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Research at St Andrews

Raluca Bianca Roman

Person

Raluca Bianca Roman
Postal address:
School of History
Modern History
St Katharine's Lodge, The Scores
St Andrews
United Kingdom

Email: rr44@st-andrews.ac.uk

Direct phone: +44 (0)1334 46

Research overview

I have joined the University of St Andrews in 2012, first as a PhD student in the Department of Social Anthropology, then as an Associate Lecturer in the same department and now as a Research Fellow in the School of History, part of the ERC project ‘Roma Interbellum – Roma Civic Emancipation Between the Two World Wars’, coordinated by Prof. Elena Marushiakova.

My doctoral research has focused on the experience of Pentecostal religious belonging among the Finnish Kaale (or, as they are more widely known, the Finnish Roma). To this aim, I have conducted approximately 13 months of multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork with Kaale. More broadly, my research has 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. In addition to this, I have become engaged in ways of interlinking of historical methods and anthropological approaches, with a focus placed on archives as a source of both data collection and ethnographic fieldwork. This connects closely to my interest in both historical anthropology and material anthropology. Finally, I have also become increasingly interested in the ways in which technological developments (particularly the development of what is broadly termed as AI, and the emergence of social robots) re-shift our understanding of social relations and social life. Tracing the historical legacy of AI (in literature, film, and oral histories) and connecting it to its contemporary manifestations is a source of understanding of how notions such as 'family', 'intimacy', 'ethnicity' and 'race' are constantly a site of contestation and struggle.

Since September 2017, I have been an Associate Lecturer in the Department of Social Anthropology, teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. As part of my teachings, I have developed and taught an honours level module, ‘Anthropology of Roma/Gypsies’, which combined my own research with both my past and developing research interests. Since September 2018, I have also joined the ERC project ‘Roma Interbellum’ (PI Prof. Elena Marushiakova), within the School of History, where I will be working alongside a larger team and exploring the processes of Roma civic emancipation in between the two world wars. My primary focus will be on exploring these issues in Romania and Finland.

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