Florin Faje is PhD Student at the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Central European University, Budapest and a CEU Junior Visiting Fellow at IWM.
In his presentation, Florin Faje will look at the distinct ways in which intellectual and material resources have been articulated in a (more or less) coherent project of physical education and sports in interwar Romania. Looking at the case study of sports education developments at the University of Cluj, Faje will argue that organized physical movement was a key site in the grounding of Romanian rule in the region in the post-World War I redrawing of national frontiers in Eastern Europe. The development of such institutions and the definition of their aims and goals were part and parcel in the process of integrating the Transylvanian Romanian population into the body of the modern Romanian nation-state. The configuration of institutions, practices, and ideas that emerged and crystallized at the “Universitatea” sports club, fuses in intriguing ways the tensions of a social structure marked by highly ethnicized class relations and an equally ethnicized urban/rural divide, in which Romanians were struggling to outcompete a mostly urban and at least initially better off Hungarian minority.