// Adriana Stan, “Postmodernism as Anticommunism: Cold War Legacies in (Post)Socialist Romanian Literature”, CBEES Annual Conference (Södertörn University, Sweden) – Central and Eastern Europe 1989-2019: Orders and Freedoms, 7-8 November, 2019

The paper examines the evolution of anticommunism from the pre-1989 oppositional ethos of East European writers influenced by postmodernism, to an official master narrative that led the competition for political, cultural and literary power after 1989. Emerging in the 1980s as an autocolonial iteration of American theory and fiction, Romanian postmodernism radicalized the Cold War opposition between democracy and communism, and related the antitotalitarian drive of pre-1989 literary intelligentsia to postmodernism’s anti-totalizing epistemology. The two stages undergone by Romanian postmodern literature – a pre-1989 decade of semi-official creativity, and a post-1989 cultural combat for institutional power – relied on homogeneous literary-political values. During the 80s, the postmodern paradigm enabled Romanian writers to channel their frustration with the regime through the metafictional critique of historical truth and representation, and through fictional allegories of the private individual. After1989, Romanian postmodern writers acted upon the aesthetic choices they had delineated in the 1980s with a sense of political agency, as advocates of cultural synchronisation within a globalized space of “multiculturalism” that was otherwise devoid of real connection with local realities. As such, Romanianpostmodernism alligned with ascending neoliberalism of the 1990s, in their attempt to relativize and “culturalize” the social-economical facts of transition. Both narratives, the literary and the political one, projected a public mythology of anticommunism which was closer to the American Cold War dichotomies, than to the partially Leftist French Theory that nurtured the postmodern paradigm.
Full conference programme.

// Daniel Iftene, “Capitalizing the Oppressed. Shaping the Anti-Communist Discourse in Romanian Cinema Through the Victims of Communism post-1989”, CBEES Annual Conference (Södertörn University, Sweden) – Central and Eastern Europe 1989-2019: Orders and Freedoms, 7-8 November 2019

Despite common expectations based on the anti-communist themed Romanian films of the 1990’s and the 2000s’, the public debate in reconfiguring the local filmmaking after the 1989 Revolution was not characterized by an intensive anti-communist discourse, but by a rather mild and underlying perspectivearticulated by the appraisal for those artists oppressed by the communist regime (Lucian Pintilie, Mircea Saucan, Mircea Daneliuc etc.), regarded even nowadays as artists that openly opposed the communist ruling. The first post-revolutionary accounts on the most prominent platforms for discussing filmmaking in Romania disclose aspects of the previous intensive oppression, but the anti-communist stance is mostly shaped by this offering of prominent positions to filmmakers that experienced censorship and exile during the Ceausescu regime. Nevertheless, their repositioning as key-artists is rarely doubled by an open discussion about the people behind the state aggression.Thus, the public discourse regarding the Romanian cinema reflects to some extent the claims of the December Revolution for bringing back those who were forced to leave the country and capitalize their experience, their “European thinking”, and their resources, but maintains an ambiguous attitude to disclosing the names and actions of people who acted out as oppressors, mirroring the larger public discourse throughout most of the past 30 years.This presentation will bring forward the mechanisms of using of the victim-image in the first decades after the fall of the communist ruling in Romania and the effects of these strategies on reshaping the local cinema as an anti-communist one.
Full conference programme.