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Project description
Directions and priorities
Planned results
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The project’s general objective is the following: the description, analysis and understanding of the modern identities’ building process in Transylvania in the 18th – 19th centuries. In order to accomplish this general objective, the subsequent specific objectives were established:
  1. Inventorying and critically analysing the historical sources that offer information regarding the modern identities’ building process in Transylvania. The main Romanian, Hungarian and German texts that are relevant for the identitary discourse’s articulation will be identified and compiled in a repertoire. The sources that pertain to other of the province’s ethnical groups (such as Jews or Armenians) will also be added to this list. In order to achieve this objective, the researchers will use the resources available in the libraries and national archives of Cluj, Bistriţa, Alba Iulia, Sibiu, Braşov, Budapest and Vienna. Based on these documents a bibliographical repertoire and an anthology of texts will be created. They will serve as referential working instruments for future research on this topic.
  2. Elaborating a theoretical model of modern identities’ construction that is adapted to Transylvania’s peculiarities. Anthony Smith’s ethno-symbolism (2009) will be applied and verified for the case of Transylvanian national identities. Ethnic identities’ and pre-modern loyalties’ process of transformation into modern national identities will be tackled.
  3. Studying ethnic images and images of the Other from the level of the peasant’s mentality. The ethnic stereotypes that can be found in the epoch’s folklore collections (fairy tales, proverbs, epic and lyric poetry, the peasant-soldiers’ folklore) will be identified and analysed.
  4. Studying local and regional Transylvanian identities that were coagulated around the administrative units and the geographical sub-regions (Transylvania’s counties, Szeklers’ and Transylvanian Saxons’ districts, the Romanian districts and border regiments). Transylvania’s county monographs that were published in the 19th century, as well as the counties’ archives will be thoroughly examined.
  5. Investigating confessional identities and their role in the construction of national identities. The 18th century "confessional nations" and the 19th century “"popular churches" will be reanalysed in order to establish the confessional solidarities’ inhibitory or stimulatory role in the consolidation of trans-confessional national identities. The relation between the ethnic identity and the confessional one will also be scrutinised.
  6. Analysing social, professional and gender identities and their interaction with national identities (the role played by the Hungarian aristocracy in the development of a national consciousness; the transformation of Szeklers’ and Transylvanian Saxons’ class identities into national solidarities; the commercial "Greek" companies from Braşov and Sibiu; the clerical and intellectual Romanian elites; the political and national loyalties of the officers originating from Transylvania; the women’s role in constructing a national identity).
  7. Comparatively analysing the Hungarian, Saxon and Romanian identitary discourses stemming from Transylvania. The main research questions regarding this topic are the following: How does the three Transylvanian ethnic groups’ identity relate to the referential national identities? Can we speak about a Transylvanian political identity? How do the three ethnic communities participate in its construction? What role do images about the Other play in the national identities’ building process?