Unlocking the golden past of the Rudari woodworkers in Romania (Methodological remarks)
CBEES Advanced Seminar with Julieta Rotaru, Associate Professor in Romani Studies, Södertörn University
Presenter: Julieta Rotaru, Associate Professor in Romani Studies, Södertörn University
Chair: David Gaunt, Professor in Hisotry, Södertörn University
Discussant: Thomas Acton, Thomas Acton, MA, DPhil (Oxon.), FRSA, OBE; Emeritus Professor of Romani Studies, University of Greenwich, Visiting Professor, Corvinus University, Budapest
Senior Research Fellow, Buckingham New University
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Meeting ID: 653 9486 8078
The Romanian-speaking Rudari, an “ethnographic conundrum” (I. Chelcea 1944) or “țigănised Romanians”, or “old Romanians”, or „anderen Zigeuner‟ (Jens Bengelstorf 2009) are a population whose maximum spreading inhabited area covers most of the Balkan area and Central European parts. Their origins are still disputed and their contemporary presence in places where they have not been historically attested before awakens the old questions set forward since centuries by linguists, ethnographers, historians, and anthropologists. For the reconstruction of the history of the Rudars, a lot of disparate sources must be gathered, confronted, interpreted. The subject of the current presentation is advancing a paradigm for the reconstruction of the Rudars’ history in the manner of Marc Bloch’s histoire à la rebours, taking as certain moment of their past the professional reconversion recorded in demographic sources of early Nineteenth century. Their history through different historical periods from pre-historic gold-washers, till the first attestation of the Rudari in 14th century will be presented reconstructed from various sources, with focus on relatively short periods of their history, during the last five centuries, until the Gypsy Emancipation from slavery from mid-19th century.
Julieta Rotaru is Associate Professor in Romani Studies at Södertörn University and Managing Editor of the leading journal in the field, Romani Studies, of the Gypsy Lore Society, published by Liverpool University Press. She is a philologist with background in Classical Philology, Sanskrit and Vedic, and Romani ćhib, being the author of critical editions of Sanskrit and Vedic texts and a folklore collection of 19th century in various Romani dialects from Romania. Julieta has put in the public domain many sources for the history and culture of the Roms of Romania, such as previously unknown manuscripts of 19th century lexicographic works of Romani language from Romania which she is currently editing. Together with her colleagues from the University of Bucharest, she contributed to a pioneering B.A. programme in Romani Studies. At Södertörn, she works since 2018 in the project “Mapping the Roma communities in 19th c. Wallachia” (MapRom, www.maprom.se ) led by historical demographer David Gaunt, being a quasi-quantitative endeavor based on demographic sources to reconstruct the Romani household composition and living, their professional break down, as well as the slavery condition.