Interethnic marriages: between an exercise of tolerance and a modern expression of indifference. 1895-2010
Mixed Marriages: Between an Exercise in Tolerance and the Modern Expression of Indifference. 1895-1910

Activity Report 2014

The activity carried out as part of the project this year has envisaged the accomplishment of the following objectives:

Identifying the mechanisms for the production and survival of mixed marriages through interviews (continued from 2013).

The analysis and interpretation of the interviews in the project portfolio has fostered an in-depth understanding of the intimate processes involved in the production and functioning of mixed marriages. The data processed so far allow us to draw the following preliminary conclusions:
- the formation of a mixed couple is usually conditional on the existence of a common context for both spouses, outside differences pertaining to ethnicity or confession (territorial proximity, common workplace or school, mutual friends, the religious community across ethnic divisions, etc.);
- the possible reactions of disapproval coming from the extended families (parents and other relatives of the couple) can be successfully overcome if the couple manage to harmoniously integrate, in their daily life, the cultural differences between them;
- the education of the children resulting from these marriages is generally achieved with the contribution of both cultures to which the spouses belong (often involving the grandparents, who thus become agents of transmitting the cultural heritage of the community they are members of);
- in case there are differences pertaining to the confessions of the spouses, there is respect for the main elements of both denominations involved, even in the case of those who are not necessarily practitioners of the faith in which they have been raised;
- the baptism and religious education of the children of confessionally mixed couples are usually determined by mutual agreement, without causing subsequent resentment;
- the language spoken in mixed couples is determined, most of the times, by practical considerations; generally, the language that is spoken is the one familiar to both spouses. In many cases, however, both languages are used, when there is a willingness to learn the language of the “other”;
- the children of ethnically mixed couples are educated, most of the times, in both languages, which is considered an advantage in many cases, as these children are provided with the opportunity of an opening towards two different cultures, with greater chances in the future (a broader range of educational offers, greater chances of finding employment, etc.).
These conclusions are to be validated quantitatively too, in the following stage, after the processing of all the interviews has been completed. In any case, the available data already enable us to outline a picture of mixed marriage as a space of mutual respect for otherness, as a space in which cultural differences are seen as incentives for growth and development, and not as sources of conflict.

2. A reconstitution of the quantitative evolution of mixed marriages in Transylvania between 1895-2010 (this activity will be continued in 2015)

Achieving this goal involved carrying out meticulous, time consuming activities, due to the absence of uniform bodies of sources and statistics on the researched theme. The following directions of research have been considered:
2.1. Identifying the unpublished and published sources about mixed marriages in Transylvania
There have been valorized bibliographies, national and international databases, unified international catalogues etc., with a view to creating a bibliographic database related primarily to mixed marriages, but also to other aspects pertaining to marriage and family life in general (our experience so far has convincingly shown that in order to capture the entire relevance of the phenomenon of mixed marriages, this aspect should be investigated in close and constant contact with the historical, social, economic, cultural and demographic background of its occurrence). This database already includes several hundred titles and will be expanded over the next year so that it may become a working instrument that will be placed, at the end of the project, at the disposal of the specialists interested in this field.

2.2. Constructing a database of mixed marriages in Transylvania
So far we have valorized the data collected from the civil registries to which the team members have had access, in order to provide a quantitative picture of the phenomenon of mixed marriages. The intention of the team members is to continuously enrich, where possible, this database, in order to ensure its becoming, by the end of the project, a valid working instrument.

2.3. Data analysis and interpretation
The results obtained thus far, after the completion of this activity, have been valorized as published studies and conference participations.

2.4. Processing the individual data from the censuses of 1977, 1992, and 2002
This activity is in progress and will be completed over the course of next year, when the statistical data obtained will be valorized from a scientific perspective.

3. The continuous dissemination of the project activities and results
This objective has been met through participations in scientific conferences and through several publications, as follows:

3.1. National and international conferences:

3.1.1. Sections or panels organized:

Ioan Bolovan - section organized: “Mixed Marriages” at the “European Social Science History Conference”, Vienna, 10-14 April 2014

3.1.2. Participations with scientific papers:

1.Between public and private. The Church and the Romanians of Transylvania during WWI, at the conference The population of Europe: historical roots and long term perspectives, European Society of Historical Demography, Alghero, Italy, 25-27 September 2014 (with Ioan Bolovan); (
2.The Orthodox and the Greek-Catholic Churches in Transylvania and the Romanians during World War I, at the conference The First World War and Historiographical Perspective, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 3-5 June, 2014 (with Ioan Bolovan)
3.Divorces and Mixed Marriages in a Multiethnic and Multiconfessional Environment. A Case Study on the Transylvania in the 20th century, Tenth European Social Science History, Austria, Vienna, 23-26 April 2014 (with Ioan Bolovan, Daniela Marza, Bogdan Craciun, Mihaela Haragus)
4.Changing Values and the Crisis of The Romanian Families from Transylvania during WWI, at the conference Inequalities: Politics, Policy, and the Past, 39th Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, November 6-9, 2014. (

Le choix du conjoint au sein des mariages mixtes en Transylvanie 1950-2010 : l'importance de la religion, as part of the seminar Pouvoirs et dépendances au sein de la famille : perspectives comparatives (16e-20e siecles), École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales/EHESS, Centre de Recherches Historiques/CRH, 11 December2014, Paris, France.

3.2. Publications

3.2.1. Volumes

1. Luminiţa Dumănescu, Daniela Mârza, Marius Eppel (eds.), Intermarriage throughout History, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2014, 505 p., ISBN 978-1-4438-5950-9 which is already included, according to the Worldcat catalogue, in 42 libraries across Europe, North America and Australia (  For this reason, we consider this volume to be one of the most important accomplishments of this project, as it answers abundantly the acutely felt need that Romanian historical research should be known and promoted in the international scientific environment.
2. Antoinette Fauve-Chamoux, Ioan Bolovan, Solvi Sogner (eds), A global history of historical demography. Half a century of interdisciplinarity, Peter Lang Publ., 2014, ISBN 978-3-0348-1420-6.

3.2.2. Scientific Articles

During the year 2014, the team members have produced four studies that have valorized the available data so far. These articles - some of which have already been published, while others have been accepted for publication - are as follows:

1.Daniela Mârza, “The language spoken in mixed marriages in contemporary Transylvania - an analysis,” accepted for publication in Transylvanian Review, 4/20014.

2.Viorela Ducu (Telegdi-Csetri), “Displaying Ethnically Mixed Families in Transylvania,” an article accepted for publication in Transylvanian Review, Supplement 2015, co-edited by Aron Telegdi-Csetri, section Politics and Critique of Cosmopolitanism.

3.Ioan Bolovan, Daniela Mârza, Bogdan Crăciun, Mihaela Hărăguş, “Divorces and Mixed Marriages in a Multiethnic and Multiconfessional Environment. A Case Study on the Transylvania in the 20th century”, an article accepted for publication in Transylvanian Review, Supplement 2015, co-edited by Aron Telegdi-Csetri, section Politics and Critique of Cosmopolitanism.

4.Marius Eppel, “Confesiune si căsătorie mixtă în Transilvania în secolul XXI,” [“Confession and Mixed Marriages in Transylvania in the Twenty-First Century”] in Istoria ca datorie. Omagiul Academicianului I AP la implinirea varstei de 60 ani [History as a Duty. Fettschrift for Academician I AP on His 60th Anniversary], edited by Ioan Bolovan, Ovidiu Ghitta, Cluj-Napoca, 2014. Under print in December.

With these, the contractual obligations, involving the publication of 12 studies (13 have actually been printed or are under print), have been fulfilled.
As can be seen, throughout this year too, the members of this project have conducted a relentless activity in this regard, which will contribute to meeting, by the end of the project, all the assumed objectives.

Cluj Napoca, 27 November 2014   
Project Director
Univ. Prof. Ioan Bolovan, PhD

© 2011 by Luminita Dumanescu
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