Interdisciplinarity as Aggregator: On-line Edition

Nowadays, ‘cross-disciplinarity’ practices, namely multidisciplinarityinterdisciplinarity, and transdisciplinarity (Barry & Born 2013, p. 8) are so widely deployed, offering responses to the multiple complexities of the modern age. While multidisciplinarity signals an accumulation of disciplinary perspectives to address a single object, with the anticipation that this approach will provide a richer analysis, adding insights that could not be generated from the application of a single discipline, interdisciplinarity comes to describe the ‘aggregation’ process of disciplinary perspectives with the intention of producing a ‘synthesis’ between them. Seen as an ‘inventive’ process, because its outcomes are innovative and deliberately reconstructive, transdiciplinarity overtly seeks to ‘transcend’ or ‘transform’ existing disciplinary structures.  (Thomson 2016, p. 323)

For the complexity of the modern world, interdisciplinarity depicts a mode of analytical thought that challenges the ubiquity and solidity of traditional disciplinarity. The interdisciplinary approach aims at trespassing the artificial borderlines between disciplines, representing a strict requirement in a world prone to constant change and cognitive accumulation in various fields of knowledge. Proactive focusing, blending, and linking of disciplinarity inputs foster a more holistic understanding of an issue, question, topic, theme or problem.

Based on bridge building between disciplines, or restructuring parts of disciplines to form a new whole, the purpose of interdisciplinary research is actually a pragmatic one: to solve a problem, to resolve an issue, to raise a new question, to explain a phenomenon, to create a new product, or to address a topic, all these being too complex for the methodological inventory of a single discipline and requiring thus an interdisciplinary approach (Klein 2010).

Transgressing certain epistemological and methodological barriers between various disciplines has resulted in a re-assessment of the research object, which is no longer regarded from the unique perspective of a single discipline, but rather placed under the magnifying glass of the interdisciplinary approach. The research object is studied from all angles, while the analysis is performed with methodological and epistemological tools belonging to several disciplines, aimed at rendering the research deeper and more extended.

PHSS conference highlights the need for more interdisciplinary debate in different fields of research and calls for more critical approaches to bring various topics to the forefront of research in humanities and social sciences.

We invite you to join us for the 7th edition of PHSS conference to explore interdisciplinarity and how interdisciplinary collaboration can help us to study complex social phenomena. We warmly invite proposals that focus on theoretical approaches, and also applied studies. Submitted presentations can include descriptions of accomplished work or work in progress.

Please send your title and a short abstract at

There is no participation fee for this year’s edition.

The conference languages are Romanian and English.

PHSS 2019: Conference Program

FRIDAY, 17 May 2019

9.00-9.30 – Registration and coffee
The Museum of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași

9.30-10.30 – Opening Session
The Museum of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași

10.30-12.00 – Panel (1)
The Museum of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași

12.00-12.45 – The Museum of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași –Guided Tour

12.45-14.00 – Lunch-break at “Titu Maiorescu” Restaurant 14.00-16.00 – Panels (2-3)

16.00-18.00 – WORKSHOP
C505 Room, Building C, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași

Invited Speakers:

Prof. Angela Roman (“Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași”)

Neculai Viţelaru (Vice-president CNIPMMR)

Eugenia Niculina Dăscălescu (Regional Director BRD)Sorin Cociș (Regional Expert BRD)

Chair: Dr. Valentina Diana Rusu

16.15-18.15– Panels (4-5)
The Old Water Tower of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași

18.30-19.00 – Book presentation: Exploring the Digital Turn
The Old Water Tower of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași

19.00 – Cocktail
The Old Water Tower of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași

SATURDAY, 18 May 2019

8.30-9.00 – Registration and coffee
The Old Water Tower of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași

9.00-11.00 – Panels (6-7)
S5 Room, Ground Floor, Building A of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iaşi

11.00-12.30 – Plenary Conference
Faculty of Letters, Room III.11, Building A, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași

From Felix Klein’s Erlangen Program to Dan Barbilian’s Secondary Game: The Philological Side

Keynote Speaker: Prof. BOGDAN SUCEAVĂ, California State University, Fullerton

12.30-13.00 – Closing Remarks

The full program is available here.

Workshop PHSS 2019: The Development of Entrepreneurship in Romania. The Role of Institutional Environment


Invited Speakers:

Prof. ANGELA ROMAN (“Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași”)

NECULAI VIŢELARU (Vice-president National Council of Private Small andMedium Enterprises in Romania)

EUGENIA NICULINA DĂSCĂLESCU (Regional Administrative Director BRD – Groupe Société Générale, North East Region)

SORIN COCIȘ (Regional Expert in European funds, government programs and partnerships BRD – Groupe Société Générale, Northeast Retail Region)

Time and location: Friday, 17 May, 16.00-18.00
C505 Room, Building C, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași

Language: Romanian

Entrepreneurship plays a major role in the economic development of a country or region and the quality of entrepreneurial activity has a significant impact on economic growth. Among the main pillars identified as supporters of entrepreneurship are: access to finance (facilitating entrepreneurs’ access to finance, in particular by developing a different lending model for entrepreneurship by banks, and developing new sources of innovative funding such as crowd- funding and microfinance); entrepreneurial culture (tolerance for risk and failure, preference for self-employment, culture of innovation and research); taxes and regulations (tax incentives, ease of business start-up, business-friendly legislation); education and training (entrepreneurship education in pre-university and university education, training for entrepreneurs, encouraging lifelong learning for entrepreneurs); support in all areas mentioned offered by specialized organizations, such as entrepreneurs’ associations and clubs, government agencies, business incubators, groups and business centres. According to studies in the field, access to finance is an area where entrepreneurs face the most difficulties, so improving access to finance is considered to be the most supportive measure of entrepreneurial development.

Through this workshop, we intend to create an interactive seminar in which to work together with the participants to identify the main obstacles that entrepreneurs face when they want to start up a new business or are in the course of their activity, in Romania. We will discuss the characteristics of the entrepreneurial environment in Romania, the number of procedures necessary for the establishment of a new business, the main ways of financing available to start-up entrepreneurs, but also to those older on the market, the role of the institutional environment in stimulating and encouraging potential entrepreneurs. The practical experience of the speakers will bring us face to face with the real situation in the business and institutional environment. Also, the participants in this seminar, being seen as potential entrepreneurs, will present their perceptions of the obstacles they identify in the entrepreneurial environment, as well as the factors that would stimulate them to open a business.

Organizers: Institute of Interdisciplinary Research, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Department, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași

This workshop was supported by a grant of the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza”University of Iasi, within the Research Grants program, Grant UAIC, code GI-UAIC-2017-02, entitled “Increasing the competitiveness of the Romanian economy by improving the quality of entrepreneurship”.

Plenary Conference PHSS 2019 — From Felix Klein’s ‘Erlangen Program’ to Dan Barbilian’s ‘Secondary Game’: The Philological Side


Keynote speaker: Prof. Bogdan Suceavă

California State University, Fullerton, USA

Time and location: Saturday, 18 May 2019, 11.00-12.30
Faculty of Letters, III.11 Room, Building A, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași

Language: Romanian

In 1872, the 23-year old Felix Klein published an important work, known today as the Erlangen Program, with lasting impact on the development of modern mathematics. Pursuing the Erlangen’s Program philosophy, a doctoral student of Gaston Darboux, Gheorghe Țițeica, introduced the first concepts of affine differential geometry in a series of papers published in 1907-1908. Furthermore, while running the ‘Mathematical Gazette’s problem solving competition, Țițeica discovered Dan Barbilian, a young brilliant and original mathematician who later had many substantive contributions in algebraic geometry and metric geometry. In poetry, Barbilian is remembered for his volume titled ‘Secondary Game’. In an essay wrote a decade after the ‘Secondary Game”s publication, Barbilian wrote: “I personally consider myself a representative of the Erlangen Program, that movement of ideas that, from the standpoint of its consequences and the overturn of viewpoints, can be compared with the Discourse on the Method or with the Reform itself. Instead of the narrow specialization or the opaque technicality, which preceded the Erlangen Program, it brought an illuminated eclecticism. It pursues the depth of each theory, without missing from sight the homogeneity and unity of the whole.” Starting our inquiry from this standpoint, we investigate the existence of the common roots of ‘Secondary Game”s poetics and the philosophy of the Erlangen Program. Our conclusion is that the Erlangen Program yielded in the field of Romanian letters a totally unexpected outcome: an aesthetic vision.

Bogdan SUCEAVA (b. 1969) has a degree in mathematics (1994) and a M.Sc in geometry (1995) from the University of Bucharest, and a doctorate in mathematics from Michigan State University, East Lansing (2002). He is now a full professor of mathematics at California State University, Fullerton, where he taught since 2002. He has written articles on mathematics and the history of mathematics, some of which appeared in Historia Mathematica, the Notices of the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Intelligencer, among many others; two of historical essays are included in the Best Writings on Mathematics anthologies (2016, 2018) published by the Princeton University Press.  He is also the author of 17 literary volumes, including Miruna: A Tale (Curtea Veche, 2007; Polirom 2016), The Night When Somebody Died for You (Polirom, 2010), Coming from an Off key Time (Polirom, 2004; 2nd edition, 2010; 3rd edition, 2014), Avalon. Secrets of Happy Emigrants (Polirom, 2018).


Call for Presentations PHSS 2019, Iași 17-18 May: Interdisciplinarity — An Umbrella Term?

For Romanian, please click here.

There is no unitary theory of interdisciplinarity, but we are most certainly crossing a postdisciplinary era, one in which inter-, multi-, transdisciplinarity have already merged into a meta-discipline, a new idiom where all these prefixes are partially interchangeable. But what does the conceptual vocabulary of interdisciplinarity consist of today? Which are its applicative methodologies? How do we acknowledge the potential meeting points of two distinct disciplines? How can these meetings be encouraged? And how does the imperative of being interdisciplinary shape the policies of research and the academic culture?

In order to answer these questions, the 6th edition of the PHSS Conference will focus on four thematic areas: conceptual vocabulary, epistemologies and methodologies, interferences, forms of collaboration. Theoretical approaches, as well as focused case studies and inter- and transdisciplinary explorations are welcome. Our selection will attempt, as far as possible, to come with a balanced selection of these four areas of interest:

Conceptual vocabulary

  • Theories of post-, inter-, multi-, transdisciplinarity
  • Operational metaphors of interdisciplinarity: hibridization, contamination, virus,
  • From the humanist model of antiquity to transdisciplinarity: key concepts and their historical evolution
  • Interdisciplinarity within the Academia: new disciplines and cross-disciplinary research areas

Epistemologies and methodologies

  • Models of world representation from an inter- and transdisciplinary perspective: theory of evolution, world-systems theory etc.
  • Interdisciplinarity in contemporary literary theory
  • Objects of speculative thinking in antiquity: from theology to physics, from ethics to political studies
  • Inter- and transdisciplinary methods in social sciences and humanities


  • Multi- and interdisciplinary research fields: memory studies, trauma studies, gender studies, etc.
  • Digital literacy: modes of writing and reading in the digital medium
  • Intermediality and intertextuality in literature, film, visual arts and performing arts
  • Computational linguistics: instruments and applications of classical linguistics
  • Martianus Capella and the system of the seven artes liberales

Forms of cross-collaboration

  • Forms of collaboration among science, art and technology
  • Interdisciplinarity, knowledge-transfer and cooperation with business and local communities
  • Interdisciplinarity in the entrepreneurial environment
  • Interdisciplinarity and interculturality

Conference languages: Romanian, English, and French.

There is no participation fee for this year’s edition.

The PHSS 2019 edition is partially supported through the research grants GI-UAIC-2017-01 and GI-UAIC-2017-02, currently implemented at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Department.

We invite researchers in all fields to submit abstracts until 22 April 2019.

Plenary Conference PHSS 2018: Literary History and Quantitative Analysis. A Study of the Contemporary Romanian Book Market

Foto Terian
Keynote speaker: Prof. Andrei TERIAN

Did you know?

  • In Romania, more original rather than translated fiction is still being published.
  • The production of children’s literature already amounts to around 1/5 of the entire literary book production in Romania.
  • Every year in Romania more new domestic novels are being published than have been published here from the beginnings to the World War I.
  • The number of new Romanian poetry books published annually is about 50% higher than the number of new Romanian fiction titles.
  • About 8% of the local poetry volumes published in Romania are (also) written in foreign languages.

Well, now you know all these. Come and find out more!

Time and location: Wednesday, 23 May 2018, 15.00-16.00
Aula of the „Gheorghe Asachi” Technical University of Iași, Copou, Building A, Ground Floor

Language: Romanian

Andrei Terian is a professor of Romanian literature with the Faculty of Letters and Arts at the Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu. His research focuses on twentieth- and twenty-first century Romanian literature, cultural theory, the history of modern criticism, comparative and world literature. He has published numerous essays in Romania and in international journals such as CLCWeb—Comparative Literature and Culture, World Literature Studies, Interlitteraria, ALEA: Estudos Neolatinos, Slovo, Primerjalna književnost, and Romània Orientale. His works include the monographs G. Călinescu: A cincea esență (2009) and Critica de export: Teorii, context, ideologii (2013), the co-authored reference series Dicționarul general al literaturii române (1st edition, 7 volumes, 2004-2009; 2nd edition, 4 volumes, 2016-2017) and Cronologia vieții literare românești. Perioada postbelică: 1944-1964 (10 volumes, 2010-2013), and the co-edited volume Romanian Literature as World Literature (New York: Bloomsbury, 2017).

Practical Workshop PHSS 2018: Annotation of Metadata and Inquiries on Big Corpora

Dear participants in the PHSS conference,

We intend to organize a practical, hands-on workshop in the field of natural language processing, focusing on computational lexicography and machine summarisation. We aim to have an interactive seminar in which participants work together with us. The main activities will be centered on the following issues: how metadata are annotated on the CoRoLa platform, and how we make queries on the KorAP platform in order to find words, constructions, occurrences both in written and speech corpora, and work with metadata filters.

Trainers: Dr. Anca-Diana Bibiri, Dr. Alex Moruz

Organizers: Faculty of Computer Sciences, UAIC, Department of Interdisciplinary Research in Social Sciences and Humanities

Language: Romanian

The workshop will be held on the Thursday, the 24th of May 2018. It is open for those who register via email at, until the 18th of May 2018.

What is CoRoLa?

The Reference Corpus of Contemporary Romanian Language CoRoLa, run by the “Mihai Drăgănescu” Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Bucharest and the Institute for Computer Science in Iași, is a corpus in electronic format, available (online) for free, in order to be used for studies on contemporary language, for processing language, for creating applications that use knowledge extracted from large corpora, for improving translation and for teaching Romanian. CoRoLa includes data in both written and spoken forms of the language. The textual collection is made up of publications covering the period from the 2nd World War to our days, while the spoken collection includes only recent recordings.

CoRoLa corpus includes two types of annotation: 1. metatextual (information about the text) – metadata; and 2. linguistic (phonetic, prosodic, morphological, phrasal, syntactic, semantic, pragmatic).

The metadata annotators (many of which are volunteers) work under the guidance of a detailed Annotation Manual. The online platform developed at IIT-Iaşi (Romanian Academy, Institute for Computer Science – Iaşi), which includes facilities for cleaning formatting, standardizing Romanian diacritics, eliminating hyphenation, visualizing statistics about the quantity of texts accumulated and their subdomains, and filling in metadata. However, many clearing phases are still done manually: separating articles from periodicals in different files, removal of headers, page numbers, figures, tables, text fragments in foreign languages, excerpts from other authors, and annotation of footers and end-notes (decided to be left in the texts).

Dr. Anca-Diana Bibiri and Dr. Alex Moruz are active members of the Natural Language Processing (NLP) Group at the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași.