Organisation and Management:
Prof. Dr. Veronika Lipphardt, Dr. Mihai Surdu
New preprints from this project (November 2020) can be found on this researchgate page.
The project aims at a constructive dialogue with scientists on current genetic research on Roma in its historical context. It assesses the conceptual premises, sampling strategies and interdisciplinary methodologies of genetic studies on Roma. Those studies rely on sampling practices, classifications and narrations of endogamy, partly created in the social sciences and humanities.
Since 1921, Roma have been addressed in ca. 200 genetic publications. Neglecting anthropometry after WWII, researchers adopted genetic methods to investigate Roma, such as serology and protein analysis, family pedigrees, and later, DNA analysis. Currently, geneticists agree on the evolutionary coherence of Roma, their endogamy and genetic-reproductive isolation, and India as their place of origin. Controversy prevails in the social sciences and humanities: Researchers either reject or agree on essentialist notions of Roma groupness.
The project analyses mutual borrowings and collaborations of geneticists with social scientists. We employ methods from history of science, science studies, and social anthropology. The project heightens the sensitivity for issues of categorization across scientific and political fields; it highlights ethical and social implications of genetic research and integrates both geneticists and Roma activists in the discussion.