BookS by Cristina A. Bejan
2021 International Book Award Finalist in Education/Academic & Historical: General categories
“A fascinating narrative. Superbly researched, it offers a new perspective on Romania’s (and Eastern Europe’s) interwar major political and cultural tensions. Nothing was simple with the Criterion Association, which was engaged in an excruciating search for existential authenticity. This book wonderfully reveals these agonizing complexities.”
- From the foreword by Vladimir Tismaneanu, author of The Devil in History
“Why did writers such as Emil Cioran and Mircea Eliade succumb to the lure of the Iron Guard? And what of those figures, such as Eugène Ionesco, who resisted? These are some of the questions addressed in this unique, persuasively argued study.”
- Dennis Deletant, author of Romania under Communism: Paradox and Degeneration
Intellectuals and Fascism in Interwar Romania: The Criterion Association
In 1930s Bucharest, some of the country’s most brilliant young intellectuals converged to form the Criterion Association. Bound by friendship and the dream of a new, modern Romania, their members included historian Mircea Eliade, critic Petru Comarnescu, Jewish playwright Mihail Sebastian and a host of other philosophers and artists. Together, they built a vibrant cultural scene that flourished for a few short years, before fascism and scandal splintered their ranks. Cristina A. Bejan asks how the far-right Iron Guard came to eclipse the appeal of liberalism for so many of Romania’s intellectual elite, drawing on diaries, memoirs and other writings to examine the collision of culture and extremism in the interwar years. The first English-language study of Criterion and the most thorough to date in any language, this book grapples with the complexities of Romanian intellectual life in the moments before collapse. Released Sept. 2019.
“A gripping analysis not only of Romanian culture but also of Romanian politics. In a time when many interwar ideas seem to have rematerialized, this book could not be more necessary or timely.”
- Marius Turda, author of Modernism and Eugenics and co-author of Historicizing Race
“Bejan’s meticulous study joins a handful of books that recognize that the quest for a dynamic new modernity animated both modernism and fascism. Incorporating extensive research in secret police archives, this book casts important new light on the unique ideological texture of Romanian fascism.”
- Roger Griffin, author of Modernism and Fascism and The Nature of Fascism
Green Horses on the Walls
Cristina A. Bejan is a spoken word poet who performs her poetry across the United States and Romania under the stage name "Lady Godiva." Select venues include: Busboys and Poets (DC), Pure Lounge (DC), Noir Lounge (Raleigh, NC), Carol 53 (Bucharest) and Mercury Café (Denver, CO). This is her first collection of poems that she has developed over the past ten years. She writes about her Romanian heritage, the inherited trauma of communism, love, mental health and sexual assault. The collection includes 28 original poems by Bejan and two translations by Bejan of poems by iconic Romanian poets Ana Blandiana and Nina Cassian. Forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in 2020.
"Cristina A. Bejan's collection of poetry 'Green Horses on the Walls' (Cai Verzi pe Pereți) is a sensitive and vibrant radiography of the immigrant inbetweeness: the soul-searching negotiation between images/words/ values immersed in her father's native country, Romania, and the daily discoveries made by the poet as a young American woman in the #MeToo era. This lyrical coming-of-age puzzle takes us on a poignant journey into the future via the past, across geographical and emotional borders. Let's go!"
- Saviana Stanescu, author of Aliens with Extraordinary Skills, Google Me, etc.
"Cristina A. Bejan’s collection 'Green Horses on the Walls' is a raw and startling odyssey of a quivering self torn between cultures, languages, tormented family histories, wrenching traumas and a fierce drive to heal and transform experience into redemptive and empowering art. The poetic voice bursts with uncompromising honesty, and hints of nostalgia for luscious and disheveled landscapes such as the restless streets and people of Bucharest as it also traverses frightening landscapes of a memory painfully replete with harrowing moments of sexual violence and sinister mental health wards. Experience is channeled in an effervescent and gutsy linguistic orchestration deliciously sprinkled with polyglossia, at times heartbreaking at other times suspenseful and yet at other times luminous and whimsical. A poetic tour de force of cathartic story telling!"
- Domnica Radulescu, award winning author of Train to Trieste and Country of Red Azaleas
"Bejan's work traverses all matters of the heart: true love, mental health, home, country, and politics. Her careful attention to her family's history and her own diaspora creates very intimate moments inside a larger artistic and political conversation. Her translations are fresh; energetic; and her bilingual work carves out a space for her Romanian-American identity. The raw emotion pulls you into this collection. Visit the mind of Bejan through her images, as she reckons with her experiences, and family history."
- Suzanne Richardson, author of The Softest Part of A Woman is A Wound
"Cristina A. Bejan’s poetry has the urgency of Clint Smith’s spoken word rhythms from his 'Counting Descent,' the humor of Milan Kundera’s 'The Joke,' and the honesty of Naomi Shihab Nye’s 'Voices in the Air.' Cristina Bejan’s poetry sounds as if the Romanian painter Adrian Ghenie is having coffee with Walt Whitman. Poised at the intersection between languages, cultures, and histories, Cristina Bejan can say with confidence, 'And when it feels like too much—which it often does / I know I can go home / And how many people can say that?.' Her father advises her to 'Put it under the mattress / The money / The truth / The pain,' but Cristina Bejan knows better. 'Green Horses on the Walls' is part memoir, part testimony: poetry for our times, when we hold human beings in cages and tear their children away from their arms."
- Lucia Cherciu, author of Train Ride to Bucharest and Edible Flowers
Cristina A. Bejan was a Researcher for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum from June 2013 - December 2015, writing for 'The Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos Vol. 3.' She wrote 64 scholarly articles for the Encylopedia on lesser-known camps and ghettos in Vichy Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Senegal, Mali and Guinea) and Europe (France and Romania), as well as co-authored the African continent introduction with Aomar Boum (UCLA).
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos 1933-1945 Vol. 3 (contributing author)
This monumental seven-volume encyclopedia, prepared by the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, examines the universe of camps and ghettos)―more than 40,000 in all―that the Nazis and their allies operated, from Norway to North Africa and from France to Russia.
Volume III describes sites under the control of states that aligned themselves with Nazi Germany, as allies, satellite countries, or independent collaborationist regimes. For a variety of reasons, France, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and other such states each undertook the persecution, and often the murder, of people it considered undesirable or threatening. Such target groups included Jews, who were often killed directly or handed over to the Germans. Other victims spanned any number of ethnic or national groups, or political or military opponents. Each state created its own unique mix of detention sites under a variety of agencies, but all with goals that mirrored those of Nazi Germany. From the far north of Finland to France’s west African colonies, this network of sites did its work with little or no input from the Germans. This volume, with its descriptions of the individual sites and broad introductions to the regimes that governed them, adds to our understanding of a system that was truly European in scale, and not solely a German undertaking.