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  • 2017-11-27

    CBEES is raising the bar for Romani Studies

    The research field of Romani Studies at CBEES is rapidly becoming one of the leading research fields in Europe.

    Earlier this year, Kimmo Granqvist became the first Professor of Romani Studies in the Nordic countries, perhaps in northern Europe. Kimmo’s task is to build a strong research environment around Romani Studies at CBEES and, in just a few months, it has received a great deal of recognition. 

    “Kimmo is in the process of establishing one of the strongest research fields in Europe,” says Joakim Ekman, CBEES’ Director..

    Research project to digitalise archive documents on Romanian Roma

    Kimmo GranqvistTo begin with, Kimmo Granqvist och his project group have received funding for a major research project from the Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies. The three-year research project, “Mapping the Roma communities in 19th century Romania” will digitalise and publish Romanian archive documents from the 1800s. The demographics, family and socioeconomic structures of the Roma can, for example, be discerned from the archive. These are documents that have not previously been accessible.

    “The interesting thing about this is that the documents show that the Roma have not always been an underclass, quite the opposite, that they were once integrated in Romanian society to a much greater degree,” says Kimmo.

    The project is led by Kimmo Granqvist and participating researchers from Södertörn University are David Gaunt, Julieta Rotaru and Ryan Dias.

    Kimmo is the new editor of an influential journal

    Kimmo Granqvist is also the new editor of the Romani Studies journal. This is an international, multidisciplinary journal that publishes peer reviewed articles on all areas of Romani Studies. The journal was founded in 1888 och publishes articles on history, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, art, literature, folklore and music, as well as reviews of books and audio-visual material. The journal is the most influential internationally in Romani Studies and is published by Liverpool University Press twice per year.

    "This is a big thing for the research area, as well as Södertörn University,” says Kimmo Granqvist. “And it is a real honour to have been asked to be editor.”

    CBEES has also employed a new research leader for Romani Studies – Juileta Rotaru.

    “CBEES is a dynamic research environment with great potential!”

    Julieta RotaruJulieta Rotaru comes from family of lawyers in Bucharest, but chose an entirely different focus for her studies, namely philology and classical languages. After studying Latin and Greek at university in Bucharest she studied for Sanskrit in India for four years. And what is the link between Sanskrit and her present field of research – Romani Studies?

    “The Roma lived in India thousands of years ago, and brought their language and traditions with them to Europe,” says Julieta. “So the Romani language has many similarities with the ancient language of Sanskrit! There are also similarities between the Roma’s contemporary traditions and ancient Indian traditions.”

    Julieta has recently moved to Sweden with her two daughters, and all three are happy here. She says that there’s a great difference between working here and in Bucharest; here there is a desire to help and understand, as well as functioning administration and organisation, and the absence of organised corruption is a relief.

    “CBEES is a very interesting and dynamic environment with highly competent people researching different fields, and I’m really looking forward to expanding the cooperation between researchers in interdisciplinary projects,” says Julieta. 

    As a new research leader, Julieta has a great many research hours and is also tasked with developing Romani Studies by, for example, organising seminars and conferences. Is there anything Julieta would like to achieve the three years her position runs for? 

    “I would really like researchers to want to study for a doctoral degree in Romani Studies at Södertörn University,” says Julieta. “I don’t know if I have time for that in three years, but I’d at least like to start working on it. CBEES deserves it and the potential is there!”