Historisches SeminarFifth Anniversary of Research Centre on Antigypsyism
Press Release No. 75/2022
21 Juli 2022
The research unit at the Department of History is a striking example of the social and political relevance of the humanities
Five years ago, the Research Centre on Antigypsyism at Heidelberg University took up its assignment of studying the causes and consequences of antigypsyist exclusion and persecution. Founded in 2017, the research unit explores mechanisms of prejudice formation and practices of discriminating against Sinti and Roma in Europe from a comparative historical perspective. On its fifth anniversary, Prof. Dr Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University, is hosting a ceremony to mark the occasion on 26 July 2022. Those expected to attend include Romani Rose, Chair of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, Daniel Strauß, Chair of the Baden-Württemberg branch of the German Sinti and Roma Association, and Theresia Bauer, Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of Science, Research and the Arts.
The Research Centre on Antigypsyism was established at Heidelberg University’s Department of History as the first, and so far only, academic institution in Europe with this thematic focus. “It is a striking example of the social and political relevance of the humanities in our crisis-ridden times,” underlines the Rector of Ruperto Carola. The research unit, directed by contemporary historian Prof. Dr Edgar Wolfrum, explores fundamental questions about the causes, forms and consequences of antigypsyism in European societies, from the Middle Ages to the present. Its aim is to examine the mechanisms of prejudice formation and discrimination as practised at the local, regional, national and transnational level. The research unit is based on an agreement concluded between the Baden-Württemberg branch of the German Sinti and Roma Association and the State of Baden-Württemberg in November 2013.
The projects undertaken at the Research Centre on Antigypsyism include work on a large-scale encyclopaedia compiling historical knowledge about the National Socialist genocide against Sinti and Roma in Europe. Researchers from Germany and abroad are involved, with financial support from the Federal Foreign Office. Dr. Frank Reuter, the academic manager of the research unit, and Dr. Karola Fings, who heads the encyclopaedia project, are also members of an Independent Commission on Antigypsyism set up by the German Parliament, which made recommendations for action to combat antigypsyism in Germany. Bound up with the research unit is the Romani Rose Fellowship, which was awarded for the first time in the 2019/2020 winter semester. It is open to doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers with research projects focusing on antigypsyism studies or a related field, such as research into racism. The fellowship is financed by the Manfred Lautenschläger Foundation.
The ceremony marking the fifth anniversary of the Research Centre on Antigypsyism will begin with words of welcome from the Rector of Heidelberg University. Theresia Bauer, Romani Rose and Daniel Strauß will then bring greetings. Besides Dr Fings as head of the project “Encyclopaedia of the Nazi Genocide of the Sinti and Roma in Europe”, speakers also include Dr Maria Bogdan, who was the Romani Rose Fellow at the Research Centre on Antigypsyism in 2019 and 2020. The two scholars will report on their work. Ferenc Snétberger (guitar) and Benjamin Urbán (piano) will provide the musical setting.
Information for newsrooms:
The ceremony marking the fifth anniversary of the Research Centre on Antigypsyism is taking place on 26 July 2022 in the Great Hall of the Old University, Grabengasse 1, starting at 5pm. Media representatives are warmly invited to attend and report. Registration is requested with email@example.com.