Group for Experimental Methods in Humanistic Research
at Columbia University

The Roma Project

  • Cristiana Grigore
  • Alex Gil

The Roma People’s Project is a start-up initiative which aims to address misconceptions as well as foster research and public education about the Roma people and culture. At core of our project is the Roma Digital Archive–a platform that identifies, examines, and curates material about how Roma define themselves and how others have represented them.

Most people know so little about the Roma that the very word is often alien to them. However, the term “Gypsy” (as well as “Travelers”) is more widely recognized and often serves as the only point of reference. Yet, the word conjures images of horse thieves or pickpockets that tourists are warned about in Europe, in addition to more romanticized images such as fortune-tellers with a crystal ball or exotic women dancing barefoot near a caravan.

While linguistic and genetic evidence suggests the Roma originated in Northern India, they have been without a country or representation for 1,000 years. The Roma People’s Project seeks to create a space for Roma and other marginalized groups–ethnic or otherwise–to discuss their shared challenges and explore how their identities enrich themselves and their societies.

The Roma People’s Project at Columbia University launches on November 14th, 2017 in partnership with Center for Justice at Columbia University, Heyman Center for Humanities, Columbia University Libraries Digital Scholarship, and Columbia’s Group for Experimental Methods in the Humanities.