Romanian Studies Association of America

2022 MLA Panels

Multilingual Roots, Multilingual Identities: Romanian Language Justice in
North America

Panel Organizer and Presider: Simona Livescu, President of the RSAA


This panel explores the presence of Romanian diasporic culture (fiction, academic work, life and society) in the US and Canada from a historical/cultural perspective. More specifically, it addresses the ways in which the Romanian diasporas are active supporters and advocates of multilingual cultures of justice in their communities.

Over the past decades, considerable efforts have been made by Romanian diasporic networks to promote cultural, social, racial, and legal justice in several centers of political and economic power such as: Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Toronto, Montreal, etc. Their commitment to advance a discourse of rights have influenced both the cultural space and the public discourse arena in the US, Canada, and Romania.

Ileana Marin & Otilia Baraboi
“ARCS Advocacy for Heritage Language Education and Cultural Diversity”

Cristina Vatulescu
“Hostile Archives: Towards a Polyphonic Reading Practice”

Simona Livescu
“Learned Societies and Languages of Justice”

Respondent: Noemi Marin, (Immediate) Past President of the RSAA

Collaborative Panel RSAA and Hungarian LLC: Affect and Multilingualism in
the United States

Panel Organizer: Szidonia Haragos


Panel Presider: Martha Pereszlenyi-Pinter, Chair of the Hungarian LLC


This interdisciplinary session examines portrayals of immigrant life in the U.S. in literature and film. More specifically, this session re-casts the American imaginary through the persistent intersectionality of multilingualism, affect, and power. The presentations address the multilingual and multicultural landscape imprinted by immigrant communities and their affective attachments to the idea of the U.S. as the site of mobility and success. A sustained inquiry running through the presentations is a critical engagement with Lauran Berlant’s concept of “cruel optimism.” Presenters adopt the term while they also question its effectiveness and offer thoughtful interventions for negotiating ideas of the U.S. as the affective multilingual destination and space of precarious belongings.

Since the publication of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy,
Performativity (Duke Univ. Press, 2003), there have been a growing number of studies published on affect theory. Examples include Sara Ahmed’s The Promise of Happiness (Duke Univ. Press, 2003), Lauren Berlant’s Cruel Optimism (Duke Univ. Press, 2011), and others. Building on this existing scholarship, our session asks how multi-ethnic U.S. texts maintain, or transform or, ultimately, reject the optimistic attachments immigrants forge while always in transit and caught within the material conditions induced by legalized power(lessness) in the U.S.


Debarati Biswas
“In Transit: Life on the Hyphen in Edwidge Danticat’s Everything Inside”

Szidonia Haragos
“What Does the Law Make You Feel?”

Arthur Vincie
“Everyone is a Citizen of Three Countries”

Acculturation or Transnationalism? Two Faces of the Same Multilinguistic

Panel Co-Organizers: Camelia Raghinaru


Christene d’Anca


Panel Presider: Camelia Raghinaru

“Acculturation or Transnationalism” brings together a panel of four presentations that reimagine the boundaries between “native” and “foreign” in the context of multilingualism in the U.S. Competing strategies of integration, resistance, assimilation, and multiculturalism set in tension the process of acculturation (i.e. the cultural and psychological change following intercultural contact—and its attendant subtractive multilingualism) with that of transnationalism (i.e., the exclusion of the predominance of one set of cultural values over the other—through additive multilingualism).

This panel recognizes immigrant voices (specifically in the context of the Romanian diaspora in the U.S.) as embodied ways of living in the tension between acculturation and transnationalism by defining immigrant identity as the ability to recast the foreign as native and familiar.

Oana Sandu-Popescu
“More Languages, Fewer Borders: Translingual Poetry Against Methodological

Christene d’Anca
“Translating Identity: Andrei Codrescu and Cultural Multilingualism”

Ioana Unk
“The American Dream between Acculturation and Transnationalism”

Octavian Gabor and Elena Gabor
“Being “întru” (within) a language: the process of translating The Romanian Sentiment of
Being by Constantin Noica”