Andreea Zamfira and Daniela Radu, editors of the Budrich title Gender in Focus: Identities, Codes, Stereotypes and Politics, agreed to reply to our 5 questions. Before we start, short CVs are given by the editors:
Andreea Zamfira holds a Ph.D. in Political and Social Sciences from the University of Bucharest and the Université Libre de Bruxelles. She is working as Assistant Professor at ‘Lucian Blaga’ University of Sibiu (Department of International Relations, Political Sciences and Security Studies), Associate Researcher at the CEVIPOL (Center for the Study of Political Life, Brussels) and CEREFREA Villa Noël (Centre Régional Francophone de Recherches Avancées en Sciences Sociales, Bucharest).
Daniela Radu, currently working as psychotherapist, has also a PhD in Political Science (International Relations). She has been involved in academic research and teaching for over 15 years. Her professional interests are focused on the normative structure of international politics, peace-building processes, transitional justice, humanitarian crises.
What will be the main challenge for your research field in the coming years?
AZ: I am particularly interested in studying the effect globalization and interculturality have on representations of the Other, on national identities, on stereotypes and codes influencing self- and collective definitions within multiethnic societies.
DR: Researchers in gender studies focus on a wide range of issues, including the gendered reproduction of economic inequalities, patterns of cultural violence, relationships between majority and minority as well as center and periphery, forced migration, sexual violence in conflicts, peace building, rooted ethnic conflicts, etc. Due to this variety, a first challenge would be the access to primary sources and the possibility to collect and process data on the ground. Another challenge would be the recent trend in populism and authoritarianism, which represent a source of obstruction to academic freedom in Gender Studies.
Why would anyone want to pursue research in your field?
AZ: The dominant political discourses about diversity, religion, cultural values, nation, state, European Union etc. are about to change significantly. Books of reference in political and social sciences during my studentship could now only help us to draw the history of the disciplines. Social and political realities of countries with historic ethnic communities are changing in an accelerating rhythm; a lot of research will be needed in order to keep up the pace with this dynamic world.
DR: Gender studies help understand and explain the facts, phenomena, social and political processes in their deep structures, but also contribute to assessing social changes.
Why did you choose your research field? What motivates you in your field in particular?
AZ: Of course, the choice for the research field is related to my entire academic trajectory, to the University courses and teachers I liked the most, also to my reading preferences (imagology, anthropology, ethnic studies, minority studies, cultural studies etc.). A tremendous initial influence on my choice was played by discussions my father and I used to have about the ethno-cultural diversity in Romania, my country of origin. Later on, discovering and studying (generally speaking) the cultural richness of multi-ethnic regions and communities, I became more and more interested in the interplay between politics and ethnicity – a fascinating multidisciplinary research field.
DR: It makes me more sensitive to challenges that disenfranchised groups face while helping me to maintain objectivity.
Which (academic) book has influenced you the most?
AZ: If I had to name only a book, that would be Imagined Comunities written by Benedict Anderson.
DR: Tristes Tropiques by Claude Levi Strauss, translated by John Russell, 1961.
I am author with Barbara Budrich because …
AZ: … Verlag Barbara Budrich was recommended to me by a colleague of mine. Before submitting the manuscript, I could not even figure out such an efficient way of communicating and working between a Publishing House (editors) and authors. Each submission is approached by the editors from a specific thematic department, each (technical, legal etc.) situation is solved together with a specialist. My impression is that the great experience in the field is the key of the successful working team of Verlag Barbara Budrich.
DR: … of the opportunity of a beautiful professional collaboration, based on empathy, implication and exigency, with effective results.
Published by Budrich:
Andreea Zamfira, Christian de Montlibert, Daniela Radu (eds.): Gender in Focus: Identities, Codes, Stereotypes and Politics
© pixabay 2019 / photo: Bru-nO; portrait Andreea Zamfira: private