RSP Fellows

Academic Year 2016-2017:

Dr. Anna Mirga-Kruszelnicka is an anthropologist and a Roma activist. She earned her Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) in 2016; holds an MA in European Integration from UAB and an MA in Comparative Studies of Civilizations from the Jagiellonian University in Cracow (UJ). She is the author of policy evaluations, reports and articles, and is the co-editor of the book “Education for Remembrance of the Roma Genocide: Scholarship, Commemoration and the Role of Youth” (Libron, 2015). From 2013 to 2015 she was an OSF Roma Initiatives Fellow, conducting a comparative study of the Roma associative movements in various countries of Latin America and Europe. Currently, she is also the coordinator and curator of the Roma Civil Rights Movement Section in the RomArchive – Digital Archive of the Roma.

Project Description

This fellowship project aims to contribute to the scholarship on ethnic mobilization while making a relevant contribution to the field of Romani Studies. Building on previous and unpublished research conducted in Europe and Latin America, it will inquire into how Roma mobilize their collective ethnic identity for political action. The envisioned output of the fellowship – a book manuscript – will analyze Roma ethnic mobilization from a comparative perspective, in three different Spanish-speaking countries of the world: Spain, Colombia and Argentina. Ethnic mobilization will be assessed by taking into consideration the interplay between political opportunities, mobilizing structures and identity frames. The book will describe the genealogy of Roma ethnic mobilization from the perspective of actors themselves, through the prism of their discourses and action. Tracing parallel lineages of Roma ethnic mobilization in three countries and two continents will allow drawing broader conclusions regarding the nature of ethnic mobilization and will provide a unique description of political activism of a heterogeneous trans-national global Romani diaspora. 

Ciprian Cătălin Necula holds a PhD in sociology from the SNSPA University in Bucharest with a thesis on ethnicity and economic strategies of Roma during Romanian Communism.  He is teaching as visiting professor three courses at the Master in Politics, Gender and Minorities and Master in Romani Studies on Ethnicity and Masculinity, Public Policies for Roma and EU funds mechanisms for Roma inclusion. He is the coordinator of the Romani Studies master program. Over the years, he was acting as a Roma NGO activist, focusing on media, public communication, public participation and community development. He has as well, a longstanding international cooperation working with the Council of Europe (consultant), OSCE (election analyst) and World Bank (consultant). He served as State Secretary on EU funds in the Romanian Government, coordinator of Interministerial Group for Roma Inclusion and National Contact Point for Roma.

Project Description

The aim of the fellowship is to elaborate a book manuscript on the social and political experiences of Roma during the Romanian Communism. A research in communist security archives, interviews with Roma leaders from the communist period, document analyses (such as the program on Roma from 1977 of the communist regime) will be developed during the fellowship program. A chapter of the manuscript will be centered on the Romani movement during Romanian Communism, how it was shaped and what the working mechanisms were. Ethnicity and economic strategies of Roma communities during Communism will be reflected in distinct chapters. The book (manuscript) shall contribute to Romani Studies and knowledge production of a period that is not sufficiently analyzed in relation to Roma, which, due social and economic policies, had a major impact on the current situation of Roma communities in Romania. 

Academic Year 2017-2018:

Árpád Bak is a cultural researcher. He earned his degree in English language and literature at the University of Debrecen, Hungary and a postgraduate diploma in journalism at MÚOSZ Bálint György Academy of Journalism, Budapest. He published articles in, among others, the national and international journals and magazines ArtMargins Online, Balkon, CTheory, HVG, Korunk and Magyar Narancs. Besides a career in journalism and editing, he also worked with Budapest-based Roma and anti-discrimination organizations. Currently, he is working on his doctoral thesis in cultural theory at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. His areas of interest include theories of cultural contact and cultural change, diasporic and hybrid identities, and contemporary art. His scholarly work was published in journals and anthologies and in 2015, he curated the exhibition “Whose Nation? Reimagined National Identities” at Gallery8 – Roma Contemporary Art Space, Budapest.

Project Description

The research project addresses the changing perception of the boundaries between Romani and non-Romani identities as reflected in art and activist practices. At the focus of my work are public interventions by Romani contemporary artists in downtown areas, most often historical centers of cities, drawing attention to the lack of public recognition of the Romani community's contributions to national histories and cultures in Europe. These efforts to unmask hidden histories of diversity, rendered invisible by essentialist and homogenizing tendencies in hegemonic concepts of nationhood, can be paralleled with calls for the creation of inclusive national identities by postcolonial theorists, such as Homi Bhabha’s and Stuart Hall’s reimagining the Western nation by retrospectively inscribing migrant subjectivities in its narratives. However, while Bhabha’s and Hall’s work—and recent discourses of muticulturalism inspired by them—lack any discussions of the historical presence of the Roma in Europe, Romani studies has also invested marginal interest in the influence the Roma exerted on the cultures of dominant societies, which—as my case studies testify—can ground a form of transdiasporic solidarity. 

Dr. Ismael Cortés is a cultural theorist and philosopher. He studied literature, anthropology and philosophy at the University of Granada and obtained an MA. He continued his studies at the  UNESCO Chair of Philosophy for Peace, Universitat Jaume I, where he gained his PhD on conflict and development studies with an international award. His research interest focuses on the relation between law, culture and politics, by analyzing how ideologies constitute norms and action programs. During his academic career, Ismael has been a visiting researcher at the School of Critical Theory, University of Nottingham, the Institute for the Study of Peace and Conflicts in the International University of Andalusia and the Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology at CEU. He has worked as a policy analyst for OSF from 2016 to 2018 both with RIO and OSEPI. He collaborates with different media at national and European level with publications in HuffPostLe Monde DiplomatiqueEuractive or El País among others. As a Roma activist his main work has focused on political participation and knowledge production.

Project Description

In this one year’s fellowship I will cross the borders of two fields of studies, aiming to identify the hermeneutic keys to reconstruct the political grammar of Romani communities in Spain. On the one hand, I will explore the field of diasporas studies, focusing on the contributions of key authors such as G. C. Spivak, Avtar Brah and Saskia Sassen. On the other hand, I will review the field of Romani studies by revisiting a constellation of critical authors like A. Kocze, M. Matache, M. Surdu, A. McGarry or I. Rostas, aiming to deconstruct the essentialized ‘Roma identity’, artificially made up through a double mechanism of cultural folklorization and lumpen-reification. The goal of the fellowship is to elaborate a book manuscript on the institutionalization of Roma Rights in Spain, articulated around the question of political power of (de)localized communities in a highly territorialized regionally-centered political context, such the state of autonomous communities in Spain. 

Maria Bogdan, media theorist and journalist. Her main research interest is related to media representation and the modern forms of racism. For her PhD thesis she has been focusing on the media representation of the Roma in Hungary. She is a Fulbright Alumna and has done part of her PhD research at Columbia University in the City of New York. Prior to her visiting research position at CEU RSP she was a researcher at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and an assistant lecturer at the University of Pécs. She is also a journalist and worked at different television programs, radio stations and newspapers in Hungary.

Project Description

The world is saturated with media and we see our reality through them. In the upcoming year this research project will focus on examining the social media in the question of Roma identity and the Roma rights movement. What role social media has in this question? The Roma rights movement in Hungary started its new chapter in the social media in recent years – since the beginning of the 2010s. The research will examine how the discourse about Roma identity develops in the actions of the different representatives of the Roma rights movement – what type of identity constructions appear and strengthen as a model in the social media during the upcoming year in Hungary. For understanding the concept of Roma in society the research uses a multidisciplinary approach which is based on cultural studies. The analysis relies on theories of the stranger, representation theory, postcolonial approaches, deconstruction, and the theory of modern racism.

Dr Lucie Fremlova is a social scientist who earned her PhD in applied social sciences at the University of Brighton in 2017 with her doctoral thesis investigating the lived experiences of Romani LGBTIQ people. She has worked with and for Romani communities in both mainland Europe and the UK for 19 years. She has authored and co-authored research reports investigating, among other topics, the movement of the Roma to the UK (Mapping survey of Roma in England, 2009, European Dialogue/DCSF); mainstream schooling and (de)segregation (From Segregation to Inclusion: Roma pupils in the United Kingdom, 2011, REF); and multiple discrimination (Barabaripen: Young Roma speak about multiple discrimination, 2014, Council of Europe). She has also authored reports on Roma for the Human Rights Law Centre (University of Nottingham), the UK national focal point for the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights.

Project Description

This postdoctoral research project aims to elaborate on the concepts of belonging, including national, ethnic, sexual and other belonging and belonging as EU citizens before, during and after moving to other EU Member States; hetero- and self-representation in relation to multiple Romani identities; citizenship; and ways in which these concepts communicate, interact, intersect with and impact on each other. The research aims to explore how kinship, including queer Romani kinship, contributes to and impacts on a sense of (not/non) belonging. Guided by the research question ‘How do experiences of belonging and citizenship (or lack thereof) impact on representations of and for Roma?’, the research will focus on investigating and highlighting Romani people’s experiences of belonging with, in and/or to ethnic/national, sexual/gender and other identities, framed by lived experiences of Antigypsyism and intersectional oppression; and unpacking, uncovering and exploring the strategies deployed by Roma when negotiating belonging and representation vis-à-vis multiple identities and identifications, intersectional oppression, exclusion, as well as inclusion.

Academic year 2018-2019:

Dezso Mate is a Ph.D. candidate at Eötvös Loránd University – Budapest - at Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program - Faculty of Social Sciences. Dezso earned his Master degrees at University of Pécs from Media Studies - Film Theory and Romology. He also gained further study experiences in the Netherlands at Fontys University from Applied Social Sciences Studies. Regarding his work experiences, He is a consultant and mentor of the Open Society Foundations - Community Youth Fellowship Program 2018- 2020, which is focusing on the Romani LGBTIQ people intersectional challenges in public healthcare settings. Between 2015- 2017 he was a Visiting Research Associate at the University of Sussex - Doctoral School Program - Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research. He has had experience since 2013 - 2018 at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences – Center of Social Sciences – Institute for Minority Studies as a Junior Research Fellow. From 2012 - 2016  he was a researcher at  T- Tudok Centre for Knowledge Management and Educational Research Inc. Between 2012- 2013 he worked for the Hungarian Equal Treatment Authority as an expert on discrimination cases. Dezso’s research interests focus on the: Intersections of Romani and LGBTQ Communities, Social resilience and successfulness, Critical Romani Studies, Women, Gender and LGBTIQ rights. Dezso is a Romani social science researcher - gay activist

Research proposal

Romani LGBTIQ people combating with intersectional social oppressions through their multiplied identities, such as ethnicity, social class status, gender identities and/ or sexual orientation, age characteristics, physical and psychical health status, etc., or any other intersections of these. It is a silent issue which, was not discussed and has not received adequate attention into the society until the first Romani LGBTIQ public figures started to de-colonizing their visible existence into the social sciences, Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and into the decision- making bodies. Until these days, neither the social sciences, nor the European Union states legislations do not expound unequivocally with the phenomenon of the Romani LGBTIQ intersectional oppressions and marginalization front of the legislations. Romani LGBTIQ people identities are excluded and at the same time romanticized, eroticized, feminized, ethicized, and classicized by the different white middle-class LGBTIQ, Feminists, Human Rights and/or the Romani masculine macho leaderships and movements. As a consequence of this social matrix power; in one hand, the Romani LGBTIQ people are suffering psychical and physical violence, experiencing lack of lived own narratives from the previous white academia on Romani people, and they have limited inclusion from the different social movements as well. In the second hand, the Romani LGBTIQ existence and needs, have not received sufficient attention so far into the European Union Romani Strategies and policy recommendations. The EU Romani Strategies and its member states do not prevail with multiplied intersectional marginalization positions, because their acts and policies do not recognize the person’s intersectional and multiplied social status, oppression and violence. The research provides an overview of intersectional identities, lived experiences and discuss the particular exclusions and oppressions of Romani LGBTIQ people.

Short summary of the PhD thesis “Generational change of the Romani graduates - the impact of social resilience”

According to my hypothesis, the majority of Romani intelligentsia has been exposed to the selective and discriminative system of educational institutions. In their case, rapid social mobility occurred. The objective of this research is to explore the mechanisms of resilience among the Hungarian Romani graduates born after the 1980s. My aim is to examine the successful processes, the evidently flexible adaptations that have taken place in their case. My research question focuses on the changes in the social resilience of the generation mentioned above. How and in what ways are they able to set new goals for themselves and what kind of new transformations are the results of the incidental failures/ traumas, minority- shocks in the life of the individual? The public education system expects certain performance levels of the students and doesn’t take into consideration the ways in which they are learning and the extent to which they acquire the knowledge and competencies required of them throughout the years; it only places input and output requirements in front of them. In these situations, the resilient person learns the curriculum despite the fact that they are often not aware of its meaning. The absence of the person’s various competencies is amplified due to their own fault, since the school bases its work on the formal values. However, in their case, the change of their status which has taken place through social mobility foreshadows the expectations of the social stratum they are heading for. What does the new, higher social stratum expects of them and what type of things it requires of them that they have previously not experienced?

In their case, the continuous pressure of proving themselves and meeting the expectations of others creates a new identity regardless of their own intentions.
Keywords: Roma graduates, mobility, resilience, Critical Romani Studies, reflection, narrative changes, Social- Psychology.

Dr. Lise Foisneau is an anthropologist and a historian. She holds a PhD in anthropology from Aix-Marseille University (AMU) and an MA in history from Sciences Po Paris. She is also an associate researcher at IDEMEC (CNRS/AMU) and has worked on several historical projects such as collecting testimonies of WWII Roma resistant fighters and survivors. In 2017, she was part of the “Roma Resistance during the Holocaust and its Aftermath” research project (Tom Lantos Institute/La Voix des Rroms): her research provided rich empirical evidence, based on systematically reviewed French administrative divisional archives about French “Nomads”’ resistance from 1939 to 1946. She has published several historical and anthropological articles in scientific journals, such as Ethnologie française, Tracés, Health and Human Rights Journal, as well as book chapters.

Project Description

The aim of this fellowship is to write a history of Roma, Manouche, Yenish, Catalan Gypsies and Traveller’s resistance in France during World War II, involving Roma communities in the process. Far removed from the mainstream representation of populations being passively displaced and locked up, this research project will gather evidence to show that the Roma took a real part in resistance activities against Nazism throughout Europe: smugglers, fighters, protesters and escapees are as many actors of the Roma resistance. One central concern of the present project is to collect as much information as possible from live memories among the various communities in order to contribute to a “public history” of the Roma people. The goal of this fellowship is to construct a historical method, which is also a form of restitution to communities of documents testifying of their former oppression.

Bogdan Chiriac is an independent researcher from Iași (Romania), working in the field of modern and contemporary Romanian history. After earning his B.A. Degree in History at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași (2005), he continued his graduate studies at Central European University in Budapest (Roma Access Program, 2006; M.A. in Nationalism Studies, 2007- 2008; PhD in Comparative History in the Department of History, 2008- 2014). Over the past few years, he has been involved in a number of inter-disciplinary research projects focusing on Holocaust studies and the cultural representation of the Roma minority in the Romanian Principalities/Romania.   

 Project Description

His current research project explores the mid-19th-century Romanian discourse concerning the early history of the Roma living in the Romanian Principalities and its discernible impact on the emergence of a local ‘abolitionist paradigm’ for interpreting this population’s ethnic identity. In exploring the nexus between historical research, abolitionism and ethnic identity discourse, this research project focuses on the activity of several leading Romanian scholars who wrote pioneering studies about the early history of the Roma from the mid-1830s to the late 1870s. They all drew upon their expertise in the fields of history, linguistics and ethnography in their efforts to explain how this oppressed population managed to preserve so many of its perceived original ‘Oriental traits’ in spite of centuries of diasporic existence and servitude.    

Academic year 2019-2020:

Silvia Cittadini is a researcher in Political Theory. She earned her PhD in Politics and Human Rights at the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies (Pisa, Italy) in 2019. She also holds an MA in International Relations and an MA in Democracy and Human Rights in South-East Europe. She conducted research on housing rights and policies towards Roma at the European level and in Italy and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and she has been a Research Fellow at the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI). She has collaborated with the Centre for European Policy Studies in the study “Scaling-up Roma Integration Strategies” commissioned by the European Parliament and worked in the NGO sector in Italy and Brussels. Her research interests include: economic, social and cultural rights; cultural diversity, intersectionality and post-colonial studies; qualitative research methods.

Research project

The aim of the research is to investigate new approaches to housing rights and policies able to recognise and empower the agency of the individual, ensuring social justice in this field while recognising diversity. The departing point is the concept of home-making, which identifies a multi-sensory and emotional process through which the person creates a sense of home, within the domestic space and beyond. With this aim, the research work grounds on a study on the shortcomings highlighted in the protection of housing rights at the international and European level and in the implementation of the EU Framework for the inclusion of Roma. It is furthermore based on a qualitative field research conducted within Romani communities in Italy. Within the fellowship, the analysis of the concept of home-making and of its potentials for housing rights will be further analysed in light of the post-colonial literature on the Right to the City and on the capabilities approach. The work finally aims to elaborate a book manuscript on the EU Strategy for Roma Integration in the housing sector and on the fieldwork conducted in Italy.