Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena

Dr Raul Cârstocea

Fellow Dr Raul Cârstocea

July - December 2018

Dr Raul Cârstocea is Lecturer in European Studies at the Europa Universität Flensburg, Germany. He holds a PhD in History from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, with a thesis that examined the role of antisemitism in the ideology of the ‘Legion of the Archangel Michael’, Romania’s interwar fascist movement. He has worked as Senior Research Associate in the Conflict & Security Research Cluster at the European Centre for Minority Issues, Flensburg, Germany, as Teaching Fellow at University College London, and held a Research Fellowship at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies. His research interests focus on antisemitism, Jewish history, nationalism, and more broadly on state formation and nation-building processes in 19th and 20th century Central and Eastern Europe and their consequences for minority groups. He has published several articles on the development of antisemitism in 19th and 20th century Europe, on the ideology and practices of Romania’s interwar fascist movement, and on extreme right groups in contemporary Europe. The forthcoming volume Modern Antisemitisms in the Peripheries: Europe and its Colonies, 1880-1945, which he co-edited with Prof. Éva Kovacs, provides a sweeping view of the different articulations of antisemitism in peripheral settings, as well as of its entanglements with other forms of exclusion, in an attempt to understand modern antisemitism as a genuinely global phenomenon.

Research project at the Kolleg

Positioning ‘the National’: Transnational Networks and Fascist Internationalism in Interwar Eastern Europe

Drawing on my previous work on peripheral antisemitisms and transnational fascism and seeking to reconstruct the agency of interwar fascists with regards to the cross-border connections they established, this project aims to challenge prevailing narratives positing a one-way transfer from the two established regimes in Italy and Germany to ‘minor’ or ‘peripheral’ movements. Instead, it focuses on lateral transmission within the area of Central and Eastern Europe, between fascist organisations that were ‘peripheral’ both in a geographical sense and in their position in the political systems of their respective countries. Crucially, it also takes into consideration the travel of ideas in the ‘reverse direction’ from the one typically explored in the existing literature, i.e. from the ‘peripheries’ to the ‘centre’. In doing so, this project accounts for the reasons why an anti-establishment revolutionary movement in Romania, for example, became a model for fascist activists, intellectuals and organisations in places as diverse as interwar Alsace and Norway, post-war Italy, or, most recently, for the participants at the 2017 ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Exploring the visions of a new international order upheld by fascists in interwar Central and Eastern Europe is also important for understanding their positionality during this period. Existing models of international order, from the fascists’ standpoint, could be reduced to either a liberal-capitalist model to which Eastern Europe was bound to remain a peripheral latecomer, or to a socialist internationalism too closely intertwined with suspicions of the former Russian imperial agenda, carried over to the Soviet Union – and more often than not associating both with an alleged ‘Jewish conspiracy’. As such, I argue that the rejection of both alternatives led fascist elites to commit themselves to the notion of a global revolution within which they (believed) could play a leading role. This commitment to the project of an alternative arrangement of the international order was complete with a doubly misguided anti-colonial impetus, directed simultaneously against the colonial dimension of Western liberalism and international socialism, while blind to Germany’s imperial ambitions in the region. Such an orientation entailed a simultaneous re-definition of ‘the national’ and ‘the international’, where the two were consistently seen in conjunction, and which prompted the transnational impetus of fascist movements otherwise keen on affirming their national specificities.

Main areas of research

  • Antisemitism, fascism, nationalism studies
  • Romania
  • Modern Central and Eastern European history
  • Empire
  • Critical area studies

Positions and memberships

  • 2017 –  Member of Scientific Council, National Movements and Intermediary Structures in Europe (NISE)
  • 2017 –  Member, International Association for Comparative Fascist Studies (COMFAS)
  • 2015 –  Member, Society for Romanian Studies (SRS)

Raul Cârstocea, Two Sides to a Synthesis: Antisemitism and Fascism in the Ideology of the Legionary Movement in Interwar Romania (forthcoming).

Raul Cârstocea and Éva Kovacs, eds, Modern Antisemitisms in the Peripheries: Europe and its Colonies, 1880-1945 (Vienna: New Academic Press, 2018).

Raul Cârstocea, ‘The Unbearable Virtues of Backwardness: Mircea Eliade’s Conceptualisation of Colonialism and his Attraction to Romania’s Interwar Fascist Movement’, in Central Europe Between the Colonial and the Postcolonial, edited by Dorota Kołodziejczyk and Siegfried Huigen (Leiden: Brill, 2018), in press.  

Raul Cârstocea, ‘Building a Fascist Romania: Voluntary Work Camps as a Propaganda Strategy of the Legionary Movement in Interwar Romania’, Fascism 6, no. 2 (2017): 163-195.

Raul Cârstocea, ‘Native Fascists, Transnational Anti-Semites: The International Activity of Legionary Leader Ion I. Moţa’, in Fascism without Borders: Connections and Cooperation between Movements and Regimes in Europe from 1918 to 1945, edited by Arnd Bauerkämper and Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe (New York: Berghahn Books, 2017), 216-242.

Raul Cârstocea, ‘Students Don the Green Shirt. The Roots of Romanian Fascism in the Anti-Semitic Student Movements of the 1920s’, in Alma Mater Antisemitica. Akademisches Milieu, Juden und Antisemitismus an den Universitäten Europas zwischen 1918 und 1939, edited by Regina Fritz, Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe and Jana Starek (Vienna: New Academic Press, 2016), 39-66.

Raul Cârstocea, ‘Breaking the Teeth of Time: Mythical Time and the ‘Terror of History’ in the Rhetoric of the Legionary Movement in Interwar Romania’, Journal of Modern European History 13, no. 1 (2015): 79-97.

Raul Cârstocea, ‘Anti-Semitism in Romania: Historical Legacies, Contemporary Challenges’, ECMI Working Paper no. 81 (2014): 1-39.

Raul Cârstocea, ‘Uneasy Twins? The Entangled Histories of Jewish Emancipation and Anti-Semitism in Romania and Hungary, 1866-1913’, Slovo 21, no. 2 (2009): 64-85.

review of Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe, Stepan Bandera: The Life and Afterlife of a Ukrainian Fascist. Fascism, Genocide and Cult, in Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe 16, no. 1 (2016): 117-127.

review of Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu, Religion and Politics in Post-Communist Romania, in The English Historical Review 124, no. 511 (2009): 1548-1549.

review of Sean Hanley, The New Right in the New Europe: Czech Transformation and Right-wing Politics, 1989-2006, in Slovo 20, no. 1 (2008): 59-60.