Dr. Claudia Draganoiu (POINT 2013-15)


Freie Universität Berlin

Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature

Center for Area Studies

Habelschwerdter Allee 45
Room JK 28/217
14195 Berlin

Claudia Drăgănoiu obtained her B.A (majoring in Romanian literature, with a minor in French literature) at the Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest, Romania, and continued with a M.A. at the same institution.

For her PhD degree, Claudia chose a joint thesis supervision, between the University of Bucharest and the University of Strasbourg, France.

After defending her PhD thesis on exile literary prose in September 2011, Claudia continued her research on Romanian exile writers, this time in a transdisciplinary manner, with a comparative outlook, and joined the Center for Area Studies, at Freie Universität Berlin as a DRS-POINT fellow in May 2013.

Focus of Research

Exile intellectual production, diaspora, political myths, narratives of the homeland, transnationalism, acculturation

Postdoctoral Research Project

“Syncretism and acculturation in exile nationalist mythology – the case of the 20th century Romanian exiles”

This project focuses on the mutations suffered by the nationalist mythology of Romanian diaspora when exposed to the influence of the host culture, the objectives of the research being essentially threefold:

  • To examine how Romanian exiles preserve their ethnic and ideological identity by attempting to programmatically “reconstruct” their society of origin (in terms of social hierarchies, religious beliefs, re-enacting of political conflicts). The ‘exiles’ referred to here are mostly intellectuals who left the country right before or right after the installation of Communism. This particular focus group was chosen because of its importance in creating an ‘exile’ culture (they were writers, journalists, literary critics, historians, former members of the ‘nationalist’ generation of the 1930’-1940’ – who openly stated their goal was to keep alive Romania’s traditional values, since they had been corrupted, at home, by official propaganda).
  • To develop an “exile mythology” approach that goes beyond restating the nationalist agenda of the young Romanian intellectuals during the Interbellum and rather identifies a series of recurrent strategies mirroring the ones used by the Communist propaganda. Currently, the nationalist ideas that characterize exile intellectual production are considered a more or less exact copy of the ones adopted before the war by the young generation – a mixture of national pride and patriotism, with some sense of superiority (based on the purity of traditional practices and beliefs, uncorrupted by the modern society) and a strong conviction that the active return to Orthodoxism was the only salvation of the country’s spirituality.
  • To explore the effects of exposing this nationalist mythology to the host culture, looking into the mechanism of acculturation and arguing that the reluctance Romanians still show today towards the exiles comes from their different perception of the “home” as a cultural configuration of the idea of belonging.

Scientific discussions about ‘diasporas’ became very popular during the 1990s, and up to this date, they owe a great deal to post colonial theories. Little has been said about Eastern European diasporas, although their literary production was quite influential in Europe during the two-three decades following the war (Vintila Horia received the prestigious ‘Prix Goncourt’ in 1960 for his ‘God is born in exile’, C.V. Gheorghiu’s had his ‘The 25th Hour’ translated in several languages, and was finally made into a movie, Witold Gombrowicz received the International Prize for Literature in 1967 for his novel ‘Cosmos’, etc.). Remarkably, all their work focused on the experience of exile, or on the absurdity of the totalitarian society they had escaped by leaving home.

At this point, bibliography dealing with the literature of the diasporas, either Romanian or international, is very thin; while meanwhile, exile literature became a fashionable subject for theses and books, authors normally focus on a certain personality, ignoring the bigger picture. This research also attempts to fill in this bibliographical gap.

Articles in academic Journals

Traitement littéraire d’un motif orientaliste dans l’œuvre de L.M Arcade: Poveste cu tigani [Literary treatment of an orientalist motif in L.M. Arcade’s “A story with some gipsies”] in ReCHERches no 7: “Roumanie/ Bulgarie: Cultures et arts”, magazine of CHER EA 4376, University of Strasbourg (Co-directed by Hélène Lenz and Lidyia Mihova), p. 291-299, ISBN 978-2-35410-042-1, ISSN 1968-035X

L'image de l'Autre dans La 25ème heure de C.V. Gheorghiu [The image of the Other in C.V. Gheorghiu’s “The 25th Hour”], in ReCHERches, magazine of CHER EA 4376, University of Strasbourg (forthcoming)

Figuri ale exilului romantic romanesc [Personalities of Romanian romantic exile] in the Magazine of the National Library of Romania, 1/ 2013 (forthcoming)

Chapters in edited Volumes

Specificul exilului romanesc (1945-1989): privire generala [Features of Romanian exile 1945-1989] in the volume of The Doctoral School of the Faculty of Letters II, Eds: L. Ruxandoiu and M. Anghelescu. Publishing House: Paralela 45, Bucharest, 2011, p. 57-65, ISBN 978-973-47-1263-2.

Exilul literar romanesc [Romanian literary exile] in “Romanian cultural and literary studies”, coord. by Mircea Anghelescu, Publishing House: Paralela 45, Bucharest, 2011, p. 11-21, ISSN 2247-8094.

Poveste cu tigani [A story with some gipsies] in “Researches and studies. The volume of the Doctoral School of the Faculty of Letters I”. Eds: L. Ruxandoiu and M. Anghelescu. Publishing House: Paralela 45, Bucharest, 2010, p. 55-65, ISBN 978-973-47-1261-8.

Peer-reviewed publications

Représentations féminines dans la Trilogie de l’exil de Vintilă Horia [Feminine representations in Vintila Horia’s Trilogy of Exile] in “Studii de stiinta si cultura”, magazine of « Vasile Goldis » University from Arad, Romania (forthcoming)

In preparation:

The long way to Ithaca: Romanian exiles are coming home, to be submitted to The Slavonic and East European Review, MHRA, UK