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Transylvania - A central European Region from Historical and Anthropological Perspectives
CEUS-U 320/U520
Agnes Fulemile

Transylvania (“the land beyond the forest”) is a geographic and historic region in East Central Europe which was a crossroad of migrations until and still after the Hungarian Conquest (turn of 9th- 10th c. AD) for many centuries. It had been a crown-land of Kingdom of Hungary since the early Middle Ages; became a semi-independent Hungarian Principality in the period of the Ottoman occupation when Hungary was divided into three parts in the 16th-17th centuries,  it was a Great-Principality of the Habsburg Monarchy directed centrally from Vienna after the Habsburg “colonization” of Hungary and returned to Hungarian administration from the 1867 Compromise until the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1918/1920. Since the Trianon Peace Treaty (concluded after World War I) it constitutes one the three main regions of modern Romania. Transylvania has a rich multiethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural past and present. The recent population over 7 million can be divided into a Romanian majority, a decreasing but still large Hungarian minority (around one and half a million) and several other sizeable ethnicities of various groups of Roma, Germans, and others.

The course deals with the ethnic, social and regional subcultures of Transylvania from historical and anthropological perspectives. It covers the ethnic and demographic changes in Transylvania from the time of the Hungarian Conquest to the beginning of the 21st century.  The main body of the course comprises the following: the outlines of population history, ethno-geography, settlement patterns, social stratification, economic strategies, life-style, mentality, cultural expressions of various regional and social groups of different peoples (Hungarians, Székely-Hungarians, Rumanians, Germans, Jews, Armenians, Gypsies, etc.); issues of cross-cultural influences, religion and identity, ethnic cooperation and conflicts, majority-minority relations and divergent interpretations of the history of the region by national historiographies.

The primary focus is on Transylvania, but a wider East Central and South-Eastern European context is used as a tool for comparison.

The instructor has more than twenty years of field experience in Transylvania. Photographs, video films and musical recordings will be used as illustration. The course is interdisciplinary, combining data and interpretations from various fields of social sciences.

No prerequisite studies are necessary.


5-6 pp take-home essay   15 %

l0‑l2 pp term paper   40%

75 minute in-class final paper (test, blank map, essay)  30 %

seminar work: (class activity, reading reports, seminar presentation)  15 %