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English Studies in Romanian Higher Education:
A Brief Diachronic View

University of Bucharest


The first quarter of the twentieth century saw the birth and institutionalization of the academic subject English Studies in Romania, with Iaşi (1917), Cluj (1921) and Bucharest (1936) hosting English Departments as an absolute novelty in a French-oriented culture. English gradually turned into more than merely a means or vehicle to introduce English literature to Romanian students, to be curbed in the late 1940s through the 1950s, on political grounds. The 1960s defreeze resulted in a wider and more relaxed selection of texts and methods, with Structuralism as the obvious novelty on board. The 1970s encouraged growing professionalization, then the 1980s made political pressure obvious as national communism became more and more the daily reality in education as well. Post-1989 English Studies has been basically content-geared and markedly of the culturalist type. Cultural Studies became an academic subject of prestige and esteem in the early 1990s, taught and researched at all levels, from the undergraduate to the doctoral one. Interdisciplinarity is now a sine qua non. English-speaking culture has broadened its territory in the curricula, to include distinct American, Canadian, Australian, Irish and Scottish segments, as well as Postcolonial Studies. This paper looks at the sea change which has accompanied English Studies since its foundation as a distinct discipline in the Romanian academe.


Keywords: English, English Department, English Studies, academic subject, political, professionalization, cultural(ist), interdisciplinary

Research for Mihaela Irimia's article “English Studies in Romanian Higher Education: A Brief Diachronic View”, published in American, British and Canadian Studies, the Journal of the Academic Anglophone Society of Romania, no. 14: English Studies in Romania, edited by Suman Gupta & Ana-Karina Schneider, Sibiu, June 2010, pp. 26-38 (ISSN 1841-1487) has been partially supported by UEFISCSU grant no. 871/2009[code 1980] for a research project titled The Cultural Institution of Literature from Early to Late Modernity in British Culture.


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