Anthropology, Nationalism studies, Romany studies, Sociology

Course date

5 July - 23 July, 1999
Application deadline
15 February, 1999
Course Director(s): 

Michael Stewart

University College London, UK / Open City Docs Festival in London, UK/ Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Course Faculty: 

Thomas Acton

University of Greenwich, London, United Kingdom

Fraser Angus


Victor Friedman

Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Chicago, United States of America

Janos Ladanyi

Sociology, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary

Alaina Lemon

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States of America

Yaron Matras

Languages, Linguistics and Cultures, University of Manchester, UK

Andzrej Mirga

Jagellonian University, Cracow, Poland

Judith Okely

IGS Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford University, UK
Everyone knows that the problem of Roma/non-Roma relations constitutes one of the most entrenched and difficult social problems facing the post-communist societies. But why should this be? Often the Roma are blamed for their own difficulties. This course will challenge you to think more broadly about the Roma and the societies they live in. It will pose and answer questions like:
- What is it about eastern European and former Soviet Union societies and their histories that has led to current difficulties?
- Why are those who blame the Roma themselves missing the point?
- In what senses are the Roma a unitary ethnic group?
- What difference does it make if they are not?
- How did Roma populations preserve their identities and ways of life over the past six hundred years?
- What is the history of the Nazi persecution of the Roma, and why has it been forgotten?
- Roma are known by non-Roma as Gypsies, Zigeuner, Cigány: what is the effect of outsiders’ ideas about Gypsies on the Roma's own ideas of themselves?
- Why do European societies find the idea of a nation without territory, a culture that seems more mobile than others, so threatening?
- Is there a racialisation of poverty in post-communist societies and what political measures can be taken against this?
- What forms of Roma politics have emerged across Europe and what do they offer the Roma today?
Students will learn how Roma issues cannot be treated in isolation as the problem of one ethnic group and yet how, at the same time, Roma cannot just be lumped togeher with other poor people. Students will learn that to understand Roma/non-Roma relations is to develp a deeper (and essential) understanding of their own societies.