Who Are the Roma People?

REPORT ON THE SUMMER 2012 RESEARCH GRANT ACTIVITY

George Anastaplo

My work this summer on the Roma people (often referred to as the Gypsies) has permitted me to develop inquiries and materials that should be of use in my Jurisprudence Seminar during the coming academic year.

Particularly instructive has been the discovery of how little is known among us of the Roma people in the United States (of which there are said to be perhaps a million). This was even evident during one of our Tuesday noontime faculty workshops this summer (which included several colleagues who have had considerable exposure to “Gypsies” in Europe, especially in Rome, but none at all in the United States).

Indeed, the mysteriousness (if not even the virtual invisibility) of the Roma people in this country permits the promulgation of quite negative opinions about them that would no longer be acceptable (at least among respectable folk) with respect to any other recognized minority among us.

I continue to welcome any suggestions from my colleagues about the Roma people and how they should be investigated and thought about. And, of course, I should like to have any colleagues’ recollections of encounters with “Gypsies” in this country as well as abroad.

August 21, 2012
THE SCHOOL OF LAW, LOYOLA UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

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