Between Two Fires: Gypsy Performance and Romani Memory from Pushkin to Post-Socialism by Alaina Lemon (Paperback, 2000)
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- DescriptionSince Tsarist times, Roma in Russia (kwn to others as Gypsies) have been portrayed as rebels, isolated from society and excluded from mainstream history. In Soviet times, Russians harboured two opposing views of Roma, exalting Romani theatre and song but believing Gypsies in the street to be liars and thieves. Alaina Lemon's Between Two Fires examines how Roma themselves have negotiated such dualities, in both everyday interactions and in stage performances. Lemon's ethgraphic study is based on extensive fieldwork in Russia during the 1990s, focusing on Moscow Romani Theatre actors as well as Romani traders and metalworkers. Drawing from interviews, observation, archival work, literature, and media, Lemon analyses the role of performance and theatricality in Romani social life and memory. Racial and social prejudice against Gypsies runs so deep in part because of the very ways their stage performances have been culturally framed and positioned, allowing Gypsies to be typecast as natural performers. Performance may at times empower Roma, but it more often reinforces stereotypes, keeping them at the margins of Russian ecomic and political life. Lemon argues that performance is integral to Romani life t only in these ways, which define what it means to be Romani in Russia as opposed to somewhere else, but also in the ways it structures Romani memory of the Soviet past. In addition to her focus on Romani performance and memory, Lemon discusses racial categories, gender, class, and the ecomic changes in post-Soviet Russia. Her complex portrait of this mirity will serve as a corrective to simplistic and romantic views of Roma. One of few ethgraphies of East European Roma available in English, Between Two Fires will be welcomed by anthropologists, sociologists, specialists in Russian and post-Soviet studies, performance theorists, and those with an interest in Romani culture.
- Author BiographyAlaina Lemon is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
- Author(s)Alaina Lemon
- PublisherDuke University Press
- Date of Publication01/07/2000
- SubjectSociology & Anthropology: Professional
- Place of PublicationNorth Carolina
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintDuke University Press
- Content Note18 b&w photographs, 1 table, 1 map
- Weight499 g
- Width156 mm
- Height235 mm
- Spine24 mm
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