Volume XIX (2014), no. 1

IDEAS • BOOKS • SOCIETY • READINGS

Contents

Studies

Ramona MATEI
Institution:
Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iaşi, Romania
Email:
ramonamatei78@yahoo.com
Abstract

In the “reading,” made by the disciple Ioan Petru Culianu on the master Mircea Eliade’s work and life, we actually distinguish the interpreter’s own obsessions and the need of a self-enlightenment regarding the role of the discipline that he practices (history of religions) and the significance of the unpredictable succession of the historical events. “Young Culianu,” who is still influenced by Eliade’s philosophy, understands the history of religions as a discipline of the existential implications, capable of offering a profound cognition of the human being and of his relations with the world (history) in which he lives. In the last period of his creation, exceeding the modern hermeneutics of the sense, practiced by the master, Culianu interrogates history from an interdisciplinary and systemic position. In his attempt to learn the universal method, a true clavis universalis, applicable to any field of knowledge, Ioan Petru Culianu gradually detaches himself from Eliade’s view, unveiling a new paradigm in the study of the religious facts. [*]

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[*] This article was written for the following project: PhD Studies: Portal for an Eminent Career in Research and Knowledge Society, financed by the Functional Domain Programme for the Human Resources Management 2007-2013  (grant POSDRU /88/1.5/S/47646).

Rodica FRENŢIU
Institution:
Babes-Bolyai University Cluj, Faculty of Letters
Email:
rfrentiu@hotmail.com
Abstract

The present study tries to analyze the relation between written and visual image both in the Japanese calligram and the Byzantine icon, searching the possible meeting points between the two types of art. On the other hand, our research is meant to inquire the way in which the global meaning of these iconographic arts can be instantaneously deciphered through a hermeneutic and cultural semiotics approach, or whether it reveals itself gradually as the intuitive perception of the icon-replaced reality results in either a “spiritual painting” or a “sacred image”. Epiphanies of a world hidden under a veil of mystery and mystical communion, the Japanese calligram and the Byzantine icon are open to perpetual discovery. By renouncing the principle of representation of the visible structure of the world, they become metaphysical spiritual documents and means which reveal the absolute.

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Dániel DARVAY
Institution:
Department of English and Foreign Languages, Colorado State University-Pueblo
Email:
ddarvay@gmail.com
Abstract

This paper seeks to offer a continuity thesis by showing that modernism is in many ways a continuation – both from a theoretical and a literary historical point of view – of well-established cultural contradictions and rhetorical strategies. I argue that a focus on the uncanny in modernist literature illuminates the complex chiastic interdependence of the apparently simple opposition between the rational and the irrational: the former constantly discovers in the latter not only its antagonist, but also its most important motivation. Thus, reason folds back onto itself in a chiastic fashion: rationalizing the uncanny generates further instances of the uncanniness of reason. This paradoxical operation is not simply a marginal device that modernist writers sporadically deploy, but, as I reveal in my brief analyses of D. H. Lawrence, Aldous Huxley, and Joseph Conrad, it can rather be regarded as one of the central organizing principles of modernist literature and culture. The last part of the essay shows that Woolf’s genius lies in the fact that she relocates the modernist chiasmus at the level of the opposition between ethics and aesthetics. The uncanny in Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway upsets the distinction between the two categories, suggesting a new modernist aesthetics of the trivial.

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Zsuzsa SELYEM
Institution:
Babeş-Bolyai University Cluj, Department of Hungarian Literary Studies
Email:
selyemzsuzsa@lett.ubbcluj.ro
Abstract

This essay tries to find out the shared structural element between Mario Merz’s installations and László Krasznahorkai’s prose, with special accent on the Seiobo There Below. Both artists use the Fibonacci series of numbers, which results a “fragile and potentially dangerous” (Germano Celant) structure. The connections are not based on conventions, are not guaranteed by certain characters with certain identities, but they may appear by the pre-historical structures of different works of art in different situations. Merz’s arte povera outstandingly represented solidarity within society, Krasznahorkai’s subtle prose, in a more hidden way, does the same. Both have found new and archaic structures to surpass the overwhelming rhetorics of war. [*]

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[*] While writing this study, the author received the grant of the Domus Program of Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Vasile PĂDUREAN
Institution:
Independent Researcher, Freiburg im Breisgau
Email:
bujorel@web.de
Abstract

Alcibiades enters Agadon’s house spontaneously from the street. His sudden appearance is a disruption and the symposium takes a new direction with his presence. He is not familiar with the monologues given by the other eulogists or by Diotima, whose speech presents the inner core of Eros as a philosophical being that – as alluded in many references – is embodied by Socrates. In contrast, Alcibiades‘ paradigmatic presentation of Socrates portrays an image of the philosopher in the profane world as reflected in the eyes of the politician. Thus, the reader suddenly finds themself in a theatrical scene, surrounded by various mirrors that reflect and depict in different ways the essence of Eros as a philosopher. The author places the key in the reader’s hand, but they must think for themselves. Diotima’s speech illuminates Socrates‘ inner nature, while Alcibiades speech deforms Socrates in a profane interpretation. Real and relevant events, significant gestures, Socrates‘ profound maxims, false interpretations, and niave remarks as well as the passion of the speakers blend together in a pathetic, one-sided conversation artfully written by Plato. In Alcibiades discourse some things are turned upside down. In addition to his subversive, disparaging intention, his cultural misinterpretation and his comparison of Socrates with the Sirens – and not least his limitation as a politician, who is not capable of understanding a lifelong commitment to philosophy – are obvious. When Alcibiades praises Socrates, he criticizes him; and when he intends to criticize him, he praises him.The comparison with the demigod Sileni/Satyr is an acclamation. Just like the figure of the Silenus from the sculptors‘ studios, he has an interior and an external dimension. Alcibiades praises his golden heart. The image of the Satyr-like speaker who mesmerizes his listeners is a compliment for the orator. However, only to commend the superficial effect of his rhetoric without comprehending and interpreting the philosophical Logos of its contents – as if it does not exist – is belittling. The description of Soctrates in battle, of his brave deeds, wonderful characteristics, and his unusual habit of meditating is a sincere fragment from the strategist’s discourse. The less Socrates‘ irony is understood, the more it is interpreted. It lies like a demarcation between the philosophers and profane opinions. Alcibiades interprets Socrates‘ disavowal of knowledge as a mask under which he conceals his true wisdom. Outside of philosophy, this remark is perhaps not entirely incorrect. Whereas a profane person believes in their knowledge, a philospher knows that they know nothing; from this point on, they begin to think for themself. The disavowal of knowledge is the zero hour of a commitment to philosophy. Here is where the profane belief in knowledge without research ends and independent thought – the pursuit of philosophy – begins. Because Alcibiades has not passed through the zero hour of philosophy (the disavowal of knowledge) he interprets Socrates‘ Logos and irony as feigned. Alcibiades tells of his erotic relationship with Socrates in a niave manner that exposes his vanity and selfishness. He intended to seduce Socrates, but was rejected instead. For Socrates, a love affair with Alcibiades expressed in mundane terms would be like an exchange of copper for gold, or philosophically like the exchange of a mere image of beauty for true beauty. According to the scala amoris, copper corresponds to the first level – the love of physical beauty – and gold to the final level – the observation of beauty itself (thus the lowest and highest levels). The former represents common Pederasty love, whereas Socrates‘ love – the love of true beauty – is the quintessence of philosophical Eros. There is an existential difference between both types of love, similar to the difference between profane and philosophical Eros. Alcibiades, however, who does not comprehend philosophical Eros, interprets Socrates‘ behavior as feigned and complains that he (Socrates) at first appears as a lover, only to be revealed as the object of desire who only wants to be admired. His critique based on resentment is high praise for the philosopher. Certainly it is true that Socrates despite his lover’s facade is really a seducer – except that his seduction is not an invitation to gratify sexual lust or selfishness, but instead to engage in philosophy and to observe beauty itself in whatever he contemplates. He seduces others into conversation and guides them to wisdom, which is his own allurer. The reflection of Socrates in the political eyes of Alcibiades portrays a deformed image of the philosopher; however, it is also an image that functions to contrast and even contradict Diotima’s concept, and thus is all the more exciting and illuminating for the reader. If Diotima’s speech presents the essence of the philosopher, Alcibiades‘ speech throws its shadow in the profane world. Both experiences are steps that lead one closer to establishing Eros as a philosopher.

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Avram ANDEA
Institution:
Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj, Department of History
Email:
Andeaavram@yahoo.co.uk
Abstract

The paper discusses the evolution of private writing practice within taxation, town and Episcopal estates in 16th century Transylvania in a functional perspective. The development of estate economy, and especially that of allodial production, generated new organization patterns and institutional structures in economy. The good functioning of these was secured by estate servants mostly recruited from among literates, called in the documents litterati, deákok or Schreiber, with a wide range of scribal activities. The resulting transcripts – conscriptions, registers and inventories – meant a new type of documents slowly replacing oral communication with written one in the relationship of lords and their servants. The scribes practiced a cursive type writing, focussing primarily on fastness, and wrote simplified texts, freed from formulaic chancery language. The scribes used Latin in the documents they wrote, mixed with vernacular words, gradually turning to writing completely in vernacular languages, Hungarian and German, due to practicality and under the influence of the Reformation. [*]

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[*] This work was supported by a Grant of the Ministry of National Education CNCS-UEFISCDI, project number PN II-ID-PCE-2012-4-0579.

Maria STOLERU, Elena-Alis COSTESCU
Institution:
Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj
Email:
maria_stoleru@yahoo.com, alis_costescu@yahoo.com
Abstract

Taking into consideration the emergence of the Internet and new computer technologies and their capacity of creating social alternative spaces, this paper aims at examining how and if the phenomenon of violence against women is extended from the offline into the online world. The authors applied descriptive qualitative content analysis to users’ comments to online articles depicting the new legislative changes in the field of domestic violence in order to examine how online users negotiate gender, gendered positions and issues in genderless environments. The two types of discourses advanced by users with regard to violence against women highlight that gender discrimination has now a new means of manifestation, namely through online platforms. 

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Maria STOLERU [1]

Elena-Alis COSTESCU [2]


[1] This work was supported with the financial support of the Sectoral Operational Programme for Human Resources Development 2007-2013, co-financed by the European Social Fund, under the project number POSDRU/107/1.5/S/76841 with the title „Modern Doctoral Studies: Internationalization and Interdisciplinarity”.

[2] This work was supported with the financial support of the Sectoral Operational Programme for Human Resources Development 2007-2013, co-financed by the European Social Fund, under the project number POSDRU/107/1.5/S/77946 with the title „Doctorate: an Attractive Research Career”.

Vasile-Alin LEŞ
Institution:
“Alma Mater” University Sibiu, Department of Psychology
Email:
les_alin@yahoo.com
Abstract

Hypothesis: Beyond the limits of the unlimited psyche there is the limit imposed by the mind on the heart and by the heart on the mind. Premises: psyche is seen within the scientific psychology more (if not exclusively) as psychic rather than soul. Attempts are made in order to eliminate the term “soul”. I set on from this premise – with accents that are predominantly philosophical, anthropological, religious, psychological, phenomenological and towards the end, psychiatric – and I will try to define, out of my own perspective, the limit. [*]

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[*] Paper presented at the International Hungarian-Romanian Conference of Psychiatry “The limits of the unlimited psyche” (Győr, Hungary, 23rd –26th of January 2013.)

Cecília LIPPAI
Institution:
Central European University PhD, Budapest, Independent Researcher
Email:
lippai_cecilia@yahoo.com
Abstract

The overwhelming historical and cultural differences in conceiving nature would suggest that such conceptions are contingent cultural products superimposed on an “objective” reality in a human attempt to make sense of it. As such, there could be no criteria in deciding between rival conceptions of nature, and this would imply their utter uselessness in environmental protection. Contrary to this, I will aim to show that conceptions of reality are never as random and as ideal cultural products as a constructivist would suggest. First of all, because conceptions of nature are rooted in complex environmental experiences, shaped and influenced by them. Second, because those experiences, in turn, are shaped and influenced by the actual surroundings in which they occur. I will illustrate both these points through a critical analysis of the popular environmental conception of wilderness. The more practical stake and question will regard the role of conceptions of nature in environmental protection. Thus in the final part of this paper I will address the importance of conceptual pluralism in ensuring a more efficient, democratic, and just approach to environmental problems.

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KIRÁLY V. István
Institution:
Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca
Email:
Ikiraly2011@gmail.com, kiraly_philobib@yahoo.com
Abstract

The study analyzes the process and consequences of the merging of philosophy and the university of philosophy, proving its long-distance effects on the basic tendencies of modes of philosophizing. This means that philosophy as a profession became the dominant form of philosophizing, “going on” in various university departments and research institutions mostly without any kind of existential weight. This is what this paper calls a “thinker-deprived philosophy” or “philosophizing”, recalling at the same time the dangers of the Bologna-process in this matter.

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Florin CRIŞAN, Vasile CRISTEA
Institution:
Babeş-Bolyai University Cluj, Department of Taxonomy and Ecology
Email:
florincrisan1964@yahoo.com, cristea@grbot.ubbcluj.ro
Abstract

The movement of nature’s protection in Romania had a number of promoters and the most representative of Alma Mater Napocensis were Emil G. Racoviţă, Alexandru Borza and Emil Pop. E. G. Racoviţă, Antarctic explorer, the creator in Cluj of the first academic institute of bio-speleological research in the world, was also a pioneer in defining and classifying protected areas. A. Borza, renowned botanist, the founder of the Botanical Garden of the University of Cluj, actively contributed to the establishment of the first national park in Romania. E. Pop, titular member of the Romanian Academy, supported the continuation of protective movement promoted by its illustrious predecessors.

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Dana POP
Institution:
Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning
Email:
dana.pop@arch.utcluj.ro
Abstract

Space is the outcome of a necessity. However architectural space has a social value, cultural connotations, political implications and a theoretical message. One of its abstract layers is its ability of becoming a mnemonic device. Physical settings remind people of what is expected of them through certain cues imbedded into them. It might be a certain type of behaviour or response, or, it can be a reminder of who we are, what we like and to which social group we belong. Thus, the aim of this paper is to deconstruct and reconstruct this concept based on a comparative analysis of two specialised environments: psychiatric wards and office spaces.

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Smaranda SPÂNU
Institution:
Centre for Regional Geography, Babeş-Bolyai University Cluj
Email:
smaranda.spanu@gmail.com
Abstract

The concept of nation that defined the 19th century outlined the socio-political context from which several national architectural styles emerged. By the end of the century the first group of Romanian architects trained in eclectic foreign schools returned and proclaimed the need for a national style illustrating the national spirit. In both Wallachia and Moldavia the architectural movement developed rapidly. As a region of Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1918, Transylvania had a different evolution: here the style manifested late, yet with an explicitly expressed goal – showcasing the solidarity of a united Romanian nation, by displaying their collective identity.The case study of this paper is the Mureşanu District in Cluj-Napoca – part of a program of asserting the national identity and solidarity. What is the reasoning in choosing a residential program and such a material manifestation in shaping national identity? What is the evolution and future of these still compact heterotopic enclaves? Originating from the interpretation of heritage, what is the optimal approach towards these spaces?

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Gabriel CONSTANTINESCU
Institution:
University of Bucharest, Department of History
Email:
shoahito@yahoo.com
Abstract

This article deals with the relation between the birth of criminology in late 19th century Romania and modernization. Scientific modernization also manifested itself through the adoption of laws, theories and methods from Western Europe that inspired various criminological discourses. However, this modernization was incomplete and stereotypes such as the gentleness of the Romanians had pervaded some of the criminological studies. Most Romanian authors interpreted crime as a socially determined phenomenon, rejecting the biological theories of crime. Towards the end of the 19th century, more and more authors tried to apply western criminological theories to phenomena and criminal cases from the Romanian society.

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Adriana TEODORESCU
Institution:
“1 Decembrie 1918” University, Alba Iulia
Email:
adriana.teodorescu@gmail.com
Abstract

Our study aims to point out, especially from a cultural point of view, using an interdisciplinary approach, the fact that the problematic status of cremation in contemporary Romania, as well as the status of Western cremation makes a bioethical perspective necessary. Our paper supports the idea that bioethics should study cremation, because cremation symbolises life and death at the same time and it is a delicate subject as far as the communication between the historical and religious aspects is concerned. Also, bioethics is underpinned by a strong ontological principle (e.g. noticeable in the human dignity concept), fundamental to a good understanding of cremation, especially as a personal choice and decision towards one’s own post-mortem situation. A second purpose of the study is to demonstrate that the reinvestigation of imaginaries corresponding to cremation (fire, ash and death) is a premise for its bioethical reconstruction, because the imaginary can offer answers for a series of current attitudes regarding cremation. [*]

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[*] This work was supported by the Romanian National Council for Scientific Research CNCS-UEFISCDI, grant number 54/2011 – PNII TE.

Marius ROTAR
Institution:
“1 Decembrie 1918” University of Alba Iulia, Romania
Email:
mrotar2000@yahoo.com
Abstract

This article attempts to shed light on the complex relation between cremation and Romanian forensic medicine, from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of World War Two. In order to achieve this goal I analyze the case of Nicolae and Mina Minovici and their connection with the issues of cremation, revealing, in the end, the perception of this case in the eyes of the public opinion of those times. The analysis reveals the fact that even if Nicolae and Mina Minovici sustained the ideas of cremation in Romania due to its utilitarian purposes, they were not actual cremationists. Despite this, they were accused and stigmatized by voices around the Romanian Orthodox Church, being regarded as among the main promoters of cremation in Romania. [*]

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[*] This work was supported by the Romanian National Council for Scientific Research CNCS-UEFISCDI, grant number 54/04.11. 2011 – PNII TE.

Miscellanea

VERES Ildikó
Reviewed by
KIRÁLY V. István
Institution:
Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj
Email:
kiraly_philobib@yahoo.com
Abstract
Irina PETRAŞ
Reviewed by
Adriana TEODORESCU
Institution:
“1 Decembrie 1918” University of Alba Iulia
Email:
adriana.teodorescu@gmail.com
Abstract
Adriana TEODORESCU
Reviewed by
Irina PETRAŞ
Institution:
Romanian Writers’ Union
Email:
irinapetras@yahoo.co.uk
Abstract
Teodora COSMAN
Institution:
Université Libre de Bruxelles and Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts, Brussels
Email:
teocosman@yahoo.com
Abstract

[*] Herito is a bilingual Polish-English quarterly published by the International Cultural Centre from Krakow, which focuses on the “heritage, culture & the present” of Central Europe. While most of the issues treat miscellaneous subjects such as “Conflicts of memory”, “The elusive centre (of Europe)”, “Stories from countries which are no more”, debating both “unique and highly relevant cultural dilemmas” as stated on , there are also issues entirely dedicated to one specific country generically belonging to the (imaginary?) space referred to as Central Europe. The Herito – heritage, culture & the present 12 (2013) issue is specifically dedicated to “Romania”. See Herito – heritage, culture & the present, accessed March 18, 2014, http://www.herito.pl/en.

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Doina COSMAN
Reviewed by
Dana-Cristina HERŢA
Institution:
‘Iuliu Hatieganu’ University of Medicine and Pharmacy Cluj - Napoca, Romanian Alliance for Suicide Prevention
Email:
dherta@umfcluj.ro
Abstract