Université de Strasbourg

Siv Lie


Siv Lie

Siv Lie is associate professor of music and affiliate associate professor of anthropology at the University of Maryland, USA. During her USIAS Fellowship, she will be hosted by Professor Jérôme Beauchez in the Laboratory for interdisciplinary cultural studies (LinCS), University of Strasbourg.

Her research in ethnomusicology and linguistic anthropology explores relationships between cultural production, race, and political economy.

Her work has largely focused on how Romani groups use expressive culture to advance their own sociopolitical and economic interests. Her first book, Django Generations: Hearing Ethnorace, Citizenship, and Jazz Manouche in France (University of Chicago Press, 2021), stems from a decade of research on jazz manouche, a popular genre inspired by the music of Manouche Romani guitarist Django Reinhardt. This book shows how tensions between racial identities and national belonging unfold in French jazz industries. It received the 2022 William A. Douglass Prize in Europeanist Anthropology from the Society for the Anthropology of Europe. Siv Lie has also published in journals such as The Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, The Journal of the American Musicological Society, and most recently, La Revue d’histoire de la Shoah. She serves as deputy editor of Musicology Now and as a board member of Ethnomusicology.

As co-founder and principal coordinator of the Initiative for Romani Music at New York University, she has convened scholars, artists, and community members to raise awareness about Romani musics and cultures. She is also a curator of the music section of RomArchive, the first digital archive of Romani arts and cultures led in large part by Roma. She earned her PhD from the Department of Music at New York University and has performed as a violinist, violist, and vocalist in a variety of genres. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, lifting weights, and trying new foods.

Other information and news (activities, project staff, publications...)

Talk by Siv Lie - Les enjeux du jazz manouche : une présentation de Django Generations (15/12/23, 15-17.00)

Fellowship 2023

Dates - 01/09/2023-31/12/2024

Project summary


This project examines the French legacy of the Romani genocide, focusing on commemorative efforts among descendants of Manouche Romani victims and survivors. During World War II, Romanies (also known somewhat pejoratively as “Gypsies”) across Europe were imprisoned in internment and concentration camps and/or executed, and survivors faced enormous social and economic challenges as a direct result of the war. This project explores the work of cultural producers who aim to raise public awareness about the Romani genocide and advocate for Manouche rights. In documenting and promoting this work, it uncovers the possibilities and limitations of artistic memorial endeavors for a marginalized group.

Research has shown that racist French legislation from the early 20th century paved the way for anti-Romani persecution by Vichy and Nazi regimes. In the decades after liberation, organizations were established in France to advocate for Romani rights, yet little progress has been made in terms of reparations, the creation of memorial sites, or other official forms of recognition. More recently, Manouche artists have developed public-facing work, such as musical performances/recordings and films, as alternative methods of commemoration. In light of the paucity of available Manouche testimony, the loss of the wartime generation, and the insufficiency of curricula and public programming about the Romani genocide, this project asks: What are the motivations and strategies for cultural producers to memorialize the genocide? How do these younger generations of Manouches understand and represent what happened to their families during the war and its aftermath?

This project will document and amplify underrecognized Manouche memorial work through the creation of a monograph and a website. Interviews, participant observation, and archival research will be used to understand the creation and reception of commemorative work produced by Manouche artists over the last two decades into the present day. The resultant monograph will contribute to recent social scientific and humanistic work on ethnoracial difference-making and political participation in France and elsewhere. This project will also engage deliberately with the needs and aspirations of Manouche community members, resulting in a collaboratively developed form of digital storytelling media. Overall, this project aims to make lasting contributions both to scholarship on minoritization, genocide, and commemoration, and to the struggle for Romani rights in the present and future.

France 2030