From Reflexivity to Collaboration Changing Roles of a Non-Romani Scholar, Activist, and Performer



Published Dec 28, 2018
Carol Silverman


Recently scholars have begun to investigate who produces knowledge about Roma and with what agendas. I extend this inquiry to ask how reflexivity by a non-Romani ally and researcher contributes to analyzing the production and use of knowledge in Romani Studies. I examine various roles I have inhabited and forms of scholarship I have produced, both successful and unsuccessful, during my long involvement in Romani studies to reveal how and why I represented Roma, and what uses this scholarship served. Calling for a “reflexive turn” in Romani Studies, I note that while self-examination of knowledge production is useful for all researchers, for nonRoma it is mandatory because historically non-Roma have held more authority. Embracing “critical whiteness” theory, I examine my privileged roles and my attempts at collaborative advocacy. Tracing a historical trajectory of shifting subjectivities, I narrate several crises, such as balancing essentialism with advocacy, respectfully presenting Romani music, and combining diplomacy with activism to illustrate dilemmas of representation that I have faced and the responses I crafted. These issues all underline the responsibility that non-Romani allies have in accounting for their words and actions.

How to Cite

Silverman, C. (2018). From Reflexivity to Collaboration. Critical Romani Studies, 1(2), 76-97.



Reflexivity, Representation, Collaboration, Activism, Advocacy, Critical whiteness