Call for Papers for Agency and Perception: The Roma in East Central Europe

October 3, 2023


Conference:                    Agency and Perception: The Roma in East Central Europe

Organizers:                     Centre for the Study of Violence, University of Newcastle (Australia)                                                Romani Studies Program, Central European University

Conference Date:        19 April 2024

Proposal Deadline:        1 December 2023

Venue:                             On-line (Zoom)


Central European University’s Romani Studies Program and the Centre for the Study of Violence, University of Newcastle (Australia) are pleased to invite scholars to submit abstract proposals for the Agency and Perception: The Roma in East Central Europe conference dedicated to the topic of prejudice and anti-Roma racism in Europe and beyond. The conference will be held on 19 April hosted by Central European University on Zoom.

Much scholarly attention has been paid to visible forms of historical anti-Ziganism/anti-Gypsyism/anti-Roma racism, hostility, discrimination, hate crime, harassment, and racial violence in east central Europe. Significantly less scholarly attention has been paid to the ways in which historical invisible prejudice and anti-Roma perceptions were constructed and shaped educational, health, employment, and housing policies targeted at and/or impacting Roma. What were the mechanisms of these policies and how were Romani individuals and communities involved, co-opted, or coerced? What kind of agency did Roma possess to challenge the ideological construction of these policies? What legacies have such policies left and how do they continue to shape Romani lives? 

Individuals and populations identifying (or identified/perceived based on stereotypes) as Roma in east central Europe have historically had to navigate, transgress, or even subvert the assertions of both scholarly and bureaucratic authorities. Policy makers usually have perceived Roma as a social “problem”, typically to be “solved” by aiming to integrate through ambiguous social inclusion policies or implicitly (in some cases explicitly) erase Roma through assimilation or exclusion. 

This symposium focuses on the intricate relationship between perception and agency through Roma-targeted and related policy discourses and practices, which were informed by specific academic knowledge and disciplinary lenses. On the one hand, we seek to make visible the intentions, motives, preoccupations, and objectives shaping historical east central European actors’ perceptions of, and policy towards, the Roma. These include, but are not limited to, epistemological assertions of various scholarly works (including “Gypsyology”, Romani Studies, Critical Romani Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, Public Policy, etc) and the policy aims and implementation of state actors. On the other, it seeks to understand how Roma have responded, and asserted their own agency. We also seek to understand the contemporary legacy of these historical processes. While we are open to all scholarly contributions, we particularly welcome collaborative work between Romani and non-Romani scholars and activists.

The conference will be held online on 19 April 2024. It is our intention to produce a conference proceedings from a selection of papers.

We are especially keen to receive papers on the following topics:

  • ­       Empirical inquiries into historical forms of antigypsyism/anti-Roma racism (or the historical roots of modern forms), as well as Romani resistance and agency
  • ­       Critical reflections on past and present scholarly approaches representing Roma, and/or the historical dimensions of bureaucratic policies targeting Roma, in East Central Europe
  • ­       Theoretical examinations of perceptions of Roma, state policies and Romani agency
  • ­       Case studies and/or Comparative studies in East Central Europe and beyond
  • ­       Examples of positive practices building Romani agency and responding to inequalities

Guidelines for authors

Proposals are welcome from researchers at all stages of their careers. Scholars of Romani origin are particularly encouraged to apply.

Please submit proposals including the author’s name, title, a 500-word-long abstract, and a 100-word long biography to

Inquiries should be directed to CEU coordinator, Esther Holbrook at

Deadline of submission: 1 December 2023 All proposals are reviewed by the program selection committee. Successful applicants will be notified by 15 December 2023.

The draft papers are to be submitted by 1 March 2024. We expect all scholars to submit high quality and original (not yet published) papers.

Angéla Kóczé, Romani Studies Program, Central European University

Sacha Davis, CSOV, University of Newcastle (Australia)


About the organizers:

The Centre for the Study of Violence, University of Newcastle (Australia) is a multidisciplinary group with members from: history, criminology, sociology, law, social work, as well as health and medicine. Our aim is to advance humanity's understanding of violence, not only in the present, but through time. Members of the Centre explore every aspect of violence, including concepts of violence, issues of political and cultural violence, representations of violence, questions of interpersonal violence, trauma and the aftermaths of violence, sexual assault, domestic abuse, homicide and filicide. Researchers at the CSoV are focused on the origins, causes, and experience of violence throughout history and the present day. In this way we seek to understand the global roots of contemporary violence by examining the connections between the past and the present, and the range of cultural values and perceptions that surrounds both patterns of structural violence and individual acts of violence.

The Romani Studies Program at Central European University (RSP) aims to engage scholars, policy makers, and activists in interdisciplinary knowledge production and debate on Roma identity and movement; antigypsyism; social justice and policy making; gender politics; and structural inequality. RSP encompasses the Roma Graduate Preparation Program and the Advanced Certificate in Romani Studies. RSP offers courses for MA and PhD students of CEU and summer courses for graduate students and activist scholars from all over the world. RSP organizes annual academic conferences promoting critical approaches to Romani Studies and publishes Critical Romani Studies an international, interdisciplinary, double-blind peer-reviewed open access journal. RSP supports internships and offers various fellowship primarily targeting Romani students and scholars.