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Our Mission

The IRH-ICUB is a research division of The Research Institute of the University of Bucharest. Our mission is to promote and stimulate outstanding research in the humanities. The institute encourages international projects in disciplines such as history, philology, philosophy, intellectual history and religious studies, as well as interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary projects.

For more details about the ICUB events, please see http://icub.unibuc.ro/

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This week at the IRH-ICUB

IRH-ICUB Lunchtime Seminar

Thursday, 18 October, 14h – – Theodor Ulieriu-Rostás (IRH-ICUB Fellow), Inventors, victors and cataloguers: lists and the construction of knowledge in ancient Greek musical scholarship


Upcoming Events

Administrative accountability in the later Middle Ages: Records, procedures, and their societal impact, Bucharest, 16-17 November 2018

Romanian and the Romance languages. The 18th international conference of the Department of Linguistics, 23-24 November 2018

Isomorphism of Knowledge: Scientific Projections on XXth and XXIst Century Literature, 10-11 May 2019

Early Modern Cosmology Between “Mosaic Physics” and Mechanical Philosophy (1650-1713)

Project Code: PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2016-0710

Principal Investigator: Mihnea Dobre

Abstract. This project explores the intermixture of several disciplines in the formation of “the new science” in the early modern period, spanning from Descartes’s death in 1650 up to the second edition of Newton’s Principia in 1713. It aims to show how philosophy, physics, and theology grounded new cosmologies and mingled in one coherent enterprise. Our proposal challenges the current focus on the Newtonian critique of Descartes’s vortex-model of the world. It argues that a new perspective upon the relations between Cartesianism and Newtonianism emerges by looking at early modern reconstructions of the Biblical account of Creation in mechanical terms. We analyse Descartes’s justificatory accounts in his correspondence, where he states that his physics is compatible with the Creation story from Genesis. Furthermore, we explore how these statements were developed by his early followers who were seeking to formulate a “Mosaic physics.” Our project examines this neglected episode of the publication and reception of several treatises comparing the Mosaic history of Creation with the new Cartesian philosophy. Beyond filling this gap in the study of early modern cosmology, our approach has a twofold advantage. First, it offers a source-oriented analysis of the “Mosaization” of Cartesian philosophy, bringing into the spotlight a series of currently lesser-known cosmological treatises which were very successful at their time and, thus, contributed to the spread of Cartesian philosophy. Second, it shows how Cartesianism – broadly understood – was a source of inspiration for cosmogonical and cosmological speculations even for figures who otherwise abandoned the Cartesian system, such as the early Newtonians. Thus, the project has a broader scope and our study of early modern cosmologies opens novel prospects for understanding the intricate early modern debates about religion, natural philosophy, and metaphysics.


Research Team:

Principal Investigator: Dr. Mihnea Dobre

Dr. Grigore Vida

Ovidiu Babes

Bogdan Deznan


The Grant Writing Seminar, 2018-2019

Organized by: Lorena Anton, Mihnea Dobre.

The Grant Writing Seminar is an established series at the ICUB. It aims to provide a venue for humanities and social sciences researchers to meet, share their experiences, receive hands-on advice on grant writing, and collaborate on their grant applications for national and European calls. The series is addressed primarily to researchers in the early stages of their career, but we welcome participation of more experienced researchers. It is hoped that out of this workshop series a small community of researchers will emerge who will continue to offer mutual support for grant applications through constructive criticism and peer-review.

We encourage discussions about future international grant applications that will be hosted by the ICUB.

The meetings of the Grant Proposal series take place every month.

For attending the meetings of the Grant Proposal series, please fill in the registration form.

Draft program (Tuesday, 18:00-20:00):

13 November 2018
Roundtable discussion and the outline of the series.

11 December 2018
Postdoctoral fellowships: how to apply? (the case of the ICUB fellowships and grants)

January 2019
From individual fellowships to grants

February 2019
Aims, templates, and submission forms: understanding specific calls

March 2019
How to apply? Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)

April 2019
How to apply? ERC (Starting & Consolidator)

May 2019
How to plan your project? WPs, actions, deliverables, and outreach

June 2019
Find the balance: the scientific excellence and the feasibility of the project

Past events

Digital Humanities, 2018-2019

The series on Digital Humanities (DH) hosted by the IRH-ICUB is a place to gather scholars interested to discuss projects combining traditional scholarship in the humanities with the use of digital tools. The series focuses on examples of good practice in DH, discussing case studies, digital tools, or large digital projects. Topics for the next academic year include, but they are not limited to:

  • How to deal with the data?
  • From computational linguistics to digital humanities.
  • Digital forms of publication.
  • How to build a DH project?
  • Visualization technology

The meetings of the DH series will take place every month. The series is organized by Mihnea Dobre. For questions about the program, please send a message at mihnea.dobre@icub.unibuc.ro.

Please register for attending the meetings. For registration, please send a message to humanities@icub.unibuc.ro.


November 2018
1 November (11:00-13:00), Gabriel Hancean (Social Sciences Division, ICUB), Research notes on whole, ego and personal networks. Lessons learnt from the iCoNiC research project

December 2018
3 December (11:30-13:00), Verginica Barbu Mititelu (Romanian Academy Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence), On the Reference Corpus of the Contemporary Romanian Language (CoRoLa).

Past events
Digital Humanities, 2017-2018
Roundtable discussions on Digital Humanities, 2016-2017

Moving towards aspect, copula and passive. The diachronic reanalysis of motion verbs in Romanian (MOV)

Project Code: PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2016-0341

Contract no.: 6/2018

Project leader: Dr. Adina Dragomirescu

Abstract. In this research, we aim to offer a unitary account for the reanalysis of Romanian motion verbs as aspectual and inceptive verbs (a (se) apuca de ‘catch > begin, be about to’, a se opri din ‘stop (somewhere) > cease’, a se porni pe ‘depart > start’, a prinde a/să ‘catch > start’, a se pune pe ‘sit > start’, a urma ‘follow > be about to’, a sta să ‘sit, lie > be about to’, a-i veni să ‘come > feel like’), as copula verbs (a ajunge ‘arrive > become’, a ieși ‘exit > become’, a se prinde ‘catch > become’, a rămâne ‘stay > remain (in a state)’, a trece de ‘pass > be considered’, a se ține ‘hold, follow > be’, a veni ‘come > be’), and as passive auxiliaries (a se afla ‘be found > be’, a veni ‘come > be’). Except for some preliminary research conducted by two of the members of the team, Adina Dragomirescu and Alexandru Nicolae, this topic has not been previously discussed with respect to Romanian. Therefore, our aim is to investigate the reanalysis process (provisionally defined as the first step of grammaticalization) using the following methodology: by analysing the corpus of old Romanian established for the Syntax of Old Romanian (Oxford, 2016) and the information in the academic dictionary of Romanian (DA/DLR), our goal is to establish: (1) the full inventory of motion verbs which have undergone this type of reanalysis, (2) the earliest attestations of the novel values acquired by the motion verbs, and (3) the identification of the switch contexts favouring the reanalysis from motion to aspect/inceptive, copula or passive. Moreover, by studying a corpus of dialectal Romanian and conducting fieldwork in Romania and in the Republic of Moldavia, we endeavour to discover which values of these verbs are preserved or attested in dialectal Romanian and whether there are other cases of this type of reanalysis in dialectal Romanian.


Research team

Project leader

Adina Dragomirescu

Dr. Adina Dragomirescu is a researcher at the “Iorgu Iordan – Alexandru Rosetti” Institute of Linguistics (and currently the director of this Institute) and an assistant professor at the Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest. She is a specialist in the syntax of Romanian and Romance, as shown by her work as a co-author of: Gramatica de bază a limbii române [The essential grammar of Romanian], Bucureşti, Editura Univers Enciclopedic Gold, 2010 [second edn, 2016]; The Grammar of Romanian, ed. by G. Pană Dindelegan, Oxford University Press, 2013; The Syntax of old Romanian, ed. by Gabriela Pană Dindelegan, Oxford University Press, 2016; The Oxford Guide to the Romance Languages, ed. by Adam Ledgeway and Martin Maiden, Oxford University Press, 2016 etc. She is also the author of two monographs: Ergativitatea. Tipologie, sintaxă, semantică [Ergativity. Typology, syntax, semantics], Editura Universității din București, 2010 and Particularități sintactice ale limbii române în context romanic. Supinul [Specific syntactic features of Romanian within Romance. The supine], Editura Muzeului Național al Literaturii Române, 2013. In the present, her main research interests are: the grammaticalization of motion verbs, the syntax of Istro-Romanian, the syntax of old Romanian and the Slavic influence on the syntax of old Romanian.

Young researchers

Raluca Brăescu

Dr. Raluca Brăescu (PhD 2011) is a Researcher at the ‘Iorgu Iordan – Al. Rosetti’ Institute of Linguistics of the Romanian Academy and Lecturer in Romanian Language and Linguistics at the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Letters. She had a postdoctoral research project (2014-2015), entitled Degree and Intensity in Romanian. A diachronic and typological perspective, within the Romanian Academy Post-doctoral Programme The Romanian Culture and the European Cultural Models: research, synchronization, durability – SOP HRD/159/1.5/S/136077). She contributed with studies to international and national specialty collective volumes, the focus of her analysis being laid on the grammar issues: the syntax and the semantics of the adjectives, or the syntactic relations within the noun phrase (modifiers, classifiers, appositions), in synchrony and in diachrony, as can be seen from the projects she has been involved in (The Grammar of Romanian 2013, The Syntax of Old Romanian2016, both coordinated by Gabriela Pană Dindelegan, and published at Oxford University Press). She also collaborated to the collective work Gramatica limbii române 2005/2008 [Romanian language Grammar], coordinated by Valeria Guţu Romalo, for which she was awarded the ‘Timotei Cipariu’ prize of the Romanian Academy.

Alexandru Nicolae

Dr. Alexandru Nicolae holds an MA degree (2010) in theoretical linguistics from the University of Bucharest and a PhD degree (2013) in theoretical comparative linguistics jointly awarded by the University of Bucharest ad the University of Cambridge (co-tutelle). He is currently a lecturer in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Bucharest and a researcher in the „Iorgu Iordan – Al. Rosetti” Institute of Linguistics at the Romanian Academy. He was also a postdoctoral fellow of the Romanian Academy in the project POSDRU/159/1.5/S/136077, with the individual research project A comparative and typological perspective on the syntax of Old Romanian: configurationality. In 2016, he spent 6 months in MIT’s Department of Linguistics and Philosophy as a Fulbright Senior Scholar. He also frequently spends research stages at the University of Cambridge, in various capacities: Visiting PhD student (2013), Visiting Scholar (2015), Erasmus mobility (2014, 2017). Alexandru Nicolae is interested in the morphosyntactic structure and development of Romanian from a comparative and diachronic Romance perspective. He published a single-author monograph on word order and parameter change in Romanian, devoted to the verbal domain (Ordinea constituenților în limba română, Bucharest University Press, 2015) and is preparing an English extended variant of this book for Oxford Studies in Diachronic and Historical Linguistics, co-authored a book on semantic variation and change (101 greșeli de lexic și de semantică. Cuvinte și sensuri în mișcare, Humanitas 2011), contributed as a co-author to major reference works such as The Oxford Guide to the Romance Languages (OUP, 2016), The Syntax of Old Romanian (OUP, 2016), The Grammar of Romanian (OUP, 2013), and Gramatica de bază a limbii române (Univers Enciclopedic Gold, 2010, 2016) and co-edited several collective volumes with Romanian and international publishers (Comparative and Diachronic Perspectives on Romance Syntax, 2017; Sintaxa ca mod de a fi. Omagiu Gabrielei Pană Dindelegan, la aniversare, 2016; Perspective diacronice și comparative asupra limbii române, 2016; Diachronic Variation in Romanian, 2015, etc.). In 2012 Alexandru Nicolae was awarded the “Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu” Prize of the Romanian Academy for his contribution to Gramatica de bază a limbii române.

Irina Nicula Paraschiv

Dr. Irina Nicula Paraschiv is a Researcher at the “Iorgu Iordan—Al. Rosetti” Institute of Linguistics of the Romanian Academy and Teaching Assistant in the Department of Linguistics of the University of Bucharest. She has a PhD from the University of Bucharest (2011) with a thesis on the Romanian verbs of perception. She was a postdoctoral student at the “Iorgu Iordan – Al. Rosetti” Institut of Linguistics of the Romanian Academy (2014–2015).  She is one of the co-authors of The Grammar of Romanian (Oxford University Press, 2013) and of The Syntax of Old Romanian (Oxford University Press, 2016), and wrote two books: one devoted to the grammar of verbs of perception (Modalități de exprimare a percepțiilor fizice. Verbele de percepție în limba română, 2012) and one to diachronic variation in the argument structure of verbs (Variația sintactică a verbului românesc. Diacronie și tipologie, 2015).

MA and PhD Students

Adnana Boioc

Adnana-Elena Boioc is a PhD student in linguistics at the University of Bucharest and a junior researcher at the “Iorgu Iordan – Al. Rosetti” Institute of Linguistics. Her research concentrates on the most visible effects of the influence of Lipovan Russian (the mother tongue of the inhabitants known as the Lipovans) on Romanian and focuses mainly on the morphological and syntactic consequences of the linguistic contact (between Romanian and Russian), a topic worthy of attention because the Romanian variety spoken there has long been under intense linguistic contact with Russian. During the past academic year (2017-2018), she has worked on topics centered around the language spoken by Lipovans, and presented her research at several national and international conferences, including, for example, a paper on the grammar of relative clauses Linguistic interference in a Romanian-Russian bilingual context. Issues in the grammar of relative clauses at 15th Workshop on Syntax, Semantics and Phonology (Barcelona, 2018), and “Blocking” vs “spreading” the case in constructions with relative secondary complement. An experimental approach at The 17th International Conference of the Department of Linguistics (Bucharest, 2017). Her research is based on empirical data collected from the Lipovans’ community from Dobruja. She established contacts with linguistic informants from Dobruja area, conducting fieldwork sessions to analyze the linguistic behaviour of bilingual speakers, and record an oral corpus.

Mădălina Botez

Mădălina Botez is a PhD student in linguistics at the University of Bucharest. Her research focuses on processes of grammaticalization, specialization and pragmaticalization, regarding the Romanian temporal nouns and adverbs. She presented a part of her research at The International Symposium on Linguistics in Bucharest (Seventh Edition, May 18-20, 2018). She also studied the perfective auxiliary o in the Moldavian variety (with Adina Dragomirescu) and Romanian verbs without nomination (with Adnana Boioc and Ștefania Costea). Her main interests are morphology, syntax, dialectology, phonetics and phonology.

Ștefania Costea

Ștefania Costea is an MPhil student at the University of Cambridge and a junior researcher at the “Iorgu Iordan – Al. Rosetti” Institute of Linguistics. Her research focuses mainly on the syntactic consequences of the linguistic contact (between Romanian and Russian) that could be found in the variety of Romanian spoken in the Republic of Moldova. During the past academic year (2017-2018), she has presented a series of papers regarding her subject at international conferences, such as Verb Movement in Moldovan Daco-Romanian: Romance Heritage or Russian Influence? at The 17th International Conference of the Department of Linguistics (Bucharest, 24-25th of November, 2017), and Preverbal subjects in Moldovan Daco-Romanian direct and indirect wh-interrogatives at The 46th Cambridge Romance Linguistics Seminar (Cambridge, 5-6th of January, 2018). So far, she has carried out three fieldwork sessions in the Republic of Moldova, recording spontaneous conversations with native speakers of Moldovan Daco-Romanian, that could shed a light on some syntactic phenomena, as well as on the process of grammaticalisation involving a series of structures (e. g., verbs expressing movement).

Project development


June 8 2018 – Adina Dragomirescu, “The grammaticalization of motion verbs in Romanian. An overview”, a talk given at the Workshop on Syntax and Language Variation, University of Utrecht.

September 25 2018 – Adina Dragomirescu, “Romanian motion verbs in grammaticalization paths. A case study”, a talk given at the Romanian Syntax Workshop, University of Cambridge.

Research stages

June 27–July 3 2018 – Adnana Boioc, Raluca Brăescu, Ștefania Costea, Adina Dragomirescu, Alexandru Nicolae, Irina Nicula Paraschiv – Research stage at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

September 13–September 23 2018 – Mădălina Botez, Irina Nicula Paraschiv – Research stage at the University of Cambridge.

September 13–September 30 2018 – Adnana Boioc, Raluca Brăescu, Ștefania Costea, Adina Dragomirescu, Alexandru Nicolae – Research stage at the University of Cambridge.

November 28–December 8 2018 – Adnana Boioc – Research stage at the University of Cambridge.

Medieval Europe and Beyond

Convenors: Marian Coman and Ionuț Epurescu-Pascovici

This research working group is intended as a venue for historians, social scientists, and philosophers interested in discussing recent developments in the study of medieval Europe. Comparisons between Latin Europe, Byzantium, and Islam, and between late antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the early modern period are encouraged. The research group is not limited to medievalists but open to colleagues in other fields.

Monthly meetings include roundtable discussions of recent scholarship, readings of primary sources, methodological seminars, and presentations of work in progress. Working languages are Romanian and English.

2018/2019 academic year, 1st semester: Narratives

Chronicles and histories have been the privileged sources of research into the medieval past, only partly displaced in the last half century by medievalists’ growing appetite for charters and institutional records. More generally, a narrative element is inherent in most medieval written accounts; even charters and diplomas would sometimes relate a story in their prologue as backdrop for the dispositive clauses. The pitfalls of approaching narratives as transparent windows into the past are now clear, hence medievalists’ increased attention to the performative and culturally-constructed nature of our sources. In this spirit, the seminar will discuss the impact of genre conventions, auctorial agendas, and the expectations of the audience. Participants are invited to bring to the roundtable discussions their own experience and concerns with narrative sources. Lastly, we will consider the role of story-telling – in contrast with ‘analysis’ – in our own writing about the past.

Monthly meetings on Monday at 17.00 at ICUB (Str. Dimitrie Brândză nr. 1)

22 October – Introductory roundtable: from ancient to modern historical narratives

  • Ginzburg, Threads and Traces: True, False, Fictive: Intro and ch. 1, pp. 1-24;
  • Ricoeur, Time and Narrative: vol. 1, ch. 4 ‘Threefold mimesis’, pp. 52-76;
  • Davis, Fiction in the Archives: pp. 1-11, 15-25, 36-48.

26 November – Roundtable discussion of Gregory of Tours

  • Auerbach, Mimesis: ch. 4, pp. 77-95;
  • Goffart, Narrators of Barbarian History: ch. 3, pp. 112-19, 153-74, 183-97, 203-34.

Iulia Nițescu (IRH-ICUB), ‘Narratives of identity in late-fifteenth-century Muscovite dynastic marriages’

10 December – Chronicles in historical context: patronage, the audience’s expectations, and veracity

  • Spiegel, Romancing the Past, pp. 1-14, 20-23, 53-54, 214-68;
  • Madgearu, Romanians in Gesta Hungarorum, pp. 21-41, 86-105.

Past events:

2017/2018 – Understanding Medieval Violence

2016/2017 – From Lordship to State

Progress through eclecticism? The redefinition of metaphysics at the Berlin Academy in the second half of the eighteenth century

Project Title:  Progress through eclecticism? The redefinition of metaphysics at the Berlin Academy in the second half of the eighteenth century

Project Code: PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2016-2299 (funded by UEFISCDI, 23/2018)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Tinca Prunea


Research Team

Dr. Tinca Prunea

Dr. Oana Matei

Vlad Dolghi


Project development


May 2018

  • Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet, ‘Plaisir de l’âme’ et bonheur chez Maupertuis, Journée d’étude “Etudier les phénomènes de l’âme. Psychologie, esthétique et morale à l’Académie de Berlin (1745-1804)”, Université de Montréal, 4mai 2018

June 2018

  • Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet, Reimarus on the limits of human knowledge and the order of nature, Tagung ‘Wissen, Zeugnis, Religion bei H.S. Reimarus’, Göttingen, 14-15 June, 2018

July 2018

  • Oana Matei, Plants as alchemical laboratories: transmutation and the science of life (reading group; convenor with A. Clericuzio and D. Jalobeanu), Bucharest Princeton Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy, Bran June 28-July 4, 2018
  • Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet, Émilie du Châtelet and Christian Wolff on Hypothesis and the Foundations of Physics, Bucharest Princeton Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy, Bran June 28-July 4, 2018

September 2018

  • The 2018 Workshop of our research project:
  • Oana Matei, Writing a more methodical natural history. The transition from natural history to the foundation of nature: merchants of light and lamps, Arad, 18 September 2018
  • Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet, Kant and Reimarus on creation and divine wisdom, Arad, 19 September




Isomorphism of Knowledge: Scientific Projections on 20th and 21st Century Literature

10-11 May 2019

International Conference organized by the Department of Romance Linguistics, Ibero-Romanian Languages and Literatures, Italian, Classical Philology and Modern Greek; Center of Comparative Linguistics and Cognitivism; and the Humanities division of the Research Institute of the University of Bucharest (IRH-ICUB).

Invited Speakers: Christine Baron (University of Poitiers), Amelia Gamoneda (University of Salamanca), Francisco González Fernández (University of Oviedo), Pilar Alonso (University of Salamanca).


The aesthetic and discursive strand of contemporary thought has set out the transversal unification between epistemological domains (Baron, 2007), blurring the lines between science and literature. The conceptual mappings that suggest an active role of literary forms and structures in the articulation of the scientific thought, and the underlying scientific and technological references building the fictional worlds constitute an intertwined field of meaning intended to give an account of the empirical universe as part of a new humanism, called by some the third culture (Fernández Buey, 2013).

The main purpose of this congress is to approach the study of XXth and XXIst century literature from an interdisciplinary perspective in order to understand the necessity of a definite rapprochement between exact sciences and humanities. It is primarily concerned with highlighting structural analogies between scientific and literary discourse, as well as narrative patterns and metaphorical mechanisms in scientific texts. Special attention is paid to the fundamental role of literary theory as the science of literature in defending its cognitive abilities.

We invite papers coming from epistemocriticism, cognitive poetics, embodied reading theory, neuroaethetics and philosophy of the arts.

This event is also envisioned as a two-day meeting between scholars for the preparation of a monographic volume to be submitted to a major international publishing press.


Conference languages: English, French, Spanish

For further information, please contact: literaturaysaberes2019@gmail.com

Conference Web:     https://literaturaysaberes2019.wordpress.com/


Call for Papers: