Over 200 textbooks reviewed by REF Junior Researchers

Misrepresentation or total absence of Roma are both typical in the hundreds of schoolbooks reviewed by the eight Junior Researchers who participated in a discourse analysis workshop last week. The seminar is part of the project titled Representation of Roma in European Curricula and Textbooks, run by REF, the Council of Europe, and the Georg Eckert Institute.

‘This project provides credibility’ says Marko Pecak, Research Officer of Roma Education Fund, about the textbook study seminar. ‘We as Roma know that there is misrepresentation of Roma that builds stereotypes, negative social discourse, and separation between groups. But for certain purposes we need to be more specific, even when stating the obvious. This two weeks seminar provided the Junior Researchers with tools, skills, knowledge, and an instrument to build evidence of the misrepresentation of Roma in textbooks and analyze the societal impacts.’

During the second week, the junior researchers spent their time in the GEI Library, reviewing over 200 textbooks of their respective research countries. The Junior Researchers will analyze the data collected here in the upcoming several months and create country reports on how Roma are represented in history, social science, and geography textbooks.

After completing the country reports, the Junior Researchers will conduct a critical discourse analysis of selected textbook passages to identify how narratives are shaped by textbooks.

The two week course had a strong personal impact on the participants, one of whom expressed his feelings in a poem. Benjamin Ignac reviewed Croatian textbooks which inspired BTW, I am also here.

Benjamin Ignac:

BTW, I am also here

What you say, how you say it,
why you say it, how much you say,
where you say it, when you say it,
who says it, to whom you say it.

Everything means something
We can find meaning in everything.
Even nothing means something.

Absences that echo through centuries…

I was there.
Now I’m here.
I exist.
I change.
Don’t ignore me.

The deafening silences gradually erase me from your history.

I am visible,
but also invisible.
Present,
But forgotten.

I want to be seen and heard.
By you.
I want to be included.

Because I know who you are,
but you don’t who I am.
You think you know me,
but you know nothing.

I may live in your world
and play by your rules,
but I am still me.
You cannot change who I am,
even with your silence.

If you ignore me,
I will speak louder.
Until I am heard.
Until I am seen.