European Roma

BookEuropean Roma

European Roma

Lives beyond Stereotypes

Migrations and Identities, 9


March 1st, 2022



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This book, designed as a resource for scholars, educators, activists and non-specialist readers, presents the results of new research on the role of Romani groups in European culture and society since the nineteenth century. Its specific focus is on the ways in which Romani actors, in their interactions with non-Romanies, have contributed to shaping Europe’s public spaces. Twelve chapters recount the experiences and accomplishments of individuals and families, from across Europe (England, France, Spain, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Finland) and Canada. All based on new research, and maintaining a focus on the real lives and activities of Romani people rather than on the perspective of the majority societies, these studies exemplify the creative presence of Romani people in the fields of politics, economics and culture. We see them as writers, artists and performers, political activists and resistance fighters, traders and entrepreneurs, circus and cinema managers and purveyors of popular science. Sensitive to the ambivalent position from which Roma act, the cases are linked and contextualized by a general introduction and by section introductions written by leading scholars of Romani studies with expertise in history, ethnography, musicology, literary and discourse studies and visual culture. The volume is richly illustrated, including many images that have never been published before, and includes an extensive bibliography / guide to further reading.

'This is an outstanding collection of studies which demonstrate that European Romani groups historically made significant contributions to our common past as artists and activists, traders and musicians, mobile entertainers in circuses or pioneers of travelling cinema. Without hiding the effects of stigma these people suffer or downplaying the tragic consequences of the genocidal regimes of the twentieth century, the authors show that Roma were far from being passive victims of the societies they are part of; they pursue and succeed to realize their own ambitions. Some of the fine biographies in this volume remind us that even from a disadvantaged social position Roma acted also as cultural agents for the broader society co-producing European history.'
László Fosztó, ISPMN, Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities

Author Information

Eve Rosenhaft is Professor of German Historical Studies, University of Liverpool. María Sierra is Professor of Contemporary History, University of Seville.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
List of Illustrations
General Introduction by Eve Rosenhaft and María Sierra
Section One: Politics
Introduction: The Spaces of Politics: Roma Experiences of Citizenship by María Sierra
Chapter 1 Helios Gómez: To be Roma in the Revolution by Juan Pro
Chapter 2 The Long Road in Search of a Tzigane Language: Sandra Jayat by Begoña Barrera
Chapter 3 Ronald Lee: Discovering Romanestan between Canada and Europe by Carolina García Sanz
Section Two: Economic life
Introduction: Travelling and Trading – Romani Horse Dealers in the Making of Europe’s Economic Multiculture by Eve Rosenhaft and Tamara West
Chapter 4 Intersecting Lives: The Brough Hill Fair as Biography-in-Pieces by Tamara West
Chapter 5 “Invaders” – Mobility and Economy in the Lives of the Laubinger Family by Eve Rosenhaft and Tamara West
Chapter 6 The Florians, the Habedanks and the Horse Fair at Wehlau by Eve Rosenhaft          
Section Three: Music
Introduction: The Space for/of Romani Music by Anna G. Piotrowska
Chapter 7 Romani Virtuosi – A Multifaceted Portrait by Anna G. Piotrowska
Chapter 8 From the History of the Lăutari in Romania by Anna G. Piotrowska
Chapter 9 The Story of Corroro, a Musical Genius from Kraków by Anna G. Piotrowska in collaboration with Paweł Lechowski
Section Four: Circus People and Showmen
Introduction: Romani Groups in the Public Space of the Circus and Other Showgrounds by Malte Gasche
Chapter 10 Travelling Cinema: When Roma Put the World within One’s Grasp by Laurence Prempain
Chapter 11 From Where They Were: Resistance by Romani Circus People during the Second World War by Laurence Prempain
Chapter 12 Cowboys and Indians: Wild West Shows as Portals to Exotic Otherness and the Big, Wide World by Malte Gasche
Afterword by Beatriz Carrillo