Established in 1888, the Gypsy Lore Society is the oldest and internationally most significant scientific association in the area of research on Roma, Romanichels, Cale, Sinti, Ludar, Romungre, Irish Travelers, Scottish Travelers, and many other similar groups. The Gypsy Lore Society has a long history of tradition and experience in contributing to maintaining the high quality of Romani studies.
The societal value of Romani studies has been recently very succinctly stated by Professor Elena Marushiakova, saying in the opening speech of the 2017 Annual Meeting and Conference on Gypsy Studies held at University of Cyprus, Nicosia, that
for about 130 years of Gypsy Lore Society history, there has been no other period of such increased public interest in Roma issues as in the past decades, and that in spite of the new challenges facing united Europe in connection with the recent overall crisis, the Roma issue continues to be at the forefront of public awareness in united Europe and worldwide. As forecasted last year, new developments have brought additional new challenges to contemporary Roma studies.(November 2017, Newsletter of the Gypsy Lore Society 40 (4): 2)
The Gypsy Lore Society Annual Meeting and Conference on Gypsy Studies (since 1979) are the largest and most influential international events within the academic discipline. The Society's journal, Romani Studies, constitutes a key forum for scholarly discussion within Romani studies and beyond. Founded in 1888, the same year as the Gypsy Lore Society, the Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society (1888–1999), continuing as Romani Studies since 2000, is the most important peer-reviewed journal in the area of Romani studies.
After serving 18 years as the editor of the Romani Studies journal, as it stands today, anchoring on the firm ground the past Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society, Professor Yaron Matras decided to step down from this important and influential role. I would like to thank Professor Yaron Matras and the [End Page 1] previous editor, Sheila Salo, for making the journal what it is today, the most influential internationally recognized journal in Romani studies with a significant impact. Professor Yaron Matras' editorship will remain a reference period in the history of the journal, as it witnessed a change in the paradigm of scholarship in Romani studies.
I was elected as editor at the 2017 Gypsy Lore Society Annual Meeting and Conference of Gypsy Studies. I decided to become the editor in order to contribute positively to the profile of the home universities, as academic institutions in Romani studies are emerging and constantly growing.
My approach to Romani studies is multidisciplinary and aims at developing the discipline as part of mainstream academia. Cooperation and contact with scholars from outside Romani studies will produce a broader understanding of what scholars in various fields find interesting. I have often spoken about "breaking the Romani studies bubble," or the "splendid isolation," in Wim Williamson's words cited by Elena Marushiakova in the opening speech of the 2017 Annual Meeting and Conference on Gypsy Studies. This is reflected also in my vision about the Romani Studies journal as a balanced interdisciplinary publication, covering all areas of Romani studies and having an impact beyond itself as well as cooperating with other journals.
Having collaborated for more than 20 years with academic and civil society actors representing different majorities and minorities, as well as from my experience as a member of the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, I believe strongly and genuinely in cooperation, based on competence and ability as well as willingness to contribute to common goals, regardless of ethnic origin, prejudice, or politics.
As the new editor of Romani Studies, my primary focus is to ensure that the journal will maintain its position as the most influential peer-reviewed journal in research on Romani, retaining its leading academic quality, and supporting scientific renewal. The publishing of articles originating from the Marian Madison Gypsy Lore Society Young Scholar's Prize constitutes a crucial aspect of this role.
I have been focused, in the first phase, on expanding and updating the editorial board to enhance our expertise and ensure the multidisciplinary aspects of the field. Together with...