My academic interest in blogs on Romani culture has been spurred on by David J. Nemeth and Rena C. Gropper’s article entitled “A cyber-ethnographic foray into GR&T internet photo blogs,” which appeared in the June, 2008 edition of Romani Studies (Series 5, Volume 18, Number 1), pages 39-70. The authors explain the growing field of cyber-ethnography and its usefulness for studying Romani culture on-line. They visited over one hundred blogs by and about Gypsies, Romanies, and Travelers (GR&T) and, in their essay, they analyze their findings for content, style, and appearance. Their article includes excerpts from some of the blogging conversations. Themes that they investigate include identity, bragging, material culture, occupations and industries, territoriality, marriage, purity codes, education, religion, and language. Unfortunately, for someone looking for actual blogs to follow, the article is already out of date, for, as the authors state, many of the blogs they researched are no longer existent, and of those still remaining, most are password-protected and no longer accessible.
In an effort to find out what already exists out there for blogs on Romani culture, I surfed the internet for a while. I plugged in many search words into google, and the most successful one thus far seemed to be “Romani blogs.” When I wrote in “Gypsy blogs,” there were all kinds of hits, but most of them using the term “Gypsy” in a way that harked back to the stereotypical image of travelers and fortunetellers. One of the first blogs that surfaced was that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “Message on International Roma Day” on April 8, 2009. The entire speech is here to view as well as a transcription and then reactions in an accompanying blog.
An informative, current blog that caught my attention was that under the “Transitions Online” website, an organization based in Prague that deals with political and social issues facing countries in Eastern and Central Europe. On this website is a category on Roma with the address Rom Blogs This blog also had links to other sites such as “Typical Roma” and “Roman Cultural Program” (RCP) and “Arts and Culture Network Program.
In general, however, most of the blogs I have encountered thus far are related to politics and social concerns. The blog O Nevo Drom seems particularly active, posting, as its title claims, “Romani News, Views, Reviews, by Rom for Rom.” Most of the postings seem politically connected, and yet the most recent one is a call for submissions to “The International Contest of Romani Poetry in Memory of Papusza.”
There also seems to have been, at least for a while, a semi-active discussion on the wikipedia Project Romani People site. The Project has developed pages on wikipedia, including ones on Romani history and language. I have used as a reference the “List of Romani people,” although the accompanying discussion indicates that inclusions and exclusions to the list can be controversial topics.