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A Transnational History of Romanian Literature

Project description

Rethinking the ‘nation’ concept amidst globalisation

In recent decades, globalisation has sparked heightened interaction and integration amongst people, companies and governments. For instance, multinational corporations expanded and the role of some super-state organisations sprouted. Also, the means of communication developed rapidly. There was also a substantial increase in immigration. For all these reasons, there is a need to rethink the concept of ‘nation’. The EU-funded TRANSHIROL project will test the hypothesis that ‘national’ literature should not be primarily regarded as a system but as a network defined by the transnational communities in which it is integrated. The focus will be on Romania’s 500-year-long history of literature and its progressive global development in a history of world literature written from a Romanian perspective.


Demographic trends and the epistemic mutations of the past decades have led to numerous critiques of the nationalist-organicist model of literary history. Furthermore, the ethnic status of the individuals identifying as Romanians has become increasingly complex upon increased migration and the emergence of a new state where they amount to an important share of the total population (Moldova).

Consequently, a series of questions are yet to be properly explored and answered: How could and should a transnational history of “national” literatures be written in a post-national age? How can we avoid the methodological protectionism typical of “smaller” cultures against the resurgence of nationalist/populist sentiments? How can we steer clear of narrow nationalism without falling into neoliberal traps and embracing uncritically the theory of free-floating cosmopolitanism? How should a history of Romanian literature look like in the age of globalization?

The working hypothesis of TRANSHIROL – and one of its ground-breaking elements – is that a “national” literature should not be regarded mainly as a system (even if it has systemic properties), but rather as a network defined by the transnational communities into which it is integrated depending on its geopolitical situation. Throughout our project, this hypothesis will be operationalized via two sets of innovative instruments: the dichotomy between cultural matrix and cultural model, and a fourfold taxonomy of literary operators (institutional/paradigmatic/connective/imaginary).

By combining systematic theorizing with historical scholarship and close reading with distant reading, TRANSHIROL sets out to chart the over five-century-long history of Romanian literature and the progressive evolution of its network toward planetary proportions, since a transnational history of Romanian literature strives to ultimately become a history of world literature written from a Romanian perspective.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 450 000,00
Bd victoriei 10
550024 Sibiu

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Macroregiunea Unu Centru Sibiu
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)