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Commemorating Oblivion: Romani Holocaust, Politics of Memory and Czech Roma Struggle for Recognition

Dates:
  • Thu 12 Apr 2018 17.00 - 19.00
  Add to Calendar 2018-04-12 17:00 2018-04-12 19:00 Europe/Paris Commemorating Oblivion: Romani Holocaust, Politics of Memory and Czech Roma Struggle for Recognition

In anthropology, the relation of the Roma to the past has been a central concern in conceptualizing Romani forms of attachment and belonging. These being enacted in the present, the past is seen as a “foreign country”, as absent in the formation of authority, recognition or ethics among the Roma. However, since the 1980’s we have been witnessing a rising engagement from various European Roma and pro-Roma agents with struggles over the recognition of the memory of Holocaust and Romani victimhood. Be it in artistic expressions, in memoir writings or in political participation, the shift towards historical framing signals a rather different attitude towards the past. The apparent contradiction has been highlighted in a number of contributions that have sought to explain it by reference to new politics of identity, to ethnic emancipation and Europeanization, or by discerning the formation of a Romani elite as the bearer of an emerging political subjectivity. In my contribution I wish to reflect on the topic from a different perspective that takes historical knowledge and memory culture as formative of each other. Drawing on ethnographic research on the controversy over the historical meaning, contemporary significance and future management of the site of a former Gypsy concentration camp in Lety (south Bohemia), I will argue that Czech Roma activists make history by commemorating its long-standing ignorance in Czech historiography and collective memory.

Yasar Abu Ghosh is assistant professor at the Department of Anthropology, Charles University, Prague and faculty member of NYU Prague. He specializes in topics related to Central European Roma, economic and political anthropology and ethnographic methodology. His latest research focuses on survival strategies of poor Roma in the Czech Republic, on politics of marginalization and the enduring effects of racialized regimes of state minority policies, as well as on the formation and logic of Romani subjectivity in response to processes of cultural dispossession. In 2016 he was a Fulbright scholar at the Department of Anthropology, University of California in Berkeley, he was also a visiting scholar at CEU in Budapest, LMU in Munich, and at EHESS in Paris

Sala dei Levrieri, Villa Salviati DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala dei Levrieri, Villa Salviati

In anthropology, the relation of the Roma to the past has been a central concern in conceptualizing Romani forms of attachment and belonging. These being enacted in the present, the past is seen as a “foreign country”, as absent in the formation of authority, recognition or ethics among the Roma. However, since the 1980’s we have been witnessing a rising engagement from various European Roma and pro-Roma agents with struggles over the recognition of the memory of Holocaust and Romani victimhood. Be it in artistic expressions, in memoir writings or in political participation, the shift towards historical framing signals a rather different attitude towards the past. The apparent contradiction has been highlighted in a number of contributions that have sought to explain it by reference to new politics of identity, to ethnic emancipation and Europeanization, or by discerning the formation of a Romani elite as the bearer of an emerging political subjectivity. In my contribution I wish to reflect on the topic from a different perspective that takes historical knowledge and memory culture as formative of each other. Drawing on ethnographic research on the controversy over the historical meaning, contemporary significance and future management of the site of a former Gypsy concentration camp in Lety (south Bohemia), I will argue that Czech Roma activists make history by commemorating its long-standing ignorance in Czech historiography and collective memory.

Yasar Abu Ghosh is assistant professor at the Department of Anthropology, Charles University, Prague and faculty member of NYU Prague. He specializes in topics related to Central European Roma, economic and political anthropology and ethnographic methodology. His latest research focuses on survival strategies of poor Roma in the Czech Republic, on politics of marginalization and the enduring effects of racialized regimes of state minority policies, as well as on the formation and logic of Romani subjectivity in response to processes of cultural dispossession. In 2016 he was a Fulbright scholar at the Department of Anthropology, University of California in Berkeley, he was also a visiting scholar at CEU in Budapest, LMU in Munich, and at EHESS in Paris


Location:
Sala dei Levrieri, Villa Salviati

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Lecture

Contact:
Francesca Parenti - Send a mail

Organiser:
Pavel Kolar (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)
Alexander Etkind (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)
Pieter Judson (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)

Speaker:
Yasar Abu Ghosh (Charles University Prague)
 
 

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Page last updated on 18 August 2017