The interwar Romanian Communist Party (RCP) is portrayed in historiography as an organization consisting of some consecutive or simultaneous leading heads, but without having a body of members. Making use of recently discovered 10,000 personal records of the communists we intend to build a prosopographical database with connected digital-applications, available online for free. The database is conceived as a working-tool that will comprise information on the communists’ number, ethnic and regional origins, religion, education, political and professional careers. We will construct 14 search-functions of the database that will allow us to challenge the dominant historical stereotypes regarding the RCP membership. Our immediate research interests focus primarily on the analysis of the numeric evolution of the interwar Communist Party, on the ethnic and regional origins of Party members and sympathizers, and on their political trajectories between 1944 and 1952.
The immediate results we envisage include the publishing of a volume that synthesizes the most relevant data collected throughout the duration of the project, and the presentation of the results at international conferences and in prestigious journals. In the long-run our project will contribute to the development of computational methods in the historiographical studies. This user-friendly working tool addresses both professional historians and the larger public, possessing a high potential for educational purposes.
The main objective of our project is the digitalization of a series of personal records of the members, sympathizers, conspirators, “fellow-travellers” of CPoR between 1924-1944, in a prosopographical database with connected digital-applications, available online for free. This database contains details regarding their number, ethnic and regional origins, religion, education, type of political activities they were involved in, their political career and other details.
The database and related digital applications will represent an indispensable working-tool for all those interested in the interwar history of Romania in general, and in the dynamics of an illegal Party in particular.
// Collection – photography or scanning – of all the personal records (10,000 personal records totaling ca. 20,000 pages) from fund no 95, at ANIC, identification and collection of related archival data from other archival funds or collections of the same archive (ANIC), and of Archives of the National Council for the Study of the Securitate Archives (ACNSAS) completed by relevant secondary sources (research stages of in the libraries).
// Introduction of the content collected in the previous stage in the data-model previously defined by the soft-developer.
// Development in collaboration with the soft-developer of different search-functions for the data base available online for free. These functions allow the search of the database on several criteria: personal profile, political career, types of political action, personal and professional relationships, regional origin, ethnic origin, and political trajectories between 1944-1951.
These new digital applications (search-functions) we create incollaboration with the soft-developers use the in-depth knowledge of the team on the structures and dynamics of the Romanian Communist Party, acquired over years of systematic research.
The most relevant historiographical questions will be further translated into digital applications that facilitate an operational approach.
// Dissemination of results: Publishing of the volume Members, sympathizers, conspirators and ’fellow-travelers’ of the Romanian Communist Party of Romania that will present some of the problems and results of the project. This volume will discuss the benefits and the limits of the using prosopographies in the study of Romanian communism, conceptual clarifications developed during the project (alternative definition of the terms: member, sympathizer, conspirator and ’fellow traveller’). At the same time, the volume will present some of functions previously developed in the project in a historiographical perspective, integrated with other available sources and interpretations.
The resulting digital working-tool will contribute to the advancement of historiography, as the results of the exploration of the new empirical material announce to be challenging for the prevailing historiographical narratives, and can bring insightful perspectives on the history of Communism in Romania. Because of the high costs involved by this type of research in terms of human resources and equipments, this type of online prosopographical research is fairly new in Romanian historiography. Thus, our project strives to contribute to the alignment of Romanian historiography to the Western contemporary standards of research. The project will contribute to the epistemological development of the prosopographical studies, as the specific digital applications to be developed in this project will take into account the contingency expressed by the empirical data, i.e. the particular dynamics of the ‘ordinary’ Communists in illegality.
Whereas most of the prosopographies address the collective biographies of the elites, our project will address the social, personal, and professional trajectories of some “ordinary people” engaged in different types of political activity. Our project will also contribute to a better public engagement of the historical sciences, given the possibility of online search-functions of the database. These academic contributions of epistemological and historiographical nature on one hand, and an increased public relevance of the history of Romanian communism on the other, will expand the research projects already undertaken by the program-director (such as the social structures in Communism or public representations in Communism).
The Duration of the research-project: September 2013 – November 2015
Total Budget of the research-project:
(planned in accordance with the contractual agreement act 1/2015):