An Alternative Periodization of Romanian History. A Research Agenda

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Abstract

In this paper, I suggest an alternative form of periodization of Romanian history. My aim is not to move around historical posts; rather I propose a different way of understanding Romanian history as such. This is the research agenda. I seek to write a world history from the perspective of a peripheral place like Romania has been. Therefore, this is not simply an attempt to insert a local, neglected, silenced or distorted history into a wider, European, global story (that is, to discover the history of “people without history”), just as it is not another attempt to “provincialize Europe” in favour of a view from its repressed margins. Instead, following Coronil (2004), I believe it is indispensable to globalize the periphery, to understand its worldwide formation. My investigation draws upon the conceptual toolkit of world-system theory and its underlining philosophy of history (Wallerstein, 2011). In the same vein, the guiding principles of my periodization elaborate on Andre Gunder Frank’s insight that the exchange (or rather direct transfer) of surplus between societies is what links regions and societies as whole (Frank, 1978). The focus then shifts from a given society/state and its internal relations to the wider world-system, or world-economy, in which it is embedded. The unit of analysis is not a geographical location, but relations and networks and their historical development.

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