Romani Writing as the Intersection of Literature and Activism: Yugoslavia Before and After WWII

  • Datum: –17.00
  • Plats: IRES Library, Gamla torget 3, 3rd floor
  • Arrangör: Hugo Valentin Centre, Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES) and Uppsala Forum
  • Kontaktperson: Hanna Abakunova
  • Seminarium

The fifth part of a seminar series in Romani studies arranged by the Hugo Valentin Centre, IRES and Uppsala Forum.

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Writing has always played a central role in the processes of emancipation and mobilisation initiated by activists and ethnonational leaders in the countries of Southeastern Europe, and Romani activism does not make an exception. Romani writing emerged as a platform of Romani activism in interwar Yugoslavia and continued to be a core element of the public expression of Romani identity in Socialist Yugoslavia.

The lecture will provide a short historical overview of the writing activities in Yugoslavia before and after the Second World War, with a special focus on the literary endeavours of Svetozar Simić, who penned most of the works in the interwar period, including novels unpublished to this date. Many of the Romani activists of the post-war period (Slobodan Berberski, Rajko Djurić, Šaip Jusuf, Alija Krasnići, Jovan Nikolić, etc.), who also participated in the international Romani movement, authored poetry and publicist works or contributed in other ways to publishing activities. The lecture will discuss how the publications conveyed activists´ visions about Roma emancipation in literature form and what are the main patterns of narration. Comparison will be drawn between the two historical periods as well as between the developments in Yugoslavia and other countries in SEE during the respective periods.

Sofiya Zahova holds her PhD in Ethnology from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Currently Dr. Zahova is the Director of the Vigdís International Centre for Multilingualism and Intercultural Understanding, the University of Iceland. Her interests and expertise are related to Roma, minority and language policies in Europe, Southeastern Europe, nationalism and ethnicity. Sofiya has published articles, studies and monographs on these topics. She has established the Roma in the Centre initiative and currently leads the RomIs: History and Ethnography of Roma in Iceland project supported by the Icelandic Research Fund.