Roma: Modern American Gypsies by Anne H. Sutherland
106 pages, $20.95 list
eBook availability
Modern American Gypsies
America has always been a land of fascinating cultural diversity. From the extremely wide range of cultural groups on the American scene today, Gypsies, or Roma, are among the most extraordinarily elusive and complex.

For more than forty-five years, social scientist Anne Sutherland has researched and objectively written about the American Roma worldview. She honed traditional research methods to study the Roma, who normally obscure the truth about themselves to outsiders, dispelling centuries of misinterpretation, bias, and romanticism that have led to discrimination. In this latest work, Roma: Modern American Gypsies, she succinctly portrays their twenty-first-century lives and identifies how their realities have been shaped by global processes and agents of power. Throughout complex stages of change and adaptation, Sutherland concludes, Gypsies have managed to retain, not lose, their identity.

Ideal for classes in introductory sociology and cultural anthropology, Roma is also an excellent supplement in courses on ethnicity, immigration, and American culture since Gypsy culture also vividly illustrates the strength of ethnic boundaries, the channeling of interethnic relations, subcultural differentiation, and adaptation.
“Drawing from participant observation, Sutherland reveals the essence of the Roma culture in contemporary American society and focuses on contemporary Romanies. Sutherland guides her readers with a roadmap into the Gypsy identity and social organization concerning kinship and marriage, the changes to their religion, their crafts and jobs, women’s role including fortunetelling, health and relationship with medical professionals, and the Romani legal system or Kris.” — Maha Karout, California State University, Los Angeles

“Sutherland’s work is an excellent, brief survey of issues facing Roma in the U.S. today. It is the perfect way to incorporate the Roma experience into any number of undergraduate courses.” — Ann Ostendorf, Gonzaga University

“Sutherland’s Roma: Modern American Gypsies is a striking exploration of transformations in Romani life under the influences of globalization. Especially enlightening are discussions of Gypsy culture and customs that are misunderstood in the US. This fascinating book will benefit anyone interested in Romanies, social anthropology, and societal and cultural change.” — Elena Marushiakova, University of St. Andrews and President, Gypsy Lore Society

“Anne Sutherland’s long-awaited update of her groundbreaking 1975 study of Romani Americans reveals how this minority group, whose population numbers in the hundreds of thousands, is being reshaped by the Internet and political events. Her firsthand account will find a ready audience among academics, policy makers, and the merely curious.” — Ian Hancock, The University of Texas at Austin

“Sutherland’s earlier work was a must for anyone interested in or working with Roma communities. This distinguished researcher now gives us Roma: Modern American Gypsies, which shows a deft use and application of anthropological techniques and again demonstrates her respect, exceptional sensitivity, and loyalty toward the group she researches. She introduces readers to the world of selected Romani groups, showing their distinct identities and cultures in multiethnic and multicultural American society. For me, as not only a researcher but also a Roma, it is an inspiration.” — Joanna Talewicz-Kwiatkowska, Jagiellonian University, Kraków
Table of Contents
1. Why Study the Gypsies?
Fieldwork / History of the Richmond Kumpania / Basic Cultural Practices and Terminology of Richmond Roma

2. Roma History and Culture
The Traveling Culture / One Example of the Traveling Experience / A Note about Romanes / Effects of the Soviet Union’s Breakup on Romanies / Studying the Roma

3. American Romani Identities
Four Roma Groups in the United States / The Vitsi / Other Romani Groups in the US / The Internet

4. The American Kris
The Kris Romani / The Kris as It Once Was / The Kris Today

5. Roma Identities and American Identities
United States v. Nicholas / Social Anthropology: Examining Cultural Differences in Legal Systems

6. Marriage, Fortune-Telling, and Luck
Marriage / Fortune-Telling / Luck and Mystical Ideas

7. Health and Illness
Fortune and Health / Cleanliness and Uncleanliness / Causes of Illness / Health Status of Roma / Death

8. Crime and Punishment
The American Judicial System / Rise in Crime and Violence / The Yanko Case / Global Influences: Recent Roma Immigrants

9. Changing American Roma Culture
Religion and Fortune-Telling / Technology and Tradition / Visit with Wally Davis and His Church / “Nostalgia”