2020 Gypsy Lore Society Conference on Romani Studies
Prague, September 16–18, 2020

Prearranged Panels

Antigypsysm in Education

Conveners: Hristo Kyuchukov (University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland), William New (Beloit College, Beloit, Wisconsin, USA) and Lukasz Kwadrans (University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland)

The panel will show different historical and contemporary aspects of antigypsyism in education. The Nazi legacy of the education of Roma children during World War II remained after the war as well, and in Europe and Russia the attitude towards Roma children’s education did not change very much. The papers included in the panel show how segregated education of Roma children still exists, although the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg recommended that segregated education for Roma children in Europe be ended. The participants in the panel use different methodological approaches in order to show problems in the education of Roma children and particular forms of antigypsyism. The papers present preliminary results from ongoing projects or projects which have been recently completed. The panel brings new information in the field of Romani Studies, particularly in the field of education.

William New will use a historical approach to present educational issues and antigypsyism in Germany after WWII.

Barbara Grabowska and Lukash Kwadrans’ presentation is dedicated to segregation in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Petr Tsarikov presents the segregated education of Roma children in Russia.

The paper by Hristo Kyuchukov presents results from research among Russian Roma primary school children, speakers of Kotlyari (Kalderash) dialect educated in a segregated school.

Presentations proposed:

William New (Beloit College, Beloit, Wisconsin, USA)
Re-Nazification and De-Nazification in Postwar West Germany: Learning about the Roma in Freiburg, 1965

Barbara Grabowska (University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland) and Lukash Kwadrans’ (University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland)
Problems of Pedagogical Diagnosis and School Segregation of Roma Pupils in Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia

Petr Tsarikov (Center for Social Forecast and Marketing, Moscow, Russia)

Pedagogical Conditions for Teaching Children of Roma Settlements in Primary and Secondary Schools in Russia

Hristo Kyuchukov (University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland)
The Romani Language Knowledge of Russian Kotlyari (Kalderash) Children from a Segregated Primary School

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

Convener: 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?

Vajda argues that white fragility affects institutions that support Roma and their emancipation, such as GLS. It has damaging effects on understanding and dialogue, especially when Roma feel empowered to issue a challenge, whether overt or subtle, to non-Roma, regarding the anti-Gypsyism they experience. She outlines steps that non-Roma can take to shed their fragility and emerge as robust partners in the fight against anti-Gypsyism.

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?

Presentations proposed:

Colin Clark (Sociology and Social Policy, University of the West of Scotland)
Addressing the Past, Rewriting the Future: An Agenda for Change for the GLS

Katya Dunajeva (International Studies and Political Science, Pazmany Peter Catholic University, Hungary)
Decolonising Knowledge Production and the Role of the Gypsy Lore Society

Violeta Vajda (University of Sussex and Institute of Development Studies, England)
White Fragility in Romani Studies 

Ann Ostendorf (History, Gonzaga University, USA)
The Global Future of the Gypsy Lore Society: A View from the Americas

William Bila (independent scholar, Paris, France)
Romani Contributions to European and North American Cultures

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

Convener: 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.

Presentations proposed:

Stephan Steiner (Sigmund Freud University, Vienna, Austria)
In Law We Trust. ‘Gypsies’ and Procedural Justice in the Enlightenment Period

Tom Tyson (University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK)
‘Gypsies’ and Communal Relations in Seventeenth-Century Scotland

Martin Fotta (Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany) and Ann Ostendorf (Gonzaga University, Spokane, USA)
The Racialized Self: Experiencing Racialization in the Colonial Atlantic Lusophone and Francophone Worlds.