Conference: Critical Approaches to Romani Studies


Online conference organized by the Romani Studies Program at Central European University

in partnership with the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture


31 May – 4 June 2021


Abstracts and biographies

Roma have been an object of academic inquiry for centuries. In spite of the increasing number of articles, studies, and books, especially since the collapse of communism, Roma participation in shaping the discourses on themselves has remained very limited. In the name of scientism and objectivity, Roma have been de facto excluded from knowledge production.

Recently, an increasing number of activist scholars has been urging a paradigm shift in Romani Studies to challenge the dominant academic and policy discourses. They propose inquiries into the forms of oppression Roma are facing, the importance of racism and structural discrimination for Roma and Romani identity. The conference brings together junior and senior, Roma and non-Roma scholars embracing critical approaches.
This year’s conference includes a special panel on the restitution of Romani artworks and artefacts. Recent struggles for racial justice and decolonization force cultural institutions, museums, and galleries all over the world to critically reflect on their past, their exhibited objects, and their present narratives. Similarly to that of other colonized communities, Romani culture has been perceived and studied as “exotic”, “oriental”, “primitive”, and “naïve art”. Romani artefacts and artworks have been “collected” by museums and galleries all over Europe.

Selected papers will be published in the open access journal Critical Romani Studies. Earlier issues are available at https://crs.ceu.edu/



31 May 

12.45-13.00 Welcome by Angela Kocze, Chair in Romani Studies, Central European University and Timea Junghaus, Executive Director of the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture


13.00-14.30 panel 1: Understanding epistemic racism

Papers: Geraldine Lee-Treweek (Birmingham City University) – Loreen Chikwira (Manchester Metropolitan University)  – Karen Wilkes (Birmingham City University): Romani Studies, Critical Race Theory, Black Studies and Reciprocal Learning to Change Higher Education

Eva Kourova  – Ionut Cioarta : Challenging the Dominant Policy Discourse and Forms of Roma Racialisations: The Case of Ando Glasgow in Glasgow, Scotland

Ioana Tistea (Tampere University): “Reflexivity of Reflexivity” with Roma-Related Research Practices toward Epistemic Humility

Chair: Margareta Matache (Harvard University)

Discussant: Prem Kumar Rajaram (Central European University)


14.30-15.00 Coffee break


15.00-16.00 panel 2: Political voice and access to justice

Papers: Ashok Kumar Pindiga (Central European University): Oppression and Access to Justice: A Comparative Study of Roma in Europe and Dalits in India

Aidan McGarry (Loughborough University): Political Voice of Roma Communities

Chair: Violetta Zentai (Central European University)

Discussant: Marton Rovid (Central European University)


16.30-18.00 RomaMoMa panel: The restitution of Romani artworks and artefacts

Panelists: Timea Junghaus (Executive Director of the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture)

Delaine Le Bas (Visual artist) TBC

Nanette Snoep (Director of the Etnographic Museum of Cologne)

Maria Lind (Director of Tensta konsthall, Stockholm)

Anna Szasz (Curator of the RomaMoMa project of Off-Biennale Budapest)



1 June

13.00-14.30 panel 3: Anti-Roma racism: historical manifestations and contemporary discourses

Papers: Florinela Giurgea: The Deportation of Romanian Roma to Transnistria: The Roots of the “Gipsy Problem”

Gabriela Marques Gonçalves (University Center Estácio Brasília): Hate Society: Antigypsyism and Hate Speech

Stefania Pontrandolfo (University of Verona): Anti-gypsyism in Political Discourses in Modern Italy 

Chair: Maria Bogdan

Discussants: Iulius Rostas (National University for Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest/ European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture)

Mathias Moschel (Central European University)


14.30-15.00 Coffee break


15.00-16.30 book panel: Roma Rights and Civil Rights – A Transatlantic Comparison

Presented by the authors: Felix B. Chang (University of Cincinnati College of Law) and Sunnie T. Rucker-Chang, (University of Cincinnati)


2 June

13.00-14.30 panel 4: The representation of Roma in ethnography, popular culture and fine art

Papers: Maria Luiza Medeleanu (University of Bucharest): The Soap Opera Gipsy Heart: Representations and Perceptions

Ecaterina Puia (George Emil Palade University, Târgu Mureş): Identity and Rroma Imagology in the 19th Century

Monica Murgia (Bologna University): The Importance of Being “Gypsy”: Ethnographic Study of Indian Kalbelias “Gypsies” of Rajasthan

Chair: Jan Selling (Sodertorn University)

Discussant: Dezso Mate


14.30-15.00 Coffee break


15.00-16.30 book panel: The Roma and Their Struggle for Identity in Contemporary Europe

Roundtable discussion with the authors: Huub van Baar, Delaine Le Bas, Malachi Hacohen, Tina Magazzini, Angela Kocze, Iulius Rostas, Debra Schultz, Julia Szalai, Nidhi Trehan, Violetta Zentai.
Chair: Peter Vermeersch


17.45-20.30 Film screening and discussion

Screening of the film Gipsy Queen (1h53m)
Followed by discussion with Alina Serban, actress, protagonist of the film


3 June

13.00-14.30 panel 5: Education and social mobility

Papers: Péter Bogdan (Hungarian Academy of Sciences): Roma Mentor Project – The Roma Intellectual Friend Model

Jekatyerina Dunajeva (Central European University): Othering through Textbooks: Teaching about Roma in Contemporary Hungarian Schools

Zsanna Nyírő (Hungarian Academy of Sciences) –  Judit Durst (Hungarian Academy of Sciences): Racialisation Rules: The Effect of Educational Upward Mobility on Habitus

Discussants: Marko Pecak (Roma Education Fund)
Vera Messing (Central European University)


14.30-15.00 Coffee break


15.00-16.30 panel 6: Residential and educational segregation

Papers: Norah Burns (Trinity College Dublin): Educational Segregation of Ethnic Minorities: Where Are We in 2021?

Luca Bródy, Melinda Mihály, Erika Nagy (all from Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungary): The Production of Socio-Spatial Marginality in the CEE Semi-periphery – the ‘Other’ Side of Industrial Recovery

György Málovics (University of Szeged) – Boglárka Méreiné Berki (University of Szeged) – Melinda Mihály (Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungary): Policy Reform Instead of Policy Transformation? Experiences of Participatory Action Research (PAR) on Desegregation Policy in Szeged, Hungary 

Chair: Marek Szilvasi (Open Society Foundations) 

Discussant: Giovanni Picker (Glasgow University)


4 June

13.00-14.30 panel 7: Enabling intersectionality

Papers: Laísa Queiroz (University of Brasília): Intersectionality as an Analytical Tool for Studying the Oppression of Romani Women in Brazil

Christos Iliadis (Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Greece): Social Inclusion, Empowerment and Access to Justice for Roma Women and Girls

Chair: Angela Kocze (Central European University)

Discussant: Nadia Jones-Gailani (Central European University)


14.30-15.00 Closing and farewell