On November 14, research scholar Cristiana Grigore will officially launch the Roma People’s Project (RPP) at Columbia University in collaboration with the Heyman Center for the Humanities. With support from the Center for Justice at Columbia, this initiative will spotlight the Roma people and expand Roma studies by examining topics such as identity and stigma, mobility and displacement, and archival research and digital scholarship.
The RPP aims to build a digital platform that identifies, examines, and curates material about how Roma define themselves and how others have represented them. Roma, also known as Gypsies, are a people who have been without a country or representation for 1,000 years. It also seeks to create a space for Roma and other marginalized groups—ethnic and otherwise—to discuss their shared challenges and explore how their identities enrich themselves and their societies.
To celebrate its launch, the RPP will convene a symposium featuring two panels of scholars, including:
· Carol Gluck, Chair of Columbia’s Committee on Global Thought
· Bruce Robbins, Author of Feeling Global: Internationalism in Distress
· Alex Gil, Digital Scholarship Coordinator for Columbia Libraries’ Humanities and History Division
· Dana Neacsu, Author of Roma and Forced Migration. An Annotated Bibliography
· Pamela Graham, Director of the Center for Human Rights Documentation & Research, Columbia University Libraries
(We will share more information about our guests and speakers in the following weeks.)
Other Globalisms: The Roma and Other Displaced Peoples
This panel will explore why understanding the Roma’s unique history as a people without a homeland is relevant today. The Roma’s enduring identity—dispersed and mobile, but also settled worldwide—can provide insights at a time when there are more refugees than there have been at any point since the end of World War II.
A Virtual Homeland for the Roma: Creating a Digital Community to Connect a Scattered People
This panel will explore the potential of online platforms, such as digital archives and social media, to preserve and generate knowledge and form communication hubs. Such spaces, are especially crucial for the Roma, who have had neither a country nor representation for 1,000 years. Similarly, such spaces can benefit other displaced peoples who seek to come to terms with their identities and find a cultural space where they can have a community and share stories.
A reception with Roma music will follow.