NEC has been hosting research groups initiated by its Fellows and alumni. One of the most lasting initiatives of this kind has been the research group Foundations of Early Modernity, out of which grew (among other outcomes) the MOM project mentioned above. The groups we are currently hosting:
I. Research Group “Reflections on the Political and Social History of the 18th and 19th Centuries in Romania” (GRiPs), coordinated by Constanța Vintilă-Ghițulescu, NEC alumna, and Silvia Marton, NEC alumna
Since 2009, the monthly research group's aim is to study the political, social and cultural history of the 18th and 19th centuries from various theoretical and disciplinary perspectives. Its members and its guests are historians, political scientists, sociologists etc. who conduct research on different themes related to the 18th and 19th centuries transformations and modernizations. GRiPs' ambition is to establish a wider European and regional scientific network as well.
Project website: http://grips.nec.ro
II.a. The Bible in Its Linguistic Context: Coptic is a focus group coordinated by Ștefan Colceriu, founded in January 2013 which aims at implementing and developing the scientific study of Coptic within the Romanian academic context. Its members are young academics from various backgrounds (theology, philology, history, philosophy) who share the same ideal of scientific excellence and methodological efficiency. The group’s activity fills an important gap in the Biblical studies from Romania by providing direct access to original Coptic sources and by bringing into focus a huge cultural tradition which had been neglected by our before . Since it benefits from a flexible and mobile structure, the group is involved in achieving several goals, like translating Coptic literature into Romanian (biblical, apocryphal, patristic), collaborating with fellow scientists and academic institutions worldwide, and, most importantly, supporting and encouraging the study of Coptic among students interested in Biblical and Religious Studies.
II.b. The Bible in Its Linguistic Context: Hebrew is a focus group coordinated by Ștefan Colceriu, founded in October 2013 which aims at supporting and developing the scientific study of Biblical Hebrew within the Romanian academic context. Its members are both senior and junior specialists in the field of Biblical studies from various scientific backgrounds (theologians, classical philologists, philosophers). Their competence and experience with biblical texts of different linguistic traditions (Hebrew, Greek and Latin) go along with their rigorous understanding of modern scientific standards. The immediate goal of the group is to provide the Romanian culture with a new, complete, scientific, non-confessional, and accurate translation of the Hebrew Bible. By so doing it also envisages the reinforcement of the study of Biblical Hebrew on a sound scientific base within the Romanian academic milieu.
New World Disorder
In an influential paper published nearly a decade ago (A Cultural Theory of International Relations, Cambridge, 2008), the American political scientist Richard Ned Lebow proposed a new vision on international relations. Drifting away from the realist and liberal schools of thought, Lebow explained the evolutions from the international system in a cultural perspective. The norms, beliefs, values, ideas and identities of all kinds are factors with an overwhelming influence on the international political order. Especially starting with the second half of the XX-th century, the non-statal actors (multinational corporations, religious groups, NGOs, minorities of all kinds etc.) have provided new dynamics for international relations, while the digital revolutions has „democratized” the access to the world scene, facilitating the unrestricted communication of the profound, cultural layers of human beings. The virtual interactions of the citizens of the world, of their ideas and attitudes, including those related to international relations, are meetings of culturally determined ways of seeing and understanding the world.
The interdisciplinary group organized by NEC and coordinated by Sever Voinescu gathers specialists in international relations, political scientists, specialists in legal studies, philosophers, anthropologists, sociologists, theologians etc. that study, especially from this cultural perspective, topics that are specific to international relations, which are of great relevance also for Romania. Some of these topics are:
- Europe and/vs. America. Towards the configuration of new Trans-Atlantic relationships?
- Europe and Russia: between economic attraction and Russophobia;
- Europe and the Islamic world;
- Intra-European rifts: geographic fragmentations and different integration speeds;
- Crises and international institutions: war and peace in the XXI-st century.
Higher Education and Academic Research: Theories, Practices, Challenges
The working group coordinated by Sorin Costreie, Ligia Deca, Kázmér Kovács, Alexandru Niculescu aims to discuss aspects related to
the state of the universities and academic institutions in Romania and the ways in which they adapt to the internal socio-economic
realities, as well as those in the global market of higher education and academic research. This kind of undertaking implies the
analysis of a complex set of variables with relevance for the functioning of the higher education/scientific research system.
Factors such as the instability of the legal framework and the (under)funding of higher education/academic research are often
considered when discussing the flaws of public policies in these areas. Other specialists insist, on the contrary, on
intra-systemic flaws, such as the indifference or the lack of capacity of the stakeholders to adjust the internal mechanisms that
can „heal” the system (setting up criteria for the promotion of quality in relationship with, for example, academic promotion,
the ranking of universities, the validation of doctoral schools etc.). In the larger context, considering the internationalization
of higher education and academic research, the Romanian model becomes an interesting topic for comparative study.
Some of the topics the working group aims to discuss are:
- traditions in higher education and academic research institutions in Romania and abroad;
- higher education/academic research, legal framework and academic practices;
- the funding of higher education and academic research;
- scientific thinking and managerial thinking.
The two Focus Groups are financed by a grant of the Executive Unit for Financing Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation – UEFISCDI, within the Prize for Excellence in Research awarded to Romanian Host Institutions of research projects financed by the European Research Council in 2014 – 2016.