Scholars gather in Czech capital to discuss migrations and mobilities of Romani people
An international conference opened on Monday, 16 September in Prague focusing on the social and spatial mobility of Romani people in Europe and beyond. The aim was to contribute a new perspective on this subject and to problematize the concepts of itineracy and settlement that are very frequently associated with Romani people.
Almost 20 academics, both non-Roma and Roma, presented their contributions between Monday and Wednesday. "We want to present the mobility of Romani people from diverse perspectives and in the context of historical developments and society-wide changes in Europe, which means combining different experiences from field research and historically-based studies that can clarify various phenomena or, on the contrary, problematize certain well-worn notions," said Jan Grill, a member of the committee organizing the Prague Forum for Romani Histories who currently works at the University in Valle, Columbia and at the Institute for Contemporary History of the Academy of Sciences in the Czech Republic, researching among Romani people from the Czech Republic and Slovakia about their emigration to Canada and England.
Among the researchers who presented their findings was Elizabeth Anthony of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., who described opportunities to use the Museum's collections to research the fates of the Romani victims of Nazism. As far as academics from the Czech Republic, a presentation was made by Markéta Hajská, who spoke about Olah Roma in Czechoslovakia during the 1950s in a part of the program dedicated to socialist bloc policies targeting Roma, while Daniel Škobla of the Slovak Academy of Sciences spoke about emigration from Slovakia in terms of Romani people fleeing oppression and poverty as part of a panel dedicated to mobilities after the year 1989.
The conference is organized by the Prague Forum for Romani Histories at the Institute for Contemporary History of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and the Romani Studies Seminar of the Central European Studies department at Charles University in Prague. More information is available on the Facebook pages of both institutions.
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