Raluca Muresan: Research & CV

Culture, Urban Society, and Representation of Territories. The Architecture of Public Theaters in the Eastern Lands of the Habsburg Monarchy (1770-1812)

Research Area 1 – Displacements, “Dépaysements” and Discrepancies: People, Knowledge and Practices

Contact: raluca.muresan@cefres.cz (from 1st September 2018)

My research seeks to understand the mechanisms behind the rise of public theater buildings in various towns in the Eastern lands of the Habsburg Monarchy between 1770 and 1812. It therefore looks into their architectural specificities and into their impact on the representation of the scales of urbanity of these towns. I use the geographical term “Eastern” that refers to the countries to the East of the Holy Roman Germanic Empire border: the Hungarian Kingdom, including the lands of Saint Stephen, and the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria.

I focus mainly on the role and the architectural performances expected from a theater in this age. From a cultural point of view, such demands were conditioned by a reform movement aiming at theater as a phenomenon in German-ruled territories, according to which a “well fitted” theater should call for “morals,” “decency,” and “civilization.” From a political and administrative point of view, the qualities expected in such buildings were conditioned by the reforms impulsed by Maria Theresa and carried on by Joseph II: aside from emphasizing centralization, they strengthened the part played by the Chamber in the field of urban planning and, more broadly, urban policy.

My research first and foremost investigates artistic transfers through the study of the mobility of patrons and civil servants, of impresarios, artists and architects. The corpus includes heterogeneous buildings, some of which are close to a vernacular architecture so to probe the limits of an architectural typological approach and to retrace from its formal, cultural and juridical aspects, the genealogy and downsides of this architectural program applied to the provincial context.

A special focus is dedicated to the ways these theaters are described, assessed and compared in the media of the time, in the travel diaries, and in the building projects submitted to the authorities. I endeavor to show how these descriptions would mobilize an imaginary periphery as they presented theaters as a test of European belonging. Comparing these various discursive representations allows to grasp the continuing adaptations and renegociations surrounding the narratives about theaters as they undergo different media and geographical territories. Therefore my thesis provides an in-depth analysis of the political and cultural construction of “patterns,” “centers,” and “peripheries.”



2013-: PhD studies in Art History, Paris-Sorbonne University , Centre André Chastel, “Culture, société urbaine et représentation des territoires : l’architecture des théâtres publics dans les pays orientaux de la Monarchie des Habsbourg, vers 1770-1812”, director of research: Jean-Yves Andrieux

2011-2013: Master’s degree in Art History, director of research: Jean Yves Andrieux, “De la Scène à l’Édifice : stratégies d’affirmation d’une architecture théâtrale dans les pays orientaux de la Monarchie des Habsbourg de la fin du XVIIIe siècle aux années 1820”, Paris-Sorbonne University , UFR Archéologie et Histoire de l’art

2009-2011: Master’s degree in Art History and Theory Program, branch: History and Methodology et in Research on Image; director of research: Ioana Beldiman; “L’architecture des premiers théâtres de Sibiu et Cluj au XIXe siècle”; National University of Arts, Faculty of Art History and Theory Program, Bucharest

Work Experience

2013-2016: Teacher, Paris-Sorbonne University, UFR d’Histoire de l’art et archéologie

2013-2014: Tutorial classes – Introduction to the Art History (Licence 1)

2014-2015: Tutorial classes – Vocabulary and Technology of Archeology and Art (Licence 1, professor in charge: Alexandre Gady)

2015-2016: Tutorial classes – Palladio and Palladianism in Europe (XVIth-XXth centuries), (Licence 3, professor in charge: Alexandre Gady)

Conferences and Workshops

  • 29.06.2017: Presentation at series of lectures Jour-Fixe of Institut für Kulturwissenschaften und Theatergeschichte, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Title of the conference: “Zwischen Inszenierung des Herrschers und adeligen Ansprüchen: Die Wahl des Standorts für ein neues Theater in Preßburg (heute Bratislava) im Jahre 1774”
  • 16-18.06.2016: Presentation at conference Décapitalisations: Contestations, exils, transferts, bicéphalie… des villes capitales. Paris-IV-Sorbonne University, André Chastel Center. Title of the presentation: “Bâtir un « théâtre digne d’une capitale » : enjeux politiques et symboliques de l’architecture théâtrale dans la fabrique de la « capitalité »”, “L’héritage du théâtre de Presbourg (fin XVIIIe s. – début XIXe s.)”
  • 18.03.2016: Presentation at workshop of GDR CEM (Connaissance de l’Europe Médiane), Antoine Marès, CNRS. Title of the presentation: “Émergence des théâtres publics dans les pays orientaux de la Monarchie des Habsbourg (1773-1812): une architecture pour un théâtre ‘décent’”
  • 28.01.2016: Presentation at doctoral day Art et Idéologie, André Chastel Center. Title of the presentation: “Le théâtre apprend à aimer la vertu et à fuir les vices : Arguments moralisateurs dans les demandes de la construction des théâtres de Pest, Presbourg et Buda”
  • 14-17.10.2015: Presentation at conference Entangled Histories, Multiple Geographies, Belgrade; organized by European Architectural Historians Network  in collaboration with Faculty of Architecture, Belgrade University, Serbia. Title of the presentation: “Theatre Buildings – Proof of Civilisation: Ofen (1786-7), Hermannstadt (1787-8), Kaschau (1786-90)”

Scientific publications  

  • “Theatre Buildings – Proof of Civilisation: Ofen/Buda (1786-7), Hermannstadt (1787-8), Kaschau (1786-90)”, in: Vladan Djokić, Ana Nikezić, Ana Raković (ed.), Entangled Histories, Multiple Geographies : Papers from the international scientific thematic conference EAHN 2015 Belgrade, Belgrade, Belgrade University – Faculty of Architecture, 2017, p. 78-85. ISBN 978-86-7924-174-0

In Print

  • “Le théâtre ‘apprend à aimer la vertu et à fuir les vices’ : de l’art de défendre l’utilité d’un théâtre en dur dans les villes du royaume de Hongrie entre 1773 et 1790 (Presbourg [Bratislava], Pest et Bude)”, in: Hypothèses de l’ED 124
  • “‘[T]ant pour le decorum de la ville que pour le profit du patrimoine royal’ : Enjeux politiques et économiques à propos  du futur théâtre de Pest (1789-1793)”, in SIRICE
  • “La question de la ‘ville-résidence’, ‘ville-capitale’ et ‘ville de couronnement’ dans la Hongrie de Marie Thérèse et le projet d’amplification de la ville de Presbourg (Bratislava) entre 1774-1779”, in: Armelle Enders (dir.), Les villes-capitales de la nation à la mondialisation. Une histoire de la capitalité contemporaine, Paris


  • Ter Minassian Taline (dir.), Patrimoine & Architecture dans les Etats Post-Soviétiques, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2013, 320 p. (Art et Société), in: La Revue de l’art, no 189, 2015/3, p. 76-77. ISSN 0035-1326
  • Toader Popescu, Proiectul feroviar românesc (1842-1916) [Le projet ferroviaire roumain (1842-1916)] Bucarest, Simetria, 2014, 294 p., in: La Revue de l’art, no 191, 201­­6/1, p. 84-85. ISSN 0035-1326

Grants and Scholarships

01.02.-30.09.2017 – Grant Richard Plaschka  OeAd. Chairman’s institution: Institut für Kultur Wissenschaften und Theaterheschichte, Oesterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienne. Coordinator: Dr. Elisabeth Großegger

01.10.2016-31.01.2017 – Hungarian Government Scholarship. Chairman’s institution: University of Pécs. Coordinator: Pr. Dr. Jozsef Sisa, Institute of Art History, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, University of Pécs

Mobility scholarship of ED 124, UFR Histoire de l’art et archéologie, Paris-Sorbonne University, reasearch stay in Zagreb (02.08.2015-17.08.2015) and in L’viv (11.02.2018-25.02.2018)

06.08.2012-29.08.2012 – Grant DAAD, intensive german language course at LMU, Munich, level C1/1

Language Skills

Romanian (Mother tongue), French (Proficient), German (Proficient), English (Proficient), Hungarian (Intermediate), Croatian (Lower Intermediate), Polish (Beginner), Slovak (Beginner), Ukrainian (Beginner)