Home Page Roma, Gypsy, Ukraine, Uganda, Eastern Europe, Balkan, Carpathian, Africa, Soviet Union, Russia, music, ethnomusicology, hip-hop,  post-socialist, music industries, poverty, piracy, migration, race, blackness, whiteness, class, cultural policy, UNESCO,  Gogol Bordello, development aid, George Soros, NGOs, advocacy, cultural rights, Romani rights, Transcarpathia, Kharkiv, Orange Revolution, Kyiv, Kiev, cyberpolitics, cybermusicality, Ivana Kupala




"Play For Me, Old Gypsy": Music as Political Resource in the Roma Rights Movement in Ukraine. PhD Dissertation. Columbia University, New York. 2005.

Since the 1990s, Roma rights activists in Ukraine have mobilized socially and politically through a network of Roma non-governmental organizations (NGOs) funded by the International Renaissance Foundation, an autonomous Kyiv-based organization within the worldwide network of Soros Foundations. This dissertation examines cultural projects sponsored by the largest and most influential Roma NGO in Ukraine, namely the Romani Yag (Roma Fire) organization in Uzhhorod, Transcarpathia. Based on fieldwork conducted in Roma communities in Transcarpathia in 2001-2002, this study localizes international aid for the marginalized Roma minority in Ukraine and shows how the bourgeoning Roma rights movement has influenced both Roma and non-Roma understandings of 'being Roma' in the complex web of postsocialist identity politics. Analyses of video documentaries, music concerts, theater productions, and literary publications produced by Romani Yag and other Roma NGOs reveal ways in which Roma activists appropriate culture for political means in the context of the Roma rights movement in Ukrain. One of the most popular images utilized in these cultural productions is the stereotype of Roma-as-musician. This study delineates not only the political significance of this stereotype but, also, analyzes the socio-cultural impact of its political appropriations on various segments of the Roma population in Ukraine.
Helbig Dissertation2005.pdf 11055K