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Volha Bartash Wins the Gypsy Lore Society Young Scholars’ Prize in Romani Studies

posted Feb 7, 2014, 12:11 PM by Sheila Salo   [ updated Feb 7, 2014, 12:11 PM ]

The screening committee of the Marian Madison Gypsy Lore Society Young Scholar’s Prize in Romani Studies has announced the winner of the prize for 2013. The winner is Volha Bartash for her paper “Sedentarization of Roma in the Soviet Union Policies, Memories and Effects.” Bartash is an ethnographer and gained her PhD degree in 2011 from the K. Krapiva Institute of Study of Arts, Ethnography and Folklore at the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. She is currently an independent researcher and resides in Germany. Volha has recently received a Jeff and Toby Herr Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and a Kone Foundation fellowship at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki.

The Gypsy Lore Society established the Gypsy Lore Society Young Scholar’s Prize in Romani Studies for the best unpublished paper by a young scholar on a topic in Gypsy and Traveler Studies. The prize is a cash award of $500.  The winning papers will be published, after any necessary revisions, in an issue of the journal Romani Studies. Papers written in English by undergraduate students, graduate students beyond their first year of study and those holding the PhD who are no more than three years beyond the awarding of the degree at the time of submission are eligible to compete.

The deadline for receipt of papers for the current cycle is October 30, 2014. A full announcement can be seen on the Gypsy Lore Society web site,

 Abstract of the Paper Sedentarization of Roma in the Soviet Union – Policies, Memories and Effects

The paper discusses the transition to sedentary lifestyle among Roma in the countries of former Soviet Union. The analysis is based on the outcome of the author’s oral history study as well as on the study of official documents and statistical data. The first part of the paper tries to assess the factors that led to the sedentarization of Roma in the USSR. The dilemma is whether to consider the sedentarization in the context of the Soviet assimilation policy, or as an adaptation response to the socioeconomic change.

The paper proceeds with the analysis of long-term effects of the transition on Romani communities - urbanization processes, emergence of new economic strategies, signs of social reorganization and new models of interaction with the mainstream society.