Romani Queer Utopias: Romani queer and feminist art in the battle against racism and homophobia

TISDAG 16 NOVEMBER 2021 KL. 12:00

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The Critical Romani Studies Lunch Seminar Series is a platform for sharing research-based knowledge, research ideas and research questions in the field of Critical Romani Studies. The series brings together scholars and students who want to share their knowledge with a wide audience. It is hosted by the Department of Romani Studies at Södertörn University and the Romani-Swedish magazine DIKKO. The seminars will be held every Tuesday at 12.00-12.30 (CEST). They will be sent live through Zoom, and will later be made openly available at the Södertörn University webpage.

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In this presentation I intend to shortly present my Ph.D. project provisionally titled: “Romani Queer Art: A Deconstruction and Decolonization of Representations of the Queer Romani “Other” in Contemporary Public Discourses.” The project is a love child that came out of decades of fighting racism and homophobia.

As an academic and activist of Romani heritage, I have experienced unimaginable violence that I decided to transform into a narrative of resistance, survival, and work towards what queer theorist Joshua Letson calls “more life”. In this talk, I aim to not only address ways of deconstructing racist and Orientalizing discourses imposed on Romani communities in general and queer communities specifically, but also to map contemporary cultural trends and practices of Romani queer artists that directly challenge these notions.

Central questions will be: What happens when Roma Queers have an opportunity to live and not only survive? Equally important is the question what are the contributions of Romani queer and feminist art that is still largely invisibilized, 50 years after the first World Romani Congress in 1971?

Arman Heljic is a Ph.D. candidate in Gender Studies, at the Cultural Science department at Gothenburg University. He obtained his degree in English Language and Literature at the University of Tuzla and an M.A. degree in Critical Gender Studies at the Central European University. He has been an activist in youth movements and LGBTQ+ movements in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Germany, The Netherlands and Sweden. His current research interest center around Romani queer and feminist art as a form of resistance.


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