A playwright and spoken word artist, her creative work has appeared in the US, UK, Romania and Vanuatu. Bejan runs the arts and culture collective Bucharest Inside the Beltway, based in Denver, CO and Bucharest, Romania.

Vladimir Tismăneanu is a Professor of politics and Director of the Center for the Study of Post-communist Societies at University of Maryland (College Park), President of the Presidential Commission for the Analysis of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania (April 2006–March 2007), and since April 2007, Chairman of the Presidential Consultative Commission for the Analysis of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania. He left communist Romania in 1981. In 1983, he joined the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia as a research associate and a contributing editor to ORBIS. Since 1990 he has been teaching at University of Maryland, Department of Government and Politics, receiving in 2003 the University of Maryland Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award. In 2004, his book, ”Stalinism for All Seasons” was granted the “Barbara Jelavich Award” by the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (AAASS). He serves as chair of the Editorial Committee of East European Politics and Societies and is also a member of the editorial boards of Human Rights Review, Studia Politica, and Journal of Democracy. For more than two decades he’s been a permanent collaborator of Radio Free Europa, Voice of America, Deutsche Welle and BBC and writes a weekly column for the influential Romanian daily Evenimentul Zilei.

Books will be available for sale at $20 (cash or check) and the author will be available to sign them.


January 23, 2020
9:00 am - 11:00 am EST


The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars


Woodrow Wilson International Institute
1300 Pennsylvania, Avenue, NW
Washington, DC, DC United States
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