International Roma Research Network
Statement of Intention on bringing into being a new site for a European Roma Research Network
The rationale for this website is threefold:
- Scholars in the multi-disciplinary field dealing with Roma, Gypsies and many aspects of their social experience are scattered around the world and find it hard to keep abreast of latest work in other institutions and countries.
- It is in the very nature of this field to call for international and interdisciplinary collaborations and a virtual communication space offers a chance for scholars to approach work they might not normally read.
- There is increasing public policy demand for informed contributions from academics beyond the ad hoc reliance on ’old friends’ and ’the usual contacts.’ There are scores of talented young researchers in these fields and their voice needs to be heard academically and in policy.
The website of the Roma Research Network will host both Europe wide research and information (main pages) AND regional or country based networks. One of the organisers of this is part of a small team mobilising Hungarian scholars and the Hungarian site already exists here. We hope to soon host a Romanian and other sites as well – depending on the need of researchers.
Background and goals of our site
In the past forty years in various parts of Europe a small but growing number of scholars have emerged who devote the bulk of their academic life to working on Romany and Gypsy populations. The work they have published has marked a remarkable transformation. Prior to 1970 the overwhelming majority of ’scholars’ in this field were amateurs and often wholly untrained in any social scientific method. A second and equally momentous transofrmation has been the appearance in recent years of Romany and Gypsy scholars with a number of people in different countries now writing doctorates.
This website aims to provide a forum for these dispersed scholars to keep in touch with each other and to advertise their work to a wider audience, policy makers in particular.
As a result of a series of training events funded by the European Union Marie Curie’s Series of Conferences and Events Programme a small network of mostly younger scholars has informally come into being across eastern Europe. At the same time a large Hungarian network has also organised a number of seminars and other training events. In Cluj, Romania, the formation of an Institute for Research on Minorities (http://ispmn.gov.ro/eng/membri_eng.html), offers the hope that a similar network may emerge there. This website will build, in the first instance, on the resources that these networks have mobilised.
There are, of course, plenty of sites which provide for a for activist and mobilising organisations – and we will try and provide links to these in many different countries – but to the best of our knowledge there is no site devoted to scholarly activity for people working on Roma and Gypsy related issues.
This website aims to provide a forum for established and newcomer scholars alike. It really is yours to build. In the near future ee hope to organise a blog as well as the occasional electronic seminar – a format successfully pioneered by the Marie Curie summer schools.
If you have any material you would like to post to the site in ANY of the European languages – please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org . We will vet material before posting it but not act as peer reviewers of scholarly work.
Meanwhile, I will kick the ball rolling by posting a draft text on the history of studies of Gypsies and Roma in the Anglo-Saxon academic tradition.
Department of Anthropology University College London / Nationalism Studies CEU
Founder Member of the Roma Access Program Board, CEU