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Thesis defence

'Some citizens:' Romani Romanians and socialist citizenship in Romania, 1947-1989

Add to calendar 2024-06-20 15:00 2024-06-20 17:00 Europe/Rome 'Some citizens:' Romani Romanians and socialist citizenship in Romania, 1947-1989 Sala del Torrino Villa Salviati - Castle YYYY-MM-DD


20 June 2024

15:00 - 17:00 CEST


Sala del Torrino

Villa Salviati - Castle

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PhD thesis defence by Catalina Andricioaei

My thesis examines encounters between Romani Romanians and the Communist Party, the Socialist State, and society at large in Romania during the period 1947-1989. I draw on local and state archives to show the complex ways in which Roma in state socialist Romania became problematised and categorised in increasingly racialising ways. At the same time, I demonstrate the ways that Romani Romanians engaged with socialist citizenship, and in so doing, sought to redefine the idea of the Romanian socialist citizen on their own terms. Romani men and women often used government and state prejudices towards them creatively to find ways to exercise forms of agency. They did so particularly through formal procedures of denunciation and complaint.

Drawing on both previously used and unused archival sources, my thesis brings together elements of Romani, gender, and (post)socialist studies. Doing so affords me the opportunity to build on the growing literature which has worked to break down binary understandings of the categories of victim and perpetrator in Stalinist Eastern Europe. Notwithstanding these efforts, as I show throughout my thesis, all levels of society, from high state officials to Securitate informants, to local groups of neighbours, held and perpetuated relentlessly gendered and racialised anti-Roma beliefs. 

For a few months between 1948-1949, Communist Party officials entertained the prospect of treating Romani Romanian citizens as a cohabiting nationality. Yet in 1949 the Central Committee decided to re-classify the Roma as a social category, i.e. ‘the needy’, rather than as a national minority. This decision was informed by officials’ own inherited racism as well as by a lack of financial means and personnel trained to work with those citizens of Romania who had been deported under the fascist regime. Communist Party authorities did not invent anti-Roma racialising practices, but they refused to engage with the legacies of the deportations and the centuries of Romani enslavement that had enforced those practices. Nor did they stop invoking such practices for socialist ends. 

This is a source-based study which weaves top-down with bottom-up approaches. I use a variety of sources, such as Communist Party archives, social services correspondence, character assessments, denunciations and petitions, women’s magazines, French media, and oral history interviews to understand the complex history of Romani engagement with socialist citizenship in Romania. I lay bare the protean and often surprising faces of state socialism as they affected Romani Romanians. At the same time, over four topical chapters, my thesis unravels questions about who was considered to be a Romani Romanian in state socialist Romania and what dimensions such an identity occupied.

Please register to get a seat or to receive the ZOOM link.


Francesca Parenti


Prof. Laura Lee Downs (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)

Ari Joskowicz (Vanderbilt University)

Celia Donert (Cambridge University)


Pieter M. Judson (EUI)

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