Author Archives: Institute for Research in the Humanities

About Institute for Research in the Humanities

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.

IRH-ICUB Fellowships and Grants – November 2018

The IRH-ICUB is happy to announce the fellowships and grants awarded in November 2018:

Fellowship for Young Researchers:

Ancuța Mortu – Cognitive Processes in Art History: Emerging Psychological Investigations of the Beholder’s Response to Art, (12 months)

Mihaela Șimon – Virtue ethics and moral responsibility in organizations: an Aristotelian account, (12 months)

Ida Valicenti – Discovering an unpublished Benedetto Croce before his publishing of the Anti-fascist intellectuals Manifest, through the exchange of letters with Elena Bacaloglu (1910-1923), (12 months)

Young Researchers Grant (UB):

Silvia-Alexandra Ștefan – From Famagusta to Lepanto: Spain between Cultural Inferiority and Imperial Aggrandizing

Fellowships for visiting professors:

Victor Ivanovici (University of Thessaloniki) – Chestiuni de narratologie (cu aplicare la literatura hispanică), (4 months)


Philosophical Cosmology in Early Modern Europe, 6-7 December 2018

CosmologyWe are glad to announce the workshop “Philosophical Cosmology in Early Modern Europe” which is to take place on December 6-7, at the Institute for Research in Humanities, University of Bucharest (1 Dimitrie Brandza street).

The Workshop focuses on philosophical cosmology in the Renaissance and Early Modern Europe (roughly late sixteenth century – mid-eighteen century). The papers will consist in a diversity of a case-studies, focusing on the interplay between physics, mathematics and theology within individual cosmological projects (e.g. Bacon, Roberval, Kant) and broad cosmological traditions. The workshop is organized as part of the project The Emergence of Mathematical Physics in the Context of Experimental Philosophy (PNIII-P4-ID-PCE 2016-0228, 2017-2019).

Speakers: Pietro Daniel Omodeo (Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia), Stefano Gulizia (New Europe College, Bucharest) Dana Jalobeanu (ICUB, University of Bucharest), Mihnea Dobre (ICUB, University of Bucharest), Oana Matei (New Europe College), Ovidiu Babeș (ICUB, University of Bucharest), Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet (ICUB, University of Bucharest).

Workshop organized within the project The Emergence of Mathematical Physics in the Context of Experimental Philosophy (PNIII-P4-ID-PCE 2016-0228, 2017-2019).

Thursday, December 6th
Chair: Dana Jalobeanu

15:30 – 16:20 Mihnea Dobre (IRH-ICUB, University of Bucharest): Cartesian Cosmology Between ‘Mosaic Physics’ and Mechanical Philosophy

16:20 – 16:30 Coffee break

16:30 – 17:20 Stefano Gulizia (New Europe College, Bucharest): Nicolaus Andreae Granius: Physics and Cosmology at Helmstedt

Friday, December 7th

Morning session (Chair: Ovidiu Babeș)
9:00 – 9:30 Coffee
9:30 – 10:30 Pietro Daniel Omodeo (Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia): Homocentric Astronomy and the Animation of the Heavens: Girolamo Fracastoro beyond Scholastic Psycho-Dynamics

10:30 – 10:40 Coffee break

10:40 – 11:30 Dana Jalobeanu (IRH-ICUB, University of Bucharest): Quantitative estimates, comparative observations and cosmological processes: Francis Bacon’s mathematical inquiries in the Historia densi et rari

11:30 – 12:20 Oana Matei (IRH-ICUB, University of Bucharest): John Evelyn’s cosmology and matter theory in Elysium Britannicum

12:20 – 13:20 Lunch break

Afternoon session (Chair: Oana Matei)
13:20 – 14:10 Ovidiu Babeș (IRH-ICUB, University of Bucharest): The Cosmology of Gilles Personne de Roberval

14:10 – 15:00 Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet (IRH-ICUB, University of Bucharest): Matter and Motion in Kant’s Precritical Cosmology

Reaching out to the world: Eastern European regimes beyond the communist bloc, 28 January 2019

Eastern European regimesThis workshop will bring together researchers working on themes surpassing traditional Cold War narratives about Eastern Europe. By focusing on issues such as multilateralism, East-West relations and the engagement of the socialist regimes with the rest of the world the invited speakers will delve into portraying the initiatives and the strategies engaged by the communist regimes such as Romania in their efforts to establish a voice of their own in the global stage beyond the confines of the communist bloc.

Organiser: Dr. Paschalis Pechlivanis (IRH-ICUB)

Invited speakers: Dr. Angela Romano (European University Institute, Florence), Dr. Laurien Crump (Utrecht University), Dr. Adelina Stefan (European University Institute, Florence), Dr. Corina Mavrodin (European University Institute, Florence).


14:00 – 16:00 Chair: Dr. Paschalis Pechlivanis

Dr. Angela Romano (PanEur1970s, EUI) – European Socialist Countries Vis-à-Vis the 1970s Globalising Trends: The Pan-European cooperation option.

Dr. Laurien Crump (Utrecht University) – ‘Enemies of Détente’? Eastern European Strategies for Securing Europe through the CSCE.

16:00 – 16:30 Coffee break

16:30 – 18:30 Chair: Dr. Paschalis Pechlivanis

Dr. Adelina Stefan (PanEur1970s, EUI) – Bridging Europe during the Cold War: International tourism as ‘soft diplomacy’ in socialist Romania of the 1960s and the 1980s.

Dr. Corina Mavrodin (Max Weber Fellow, EUI) – Stepping out onto the Global Stage: Romania and the UN General Assembly, 1960.

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:

Mihnea Dobre (Principal Investigator)mihnea-dobre is teaching and doing research at the University of Bucharest. He has a PhD in philosophy (Radboud University Nijmegen and University of Bucharest), and his research interest is in the history of philosophy and science. He works on the various aspects of the early modern period, with a focus on the relations between philosophy, science, and religion. He is the author of a monograph on Descartes and Early French Cartesianism: between metaphysics and physics (Zeta Books, 2017) and co-editor of the Cartesian Empiricisms volume (Springer, 2013). For a list of Dobre’s publications and conference papers, see his page. He is the book review editor at the Centaurus, An International Journal of the History of Science and its Cultural Aspects. Dobre is the PI of this project.

Grigore Vida grigoreis a historian of the philosophy and science of the early modern period, member of the Research Center “Foundations of Modern Thought” and of the Center for Logic, History and Philosophy of Science (both at the University of Bucharest).He has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Bucharest with the thesis Metaphysics and Natural Philosophy in Isaac Newton(2011). He has worked within a team on a Romanian edition of Descartes’ complete correspondence, and has also contributed to translations from the works of Francis Bacon. His main interest is the relation between metaphysics, natural philosophy and mathematics in the works of scientifically minded philosophers of the 17th century. In this project, he will investigate the interaction between Cartesianism and Newtonianism, the debate between Descartes and Henry More, and the cosmological project of Thomas Burnet.

img018Ovidiu Babeș is PhD student at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest, writing a dissertation on the relation between mathematics and natural philosophy in Descartes’s works. His main area of research interest is in the history of early modern science (including here natural philosophy, history of mathematics, the rise of experimental philosophy). He has worked on topics such as early modern doctrines of demonstration, the status of mixed-mathematical disciplines within the Aristotelian division of sciences, Descartes’s optics and mechanics, the establishment of the Royal Society, and John Wilkins’s cosmology.

Bogdan-Antoniu Deznan (Doctoral Student)Bogdan Deznan is a PhD candidate at the University of Bucharest. He is also a research associate of the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Platonism (University of Cambridge). The topic of his doctoral dissertation is the concept of deification in the thought of the Cambridge Platonists (primarily Benjamin Whichcote, John Smith, Henry More, and Ralph Cudworth) and how this issue relates to the larger early modern theological and philosophical contexts. His primary research interests concern the history of theological and philosophical ideas in the early modern period, the appropriation of Patristic and Platonic/Neoplatonic sources in the seventeenth century, the theological underpinnings of natural philosophy, and the interplay between metaphysical and theological discourses.



Project development

October 2018

  • Research seminars

November 2018

  • Research seminars

December 2018

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 (Mihnea Dobre, IRH-ICUB)
  • North American postdoctoral fellowships (Laura Bisaillon, University of Toronto, IRH-ICUB Visiting Professor)

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

Please register for attending the meetings. For registration, please send a message to


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

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.

21 Januray – Narratives in historical writing

  • Currie, Sterelny, In defence of story-telling, pp. 14-21


Past events:

2017/2018 – Understanding Medieval Violence

2016/2017 – From Lordship to State