Accepted paper:

The recent past as another country: cultural markers of the Romanian end of Communism


Sidonia Grama (Romanian Academy, Cluj)

Paper short abstract:

This paper focuses on the monuments and cultural markers of the 1989 Romanian revolution, erected in different cities of Transylvania (memorial inscriptions, street names or statues), interrogating them emphatically from an oral history and cultural anthropology approach.

Paper long abstract:

At a quarter of century since the momentous of the 1989 collapse of communism in Central and Eastern Europe, the collective memories of the violent founding event of the Romanian post communist democracy still bear indelible wounds. This paper will focus on the social lives of the monuments representing the 1989 Romanian revolution, which have been erected in its aftermath in different cities of Transylvania. It will deal broadly with different cultural markers such as: memorial inscriptions, street names or statues dedicated to the 1989 political changes and to the "martyr-heroes" of the revolution. The study also aims at investigating both the durable and the evanescent traces of collective and cultural memories of the 1989 events (graffiti, as well as monuments and stone inscriptions) focusing on both material and immaterial practices of remembering and/or forgetting in common (commemorations, religious celebrations and political contestations), promoted by different communities of memory. These practices will be related to different competing narratives on the historical events, as pieces of evidence for the emerging politics of memory and oblivion of the 1989 Romanian historical change. Situated between and betwixt memory and history, these monuments have a special relationship to the recent past. They are contemporary with the witnesses of historical events they con-celebrate or with the protagonists of the history they represent. The paper will provoke an empathetic interrogation of these tense co-existences, through an interdisciplinary approach of oral history and cultural anthropology.

panel SPS004
Socialist heritage, memories, realities