Historical Materialism Cluj-Napoca 2024 is organised by the Babeș Bolyai University, Historical Materialism journal, and tranzit.ro/Cluj as part of the PHILSE Project (Philosophy in Late Socialist Europe: Theoretical Practices in the Face of Polycrisis).

Streams for PHILSE events are on Revisiting State Socialism:


More info on project website soon:


Main organizers:

BBU, Janovics Center for Screen and Performing Arts Studies is affiliated with the Faculty of Theater and Film at Babeș-Bolyai University. It aims to advance interdisciplinary research in the fields of performing and screen arts: theatre, performing arts, film, television and media. The center is dedicated to researching the dialogue of these arts with contemporary society. It supports projects that study reception in theatre and film; cultural consumption in the context of digitalization; theatre, film, television and digital media iconography; the relationship of film, television and theater with new media; digital distribution; and theatre and visual anthropology. It also supports projects that approach the institutional system in culture, legislation on the operation and financing of entertainment and film institutions, and sustainable cultural management in the field.


see also: https://starubb.institute.ubbcluj.ro/en/home-page/

tranzit.ro/Cluj is a network of civic associations working independently in the field of contemporary art in Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania, as well as across the borders of a wider Europe. Its main goal is to support and articulate emancipatory practices, establish connections between culture and society by moving across geographies, generations, and political realms. Each tranzit works independently in a variety of local cultural and social contexts, using different formats and methods to contextualize, generate or host theoretical, artistic and activist debates around today’s urgencies.


Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory is a Marxist journal, appearing four times a year, based in London. Founded in 1997, it asserts that, notwithstanding the variety of its practical and theoretical articulations, Marxism constitutes the most fertile conceptual framework for analysing social phenomena, with an eye to their overhaul. In our selection of materials, we do not favour any one tendency, tradition or variant. Marx demanded the ‘merciless criticism of everything that exists’: for us that includes Marxism itself. Details for submitting articles to the journal can be found here. Since 1997, the Editorial Board has extended its activities beyond the production of the journal. We contribute to producing the Historical Materialism Book Series published first in hardback by Brill followed by a paperback edition published by Haymarket. We organise the annual HM London conference in mid-November, now in its 15th year. Affiliated networks are this year 2018-2019 organising conferences in New York, Toronto, Sydney, Athens, and Ankara with past conferences in Montreal, Beirut, Rome and Delhi.


Historical Materialism Cluj 2024 Team: Siyaves AZERI | Stefan BAGHIU | Mihnea BÂLICI | Una BLAGOJEVIĆ | Liri CHAPELAN | Alex CISTELECAN | Ion COPOERU | Christian FERENCZ-FLATZ | Adela HÎNCU | Martin KÜPPER | Jan MERVART | Vlad POJOGA | Paul REYNOLDS | Costi ROGOZANU | Leyla SAFTA-ZECHERIA | Ana SZEL | Adam TAKACS | Attila TORDAI-S. | Claudiu TURCUȘ | Ana ȚĂRANU | Monika WOŹNIAK

Siyaves AZERI, senior researcher at BBU Cluj, PI of the PHILSE project. Previously, he was a Dean of the School of Advanced Studies, University of Tyumen in Siberia, Russian Federation, visiting researcher at the Archives Henri-Poincaré-Philosophie et Recherches sur les Sciences et les Technologies (AHP-PReST), Université de Lorraine in Nancy, France from 2018 to 2020, and a visiting scholar at the Ecole Normale Superieure Paris from 2017 to 2018. Azeri is a member of the scientific board of the journal Philosophia Scientiae and the humanities editor of the journal Marxism & Sciences: A Journal of Nature, Culture, Human and Society.

Stefan BAGHIU is lecturer at the Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu. As a literary studies scholar, he is mainly working on the literary system of the communist era, with articles in Comparative Literature Studies (USA), World Literature Studies, Central Europe, and Studies in East European Thought. He is the co-editor of Beyond the Iron Curtain: Revisiting the Literary System of Communist Romania (Peter Lang, 2020). He is also editor of the academic journal Transilvania: www.revistatransilvania.ro

Mihnea BÂLICI is a PhD Candidate in Philology at the Babeș Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca. He writes a thesis on the representation of migration in communism and postcommunism. He has published in Scoups/ESCI journals (Transilvania, Metacritic Journal). In 2020-2021 he wrote about the late communism main figures of literary theorists and on the postsocialist rural themes in Romanian literature.

Una BLAGOJEVIĆ is a PhD Student at Central European University in Vienna, currently a research assistant on the research project “Neverending Story? Mapping Crisis Discourses in East Central Europe, 1918-2020” at the Democracy Institute of Budapest. She was a Sidgwick Miller CEU fellow at Cornell University in 2021-2022 and is currently a fellow at the Institut for die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM). Her doctoral research focuses on the intellectual history of Marxist Humanism in socialist Yugoslavia.

Liri CHAPELAN is a PhD Candidate in Film Theory at UNATC in Bucharest. She writes a thesis that endeavors to develop a typology of contemporary hands-on usages of obsolete film technologies. A few of her areas of interest include media archaeology in former socialist countries, the underrepresentation of animation in film studies and the efforts of preserving and restoring cinematic heritage, especially in the non-western world.

Alex CISTELECAN is lecturer at the University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Science and Technology of Targu Mures. In 2021-2023 he has been the PI of the research project “Philosophy in Socialist Romania. A Case Study in Institutionalized Thought”. Editor of the Routledge Wronging Rights (2012). Author of “Humanist Redemption and Afterlife: The Frankfurt School in Communist Romania” in Historical Materialism (2022).

Ion COPOERU is Professor of Philosophy at Babeș Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca. He contributed with articles in Human Studies, Studia Phaenomenologica, Researchin Hermeneutics, Phenomenology, and Practical Philosophy, and other journals. He is the co-editor of Recherches Phénoménologiques Actuelles En Roumanie Et En France (Olms, 2006).

Christian FERENCZ-FLATZ is a researcher at the Alexandru Dragomir Institute for Philosophy and at the Institute for Research in the Humanities of the University of Bucharest. He teaches at the National University of Theatre and Film I. L. Caragiale and is the Book-Review Editor of the journal Studia Phaenomenologica. He was Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the University of Cologne. He was a senior researcher of the research project “Philosophy in Socialist Romania. A Case Study in Institutionalized Thought”.

Adela HÎNCU holds a PhD in Comparative History from Central European University in 2019, was a visiting professor at Ilia State University, Tbilisi (2019-2020), and held fellowships at New Europe College, Bucharest (2020–21), Centre for Advanced Study, Sofia (2020) as part of the project “Lost in Transition,” and Imre Kertesz Kolleg, Jena (2022). She was a postdoctoral researcher in the project “Philosophy in Socialist Romania. A Case Study in Institutionalized Thought” She co-edited Social Sciences in the “Other Europe” since 1945 (CEU, 2018) and the history of feminist thought (forthcoming 2023 with CEU Press) in postwar East Central Europe.

Martin KÜPPER is a PhD Student at the University in Kiel about Aesthetics in the GDR. He was a Fellow in residence at Kolleg Friedrich Nietzsche in Weimar in 2018. After his studies he worked as a scientific assistant at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder in 2019 and as a trainee at Jovis publishing house in 2020. Author of “Philosophie in der DDR. Methodologische Bemerkungen zur Philosophiegeschichtsschreibung” in Berliner Debatte Initial, among other articles and edited issues.

Jan MERVART is a senior researcher at Institute of Philosophy, Czech Academy of Sciences, Deputy Chair for the Department for the Study of Modern Czech Philosophy and was the principal investigator of the Czech Science Foundation (GA16-23584S) project entitled “Envisioning Post-Stalinist Czechoslovakia: Varieties of State Socialist Modernity”. He coedited Czechoslovakism (London: Routledge, 2021) and Karel Kosík and the Dialectics of the Concrete (Leiden: Brill, 2022).

Vlad POJOGA is Assistant Professor of World Literature and Narrative Theory at Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Romania. He wrote a PhD on interactive narratives and co-edited two volumes, The Culture of Translation in Romania and Ruralism and Literature in Romania, both published with Peter Lang. He has translated extensively from English into Romanian, including Fredric Jameson’s Postmodernism, or the cultural logic of late capitalism or Sianne Ngai’s Our Aesthetic Categories. His research focuses mainly on the relationship between literature and the digital and the integration of Romanian literature into world literature.

Paul REYNOLDS is Reader in Sociology and Social Philosophy at Edge Hill University in the UK. His research interests and publications lie in the areas of Marxism and radical philosophy/social theory with special reference to: sexuality and sexual politics, ethics and difference; class and political critique; and the role and responsibilities of intellectuals. He is currently developing critical work on sexual consent, literacy and well-being and the power of cultural materialism. He is co-convenor of the International Network for Sexual Ethics and Politics (INSEP – http://www.insep.ugent.be/) and editor of its Journal and also co-convenors the Historical Materialism Sexuality and Political Economy Network. He is Co-Director of the Cultural Difference and Social Solidarity (CDSS – http://www.differenceandsolidarity.org/).

Costi ROGOZANU holds a PhD in literary studies at the LBUS University in Sibiu, Romania. He is a literary critic and essayist, but also a journalist who has worked in press and television for 21 years. He has published Agresiuni, digresiuni (Polirom, 2006), Carte de muncă and Epoca de mijloc (Tact Publishing House, 2013, 2019) and co-authored anthologies such as Epoca Traian Băsescu (Tact, 2014) and Iluzia anticomunismului (Cartier, 2008). Since 2021 he is also a Romanian language teacher in Ciorăști, Vrancea county.

Leyla SAFTA-ZECHERIA holds a PhD in Political Science from Central European University Budapest. She has held research fellowships at the Institut fur die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM/Vienna), the New Europe College Bucharest, the Universidad Federal de Sao Carlos (Sao Paulo/ Brazil) and the University of Toronto. In her current research, she uses qualitative, visual and participatory methods to understand the ways in which instances of social, economic and educational inequality are lived through and described by marginalized people, as well as how these instances come to be constructed socially and epistemologically.

Ana SZEL is a PhD Candidate in Film Theory and teaching assistant at UNATC in Bucharest. She writes a thesis on “useful film” in Socialist Romania. She has a background in music and filmmaking, she works with film archives since 2016 and her research interests include interdisciplinary use of audiovisual media, media historiography and media archeology.

Adam TAKACS is senior lecturer at the Department of Interdisciplinary History at the Eötvös Loránd University Budapest, visiting professor at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada), in 2012-2016 he was senior research fellow in the EU FP7 ERC Advanced Grant project “Regime and Society in Eastern Europe (1956-1989): From Extended Reproduction to Social and Political Change”. He is author of Unfolding the Present – Michel Foucault’s Critical Philosophy of History (Lexington Press, 2023).

Attila TORDAI-S. lives and works in Cluj, Romania. He studied visual arts at “Ioan Andreescu” Art Academy in Cluj. In the period 1999 – 2007 he run Studio Protokoll. Between 2001 – 2003 he was the editor of Balkon (Cluj) Contemporary Art Magazine, and editor of IDEA arts + society magazine (2003-2007). In 2010 he initiated Protokoll Project Association/SPAC (People’s School for Contemporary Art). He is co-founder and co-director of tranzit.ro Association, being responsible with the program of tranzit.ro/Cluj: https://ro.tranzit.org/en/people/Cluj.

Claudiu TURCUȘ is Associate Professor of Literary and Film studies and Vice-Dean of Research and Academic Infrastructure at Faculty of Theatre and Film. He obtained his PhD in Humanities (2011) at Babeș-Bolyai University after a fellowship research at Bard College, New York. His research interests are focused on East-Central European Literature, Cinema and Criticism. He published widely on topics such as the cultural memory of Socialism, the representation of Post-communist transition, intellectual history, or the ideology of New Romanian Cinema. His book, Norman Manea. Aesthetics as East Ethics (Frakfurt-New York: Peter Lang, 2016) is the very first monograph about life and oeuvre of this important Romanian-American writer, proposed twice for Nobel Prize. He co-authored (with Constantin Parvulescu) the chapter “Specters of Europe and Anti-communist Visual Rhetoric in the Romanian Film of the Early 1990s”, in Aga Skrodzka, Xiaoning Lu, and Katarzyna Marciniak, The Oxford Handbook of Communist Visual Cultures (Oxford University Press, 2019).

Ana ȚĂRANU is a PhD Candidate in Film and Media Studies and Sociology with Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca and the University of Warwick. She writes a thesis on the cultural expression of contemporary far-right movements in postsocialist societies. She has published in Scopus/ESCI journals (Transilvania, Metacritic Journal) on socialist-era literary theory and the dissemination of political ideas in the local literary system.

Monika WOŹNIAK is a researcher at the Institute of Philosophy at the Czech Academy of Sciences), Assistant Professor at the Institute of Philosophy at the University of Wrocław. She has been a principal investigator in the project “Nikolai Berdyaev’s thought after 1927 in relation to Hegelian philosophy”, and member of the project “Unorthodox Orthodoxes: A Forgotten Quest for ‘Real’ Marxist Science in Eastern Europe”, funded by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic. She is a member of the editorial board of the journal Contradictions and a co-editor of the upcoming issue “Ecosocialism in the Post-Communist Landscape” (Contradictions vol. 6, 2022).


Amidst discussions of the present-day conjuncture of socioeconomic, political, and environmental crises, our research project takes a historical approach to polycrisis and the theoretical reflections engendered by it. We contend that the under-researched theoretical practices of state socialist Europe were not mere reflections of the failure of its modernization project but specific forms of response to a state of interconnected crises in the 1970s and 1980s: the monetary and debt crises; internal crises of political legitimation and cultural pessimism; and the looming environmental crisis. Philosophical and theoretical reflections of these circumstances during state socialism should not be treated in national isolation or only as part of the history of individual disciplines. A transnational, interdisciplinary team of researchers sets out to study theoretical practices in the face of polycrisis under state socialism along four thematic clusters: 1) Organizing knowledge: Philosophy and socialist science; 2) Projecting a world beyond crisis: Futurology, political ecology, and global socialism; 3) Shaping new ways of seeing: Design, visual arts, and literature; 4) Ethics, praxis, and everyday life. The project draws on methodological insights from intellectual history, sociology of knowledge, social history, and the history of literature and art. It will tell the complex story of philosophical engagement under state socialism with the challenges and opportunities of technological development, rising environmental and global consciousness, redefining the role of the arts in society, and the increasing theoretical prominence of everyday life. Building on previous smaller-scale collaboration, the research team works towards strengthening academic ties within the region, ensuring sustainable funding into the future, and articulating the intellectual history of state socialist Europe as part of a global history of discourses on crisis still relevant today.

All photos made by Radu Crăciun for the performative assembly „This Diary that I Failed to Keep” (concept Maria Draghici), part of the artistic research project TabThePAST, UNATC, 2023