Fourth Royal Colloquium – Under the High Patronage of HRH Prince Radu of Romania

Fourth Royal Colloquium

Under the High Patronage of HRH Prince Radu of Romania



From Dystopia to Posthistory

June 23-24, 2019


Palatul Elisabeta and Casa Filipescu-Cesianu

Conveners: Sorin Antohi and Gregory Claeys

Organizer: Asociația Orbis Tertius / A Treia Lume

Partners and Sponsors: Muzeul Municipiului București, Forum Auto. Volvo Importers, Alcar Pad Family, Niciman, Tudor Pădure, Paul Pricop

In 1989, Eastern Europe and the world seemed to enter a new axial time. With the fall of state communism (a process which was continued in 1991) in most parts of the world, really-existing dystopia appeared to recede and collapse, while a return to history was proclaimed. Even the end of history as usual was announced (this was the good news!). Thirty years later, those visions of historical banality regained or post-historical bliss need to be critically examined and checked against reality. Indeed, what is the balance sheet and what are the meanings of our last three decades? To discuss all of the above and more (in both English and Romanian), an interdisciplinary colloquium is convened in Bucharest, at the City Museum and Elisabeta Palace, under the High Patronage of HRH Prince Radu of Romania.

The series of Royal Colloquia, which continues other international academic encounters in Oxford, Sinaia, and Bucharest, has included so far: Utopia and Revolution (Sinaia, 22-25 June, 2017) 1968: Counterculture, Ideology, Utopia (Sinaia and Bucharest, 22-25 June 2018); România și Republica Moldova: de la distopie la postistorie (1989/1991-2018), Iași, 29-30 November 2018). Echoes and related  debates in the series, Idei în Agora / Ideas in the Agora, held at the Bucharest City Museum, are posted at  The videos of the first two colloquia are posted on YouTube at and, alongside other information, such as videos, posters, and programmes,

In 2019, this Royal Colloquium and a public debate in the series, Ideas in the Agora (also on 23 June), form the first part of the Ideas in Agora Festival, a public project based at the Bucharest City Museum, which continues on 1-4 October. They all share the same topic, 1989-2019: From Dystopia to Posthistory.

The Cantemir Annual Award continues the Cantemir Prize, established in 2010 as part of the activities leading to and becoming the Cantemir Institute at the University of Oxford (2011-2013). The Cantemir Prize was handed during annual conferences at the University of Oxford by HRH Prince Radu of Romania, the High Patron of the Cantemir Institute, to Ștefan Lemny (2010), Alison Ashford and Philippa Levine (2011), Martin Dodge, Chris Perkins, and Rob Kitchin (2012). In 2017, the recipient of the Cantemir Annual Award was Moshe Idel. In 2018, Gregory Claeys.

The Cantemir Annual Award celebrates the legacy of two enlightened princes of Romanian background: Demetrius Cantemir (1673-1723) and his son Antiochus (1709-1744).  Their writings, actions, and visions encompass vast spaces, different periods, and various cultures, both Eastern and Western. Demetrius was a ruling prince of Moldavia educated in Constantinople, a member of the Berlin Academy, a prince of the Russian Empire and an adviser to Peter the Great, while Antiochus was a translator, Russia’s first modern poet and first ambassador to Great Britain and France. They were cosmopolitan humanists who, while rooted in particular societies, traditions, and worldviews, transcended borders of many sorts, aspiring to intercultural knowledge and universal horizons.

Sunday, June 23, Casa Filipescu-Cesianu (open to the public)


Sorin Antohi, The Unmaking of Dystopia: Thirty Years and Counting

Dan Pavel, Forme postcomuniste și postistorice de justiție politică / Post-communist and post-historical forms of Political Justice

15:30-16:00 Break


Daniel Barbu, The Twilight of Society and the Rise of Unpolitical Democracy

Victor Neumann, România în Europa contemporană / Romania in Contemporary Europe

17:30-18:00 Break


18:00-20:00 Ideas in the Agora L: 1989-2019: From Dystopia to Posthistory. Public debate introduced and moderated by Gregory Claeys and Sorin Antohi

Monday, June 24, Palatul Elisabeta (by invitation)

12:45 Conferral of the Sixth Cantemir Award by HRH Prince Radu of Romania, followed by a Royal  Lunch.


  1. Sorin Antohi, Asociația Orbis Tertius / A Treia Lume
  2. Dr. Daniel Barbu, Universitatea din București
  3. Gregory Claeys, Royal Holloway, University of London
  4. Dr. Victor Neumann, Universitatea de Vest, Timișoara
  5. Dr. Dan Pavel, Universitatea din București
  6. Dr. emer. Dr. h.c. mult. Jörn Rüsen, Bochum
  7. Dr. Cătălin Stoica, SNSPA, București