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Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
3003 N. Charles Street, Suite 100
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-3843
Phone: (410) 516-7160 / Fax (410) 516-5251

May 21, 1998
Leslie Rice, lnr@jhu.edu

Scholarly Journal Travels to Romania

Once repressed under communism, a new breed of scholars now blossoms in Romania. For some, like Romanian historian Serban Papacostea, whose two colleagues were murdered for their work, opportunities for intellectual exploration that would have been unthinkable 10 years ago, are more and more accessible. Next week, for example, he will take part in an international conference in Bucharest that will unflinchingly examine his country's cultural identity myths and truths. But as exciting as this past decade has been for academics in post- communist countries, it is an equally exciting time for academics on American soil who are now able to collaborate and develop relationships with Eastern European researchers and professors.

From May 27 to 30, the Journal of the History of Ideas, a quarterly interdisciplinary scholarly journal that examines the evolution of ideas and their influence on historical developments, will hold a conference in Bucharest's Elisabeta Palace, titled "Culture and the Politics of Identity in Modern Romania."

Johns Hopkins University philosophy professor Jerome Schneewind, president of journal's board of directors, says the Bucharest colloquium is the first of many such conferences the journal hopes to sponsor over the coming years. Initial discussions are underway for a conference to be held in China, and there are hopes to hold conferences thereafter in other areas where the journal has not been readily available.

"Our board members would be interested in funding conferences in Russia, the Middle East and Africa," said Schneewind. "The world is shrinking, and we can learn a great deal from these countries. For academic journals to stay exciting and continue to reach a wider audience, it is important that we increasingly internationalize our contributors and audiences."

The four-day colloquium will look at modern Romanian intellectual and cultural history. It will cover a wide range of topics, including some that remain highly controversial in Romania like feminism, the self-understanding of Jews and other ethnic minorities, the direction of the country's economy and its historical myths and cultural identity. It will feature talks and debates by leading scholars from the United States, France, Israel, and Germany, though the majority of the speakers are Romanian. Already, the conference and its topics have generated a great deal of excitement in Romania, and the panel discussions will be covered by the Romanian media.

To learn more about the conference, visit its website at http://www.pitt.edu/~identity. To learn more about the Journal of History of Ideas, visit its website at http://www.press.jhu.edu/press/journals/.

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