Anthropology and History in Romani Studies

Anthropology and History in Romani Studies


Grégoire Cousin, Verona University, Italy

Vita Zalar, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Slovenia

History and anthropology have had a long, fruitful, and epistemologically challenging past of theoretical and empirical encounters, exchanges and cooperations. These have even resulted in new research subfields, for example historical anthropology, socio-cultural anthropology, and anthropology of history. Historiographical and anthropological methods have been converging and benefitting from mutual encounters. For example, while socio-cultural anthropologists are extending the field of their inquiries to incorporate archival sources, historians have turned to oral interactions as a major historical source. We strongly believe that this interdisciplinary dialogue shows great potential for future research. We also believe that Romani studies have already accommodated this dialogue. It has already been shown, for example, that the institutional archives in our countries are full of traces of Romani groups’ lengthy presence in Europe but, at the same time, that overlappings, inconsistencies, and silences between oral histories and memories of those involved in historical events and archival accounts of the same events are always possible. It has also been shown that Romani group ethnography can be combined fruitfully with archival research by constituting, case by case, varied forms of “historical anthropologies” or “ethno-histories” or “regressive histories” or “anthropological histories”.

In this panel we invite you to explore the dynamics of hybridization in history and anthropology in the field of Romani studies. Papers are solicited on critical reflections on using a combination of archival and ethnographic methods, on the different regimes of historicity observed, on the intersections between archival and oral histories and memories, as well as between missing archival traces and significant silences. We are also interested in presentations that can demonstrate and comment on failed attempts at bridging the interdisciplinary gaps.

Possible questions for consideration include:

  • How have historians implemented anthropological knowledge and its methods (the rise of oral history, memory studies)?
  • How is reflexivity practiced in anthropology and history?
  • What impact has the anthropological concept of identity and ethnicity had on historiographical research?
  • What are the relations between institutional histories, circumstantial histories and oral histories; what are the relations between histories and memories?
  • How can the concept “regimes of historicity” (Hartog, 2003) and the social construction of time in different societies be addressed in Romani studies?
  • How have different groups constructed their own “stories” and the relation between “history” and “myth”?
  • What are the possible ways of combining archival and ethnographic research in an anthropological perspective (Sahlins 2000)?
  • How is “engaged scholarship” (Berger 2019) perceived in anthropology and history?

Since an increasing number of researchers are involved in these questions on an international scale, this panel aims to assess the state of the art of research, as well as create space and time for mutual reflection; starting, above all, from a comparison of currently ongoing case studies and research projects. The organizers of this panel wish to encourage a continuation of the discussions from the panel Anthropologies and Histories of Romani groups from the 2019 Gypsy Lore Society Annual Meeting in Reykjavík.


F. Hartog. Régimes d'historicité. Présentisme et expérience du temps. Paris: Le Seuil, 2003.
M. Sahlins. Culture in practice: selected essays. New-York: Zone Books, 2000.

S. Berger (ed.). The Engaged Historian: Perspectives on the Intersections of Politics, Activism and the Historical Profession. New York - Oxford: Berghahn, 2019.

List of contributors 

- Abakunova, Anna. Between History and Myth: The Roma Oral History Accounts on the Reasons about Their Persecution during the World War II in Ukraine

- Aresu, Massimo. Gypsies Travellers across the Mediterranean Sea in the Early-Modern Era: La Ruta de las Islas

- Cousin, Grégoire. Râmnicu de Jos, 1947. Ethnography of a Forgotten Massacre

- Leroy, Théophile. Identification Practices and Genocidal Dynamics in the Borderlands. A Case Study on the Roma and Sinti Families Deported from Annexed Alsace in March 1943

- Ort, Jan. “I’m moving out for good, and I don’t intend to come back”: Negotiating Belonging of Roma through Their Mobility in Postwar Czechoslovakia

- Reitinger, Daphne. On the Origin of the Endonym Sinti – a Historical and Linguistic Examination 

- Rotaru, Julieta. The Governance of Gold Production in Wallachia and the Status of the Rudari (1388-1838)

- Salo, Sheila. The Fortunes of the Fransuzuya, c. 1890 – c. 1940

Contemporary Challenges and Futures of Roma Housing

Contemporary Challenges and Futures of Roma Housing 

Ewa Nowicka, Collegium Civitas, Poland

Maciej Witkowski, WSB University, Poland

The problem of providing Roma housing and the Roma's relationship to housing space has been the frequent subject of social research. In Eastern Europe and the Balkans, the efforts of researchers have focused on the problem of Roma adapting to life in housing which they have received as a result of the policy for their settlement or their “integration”. That research has usually concentrated on social and adaptation problems. Contrary to the intentions of the authors of such a social policy, the consequences of the settlement programmes and social support for Roma communities were the creation of slums and poverty-stricken housing estates. The additional consequences of such an ill thought out housing policy have turned out to be (ostensible) assimilation, but also various forms of degenerative behaviour on a scale not known previously. Solutions which lead to positive effects are still being searched for, but good solutions can only arise from systematically comparing the housing situation of Roma in different countries.

List of contributors

- Alexander Mušinka. Housing of Roma in Slovakia – Practical Experiences on a Municipality Level

- Ewa Nowicka, Maciej Witkowski. There are Three Approaches to the Roma Housing Problems in the Polish Carpathians: New House, Scatter, and Status Quo

- Ondrej Ficeri. Roma Families and Social Change: Challenges of Post-Socialist Transformation of Roma Housing at the Estate Luník IX, Slovakia


Environmental Justice for Roma

Environmental Justice for Roma 


Jekatyerina Dunajeva, Department of Political Studies, Pazmany Peter Catholic University, Budapest, Hungary

Joanna Kostka, Department of Social Work, University of Lancaster, UK

Richard Filčák, Center of Social and Psychological Sciences and Institute of Ethnology and Social Anthropology, Slovak Academy of Science, Bratislava, Slovakia

Daniel Škobla, Center of Social and Psychological Sciences and Institute of Ethnology and Social Anthropology, Slovak Academy of Science, Bratislava, Slovakia

This panel aims to provide a forum for a critical dialogue surrounding race/ethnicity and its intersection with environmental justice, encompassing the dimension of distributive and procedural justice. Exposure to environmental threats, access to natural resources and benefits are strongly influenced by racial and socio-economic factors: environmental (in)justice works alongside the structural violence of poverty and neoliberal practices of the state. However, these forms of violence receive little exposure or priority within discussions on the marginalisation of Europe’s Roma minority. Furthermore, even less attention is paid to Roma communities’ struggle for environmental justice, thus obscuring the ongoing mobilisation against powerful forces driven increasingly by neoliberal imperatives.

We welcome papers and presentations that address the broader context of state and regional policies leading to discriminatory practices in the distribution of environmental benefits and harm, as well as papers based on empirical field work, and community-relevant issues surrounding the theme of environmental injustice. Possible subjects include, but are not limited to, analyses of how decommissioning of the welfare state and neoliberal policies influences people’s access to natural resources, including clean air, safe environment and clean water. The topics should explore disparities in environmental quality driven by socio-economic status, race, and/or ethnicity; analysis of national environmental legislation and its impact on Roma communities; collective struggles of Roma people to democratise access to natural resources and live a life in safe and clean surroundings.  

With this panel we aim to create a platform for discussing key issues pertaining to environmental justice for Roma, such as proposals and recommendations for essential changes and improvements in the legal system; existing policies necessary for achieving climate and environmental justice for Roma; critical analysis of the current state of racial environmental discrimination; case studies of environmental (in)justice, and the like.

List of contributors:

- Dunajeva, Jekatyerina; Kostka, Joanna. Racialized Politics of Garbage: Waste Management in Urban Roma Settlements in Eastern Europe

- Filčák, Richard; Daniel Škobla. Where the Pipelines End: The Roma and Access to Basic Sanitation in the Slovak Republic.

- Spreizer, Alenka Janko; Kovič-Dine, Maša; Sancin, Vasilka; Šumi, Irena. Is Right to Water a Right for All: The Case of Roma in Slovenia

Critical Perspectives on the Impacts of Covid-19 Pandemic on Roma

Critical Perspectives on the Impacts of Covid-19 Pandemic on Roma 


Maria Manuela Mendes, Faculdade de Arquitetura da Universidade de Lisboa, and CIES-IUL, ISCTE, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Portugal 

Stefánia Toma, Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities (ISPMN), Babes-Bolyai University (BBU), Romania

Olga Magano, Uab & CIES-IUL, ISCTE, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Portugal

During 2020, the world was confronted with a global pandemic which had and continues to have an impact on all countries, not only in terms of people infected with the disease, the actual death toll, but also due to its repercussions in diverse areas of daily and structural life, such as employment, access to foodstuffs, and basic services (e.g. health and education supplies) (Nicola et al., 2020). While we are experiencing a situation that embodies a threat to each and every one of us, worldwide, there are strong asymmetries in the way that Covid-19 pandemic has affected different social groups and the way how people deal with and manage these impacts.

For Romani people the scenario of social asymmetries has been even more serious, given the exacerbation of racialization and ethnicization of the Roma, with the banalization of anti-Roma prejudices and attitudes (Matache & Bhabha, 2020). Those Romani families, which already lived under precarious conditions before the pandemic, have experienced a further worsening of their disadvantaged position (Berta, 2020; Korunovska & Jovanovic, 2020; Mendes 2020).

In fact, for many Roma whose priority has been to secure subsistence and attend to the basic needs of their households, the historical and structural inequalities have been aggravated and the impacts of the pandemic have been multifaceted (FRA, 2020).

This panel aims to present a critical reflection and expand our knowledge of the main impacts of Covid-19 pandemic on Roma, which are still relatively unknown, focusing especially on those Romani communities that live in difficult socio-economic situations. Indeed, we want to bring together studies and investigators with different backgrounds to look at the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on various dimensions (access to basic services and human rights, especially medical care; access to digital tools and education; decent housing; economic activity; reduced income levels; the rise of racism and inequality etc. among Romani people in different countries). Already, we know that the pandemic has contributed to a greater gap in education, considering the fact that Romani children and young people were “disproportionately affected by substandard housing without access to the Internet or even electricity and lacking the necessary IT equipment” (FRA, 2020:13). 

We would like to understand the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic as experienced by the Roma, both in terms of difficulties and also opportunities that opened up with the pandemic and what strategies have Romani people and their familiesactivated to deal with the constraints to which they have been subjected.


Berta, Peter (2020), “Ethnicizing a pandemic: COVID-19, culture blaming and Romanian Roma”. Society for Romanian Studies Newsletter, 42(1), 1–7. 

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (2020), “Coronavirus Pandemic in the EU – Impact on Roma and Travellers”. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. ISBN: 978-92-9474-382-4; DOI:10.2811/06170.

Korunovka, Neda & Jovanovic, Zeljko (2020), “Roma in the Covid-19 Crisis: An Early Warning from Six EU Member States”. Roma: Open Society Foundations. 

Matache, Margareta & Bhabha, Jacqueline (2020), “Anti-Roma Racism is Spiraling during COVID-19 Pandemic”. Health and Human Rights Journal, 22(1), 379-382.

Mendes, Maria Manuela (2020), “Anticiganismo em contexto de pandemia”, In Público, 12 de maio de 2020.

Nicola, Marta, Alsafi, Zaid, Sohrabi, Catrin, Kerwan, Ahmed, Al-Jabir, A., Iosifidis, Christos, Agha, Maliha, & Agha, Riaz (2020), “The socio-economic implications of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19): A review”. International journal of surgery (London, England), 78, 185–193.

List of contributors

- Emilia Aiello, Rosamaria Kostic Cisneros. Romani Civic Organizations and Their Role During COVID-19: Reflections from the Catalan Case and the Leadership of Grassroots Romani Women

- Andrej Belák. Management of the Covid-19 Epidemics in Segregated Roma Enclaves in Slovakia II: Racialized Politics as Mirrored in Epidemiological Data

- Pedro Caetano, Ana Rita Costa, Sara Pinheiro, Susana Mourão. Listening to the Voice of Romani Students. Perceptions of the Effects of the Pandemic on the Path of Secondary School Students

- Ana Rita Costa. Does “the world need two urgent vaccines, one for Covid-19 and one for racial hatred”?

- Angel Heredia. Gypsy Old Age and COVID-19: The Drowned Scream

- Tomáš Hrustič. Management of the Covid-19 Epidemics in Segregated Roma Enclaves in Slovakia I: Aspects of Civic and Political Engagement

- Tammi Lynne. Across the Great Divide: The Impact of Digital Inequality on Scotland’s Gypsy/Traveller Children and Young People During the COVID-19 Emergency

- Almudena Macías León. The Impact of the Pandemic on the Eastern European Romani Population in Spain

- Daniela Mosaad Pěničková. Public Health Mediation in Roma Health Care Including Management of the Epidemic: New Strategies by the Czech Ministry of Health via the NIPH 

- María Félix Rodriguez, Diana Maria Gil Gonzalez, Javier Arza. COVID-19 Crisis: Impact on Households of the Romani Community

- Stefánia Toma. “Stay Home! Stay Safe!” - Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Romani Communities in Romania

Future Directions of the Gypsy Lore Society: Scholarship, Activism, Names, Purposes

Future Directions of the Gypsy Lore Society: Scholarship, Activism, Names, Purposes


Carol Silverman, Anthropology and Folklore, University of Oregon, USA

This panel addresses two intersecting issues: current perspectives in Romani Studies and the changing roles of scholarly societies. The “critical turn” in Romani Studies centers Roma in the production of their own knowledge and interrogates the hegemony of past outsider studies “on rather than with” Roma. Simultaneously, scholars have examined the fraught colonial/collector/racist history of GLS (Acton 2014). GLS is grappling with how to attract more scholars and more Roma; does GLS need to re-tool its mission or its structure? These issues raise questions such as how is scholarship produced, who controls regimes of truth (re: structural inequality), what are the appropriate roles of insiders and outsiders (and how are these descriptors applied and with what consequences), and how and where can collaboration happen.

An overarching theme is interrogating the purposes of scholarship. What is knowledge good for, and how is it related to activism and real-world applications. Many Roma as well as non-Roma are involved in policy and grassroots work to change inequalities and address anti-Gypsyism. GLS, in its conferences and journal, has embraced studies of activism. Should GLS play a more public role? How can embracing diversity help GLS grow and become more vibrant?  What role can GLS play in bridging the gap between theory and practice, academia and public policy? Regarding terminology, do the terms “Gypsy” and “Lore” represent the scholars, the scholarship, the future of the society, and its public understanding? What is our relationship to the heritage of our society and our name? 

Clark offers a schema of scientific and critical reasoning on squaring the circle of past activities and outputs of GLS as well as assessing the potential of future directions, in terms of mission, engagement, activism and politics. He argues that GLS can reenergize itself as a body that is relevant to the 21st century. 

Dunajeva deals with the “critical turn” to decolonize knowledge, and the ethnic, geographical and linguistic inequalities of academic contributions. How does the nexus between language and power operate within Romani Studies in providing space for certain voices, as well as incorporating local knowledge(s) and culture(s)? What is the role of GLS in this movement, and how can it guide the field toward progressive scholarship?

Ostendorf posits that the future of Romani Studies (and thus GLS) will be enriched by considering a trans-Atlantic context, moving away from a Euro-centric view.

Bila interrogates “othering” in the history of GLS, and asks how Romani experiences are visible today in GLS. Can we learn from Romani experiences in working towards a future without nationalism? How can GLS help to distinguish the mythological "Gypsy" from real Romani peoples?

List of contributors:

- Colin Clark. Addressing the Past, Rewriting the Future: An Agenda for Change for the Gypsy Lore Society

- Katya Dunajeva. Decolonizing Knowledge Production and the Role of the Gypsy Lore Society

- Ann Ostendorf. The Global Future of the Gypsy Lore Society: A View from the Americas

- William Bila. Romani Contributions to European and North American Cultures

Groups Understood as Gypsies with no Romani Heritage: Similarities and Differences

Groups Understood as Gypsies with no Romani Heritage: Similarities and Differences


Anthony Leroyd Howarth, University of Oxford

Freya Hope, University of Oxford

Throughout the world there are many groups assumed to be, or classified as, Gypsies and Roma that do not have any Romani heritage. This is not simply a matter of politically imposed definitions but is also due to popular understandings, both of which disregard, or perhaps overlook, distinct migratory histories, cultural practices and inter/intra group differences. That notwithstanding, many non-Romani groups share a history of persecution from their respective ‘host’ societies, engage in similar economic activities and are afflicted with appalling health outcomes.

The aim of this panel is to engage scholars of groups without Romani heritage that have in some way been categorised as Gypsies or Roma. Its broad aim is to invite papers focusing on any aspect of non-Romani groups’ lifeways in order to explore intra and inter-group similarities and differences. In other words, the panel seeks to productively employ comparison to examine the particular with a view towards the general. The purpose of this endeavour is to investigate why it is that groups with different histories, often living in different places and holding distinct beliefs, end up experiencing similar circumstances.

Although papers examining any aspect of non-Romani groups’ lifeways are welcomed, the panel invites papers focusing on economic practices and gambling, health and well-being, and ideological and cosmological conceptions of in/out group identity. These can be theoretical pieces, ethnographic portraits (whether experimental or analytical), historical accounts, and more applied work from public health, legal studies and social policy, which address questions such as: What exactly is a Gypsy? How is this category constituted, imagined, repudiated? To what extent does the legalistic and ethnic categorisation of Gypsy/Roma affect non-Romani groups’ identities and lifeways? How do groups with no Romani heritage creatively employ or reimagine the Gypsy category to their own advantage? What economic activities do these groups engage in? Is work part of an ideology of manhood, if so, how is women’s work understood? What kinds of gambling practices do these groups engage in? Is gambling solely the domain of men, or are woman involved? Is gambling simply a waste of time and money, or is it culturally significant? How do these groups order in-group/out-group relations? Can this ordering of worlds be considered cosmological, ideological, or something else? What are the mortality and morbidity outcomes for these groups? What are the factors that impinge upon their poor health? Do they have cultural conceptions of health and illness and, if so, what do these consist of?

List of contributors:

- Hope, Freya. Freedom and Belonging? The Continued Coherence of the New Traveller Community

- Howarth, Anthony. Getting a Living from Country People: Transactions not Relations

- Singh, Punita G. Getting to Know the Sikligars—a Marginalized Community of Ironsmiths with Possible Links to Roma Origin Loci

- Tribulato, Chiara. Being ‘Dritti’ in the Italian Funfair. Social Boundaries and Cultural Significances in a Peripatetic Niche

- Yılgür, Egemen. An Overview of the non-Roma Peripatetics in Turkey: Socio-Historical Background and the Present Conditions

International Romani Literature(s): Approaches to a “New” World Literature

International Romani Literature(s): Approaches to a “New” World Literature


Lorely French, Pacific University, USA

Marina Ortrud M. Hertrampf, University of Passau, Germany

Sofiya Zahova, University of Iceland / University of St Andrews, UK

Romani literature has experienced remarkable developments during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. As of today, in almost all countries where Roma live, authors of Romani background have been producing books and other publications in various languages, including Romany. In the decades since 1989 the number of books that authors of Romani background have published has increased. Likewise, the usage of Romani in books, translations, and periodical publications by and for Roma has also risen. Romani literary pieces share features that go beyond the borders of any one country or region. These circumstances allow us to speak of Romani literature, and even of Romani literatures, as a heterogeneous and multifaceted, yet still a collective phenomenon.

The remarkably developing Romani literature scene has provoked a considerable interest among researchers, and increasing scholarship on Romani literature has assumed at least three distinct approaches. First, there are those studies that adopt a historical approach and are based on providing accounts of Romani literature production and authors’ life paths, along with outlines of socio-political factors (socio-biographical approach). Second, there are those studies that adopt the methods of the field of literary theory and comparative literature and focus on case studies of authors and theoretical interpretations of literary works. Third, there are studies analysing Romani literary production in terms of methods and theories developed in the field of cultural studies.

This panel proposal comes as one of the follow-ups to the multi-session panel Narratives by and about Roma organized as part of the 2019 GLS Annual Meeting and Conference on Romani Studies, 15-17 August 2019, at the University of Iceland. The panel participants have identified the need to further maintain a forum for discussion of Romani literature from various disciplinary angles and within the field of Romani Studies. We recognize that despite the dynamic development of Romani literary scholarship in recent decades, such scholarship has been somehow underrepresented within Romani Studies, both at forums and in academic publications.

The overall aim of the panel is to provide an interdisciplinary forum for discussion of Romani literature from historical and contemporary perspectives, bringing together researchers and practitioners from various backgrounds. We invite participants who address in their papers issues such as: 

  • Theoretical approaches to Romani literature; 
  • Developments of Romani literature as a field nationally and/or internationally; 
  • Analysis and comparison of narratives and motifs in Romani literature; 
  • Case studies of Romani authors and literary works; 
  • Romani language production, publishing and translation; 
  • Authenticity, representation and cultural appropriation in literature (co-written) by Roma; 
  • Interfacing between Romani literature research and other fields (for instance history, migrations, antigypsyism, ethnic studies, nationalism, etc.)

List of contributors: 

- Eder-Jordan, Beate. Dignity. A Key Concept in Romani Literature Production and Sociopolitical Engagement of Romani Authors

- French, Lorely. ’Stopping Places’ in Ceija Stojka’s Autobiographical Narratives as Geopolitical, Geocultural, and Geohistorical Signifiers

- Hertrampf, Marina Ortrud M. (Romani) Biofiction as World Literature: A Case Study of Núria León de Santiago’s Mahler’s Angel

- Homann, Florian. The Textual Composition of Flamenco Lyric as a Media of Romani Collective Memory: Oral Tradition, Formulas and Fragmentation

- Kledzik, Emilia. Imagology of the “true Gypsyness” in the Literary Work of Jerzy Ficowski

- Parente-Čapková, Viola. “Thanks to her ‘issident’ status, she was granted cultural asylum”. The Figure of Dissident Artist in Kiba Lumberg’s Work

- Ryvolová, Karolína. Minority Press as the Prerequisite for a Small Ethnic Literature: The Informační zpravodaj and Románo ľil Romani Magazines (1969-1973) as the Solid Foundation for the Contemporary Romani Literature in the Czech Republic

- Sevillano Martín; Belén, Ana. Double-Consciousness and Cultural Mediation in Transnational Romani Literature

- Shaw, Martin. Fighting for Peace in Uriah Burton’s Life Story Uriah Burton ”Big Just” His Life, His Aims, His Ideals (1979)

Migration and Adaptation to New Environments

Migration and Adaptation to New Environments


Zdeněk Uherek, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

Romani migration is an important issue. As a result of migration, Romani groups have spread across the globe. During the migrations, Romani modified their languages, livelihood strategies, their skills and crafts, and the way of communication with the surrounding population. Moving was a daily routine for nomadic and semi-nomadic Romani groups. However, settled groups also move, and for them, migration is leaving home. Perhaps at present sedentary families travel more than in the past, when moving large numbers of people was logistically much more difficult. Present-day Romanies thus engage in large-scale global migration movements that affect world politics, modify national interests, and push cultural boundaries.

This panel deals with the reasons, context and circumstances of the arrival of individuals, families, or wider migrant groups in new locations. It focuses on the way they take their first steps in the new places and establish themselves, and their acceptance by the surrounding population. It seeks to answer the question of what social space the newly arrived Roma create, and how migration to a specific place affects their lives. It asks how their language and subsistence activities have changed, and how their standard of living, property ownership and other characteristics that influence the quality of life of individuals and families, have also changed. 

What people tell about migrations is usually more important for the daily life of an individual or group than what is traceable in the archives. An important place in the panel is therefore devoted to narratives transmitted by family members. We are interested in how they interpret their migrations and why. Migration biographies are one of the most interesting Romani stories, and while they may not involve large groups, they often tell of the movement of individuals who have migrated as a result of wars, the Holocaust or other persecutions, marriage, partnering, searching for and locating relatives, seeking better livelihoods and so on. Migration biographies, whether individual or collective, belong to this panel and we will explore them.

Migration deals with a wide range of disciplines that generate a variety of theories. Therefore, theoretical conclusions resulting from Romani migrations are not alien to this panel.

List of contributors

- Deutsch, James. “A Group of Gypsies Who Live in a Small House on U.S. Highway 13”: Photographs by the Farm Security Administration in 1940

- Gamella Juan F. , Muntean Vasile and Ogáyar Fran J. From Orality to Digitalization. Kris and Transnational Conflict Resolution in a Romani Diaspora

- Iliadis, Christos. Integration, Cultural Diversity and Roma Women Access to Justice: Lessons from the Implementation of JustRom Programme in Greece

- Koper Tomasz. The Bergitka Roma in Polish Academic Discourse (a critical overview)

- Petrovski, Daniel. Modern Migration Processes of Roma from Macedonia

- Uherek Zdeněk. Romani International Migration Experience in the Times of Socialism: the Czech Lands

Pal o Roma romanes / Pa Rom romanes (Panel in Romani)

Pal o Roma romanes / Pa Rom romanes / Panel in Romani

Video - link

Jan Červenka, Romani Studies Seminar at the Department of Central European Studies, Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Czech Republic

Markéta Hajská, Romani Studies Seminar at the Department of Central European Studies, Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Czech Republic

Pal o Roma romanes 

Pro konferencii GLS sas dži akana konferenčno čhib jekhbuter angliciko. Amen paťas, hoj the romaňi čhib šaj chasňaras andro diskusii pal o romisticka buťa the disciplini u hoj the e romaňi čhib šaj jekhetaňarel eksperten pal buter lumakere thema. 

Vašoda o panelos nane definimen temaha, aľe čhibaha: the o referati the o diskusii musaj te jel andre romaňi čhib. Užaras referati butere subdisciplinendar romane študiendar (sar hin lingvistika, etnologia, historia, literarno vaj bašavibnaskero džaniben…) O vakeribena musaj te jel pre učo džanibnaskero levelos, no mangas tumen: musaj len te achaľol the o džene pal o aver džanibnaskre disciplini.

Ole paneloha kamas (pašavreste) te sikhavel, hoj pal e romaňi tematika šaj diskutinas pro džanibnaskero levelos andre romaňi čhib.

Pa Rom romanes

Pej GLS konferencii ži ákánik mindik vorbijas pe maj but englišicka šibasa  Ame paťas, hoď pa kadal phušimátura andaj intrégone akademickíva búťa šaj vorbinas vi romanes. Romana šibasa šaj vorbin khetánes le akademikura pi cára luma, taj šaj haťáren peske le ekspertura andaj sa intrégi thema. Kado paneli naj anglal dino la témasa, de la šibasa: i vorba (vi prezentácia, vi diskuzia) si t´avel feri romanes. Azír lešinas le referátura andaj akharsoske disciplíni  romane studijendar (sar si lingvistika, etnologia, historia, literatura vaj romano arto). Kadal referátura si t´avel iskirime maj zurálasa akademickíva vorbasa, de vi kadej, hoď šaj haťáren la vorbake vi le manuš andaj áver disciplíni.

Kadale panelosa kamas te sikhavas, hoď pa sogodi romani tématika del pe te vorbij romana šibasa.

Panel in Romani

The common language of Gypsy Lore Society conferences has primarily been English. We believe that Romani can also feature as the language of common academic discussion about different issues and disciplines in Romani studies, which can connect experts from different countries. The panel is thus not defined by its topic, but by the common language of the presentations: both the contributions and discussion will be held in Romani language. This panel is thematically open, papers in any field of Romani Studies (e.g. linguistics, ethnology, history, theory of Romani literature or art) are accepted. Papers should be on high academic level but contributors are asked to make them comprehensible for researchers from different scientific disciplines. 

One of the aims of this panel will be to show the potential of Romani language use in debating a wide variety of academic topics.

List of contributors

- Červenka, Jan. Vakeriben pal o mule pro trin bara (borderi): Vakeribena pal o revenanti maškar fikcia the realita, maškar informacia the literatura vaj maškar folkloris the individualno kreacia / „Vakeriben pal o mule“ on Three Borders: Revenant Stories between Fiction and Reality, between Information and Literature or between Folklore and Individual Creative Writing

- Gáborová, Jana. Pal le Romengeri vakeribnaskeri tradicija ki e moderno romaňi literatura / From Romani Oral Tradition to Modern Romani Book Creation

- Martin Gális, Iveta Kokyová. Košibena andre romaňi čhib / Curses in Romani

- Hajská, Markéta. “Apal nás aba slobodo te phíras le vurdonenca”.  The End of Itinerant Life in Former Czechoslovakia from the Perspective of Vlax Roms

- Kozhanov, Kirill; Oslon Mikhail. Historical Evidence from Romani Etymology: A New Etymological Dictionary of the Romani Language

Religion(s) among Roma/Gypsies (churches, religious movements and institutions)

Religion(s) among Roma/Gypsies (Churches, Religious Movements, and Institutions)

Convenor: Tatiana Zachar Podolinská, Institute of Ethnology and Social Anthropology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia

Since the rise of modern society, religion is said to have disappeared (“disenchanted word”, Weber 1978). It is only in the last decades that secularisation itself is unveiled as a “modern myth” (Berger 1999). “Re-enchantment” is currently placed at the very heart of modernity (Jenkins 2000). Some authors not only observe a “return of the sacred” but even “desecularisation” (decrease in the secular aspects of modern culture, Bell 1977, Berger 1999).

As mentioned by H. Knoblauch (2019), religion is not just “returning”, it is undergoing a fundamental transformation, and only those forms of religion are booming that have undergone such transformation. 

The purpose of the panel is to examine the state of the art of the academic research on religiosity/spirituality among Roma/Gypsies. In 2019 the Platform for Academic Networking on Religions among Roma/Gypsies was established with the aim to establish a network and spread academic knowledge about research on all forms of religion, including institutional, non-institutional, private and individual forms of religiosity and spirituality among the Roma/Gypsies worldwide (PAN-ROM, see The GLS 2021 panel is meant to be a kick-off on the topic of the role of religiosity in the social life of Romani communities. In some regards it is also a continuation of the pre-arranged panel of GLS 2019 devoted to the mission of Pentecostal and charismatic denominations operating among Roma. This year the thematic scope is much broader in order to also examine traditional and non-traditional forms of religiosity and spirituality among Roma/Gypsies.

Contributors are invited to formulate the topic of their contribution according to their current interest in the given area. As a sort of inspiration and points of reference following theses are pinpointed:

  • religiosity as a vehicle of social, cultural, and ethnic innovation
  • role of pastoral discourse in construction and re-construction of identity
  • role of religion in social inclusion/exclusion
  • role of religion in social mobility (horizontal and vertical)
  • role of religion in social cohesion and social networking
  • religion and migration
  • non-traditional forms of religiosity and spirituality

The panel is also open to innovative methodological approaches, especially qualitative methodologies and approaches in order to achieve a holistic picture with emic perspectives. 


Bell, D. 1977. The Return of the Sacred? The Argument on the Future of religion. In: British Journal of Sociology 28(4): 419–449.

Berger, P. L. 1999. The Desecularization of the World. In: P. L. Berger (Ed.), The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics. Washington: Eerdmans, pp. 1–18.

Weber, M. 1978. Economy and Society. Berkeley: University Press of California Press.

List of contributors

- Erolova, Yelis. Public Discourse and Academic Insights on Re-Islamization of the Millet Community in Bulgaria

- Kool-Anne-Marie. Exploring an Unknown Face of Christianity: The Biographical Dictionary of Roma Christianity

- Ljung, Jörgen. The Charismatic Church - Hope for the Roma?

- Povedák Kinga. The Sound of Romani Religiosity.

- Slavkova, Magdalena. First Evangelical Missions among Bulgarian Gypsies

- Šotola, Jaroslav. Religion, Ethnicity, and Reproduction of Social Inequalities in Eastern Slovakia

- Wachsmuth, Melody J. Explorations of the Miraculous in Roma Pentecostal Spirituality

- Zachar Podolinská, Tatiana. Marian Devotion as Post-Modern Religious Response to Marginality

- Zăloagă, Marian. Religious Practices and Confessional Affiliation(s) of the Romanian Roma People. A Critical Examination of the Bibliography Published in the Last Three Decades

Responding to the State: Uncovering Romani Agency in Early Modern and Colonial Atlantic Worlds

Responding to the State: Uncovering Romani Agency in Early Modern and Colonial Atlantic Worlds


Ann Ostendorf, Gonzaga University, Spokane, USA

This panel sits at the intersection of two contemporary scholarly trajectories: archival-based historical studies in the field of Romani Studies and a consideration of the ways diverse Romani people experienced their lives in the early modern states of Europe and the Americas. Historians today are cognizant of the risks inherent in the deployment of sources constructed to bolster the state in studies of those traditionally deemed marginalized. Yet we also recognize that hidden within these archives are the voices of diverse Romani people whose responses to their circumstances remain largely unconsidered. Their stories can be, and deserve to be, told. Re-placing Romani back into history as historical actors themselves (not merely as those being acted upon) reveals the ways they experienced, navigated, and even manipulated systems of power while attempting to secure their own best interests. Not mere victims of official power, these women and men carved out meaningful lives in relations with others around them in ways distinctive to their spatial and temporal circumstances. This panel also intends to promote a comparative lens of Romani agency vis a vis the state. Juxtaposing case studies from diverse regions not only reveals the proliferation of Romani agency on both sides of the Atlantic during an era mostly noted for their persecution, but this also reveals the distinctiveness of individual adaptative strategies dependent upon local circumstances. The microhistories presented on this panel allow the phenomena of expanding European states to be understood in some of the ways that individuals actually experienced and responded to it.

List of contributors

- Fotta, Martin; Ostendorf Ann. The Racialized Self: Experiencing Racialization in the Colonial Atlantic Lusophone and Francophone Worlds

- Steiner, Stephan. In Law We Trust. “Gypsies” and Procedural Justice in the Enlightenment Period

- Thyson, Thomas. “Gypsies” and Communal Relations in Seventeenth-Century Scotland


Roma, Education and Employability of New Generations

Roma, Education and Employability of New Generations


Olga Magano, Portuguese Open University, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), CIES-IUL, Lisbon, Portugal

Elena Loreni Baciu, West University of Timisoara, Romania

In Europe, in recent decades, Roma have been systematically targeted by public policies, measures and programs aimed at promoting social integration and reducing social inequalities, including through policies to combat poverty, increase education levels and diversify the forms of labor market integration. This intention culminated with the European Strategy for Roma Integration (2011) which gave rise to national strategies in each EU member countries.

Nevertheless, data on schooling for Roma, especially children and young people covered by the latest social policies, show they continue to have high dropout rates, and there is still a huge gap between Roma and non-Roma schooling in general, in all countries. In order to promote measures for the integration of Roma the governmental agencies have implemented, in various countries, public policies that promote social welfare in accordance with the guidelines of the “modern and democratic” social state, but, however, inequalities still persist between people. Roma remain the poorest and least educated minority.

On the other hand, some Roma who have completed compulsory education or have completed higher education often report difficulties in entering the labor market, and are struggling with explicit and hidden forms of racism either by private companies or public institutions. 

The purpose of this panel is twofold: (1) to analyze the impact of social policies on improving the school attendance of Roma; and (2) to understand how these policies translate into increased employability of Roma. 

We are interested in learning about the experiences and results of policy implementation in various countries across Europe and providing a space for sharing and discussing research data or data from intervention projects about innovative strategies, methodologies and practices that contribute to promotion of school attendance, the prevention of early school leaving, training, as well as providing viable alternatives for the labor market participation of Roma persons.

List of contributors

- Candeias, Pedro; Samagaio, Florbela; Mourão, Susana; Pinheiro, Sara. Profiles and Strategies of Teachers Who Teach Roma/Ciganos Students in Portugal 

- Cunha de Medeiros, Jessica. Discussing Public Policies Aimed at Roma in Portugal and Brazil: Between Universal Rights and Demands for Recognition of Specific Identities

- Dvořáková, Antonie. Experiences of Different Generations of Romani Professionals with Higher Education Degrees

- Gripenberg, Lidia. Kaale & Kaaje Together for the Best of the Child. Pedagogical Partnership of Finnish Roma Mothers with Day Care Professionals: Case Study in Finland

- Lukáč, Marek; Lukáčová, Silvia. Education for Labour Market. Building Competencies or Skills of Romani Adults from Marginalized Communities?

- Magano, Olga. Without Schooling and Without Work: Social Reproduction of Portuguese Ciganos/ Roma Poverty in OPorto City, Portugal

- Mendes Maria Manuela, Magano Olga, Caetano Pedro, Candeias Pedro. Difficulties and Success Factors in the Inclusion of Portuguese Ciganos/Roma in the Training and Employment System: The Perspective of Employment and Training Technicians

- Monteiro, Edilma. Childhood and Calon Education in Time Transversality, Networks and Relations

- Polackova, Zuzana. Inclusiveness of Public Policy Support Measures Aiming to Increase Employment Rate among Roma – Case of Slovakia

- Rigová, Edita. Remote Vocational School Classes: The Policy That Succeeds or Fails in Inclusion of Romani Youth?

Roma in the Period between WWI and WWII

Roma in the Period between WWI and WWII


Elena Marushiakova, School of History, University of St. Andrews, Scotland, UK

Vesselin Popov, School of History, University of St. Andrews, Scotland, UK

This panel is a continuation of successful panels from 2018 and 2019 that originated from the ERC project “RomaInterbellum. Roma Civic Emancipation between the Two World Wars”. It aims at addressing one of the still under-researched topics in Romani studies, namely the history of the Roma in the period between WWI and WWII. This period represented an era of significant changes worldwide, which encompassed numerous fields, such as, to list a few: the breakdowns of old Empires, re-drawing of borders, beginning of new world relations on a macro-level along with new inter-ethnic relations on micro-levels, huge movement of populations, the birth of new nation states, the rise  of nationalism and internationalism, peace arrangements and exchange of populations, civil wars, important developments in interwar diplomacy and international relations, growth of economies, stagnation and depression, novel social, ideological and cultural trends and innovations, and others. This turnover not only marked the beginning of a new stage in world history but also, on a micro level, it impacted the living strategies and visions about the future of Roma communities worldwide. 

The point of departure of this panel is the fact that Roma in their history were never a hermetically isolated social and cultural system. They existed, and continue to exist nowadays, in two dimensions. On the one hand they exist as separate ethnic communities, and on the other hand as part of the macro-societies in which they live within the respective nation-states. Along with the members of the macro-societies they experienced great changes and turbulences such as the breakdowns of old Empires, the establishment of nation states and processes of modernisation. In this time span, Roma started to be politically institutionalised, instrumentalised and subjected to a variety of controversial policy practices. Most importantly for this panel, at the same time they started to develop their own visions for the development of their communities, both on local and international levels. 

This panel aims to bring together researchers from different disciplinary fields and it seeks to study the impact of the Interbellum period on Roma communities. The panel is especially interested in presentations that look at Roma not only as passive recipients of policy measures but also as active architects (agents) of their own lives. The aim is, together with papers studying evidences reflecting state policies with regard to Roma, to include presentations which analyse the appearance and development of social and political projects proposed by Roma.

 List of contributors

- Acković, Dragoljub. The First Romologist of a Romani Background in Serbia

- Achim, Viorel. Relations of Roma Organizations with Nomadic Roma in Romania in the 1930s

- Baltsiotis, Lambros. Early Integration of Sedentary Romani Communities in Northern Greece

- Duminica, Ion. Ethno-social and Cultural Interwar Ascending of the Romanian Roma through the Romani Newspapers

- Hajnáczky, Tamás. Journals Published by Gypsy Musicians in the First Half of the 20th Century in Hungary.

- Horváthová, Jana. The Book ...They are Painful Memories and the Růžička Family

- Chernykh, Alexander V. The Gypsies of Russia during the Interwar Period: The Regional Case of Ural

- Kalinin, Valdemar, and Board, Edward. Aspects and the Impact of Romani Literature during the Period of the Enlightenment [Renaissance], Soviet Union (1925-1938)

- Marushiakova, Elena; Popov, Vesselin. In Search of Own State: Roma Attempts to Create Autonomy before WWII

- Matei, Petre. Invoking the Past for the Present’s Sake. The Case of the Romani Movement in Interwar Romania

- Nam, Irina. The Criminal Case Fabricated against the Gypsies in Novosibirsk in 1938

- Roman Raluca Bianca, Risto Blomster. A Backdrop to Civic Activism? Roma Voices within the Finnish “Gypsy Mission” during the Interwar Period

- Segľová, Lucia. Romani in the Turiec Region according to 1930 Data Census

- Shapoval, Viktor. Moscow Standard Romani and Smolensk Correspondents of 1930s

- Stoica, Cristina. From Classification to Polarization: Romanian Legislation Targeting the Roma during the Interbellum

- Stoyanova, Plamena. Epidemics and Gypsy Neighbourhoods in Bulgaria (1918 - 1945)

- Tihovska, Ieva. Religion and Employment of Latvian Roma during the Authoritarian Regime

- Vaiman, Dmitriy. Interwar Period in Historical Legends of Kalderash Roma

- Viková, Lada. "Our family was a Sedentary". Politics towards Roma in the Interwar Czechoslovakia on the Example of Three Microhistorical Studies from Moravia

- Zahova, Sofiya. The Monument of “Serbian Gypsy Youth to its Heroes” in the Context of Yugoslav Romani Activism in the Interwar Period

Individual submissions

Åberg, Kai Viljami: The Construction of the Romani Community in Songs and Musical Concepts of the Finnish Roma

Achim, Venera: The Economy of a Professional Category in Wallachia, 1830s-1850s: the Gypsy Brickmakers

Andršová, Kateřina: Josef Koudelka and his recordings of Romani songs of 1960s

Andrš, Zbyněk; Durňák, Milan: Romani Music in the Course of Time

Asfari, Mitra: An Insight on “Antigypsyism” in Iran through the Ethnography of Begging Scenes at the Junctions of Tehran

Bartash, Volha: Family memories of the Nazi genocide of Roma versus official memory of World War II in Belarus and Lithuania

Beissinger, Margaret: Marriage and Weddings among Lăutar (Romani Musician) Families in Romania

Bertoni, Giulia: Leonardo’s “A Man Tricked by Gypsies”: an investigation into the making of a stereotype

Chovka, Viktor; Habryn, Petro: Some Aspects of the Situation of the Roma in Uzhhorod under Hungarian Rule in 1939-1944

Dingeç, Emine: Gypsies in the Eyes of Evliya Çelebi

Drews-Sylla, Gesine: Narratives of Child Care Institutions and Adoptions in Czech Literature and Film

Elšík, Viktor: What Romani dialect used to be spoken in northeastern Hungary?

Georgieva-Stankova, Nadezhda: The Forgotten Holocaust – the Struggle for Recognition of the Porrajmos and Its Contemporary Re-Contextualisation

Grabowska, Barbara; Kwadrans, Łukasz: Problems of Pedagogical Diagnosis and School Segregation of Roma Pupils in Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia

Greenfields, Margaret; Rogers, Carol: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Experiences of Hate Cin the UK and the Psychological ‘Ripple Effect’ on Mental Health

Hulmes, Allison; Unwin, Peter: Antigypsyism as a Novel Concept in UK Social Work

Iwatani, Ayako: Beyond Vendetta: Romani Conflicts over Female Virginity

Jurková, Zuzana: Three Music Remembrances of the Czech Roma

Kapralski, Slawomir: The Colonial Experience and the Racialization of Roma: The Cultural Background of the Genocide

Kocmanová, Markéta: Unjustified Antigypsyism: The Non-Radicalization of the Roma

Kovacheva, Lilyana: The Romani Family in Bulgaria: Observations on the Developments among Some Romani Groups

Kovats, Martin: Lessons of the EU Roma Framework

Ludlová, Nikola: Roma as an Object of Demographic Science

Marušiak, Juraj: Roma Issues in National Elections in Slovakia in February 2020

New, William S.: Special Education Needs: Horváth & Kiss v. Hungary

New, William; Carpenter-New, Yuma: Re-Nazification and De-Nazification in Postwar West Germany: Learning about the Roma in Freiburg, 1965

Nuska, Petr: “If you don’t play here, you’re not a human!” – Pariahdom Boundary and Romani Music-Making in Klenovec (Slovakia)

Panaroni, Daniele: Representing Romani People. Some Critical Considerations about Scientific Literature

Sancin, Vasilka: The Decisions of the UN Human Rights Committee Regarding Complaints Submitted by Romani Authors

Sedláková, Renáta: The Romani Minority Visual Representation in the Czech TV Headline News Programme: No Change Since the Year 2000

Schuster, Michal: The Fate of the Dycha Family from the Village of Hrušky: Documenting Victims of Nazi Genocide of the Roma and Sinti in the Czech Republic

Shmidt, Victoria: In (re)Search of Inclusion: Roma under the Pressure of De-historicizing between the 1950s and 1990s

Symeou, Loizos: The School Education of Roma in Cyprus: Current Reflections and Proposals

Toyansk, Marcos: Romani Holocaust Education and Remembrance Outside of Europe

Turšič, Domen: Slovenia’s Fixation on Autochthony as the Relevant Criterium for Granting Special Rights to the Romani Community

Vojak, Danijel: Marginals on the Sidelines of the Education System or on Education About the Roma Genocide in Croatia, 1945-2020

Zlatanović, Sanja: In-Betweenness: The Džorevci Community in Bulgaria