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Mediterranean Gypsies. A forgotten history beyond diaspora, nomadism, marginality in three Western Mediterranean areas of the Spanish Crown (Andalusia, Sicily, Sardinia, 16th- early 18th century)

Description du projet

Reconsidérer l’histoire des Tsiganes méditerranéens à l’ère moderne

Historiquement, les Tsiganes de la Méditerranée ont souvent été décrits comme une minorité marginale de nomades dispersés. Toutefois, ces interprétations péjoratives sont principalement fondées sur des sources institutionnelles répressives. Le projet MediterraneanGypsies, financé par le programme MSCA, entend modifier les vues historiques en reconsidérant l’histoire des communautés tsiganes d’Andalousie, de Sicile et de Sardaigne entre le XVIe et le début du XVIIIe siècle. Le projet examinera diverses sources contemporaines non publiées, telles que les registres des douanes, les actes notariés et les fonds paroissiaux, qui permettront de mieux comprendre le mode de vie des groupes tsiganes et leurs liens socio-économiques avec la communauté. Les résultats apporteront un récit bien équilibré et une compréhension plus complète de l’histoire des Tsiganes.


Thanks to the collaboration in Leeds between an expert in Gypsy and Italian history (the fellow, Dr Aresu, who will restart his academic career) and a scholar in modern Spanish history (the supervisor, Dr Alonso), MediterraneanGypsies aims at a rethinking of the way the history of Gypsy people has been framed to date. It proposes an innovative interpretative paradigm, which it applies to a specific study case: Gypsy mobility in three Western-Mediterranean areas of the Spanish Crown (Andalusia, Sicily, Sardinia) in the modern era (16th, 17th and early 18th century).
Traditional reconstructions, based mainly on institutional repressive documents (e.g. acts of the Inquisition), have privileged a reductive vision of the Gypsies as a diasporic, nomadic, marginal minority that was relentlessly persecuted. By building on his previous researches, Dr Aresu will analyse instead a broad range of primary sources, mostly unpublished - from custom records to notarial deeds and parish funds -, that he will collect via an extensive archival search in Madrid, Sevilla, Palermo, Cagliari and in the Romani Collection of the University of Leeds. With an interdisciplinary approach that intersects transnational history, micro-history and historical anthropology, the project will investigate the economic and social relations of Gypsy groups both among themselves and with the other residents, scrutinise their articulated relationships with the local and state institutions, and insert their mobility strategies within the broader circulation processes existing throughout the Mediterranean as a whole. A special focus will be on the role of women, in order to challenge the mono-dimensional image of the Gypsy fortune-teller and enchantress.
Beyond its scholarly value, the project will produce and disseminate alternative narratives on Gyspy history, which can potentially counter the worrying anty-gypsyist discourses that still have currency in parts of contemporary European society.


Contribution nette de l'UE
€ 195 454,80
LS2 9JT Leeds

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Yorkshire and the Humber West Yorkshire Leeds
Type d’activité
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Coût total
€ 195 454,80