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Raluca Bianca Roman

Raluca Bianca Roman

I am a lecturer in Anthropology.  

I hold a PhD in Social Anthropology (University of St Andrews, 2017), an International MA in Economy, State and Society (SSEES, University College London, 2012), and MA in Economic and Social History (University of Helsinki) and a BA in Sociology (Babeș-Bolyai University). 

Email: raluca.roman@qub.ac.uk

QUB Research Portal (Pure)

Research Interests:  

I am a social anthropologist whose primary interest lies in the study of religion (specifically Christianity), ethnicity/nationalism, migration and humanitarianism. My research broadly focuses on the experience of religious belonging and religious practice, with a particular interest in the relationship between Christianity, morality and social engagement. I have conducted fieldwork in Finland and Romania, having previously researched the experience of religious mobilisation among the Finnish Kaale (or, as they are more widely known, the Finnish Roma). Within it, I explored the ways in which Western Pentecostalism re-shapes understandings of social relevance and ideas of development among Roma communities, primarily within the practice of trans-national missionary work, with a focus placed on the role of religious humanitarianism in this process. This shaped my further interest in the study of religious humanitarianism and the ways in which ideas of social engagement connect to specific understandings of social inequalities. 

I am also interested in the study of ethnicity, migration and social mobilisation more broadly, and have conducted research on the interaction between Romanian Roma migrant worker and Finnish Roma in Finland, exploring the ways in which experiences of migration are shaped at the interaction of societal structures, community belonging and inter-group relations. In addition to this, I am interested in ways of interlinking anthropological approaches to historical methods, with a focus placed on archives as a source of both data collection and ethnographic fieldwork, in order to better understand the ways in which history is not only written but re-written through processes of collecting and classifying. To this end, I have been part of a large ERC project, "RomaInterbellum", based at the University of St Andrews (School of Modern History), exploring processes of Roma civic emancipation during the interwar period, and looking at the manifestations of Roma mobilisation at since the start of the 20th century in Finland and Romania. As an outcome of that, I have co-edited (with Sofiya Zahova and Aleksandar Marinov) a large volume on Roma literature, titled "Roma Writings in History" (Brill, 2021), which challenges previously held stereotypes that Roma lack their own literature, and seeks to integrate Roma literary production within the history of mainstream literature. 

A more recent research focus concerns the relation between religion and science (or techno-science) and how developments in Artificial Intelligence challenge notions of the moral, the sacred and religious. In this, I am particularly interested in the ways in which technological developments (particularly the emergence of social robots, sex robots and care robots) re-shift our understanding of social relations and social life. Within this project, my goal is to foster collaboration between social sciences/humanities and computer science, with the aim of understanding the interlinking between the construction of scientific knowledge, cultural knowledge and the relation between humans and technology.  

Projects: 

I have been part of several international and inter-disciplinary research projects. From 2015-2018, I was part of the Academy of Finland funded project, Roma and Nordic Societies, anthropologists, researching the intersection of broader state policies concerning Roma minorities in the Nordic countries and the everyday experiences of living with state directives, which led to the publication of a Special Issue in the Journal of Finnish Studies, of which I was a co-editor. I have also been part of a Kone foundation project ‘Divergent Fates: travelling circus people in Europe during National Socialism’ (2017) and, in 2018, I  joined an ERC Advanced Research Grant, “RomaInterbellum”, at the University of St Andrews, and contributed to the production of three manuscripts: “Roma Voices in History” (2021, Brill), “Roma Writings in History” (2021, Brill, of which I was a co-edior) and “Roma Portraits in History (2022, Brill).  

Other affiliations: 

Before coming to Queens, I lectured in Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews (2017-2019), from where I also received my PhD degree (2017). I have also worked as a researcher at the University of Helsinki (Centre for Nordic Studies, Department of World Cultures, 2015-2016) and as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of St Andrews (School of History, 2018-2022). 

Publications

Peer-reviewed Articles

  • Core citizens-imagined nation.’ in  Journal of Finnish Studies. Special Issue: Counter-readings on Finnish nationhood: Minority strategies and the making of the nation (edited by Raluca Bianca Roman, Peter Stadius and Eija Stark), Volume 24, Issue 1
  • ‘Between religious identity and national identity? Pentecostal Finnish Roma in Lutheran Finland’ in Journal of Finnish Studies. Special Issue: Counter-readings on Finnish nationhood: Minority strategies and the making of the nation (edited by Raluca Bianca Roman, Peter Stadius and Eija Stark), Volume 24, Issue 1
  • ‘From Christian Mission to Trans-National Connections: Twentieth-Century Evangelism and Present-Day Religious Mobilisation among the Roma in Finland’. Social Inclusion, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp. 367-376. Open Access: https://www.cogitatiopress.com/socialinclusion/article/view/2782
  • “Neither here, nor there”: Belonging, ambiguity, and the struggle for recognition among “in-between” Finnish Kaale, in Romani Studies. 28, 2, p. 239-262
  • ‘Roma identities, territoriality, and the process of classification’. Nationalism and Ethnic Politics. 25, 2, p. 231-239
  • ‘Roma mobility, beyond migration: religious humanitarianism and transnational Roma missionary work as de-constructions of migration’ in Intersections. 4, 2, p. 37-56 
  • ‘Suomen romanit ja helluntailaisuus’ (‘Finnish Roma and Pentecostalism’) in Idäntutkimus, teemanumero Romanit (3/2015). Helsinki: University of Helsinki 
  • ‘Trans-national migration and the issue of ‘ethnic’ solidarity.  Finnish Roma elite and Eastern European Roma migrants in Finland’. In Ethnicities, 14 (6): 793-810
  • ‘Neo-Protestant Confessional Education and the Process of Counter-Secularization in Post-Socialist Romania’ in Studia Sociologia, Issue 2. Cluj-Napoca: UBB University
  • ‘C.S. Nicolaescu Plopsor’. Roma Portraits in History. (ed. By Elena Marushiakova and Vesselin Popov). Leiden & Boston: Brill.

Book chapters 

  • ‘G.A. Lazureanu Lazurica’. Roma Portraits in History. (ed. By Elena Marushiakova and Vesselin Popov). Leiden & Boston: Brill.
  • ‘Conclusion. Romania’. Roma Portraits in History. (ed. By Elena Marushiakova and Vesselin Popov). Leiden & Boston: Brill.
  • ‘Finland’. Roma Portraits in History. (ed. By Elena Marushiakova and Vesselin Popov). Leiden & Boston: Brill.
  • Romania’. Roma Voices in History. A sourcebook (ed. By Elena Marushiakova and Vesselin Popov). Leiden & Boston: Brill. Open Access: https://brill.com/view/title/58332?language=en
  • Finland’. Roma Voices in History. A sourcebook (ed. By Elena Marushiakova and Vesselin Popov). Leiden & Boston: Brill. Open Access: https://brill.com/view/title/58332?language=en
  • ‘Romania’. Roma Writings in History: Romani Literature and Press in Central, South-Eastern and Eastern Europe from the 19th Century until World War (edited by Raluca Bianca Roman, Sofiya Zahova, Aleksandar Marinov). Leiden & Boston: Brill. Open Access: https://brill.com/view/title/58402?language=en
  • ‘Finland’.  Roma Writings in History: Romani Literature and Press in Central, South-Eastern and Eastern Europe from the 19th Century until World War (edited by Raluca Bianca Roman, Sofiya Zahova, Aleksandar Marinov). Leiden & Boston: Brill. Open Access:
  • ‘Conclusion’. Roma Writings in History: Romani Literature and Press in Central, South-Eastern and Eastern Europe from the 19th Century until World War (edited by Raluca Bianca Roman, Sofiya Zahova, Aleksandar Marinov). Leiden & Boston: Brill. Open Access: https://brill.com/view/title/58402?language=en 
  • Body limited: belief and (trans)formation of the body in a Pentecostal Roma community’ in Pentecostals and the Body. Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion (ed. Michael Wilkinson and Peter Althouse). Leiden: Brill
  • ‘Religion and transnational Roma mobilization: From local religious participation to transnational social activism in the case of the Finnish Roma’, in (ed. Titus Hjelm), Is God back? Reconsidering the new visibility of religion, London: Bloomsbury Academic Press
  • Everyday forms of ethnic identity: language as ethno-national symbol’ in Cormoş, Graţian(ed.), Viziuni critice, Cluj-Napoca: Argonaut
  • Religious Humanitarianism and Fateful Orientations among Pentecostal Kaale in Orientations to the Future (ed. Rebecca Bryant and Daniel Knight). American Ethnologist: Conversations

Editorial work 

  • Special Issue: Counter-readings on Finnish nationhood: Minority strategies and the making of the nation Journal of Finnish Studies (edited by Raluca Bianca Roman, Peter Stadius and Eija Stark), Volume 24, Issue 1 
  • Roma Writings in History. Romani Literature and Press in Central, South-Eastern and Eastern Europe from the 19th Century until World War (edited by Raluca Bianca Roman, Sofiya Zahova, Aleksandar Marinov). Leiden & Boston: Brill. OPEN ACCESS: https://brill.com/view/title/58402?language=en  
  • Editorial Board Member of the journal Romani Studies (September 2021- present) 
  • Editor of the Newsletter of the Gypsy Lore Society (2016- present) 

ONLINE ARTICLES/ACADEMIC BLOG POSTS: