“It’s an incredible honour for me to be awarded an honorary doctorate by Södertörn University. I feel thrilled and privileged, and am both delighted and surprised about this achievement, which I see as both a personal milestone and a success for the people who work to advance Romani Studies at the university,” she says.
Elena Marushiakova is from Bulgaria and is a leading scholar in Romani Studies, as well as one of the people who have fought for its inclusion as an academic field. After obtaining her doctorate from Comenius University, Bratislava, with the pioneering thesis Contemporary Ethnocultural Processes among Several Gypsy Groups in Slovakia, she has worked as a professor at several European universities, including the Humboldt University of Berlin and the University of Leipzig.
“For me, as a woman and a researcher in Romani Studies at Södertörn University, Elena Marushiakova’s was the first name that sprang to mind. She is one of the most prominent scholars in this field and, by conferring the honorary doctorate on Marushiakova, Södertörn University is recognising both an outstanding scholar and an expert and defender of the rights of the Romani people,” says Julieta Rotaru, who nominated Elena Marushiakova.
Elena Marushiakova has numerous points of contact with Södertörn University. She co-founded the Network of Academic Institutions in Romani Studies (NAIRS) in 2016 and is a member of its board; this network is now coordinated by CBEES at Södertörn University. As head of the Gypsy Lore Society, she contributed to its annual conference being hosted by Södertörn University in 2016. The editorial board of the Romani Studies, the journal published by the Gypsy Lore Society, has moved to the university’s CBEES research centre.
“On the Faculty Board, we believe that Elena Marushiakova’s wide ranging commitment to Romani Studies and a great deal of her work provides valuable additions to a growing multidisciplinary research field, one that encompasses many different perspectives,” says Peter Dobers, chair of the Faculty Board.