Dr Raluca Roman

Dr Raluca Roman

Research Fellow

Researcher profile



Research areas

I have been with the University of St Andrews since 2012, first as a PhD student in the Department of Social Anthropology, then as an Associate Lecturer in the same department and now as a Research Fellow in the School of History, part of the ERC project ‘Roma Interbellum – Roma Civic Emancipation Between the Two World Wars’, coordinated by Prof. Elena Marushiakova.

My doctoral research explored the experience of Pentecostal religious belonging among the Finnish Kaale (or, as they are more widely known, the Finnish Roma). To this aim, I conducted approximately 13 months of multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork with Kaale. More broadly, my research explores the ways in which Western Pentecostalism re-shapes understandings of social relevance and ideas of development among Roma communities, primarily within the practice of trans-national missionary work, with a focus placed on the role of religious humanitarianism in this process.

In addition to this, I am interested in ways of interlinking of historical methods and anthropological approaches, with a focus placed on archives as a source of both data collection and ethnographic fieldwork. This connects closely to my interest in both historical anthropology and material anthropology. Finally, a recent research focus concerns the ways in which technological developments (particularly the development of what is broadly termed as AI, and the emergence of social robots) re-shift our understanding of social relations and social life. Tracing the historical legacy of AI (in literature, film, and oral histories) and connecting it to its contemporary manifestations my aim is to explore the ways in which notions such as 'family', 'intimacy', 'ethnicity' and 'race' are constantly a site of contestation and struggle.

Since September 2017, I have been an Associate Lecturer in the Department of Social Anthropology, teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. As part of my teachings, I have developed and taught an honours level module, ‘Anthropology of Roma/Gypsies’, which combined my own research with both my past and developing research interests.

In September 2018, I also became part of the ERC project ‘Roma Interbellum’ (PI Prof. Elena Marushiakova), within the School of History, where I am working within larger team, exploring the processes of Roma civic emancipation in between the two world wars. My primary focus has been to explore the manifestations of Roma mobilisation and Roma emancipation within Romania and Finland, conducting archival and ethnographic research in both countries.

Selected publications


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