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The Roma Through History, Music, and Film


Europe’s largest minority, commonly known in English as “Gypsies,” more properly referred to as Roma, Sinti or Gitano, have been enslaved, hunted down, imprisoned, and generally reviled; at the same time, they have fascinated members of the majority, and writers, artists, and composers have exploited the exotic flavoring they find in the image of “Gypsiness.” Roma musicians are also indispensable to folk and popular music practices around the European continent. This course will survey historical events in Roma history and address problems in writing about a people whose culture is perceived as predominantly oral. We will also examine both how this “mysterious” group has been represented, especially through music, and how its members have responded creatively to these representations.

Readings for this class are in English, though students with proficiency in other languages will be encouraged to explore additional sources in their research.

Regions Covered

Historical Central Eurasia

When Taught

Spring 2013


Department of Central Eurasian Studies