[Published by Analize Journal of Feminst and Gender Studies Issue No. 7 (21)/2016 Envisioning Roma feminism]
This paper draws on stories of slavery that emerged from the three-issues journal, Nevi Sara Kali (2009-2011), exploring the conceptual construction of Roma feminism from Romania and the systematic historical devaluation of Roma womanhood as a complex and calculated mechanism of social control and inequality. The silence of Roma women has historical causes connected to the general hostility in relation to people perceived as inferior and functions through fantasy, fake images, stereotypes and clichés. The still present idea of authenticity and the romantic image of the eternal Gypsy woman have direct connections to the Gadje / non-Roma portrayal of Roma people in the nineteenth century, as a caricatural visibility of Roma people: the connection between ideological, economic and political oppression put Roma women under a strict social control and the existing stereotypes function as material mechanisms of protection and promotion of Gadje interests and world-view.
Despite the limited amount of written materials, the perspective of Roma feminism echoes the history of Black feminism and intersectionality. Building on the existing literature and on the close reading of the articles from Nevi Sara Kali which include the topic of Roma slavery, this paper provides an analysis that reveals the connection between a critical perspective on slavery and the articulation of a Roma feminist discourse by trying to answer the question of the possibility of a coherent vision of social equality through an intersectional perspective on Roma slavery and its demise.
This paper aims to raise awareness of contemporary issues related to the silence around the slavery from Walachia and Moldova and invites reflection on how a Roma feminist world-view truly acknowledges the deep significance of 500 years of Roma slavery.
Keywords: slavery, intersectionality, early marriage, multiculturalism, Roma feminism
The full paper can be found here.