RSAA History

Ruins at Sarmizegetusa Regia
Ruins of andesite sanctuaries and solar disk at Sarmizegetusa Regia, Romania

The Romanian Studies Association of America (RSAA) began as a seminar on Romanian language and literature at the Annual Convention of the Modern Language Association (MLA) held in New York in 1972. The next year, in Chicago, the By-Laws of the Romanian Studies Association of America were approved and the organization became an affiliate organization of the MLA.  Its main purpose is to promote scholarship and creative work pertinent to Romanian Studies on the American continent, particularly in the United States and Canada, as well as to encourage Romanian Studies research in comparative contexts of European and Global Studies.

Each year since its inception as an international and interdisciplinary organization, RSAA has organized two sessions at the annual MLA convention. Since 1975, the Romanian Studies Forum (Formerly Romanian Studies Discussion Group), an organization affiliated with MLA, also organizes one MLA session annually, collaborating closely with the RSAA.

The RSAA has approximately 70 members (active, honorary, and life members). The RSAA membership is open to any MLA member in good standing interested in Romanian Studies. In addition, newly approved RSAA Membership regulations allow free membership for international scholars and graduate students as indicated in our new Membership page.

Given the dramatic political, social, and cultural changes that Romania and Eastern Europe underwent following the fall of communist regimes in 1989, the RSAA has become a necessary and much needed forum for Romanian, Romanian/American and East European intellectuals. Its aim is to advance the scholarship and the intellectual exchanges between these cultures and the Western mind and to present the complexities of both through their emerging artistic products. Since 1989, global and transnational influences have caught up with Romania, as well as with Eastern Europe, and sessions organized by the RSAA have reflected the political and cultural changes that have taken place beyond Romania’s borders, while also continuing to explore traditional topics relating exclusively to Romanian Studies. The sessions organized by the RSAA have been generally very well attended (25-30 people for each session) and have proved to be of interest to scholars of Romanian literature and culture as well as specialists of European and East European comparative literature.

The Romanian Studies Association of America’s Newsletter, a publication that functioned since the beginning of the association will turn this academic year (2016/2017) into the Journal of Romanian Studies Association of America, a scholarly publication that will further both the mission of the RSAA and the collaborative efforts to present new and complex academic works pertinent to Romanian Studies in current times.

In the last years, Romanian Studies Association of America has also become affiliated to other organizations and institutions, with The Society for Romanian Studies since 2014, and with the University of Bucharest since 2015, participating to international conferences and scholarly exchanges. In the coming years, RSAA will continue to expand affiliation with other institutions and organizations in order to create multiple venues of academic studies on East-Central Europe and the West, to promote academic research and collaboration on all aspects of Romanian culture and civilization as well as invite new and culturally exciting research and creative work in international contexts.