Michelle Kelso 2

Michelle Kelso

Assistant Professor of Socioloy and International Affairs
409 J
Address: Phillips Hall
801 22nd St NW
Washington DC,
Phone: 202-994-6936

Areas of Expertise

Historical & Comparative Sociology, Ethnography, Sociology of Education, Race & Ethnicity, Health & Aging, Visual Sociology

Professor Kelso’s research focuses primarily on the fate of the Roma during the Holocaust in Romania and the after effects during and after communism. Social justice and the exploration of (in)equalities are the foundations of her research. She is particularly interested in the intersection of survivor memory, Romani marginalization and contemporary education policy. Recently, Dr. Kelso has also begun exploring gender in the workplace and EU migration. With a strong belief in public sociology, Dr. Kelso integrates her scholarship with public discussions and policy programming. She has consulted for the Council of Europe, USAID, non-profits, Holocaust compensation programs, as well as the Romanian government. She has been the recipient of several prestigious national awards, including two Fulbright fellowships. In 2009, Dr. Kelso was a Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellow at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where she researched the Romani experience in Romanian-run camps in occupied Soviet Union during WWII. She speaks Romanian, French, and some Romani.

Prior to coming to GW, Dr. Kelso worked in civil society and media. From 2005-2010, she directed a Romanian non-profit, The Association for Dialogue and Civic Education that focused on tolerance and democracy building. In 2005, she made a documentary film: Hidden Sorrows: The Persecution of Romanian Gypsies During WWII that has screened in seven countries, numerous film festivals, and aired on three national television channels. She has also been a photo stringer for USA Today and the Associated Press.

Current Research

Holocaust and Genocide, Migration and the European Union, Gender and Employment, Education in Eastern Europe, Collective Memory


PhD in Sociology, University of Michigan. 2010
Master of Public Affairs, University of Texas. 2001
Master of Arts in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. University of Texas. 2001


Peer-Reviewed Articles

Betts, D., Polash, J., Luke, J, & Kelso, M. (2015). An art therapy study of visitor reactions to the United States Holocaust memorial museum experience. Museum Management and Curatorship, 30(1), 21- 43.

Kelso, M. & Eglitis, D. (2014). Holocaust commemoration in Romania: Roma and the contested politics of memory and memorialization. Journal of Genocide Research, 16(4), 487-511.

Kelso, M.  (2013). ‘And Roma were victims, too.’ The Romani genocide and Holocaust education in Romania. Intercultural Education, 24(1-2), 61-78.

Kelso, M. (2008). Holocaust-era compensation and the case of the Roma. Studia Hebriaca 8, 298-334.

Kelso, M. 2007. Hidden history: Perceptions of the Romani Holocaust in Romania viewed through contemporary race relations. Anthropology of East Europe Review, 44-61.


Ioanid, R; Kelso, M. & Cioaba, L. (Eds). (2009). Tragedia romilor in Transnistria,1942-1945 [The Tragedy of Roma in Transnistria 1942-1945.] Bucharest: Polirom.

Kelso, M. & Ghirda, V. (Eds.) (2009). Through our lens: Romani lives and culture. Bucharest: The Association for Dialog and Civic Education.

Kelso, M. & Popa, A. (2006). Ghidul professorului. Dureri ascunse: Persecutarea romilor din Romania 1942-44. (A Teacher’s guide. Hidden sorrows: The persecution of Romanian Roma 1942-44). Bucharest: The Association for Dialogue and Civic Education.

Book Chapters

Kelso, M. (forthcoming 2016). Roma Women and the Holocaust: Testimonies of sexual violence in Romanian-controlled Transnistria.  In D. Gosbee & J. DiGeorgio-Lutz (Eds.) Women and Genocide: An anthology. Canadian Scholars’ Press/Women’s Press

Kelso, M. (forthcoming 2016). Reflections on Holocaust education of the Roma genocide. In Kovalchuk, S., Silova, I., Sobe, N., & Korzh, A. (eds.). Reimagining utopias: Theory and method for educational research in post-socialist contexts. Sense Publishers.

Kelso, M.  (forthcoming 2016). ‘And Roma were victims, too.’ The Romani genocide and Holocaust Education in Romania. Edited volume by D. Stevick and D. Michaels. Routledge. [Special edition of Intercultural Education selected for a book by Routledge].

Kelso, M. & D. Eglitis (forthcoming 2016). “Holocaust commemoration in Romania: Roma and the contested politics of memory and memorialization.” In D. Moses and S. Gigliotti, (eds.). The Memorialization of Genocide. Routledge. [Special edition of The Journal of Genocide Research selected for a book by Routledge].

Kelso, M. (1999). The Deportation of Gypsies from Romania to Transnistria 1942-44.  In D. Kenrick (ed.). The Gypsies during the second world war: In the shadow of the swastika (95-130). Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press.

Book Reviews

Kelso, M. (2014). Living Beyond the Pale. Environmental Justice and the Roma Minority by Richard Filcak. (Central European University Press, 2012). Slavic Review 73:1, pp. 182-183.

Kelso, M. (2004). The Roma in Romanian History, by Viorel Achim (Central European University Press, 2004) Historical Yearbook, Vol. I, Bucharest: Romanian Academy Nicolae Iorga: Bucharest.

Policy Reports

Kelso, M., Koburger, A. & Sexton, M. (2013). Diversity Dividends. Advancing Women in Business Leadership. The George Washington University. Client: U.S. State Department. U.S. Embassy Switzerland.

Kelso, M., Cahn, N. & Miller, B.  (2012). Gender Equality in Employment: Policies and Practices in Switzerland and the U.S. The George Washington University. Client: U.S. State Department. U.S. Embassy Switzerland.


Kelso, M. Director. Hidden Sorrows: The Persecution of Romanian Gypsies During WWII (2005). 56 min. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQNhSQemCzo


Moldovan National Television. Broadcast date: 8 April 2010.
Hungarian National Television. Broadcast date: 2 August 2007.
Romanian National Television – Transylvania. Broadcast date: 12 July 2007.


Romanian Cultural Center Roma Cultural Festival. London, UK. June-July 2014.
One World Film Festival. Bucharest, Romania. October 2013.
Douarnenez Film Festival. Douarnenez, France. August 2013.
RomaVideoDrom Film Festival. Salzburg, Austria. June 2009.
UCLA International Human Rights Film Festival. Los Angeles, CA. February 2009.
New York Gypsy Film Festival. New York, NY. August 2008.
Astra Ethnographic Film Festival. Sibiu, Romania. June 2007.
International Romani Arts Festival. Timisoara, Romania. August 2007.
Astra Ethnographic Film Festival. Sibiu, Romania. June 2006.

Classes Taught

HSSJ Courses:

HSSJ 1177  Organizing for Social Justice in Human Services
HSSJ 2160/IAFF 2183  The Role of NGOs in International Humanitarian Assistance
HSSJ 3100W  Program Planning and Evaluation (WID)
HSSJ 3110W  Non-profit and Organizational Management (WID)

SOC Courses:

SOC 2181  Special Topics: Sociology of the Holocaust & Genocide*
SOC 6232  Qualitative Methodology: Doing Field Research

*also taught as WID and DE online courses