Romani (Gypsy) Literature in Europe: Scope for a Wider Narrative

Comparative Literature Luncheon Series
Sep 21, 2015
12:15 PM to 01:30 PM
102 Kern

Andrew Singer, Director, Trafika Europe

Taken together, the various Roma communities across the European continent comprise the largest minority in Europe. Viewed this way, how could they not have a seat at the table of the family of European cultures? Yet they most often do not; one reason for this lies in the strictures of national borders and national cultural narratives, in which Roma can be excluded and disenfranchised, systematically so.

So a European-level narrative of Roma literary culture, spanning nations and Roma groupings across the continent, may provide a fresh-page approach. Examining this now may be a great opportunity for them to "catch up", in a context where other "minority" communities across Europe are gaining wider attention for their literatures in this time. In the long run this can also contribute to greater interaction and mutual regard among Roma, strengthening cultural bonds across divisions, languages and national borders.

In this brief talk we will consider some of these issues toward better establishing Romani literature as a more widely accessible body of work and shared heritage. This will be discussed in the context of Trafika Europe – a project to showcase new European literature, with its online quarterly journal, and now preparing to launch Trafika Europe Radio: Europe’s literary radio station.

Andrew Singer, is director of Trafika Europe, showcasing new literature in English translation from across the 47 countries of Council of Europe, as well as an instructor in literary translation in the Comparative Literature department at Penn State. He has taught graduate seminars and workshops in literary translation and literature in Europe, and worked as a literary translator and editor, poet, fiction writer and critical essayist, literary host and events organizer.

This lecture is a part of the Comparative Literature Luncheon series, a weekly informal lunchtime gathering of students, faculty, and other members of the University community featuring a presentation on a topic related to any humanities discipline.

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