Ioanida Costache

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities

20222023 Forum on Heritage

Ioanida Costache


Stanford University, 2021

Dr. Ioanida Costache is an ethnomusicologist and sound studies scholar specializing in Romani artist practices. Her work explores the legacies of Romani historical trauma, and the feminist and de-colonial critiques of the present, inscribed in Romani music, sound, and art. Her writing has been published in EuropeNow, RevistaARTA, Critical Romani Studies, and is forthcoming in European History Quarterly. Her research has been supported by two Fulbright Grants, the Gerald J. Lieberman Fellowship from Stanford University, and a Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the Council of European Studies. She has held visiting fellowships at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the USC Shoah Foundation.

Hearing Romani-ness: Affect, Subjectivity, and Musical Histories

If listening is a primary way of acknowledging subject formations, can we hear the Roma? Hearing Romani-ness examines how music structures the political and social belonging of Romani peoples in ways that reify and work against processes of identity formation and racialization. Through an ethnographic focus on Romani musicians, I show how intergenerational memory of Romani trauma — enslavement and genocide — is discreetly imbedded in sonic expressions of sorrow within a bounded repertoire that in being kept private served as a vehicle for Romani collective healing. By unravelling the affective song-story tightly bound to Romani music and art, Hearing Romani-ness reclaims Romani cultural heritage, recovering Romani subjectivities, epistemologies, and histories. I use my work with Romanian-Roma to explore what sound can teach us about how bodies are racialized as well as the cultural politics deployed to regulate Romani life. The book puts forth a new framework for navigating how sound, when heard as affective expression, can be used for reparative purposes in the wake of persecution, while also offering an interpretive and analytic vocabulary for learning to listen for the Roma.