race and racism
At least 15 million Roma live around the world. This diasporic population, which originated in North India more than a thousand years ago, has faced discrimination and oppression in multiple forms across time and place, including slavery in Romania for 500 years, genocide and ethnic cleansing during the Porajmos (Romani Holocaust), and ongoing, systemic oppression and neglect in every place Roma live, from the United States to Europe, Australia and Brazil to Russia. Against this background, the recognition and inclusion of Roma is critical. A worldwide movement has been working to increase the visibility and influence of Roma art, music, dance, culture, history, activism, and resilience. Anthropologist, activist, performer, and folklorist Carol Silverman has been an active member of this movement for decades. This roundtable centers on Roma rights and recognition, truth and responsibility, by celebrating the work of Carol Silverman, who is retiring after 40 years at the University of Oregon. Carol Silverman (who is not Romani) exemplifies what it means to bear witness, take action, and be held accountable to the truths we write and perform as anthropologists. Focusing on Bulgaria and Macedonia as well as on Balkan Romani migrants to North America and Western Europe, Silverman has investigated the relationship among politics, ethnicity, ritual, music, and gender. More specifically, she has explored the phenomenon of “Gypsy” music in relation to issues of appropriation, representation, and the negotiation of identities in the world music market. A true public scholar, in addition to dozens of academic book chapters and articles, she has also designed exhibits and written op-eds, festival booklets, and websites, liner notes for recordings, and documentary photographs. Her first book Romani Routes: Cultural Politics and Balkan Music in Diaspora (2012) came with an extensive accompanying website with video and audio clips. Her second book, Ivo Papasov’s Balkanology (2021), highlights the ways in which Romani musicians in Bulgaria resisted the communist state’s prohibition against Romani music and fashioned a genre that became a youth movement in Bulgaria and a world music phenomenon. As a performer, she has given over 300 concerts, workshops, lectures and demonstrations on Balkan, including Romani, folk music and its cultural context. Silverman also serves on the board of the US NGO Voice of Roma, with which she has crafted annual public culture programs. Participants in this roundtable include a diverse representation of Carol’s many students and collaborators, who are performers, artists, activists, and scholars in their own right. Participants will address the goals of equity, diversity, inclusion, and power in their respective fields, and through the lens of civil society, music, performance, politics, and art, while also recognizing the extraordinary work and influence of Carol Silverman.