This essay proposes that the invisibility of so-called Gypsies in Middle Eastern and Central Asian historiography derives from two linked phenomena. First, the work of nineteenth- and twentieth-century European and North American philologists, medievalists, and ethnographers delegitimized the languages of the “Strangers,” along with the cultures and histories that these languages expressed. The erasure of Strangers from modern historiography was nearly total. Second, the category of Strangers was transformed in the wake of the Holocaust as Roma activists drew on Nazi racial categories to base Roma identity on linguistic criteria.

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