Conference on Critical Engagement with the History of Sinti and Roma Memory, Representation, and Reparations

9 November 2023, 9:00 – 16:00 (CET)
Online (Zoom) & Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities Essen (KWI)
Goethestraße 31, 45128 Essen

Through a triadic exploration, the conference seeks to break down barriers that have excluded the “Gypsy” experience from academia due to the pervasive power of anti-Gypsyism. As a transhistorical, transnational, and intergenerational phenomenon it denies the rights and dignity of Sinti and Roma, erases their history and memories, and suppresses their demands for recognition and justice. The central argument is that Sinti and Roma knowledge production, scholarship, and self-representation remain unrecognized and excluded, reflecting the broader power dynamics that shape historical narratives.

The conference will address three dimensions: Romani historiography, challenging misrepresentations, and discussing reparation. It seeks to bridge temporal gaps, bring forth neglected voices, and enrich our understanding of history. Additionally, it aims to challenge perpetuating harmful narratives, highlight the richness of Sinti and Roma cultures, and examine how mainstream media has shaped perceptions. Finally, the concept of reparation will emerge as a critical discourse at the conference. Beyond the matter of financial compensation, the conversation will acknowledge the historical legacies of Sinti and Roma as victims, especially during the Holocaust, and the harrowing experiences of slavery forced upon them. In an era when inclusivity and equity are paramount, bringing about change in Roma studies is imperative. This transformative journey involves a rigorous process of decolonization and recognition that entails reassessing “Gypsy” identity politics, the contours of memory, and the dynamics of representation. 


Julika Griem, KWI
Kader Konuk, Academy in Exile, TU Dortmund Faculty of Cultural Studies 

SPEAKERS (selection)

Frank Reuter, Forschungsstelle Antiziganismus, Universität Heidelberg
Ann Ostendorf, Gonzaga University, Washington, US
Andre Raatzsch, Head of Documentation Department at the Documentation and Cultural Center for German Sinti and Roma, Heidelberg
Anna Mirga-Kruszelnicka , European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture
Iulius Rostas, National University of Political Studies and Administration, Bucharest
Isaac Blake, Romani Cultural and Arts Company (RCAC), Cardiff
Ismael Cortes, Researcher & Former Member of the Spanish Congress of Deputies
Jan Selling, Department of Critical Romani Studies, Södertörn University, Sweden
Margareta Matache, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health & Harvard University
Marius Turda, Professor, Oxford Brookes University (among others)  


Participation in the conference requires registration. Those interested in attending (in person or online) are kindly requested to send an email to Dezso Mate ( by 6 November 2023.


Organised by the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) and the Academy in Exile.


Please find the program here.
Please find the press release here.
Event on the KWI website