This is a book about people caught between home and abroad, crossing imperial boundaries in southeastern Europe at the beginning of the modern age.
Through a series of life stories, which the author reconstructs with the aid of many new sources, readers discover how certain men and women defined and adapted their loyalties and affiliations, how they fashioned their identities, how they enrolled their linguistic, political, economic, and social resources to build a family and a career. Travelling between Istanbul, Vienna, Trieste, Moscow, Bucharest, or Iaşi, individuals of different backgrounds built their networks across borders, linking people and objects and facilitating cultural transfer and material and social change.
The book presents the life, visions and activities of the nascent Roma civic elite who initiated the movement for Roma civic emancipation.
Roma Portraits in History, in the form of individual portraits, presents the life trajectory, visions and specific actions put forward by the nascent Roma elite and its leading representatives concerning the present and future of their community. The book is based on a rich source base of key original archival documents, in multiple languages, including Romani language, discovered in countries across the region of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, all of which showcase ‘Roma elite’ visions and action. To fulfil the general picture case studies of representatives from Spain and the US are also included.
The book focuses on the early period of Roma publishing (from the nineteenth century until the Second World War) when the first original texts, fiction and media publications authored by Roma appeared.
Based on extensive archival and historical research, including the discovery of earlier, up to now unknown sources, the literary activities of Roma in Central, South-eastern and Eastern Europe are discussed in their historical context and interrelation with the birth of the Roma emancipatory movement. Romani literature and press are thus embedded in the history and literary studies of the European national literatures.
The authors: Raluca Bianca Roman, Sofiya Zahova, Aleksandar G. Marinov, Elena Marushiakova and Vesselin Popov are affiliated with the University of St Andrews, UK. Other authors are Tamás Hajnáczky (Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary), Viktor Shapoval (Moscow City University, Russia), and Risto Blomster (Finnish Literature Society/ The Finnish Cultural Foundation).
This ground-breaking book is an impressively extensive collection of primary historical sources in various languages that reflect the history of the Roma (formerly referred to as ‘Gypsies’ in local languages). The selection of the included materials reflects the authentic voice of the Roma them - selves, and presents their visions and the specific goals pursued by the Roma civic emancipation movement. The source materials are published in original and translated in English, and are accompanied by explanatory notes and summarising comments discussing the specific historical realities and their interrelation to the Romani emancipatory movement in Central and Eastern Europe, thus presenting a comprehensive picture of the historical processes.