Catalina Tesar

Grant Type

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

Bucharest, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10570

Approve Date

September 29, 2023

Project Title

Tesar, Catalina (Bucharest, U. of) "Time of Marriage. Gender, Wealth and Reproduction among Cortorari Transylvanian Roma"

The book explores patterns of change and permanence among the Cortorari Roma living as marginal people in an ever-shifting Transylvanian social landscape. More broadly, it opens up for reflections on what stay and what flows in a society, and on the entwinement and even co-constitution of permanence and impermanence. It does so by recourse to Cortorari marriages that are arranged by parents between cousins with dowry payments and expectations of bridal virginity. Marriages revolve around ancient chalices, valuables inherited from ancestors that are passed on from father to son when the latter begets a son. A socially-meaningful life requires arranging the marriage of one’s children and seeing these children bring forth new children in wedlock, and then arranging one’s grandchildren’s marriages in turn. Despite these strict scripts, marriage is a tenuous affair subject to emotions and affects, variations of economic potential and political abilities, and not least, procreative capacities of bodies since only a son secures a marriage. How do Cortorari navigate the unpredictability of individual life courses subject to history, to ruptures and the messiness of biological reproduction, and the elders’ desire for continuity expressed in arrangement and control of marriages meant to endure for the reproduction of families?