As we near our project proposals and presentations I have begun to narrow down and also to begin to dive into some readings on the top I’ve chosen and as I have done this I have begun to cultivate a number of questions and concerns about where I am headed. But before I can share those questions and concerns with you let me explain my topic. It is no surprise to myself that what I found most interesting when deciding on a topic was the movement of people.

Throughout history people have always been on the move. Traveling from one place to another for work, social, political, and religious means was and still is common for humans to do. When, however, an individual decides to continuously move claiming no nation for their own and appointing their home to be whatever they carry with them they become more than the immigrants, emigrants or weary travelers. A nomad, a person without a set piece of land or country to call home, a person from nowhere but equally a person from everywhere does not and I believe should not be grouped as a migrant. But then how do we and how do they define themselves? And then the question becomes how do a people who don’t associate themselves with any set nation state or nationality identify themselves? And along those lines how can I have an entire project centered around a people whose entire identity defies the term being focused on, transnationalism.

The focus of my project will be to study nomadic peoples in Europe and The Middle East within the twentieth century in an effort to confront and possibly answer some of these questions. I have found significant sources on these nomadic people from historians, sociologists, anthropologists and archeologists as well as a number of texts in both English and French. This means that hopefully I will be confronted with many perspectives and ideas about these nomadic people themselves. Although while I may have a number of secondary sources I am finding it as of now difficult to obtain primary sources having realized that many of the articles already written gained their information from speaking directly to the nomadic people. I have also found thus far that the majority of articles on the nomads, specifically the Romani and  the Domani, are not written about their identity and how they fit or don’t fit into the nation state but rather about their culture and lifestyle. These are I think some of the major challenges I face when approaching this project but ones I am keen to dive into. I think this will be a rigorous but ultimately fascinating and hopefully rewarding project to take on.

A Project and Its Beginnings