Ethnic Identities Face to Face: Serbian and Romanian Minorities from the Banat between History and Memory

15 June 2019

Simona Adam and Mircea Măran

Ethnic identity is not just given but is continuously constructed and reconstructed from generation to generation. Major historical events and also individual or collective experiences influence the members of ethnic minorities differently. In this paper, we analyse the way in which the ethnic identity of the Romanian minority from the Serbian Banat region and that of the Serbian minority from the Romanian Banat region were constructed during the twentieth century. We start by describing ways of expressing ethnic identity in multiple aspects of social life, such as education, cultural life, religion and publications. We also reveal the most preeminent anchors of identity for each of the two minorities. By combining traditional history sources with oral history resources, we aim to identify the mechanisms used by each ethnic group in maintaining and negotiating its identity through the twentieth century. This paper is the result of a cross-border and interdisciplinary collaboration in which, over the course of the last five years, the two authors have interlaced their historical and sociological perspectives in order to enhance their own individual research interests through joint projects. These projects aim not only to increase scientific knowledge, but also to promote the two minority identities on both sides of the border between Romanian and Serbian Banat.

ethnic identity, Banat, Serbian minority, Romanian minority.
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  2. Ion Medoia, Paul Iorgovici, învățat și patriot bănățean 1764–1808. Monografie [Paul Iorgovici, Erudite and Patriot of the Banat 1764–1808: Monograph] (Timișoara: Eurostampa, 2008), 41.
  3. Alexandru Țințariu, Sfârșitul dușmăniei [The End of Hostility], vol. II, ed. Mircea Măran (Zrenianin: The Romanian Culture Institute in Vojvodina, 2016), 88–90.
  4. Mircea Măran, Românii din Banatul sârbesc în anii interbelici (1918–1941). Pagini de istorie culturală [Romanians from Serbian Banat Region in the Inter-War Period (1918–1941): Pages of Cultural History] (Cluj-Napoca: Argonaut, 2012), 131.
  5. Ibid., 39–40.
  6. Mircea Măran, Kulturne prilike kod Rumuna u Banatu (1945–1952) [Cultural Opportunities of the Romanians in Banat (1945–1952)] (Vršac: Mihailo Palov Preschool Teacher College Publishing House, 2008), 85.
  7. Gligor Popi, Românii din Banatul sârbesc [Romanians from the Serbian Banat], vol. II (Pancevo: Libertatea, 1994), 19.
  8. Liubomir Stepanov, Sârbii din România [The Serbs from Romania] (Timișoara: Union of Serbs in Romania, 2006), 20.
  9. Vladmir Nenadovici, interviewed in 2003 by Adrian Onică, The Oral History Archive of ‘The Third Europe’ Foundation Timișoara (hereafter cited as AIOFTE).
  10. Vladmir Marcovici, interviewed in 2001 by Simona Adam, AIOFTE.
  11. Branislav Stancovici, interviewed in 2001 by Simona Adam, AIOFTE.
  12. Lazăr Pomorișaț, interviewed in 2000 by Simona Adam, AIOFTE.
  13. Zdravco Fenlacichi, interviewed by Simona Adam in 2001, AIOFTE.
  14. Vladimir Marcovici, interviewed by Simona Adam in 2001, AIOFTE.
  15. Xenia Manojlović, interviewed by Simona Adam in 2001, AIOFTE.
  16. Jovanca Luchin, interviewed by Simona Adam in 2001, AIOFTE.