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SIEF2013 11th Congress: Tartu, Estonia.
30 June - 4 July, 2013

SIEF2013: Circulation

Tartu, Estonia; 30th June - 4th July

(P49)

Translating cultural imaginaries of home: near-homes and far-homes

Location Jakobi 2, 438
Date and Start Time 02 July, 2013 at 10:30

Convenor

Ullrich Kockel (Heriot-Watt University) email
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Short Abstract

This workshop invites creative engagement with translations of "home" in different cultural contexts, drawing attention to the cultural embeddedness of feeling, remembering, imagining, longing for home. Topics may include strange encounters, homecomings, memory landscapes, or the semantics of home.

Long Abstract

Anthropology has been described as intercultural translation - levering meanings from one context to another, not just in a linguistic sense. As things, ideas and people circulate, they end up in different contexts. What does this mean for cultural expressions of "home", or "home" as a cultural concept, in situations of cultural encounter? Is "home" then a social (with you) or individual psychological (within you) phenomenon? Can it be grasped ontologically, even if it is different for different cultural actors? If so, can, and should we rise to the challenge of essentialism? Translation as cultural activity is about mediating between diverse "fundamentals". Cultural diffusion happens by translation, whereby a trait originating elsewhere is (gradually) understood in terms of, and adapted to, the local, or whereby a person originating elsewhere gradually comes to terms with and adapts to his/her new locale (and the locale with/to him/her).

For this workshop, the Place Wisdom Working Group invites creative engagement with interpretations and translations of "home" in different contexts, drawing attention to the cultural embeddedness of "home". Topics include strange encounters, homecomings, memory landscapes, or the semantics of home. By referring to 'cultural imaginaries', we explicitly seek engagement with literary and artistic perspectives.

On what we envisage as a multi-medial, multi-sensory, shared journey towards a place where nobody has yet been (Ernst Bloch), we want to explore together what different cultural imaginaries of "home" might reveal about future "home"-worlds we are co-creating, both in our daily lives and as researchers.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Singing the spirit home

Author: Ullrich Kockel (Heriot-Watt University)  email

Short Abstract

This meditation will take song as a way of spiritual connection with a (lost) homeland and ponder ways in which people connect with home places both close-at-hand and far away in time and space.

Long Abstract

Evoking home in song is a powerful ethnopoietic endeavour. In this meditation the central intuition is the recognition that such evocation can be interpreted very differently by different politico-cultural stakeholders. Contemplating instances of home-bound and place-directed song in various contexts, the meditation will illuminate the spatial and temporal circulation of cultural imaginaries of home in their ethno- and topopoietic significance.

Recalling the past: the linguistic and cultural images of kurtijo, Sephardic courtyard

Authors: Zuzanna Bulat Silva (University of Wrocław)  email
Agnieszka August-Zarebska (University of Wroclaw)  email

Short Abstract

The aim of the present paper is to investigate the concept of kurtijo, roughly ‘courtyard’, ‘home’, in Judeo-Spanish. The dictionaries and the texts of contemporary Ladino poets will be used as the main source of data. The meaning of kurtijo will be expressed in the form of a NSM metasemantic explication.

Long Abstract

The aim of the present paper is to investigate the concept of kurtijo, roughly 'courtyard', 'home', in Judeo-Spanish language and culture. Judeo-Spanish (also Ladino, Djudezmo, Sephardi) is a language of the descendants of the Jews expelled from Spain in 1492. It was developed in the former Ottoman Empire and North Africa, and now is considered a dying language (Harris 1994). The word kurtijo evokes the image of a typical Sephardic house with an inner courtyard, where many families lived together. This kind of houses used to be common in Mediterranean and Middle East cities (in some of them they exist up till now). In the lands of Turkish-Balkan Diaspora, the majority of Jewish kurtijos were desolated by the Holocaust and, later, by the emigration of their inhabitants to Israel or to other countries. Kurtijo is sometimes related with the nostalgia for the communities exterminated during the Second World War. It also represents the bonds with the past and the need for re-defining the self-identity. The methodology which allows to talk about this culturally embedded concept without an ethnocentric bias is the NSM, Natural Semantic Metalanguage approach (cf. Wierzbicka 1996, Goddard&Wierzbicka 2002). The Judeo-Spanish dictionaries and the texts of contemporary Ladino poets will be used as the main source of data. On the basis of lexical and textual data the meaning of kurtijo and related cultural values will be explicated and expressed in the form of a NSM metasemantic explication.

Paternal house and new residence: comprehension of a forced migration 1960-1961 in Ukraine

Author: Iryna Koval-Fuchylo (Rylsky Institute of Art Studies, Folklore and Etnology National Academy of Sciences Ukraine)  email

Short Abstract

The constructing features of character of abandoned destroyed paternal house and its comparing with new residence, where people were force transmigrated as a result of building hydroelectric station (1960) are investigational in verbal stories. The article is written on materials collected in 2012.

Long Abstract

In 1959-1960 in Ukraine it was open Krementchuk Hydroelectricity. Eviction of 23 villages was preceded that event, as it was needed to flood territory, where before people lived during centuries. After trouble of 1932-1933 people transmigrated without resistance. But that was for them a tragedy, that they today consider not less than, big hunger and Second world war. Problems that disturb people as a result of migration are reflected, they comprehend these events newly, tell tragedies that accompanied migration.

In May, 2012 the expedition of ethnographers took place to migrants from the zone of flood. Were fixed oral-historical narrations about migration, in particular recitals of that, how measured houses, who had them to destroy, how many the state gave money on building of new accommodation. I wrote a lament after a house from a woman-migrant. Lamentation passes pain of loss house, that it was very difficult to build after a war. Other lamentation were writtenin in village Bileckivka, Poltava area. Informant passed lamentations heard from a mother. She wailed after her dead mother the grave of that can not be carried into new place.

Tragic reasons are related to that people which were compelled to chop trees that flowered, it means living trees.

In remembrances the migrants remember, that many elderly people that was not able to reconcile oneself to with this force migration died after migration.

People yet today expound a hope, that water once will be downed and they will be able to return on a motherland.

Literature and the making of home(land): transnational fictions of home in Lloyd Jones's Mister Pip

Author: Stella Butter (University of Koblenz-Landau)  email

Short Abstract

In my paper, I will use Lloyd Jones's novel Mister Pip (2006) as a case study to explore the connections between literary narratives and transcultural practices of home making. Jones's postcolonial novel presents itself as a model for the creation of an ideal transcultural home.

Long Abstract

Literature plays a vital role in cultural constructions of 'home' because the place we call 'home' is made by the stories we tell. In my paper, I explore the uses of literature for translating cultural imaginaries of home by focusing on Lloyd Jones's award-winning novel Mister Pip (2006) as a case study. Jones's novel offers a particularly intriguing exploration of the connections between literary narratives and transcultural practices of home making because it depicts how the reading and hybrid re-telling of a canonical Western text, Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, becomes an imaginary home and refuge for children during the war-ridden years in Bougainville. My central thesis is that the novel contrasts a traditional notion of home, which is marked by mechanisms of exclusion, with a literary model of home allowing dialogic openness towards alterity and thus transcultural communication. This latter model of home is embodied by a hybrid form of postcolonial literature, i.e. by Jones's novel itself. In my analysis of the two contrasting models of home and their implications for cultural encounters, I tease out the manifold dimensions of home and its multi-scalar nature by showing how the transnational circulation and creative appropriation of Dickens's story, as staged in Jones's text, favours a cosmopolitan sense of place and homeland. As one character in the novel aptly puts it, "[s]tories have a job to do", and the ways in which literature fulfills its 'job' of offering imaginary transcultural homes and homelands is a central concern in Mister Pip.

"Paper Fish" by Tina De Rosa: cultural imaginary as home

Author: Nourit Melcer Padon (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)  email

Short Abstract

The traditional Italian home threatened by the dynamics of America, the protagonist of De Rosa's novel Paper Fish must negotiate the implications of the dissolution of her physical abode. Home may be a mediating construct between conflicting cultures embodied in the imaginary and sensory experience.

Long Abstract

Carmolina Bellacasa, the protagonist of Tina De Rosa's Paper Fish, is a third-generation Italian-American. Carmolina's family house is an extension of her grandparents' house. When her grandmother convenes the family to discuss sending away Carmolina's mentally ill sister, Carmolina runs away from the "beautiful home", Bella Casa in Italian. The only geographical space she knows is her neighborhood. Once out of its boundaries she loses her way. Though she is ultimately found and returned to her parents after a few scary nights, the experience is emblematic of the tension between the two traditions Carmolina embodies: as an American, she struggles for her personal independence and individuality. As the carrier of the Italian cultural "package" she will be expected to remain at home and comply with the Italian heritage dictum. The notion of home is threatened by the dynamics of America and by the Old World folktales of Sicily which materialize in her "Italian" street in America. De Rosa delineates the problematics of a hyphenated narrative. Every "American" action is countered by an "Italian" counter-action. The haphazard narrative provides a background for the breaking up of the home: the threat of the dissolution of the home Carmolina experiences in childhood occurs eventually. In America no tangible home really exists since Italian culture does allow "home" to find a new context. Home may only belong to the realm of a cultural imaginary, carried by the protagonist towards an uncertain future.

Writing home: poetry in, of and out of place

Author: Máiréad Nic Craith (Heriot-Watt University)  email

Short Abstract

This contribution will be centred around selected poems on place-related themes by writers who have lived and written between cultures and languages.

Long Abstract

Taking a selection of authors who, for whatever reason, spent most of their lives and wrote most of their works in countries and languages other than those of their origin, the presentation will reflect on how different home-worlds are poetically created, not just by words in the lexical sense, but also by sounds, metaphors and other means. Drawing on Celtic and other folk cultural traditions and on the geopoetics of Kenneth White, the presentation reflects on language as a means of topopoiesis.

"Homes" of the Lithuanians in New York: from cultural symbols to social imagination

Author: Ieva Kripiene (Mykolas Romeris University)  email

Short Abstract

In this presentation we will try to focus on the concept of “home” and its meaning to the contemporary immigrants from Lithuania, reflecting the data from the fieldwork in New York. How the concept of “home” shapes the ideas about re-migration to a “home country”?

Long Abstract

In this presentation we will try to focus on the concept of "home" and its meaning to the contemporary immigrants from Lithuania, reflecting the data from the fieldwork in New York. In the global world, where transnational identities are being created and practiced, the question of belonging is a very important. What "homes" have/ creates/ dreams of having transmigrants, while living in a "host society" but at the same time maintaining tight relations with a "home country"? Is "home" indescribable notion of feelings, constantly changing social memory or even imagination? Interesting question is how the concept of "home" shapes the ideas about re-migration to a "home country"?

Signs and symbols of "home" in the Lithuanian Diaspora in the USA

Author: Skaidre Urboniene (Lithuanian Culture Research Institute)  email

Short Abstract

In the paper I will examine artistic signs and symbols that mean "home" to Lithuanian immigrants. The paper is based on the field research in Chicago in 2012. I’ll discuss how and why a Lithuanian ornate cross in a foreign country became a symbol of “home” and native homeland.

Long Abstract

In the paper I will examine artistic signs and symbols that mean "home" to Lithuanian immigrants. The paper is based on the field research in Chicago in 2012.

Already in the displaced persons camps (1944-1955) Lithuanian refugees made efforts to adapt in the foreign country by recreating their homeland through objects representing their home environment. Such items as small crosses intended for the interior and large outdoor crosses became the symbols of their abandoned Lithuanian homeland, their native villages and homesteads. These symbols have been created ever after, when Lithuanian refugees have settled in other countries.

I'll reveal how a Lithuanian object in a foreign country symbolically unites the native homeland with the new place of residence and helps adapt to the new environment. I will examine the most popular topics and plots of sculpture put in the crosses and their functions and meaning in immigrants' milieu. I'll reveal why Lithuanian cross makers in exile use not only religious images but also portraits of Lithuanian rulers, as well as images depicting Lithuanian history and signs denoting Lithuania's statehood.

Alongside the common cultural symbols, such as language and religion, Lithuanian emigrants (especially the older generation) attached significance to a concrete symbolic object: the Lithuanian ornate cross or wayside shrine. Erecting Lithuanian crosses near their houses or purchasing their smaller versions for the interior, immigrants not only express their religiousness but, first and foremost, seek to have "a particle of Lithuania" - a particle of the abandoned home.

Inbetween home and work: translating migrant narratives in local workers´ histories

Authors: Judith Laister (University of Graz)  email
Kristina Leko  email

Short Abstract

Based on an artistic-ethnographic research project in Graz, this paper opens a multi-layered translation process: between migrant narratives of home and work and the local workers´ history; between ideological and scientific discourses of the relation home/work; and between the fields of art and ethnology.

Long Abstract

In times of progressive mobility, both "home" and "work" are inevitably intertwined and highly contested concepts. While in scientific debates "home" and "work" are challenged as powerful categories, stabilizing rigid concepts of identity, in ideological spheres several political parties protect increasingly "our work" for "our people" ("work is home"). Both concepts feature a strong polysemic character, depending on each idiosyncratic context of usage. Against the backdrop of these contradictory meanings, the paper opens an ethnographic-artistic space of critical negotiation inbetween home and work. Based on the ongoing project of artist Kristina Leko "no history, no monuments", it confronts narratives of migrants about their individual notion of work and home with the local workers´ history. Core of the project are biographic interviews with migrants in an urban quarter of the Austrian city of Graz ("Annenviertel"), known as traditional workers´, todays immigrants´ and proposed urban regeneration district. They were conducted in the frame of a collaborative fieldwork between artist Kristina Leko and ethnologist Judith Laister together with a group of students of the Institute of European Ethnology (University of Graz). The results of the field research were presented in an exhibition in January 2012 and will be translated into an artistic intervention in public space on 1st of May 2013. On significant sites of the local workers´ history, the ambivalent and transgressive relations between work and home as contested concepts will be shown both as temporary performances and permanent installations.

Home "aesthetization" and meanings of house-painting practices in a Roma community from southern Romania

Author: Andreea Racles (Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture)  email

Short Abstract

The process of home ‘aethetization’ is a socially aspirant one in terms of projections of ideal social and family relations. The painting walls activity as performed by Roma women from a southern Romania community is a illustrative evidence for this process.

Long Abstract

Understanding home as a process in which inhabitants engage by reproducing cultural and social patterns, the ethnographic research I have carried out in 2011 in a Roma community from a southern Romania village reveals that practices of home 'aesthetisation' are socially aspirant in terms of projections of ideal social and family relations. The particular analysis of the domestic practice of painting the dwellings' walls - which is an exclusively women activity - sheds light on the idea that home illustrates in many ways the link between domestic aesthetic experiences and objectification of family values. 'Of course I have showed to my daughter how to paint the walls, otherwise what will her husband and mother in law say about her? That she knows nothing!'. Similar reflections of the Roma women I interviewed prompt ideas about the cultural embeddedness of home related practices. Some of these ideas allow us to understand the activity of house painting as a part of the following processes: reaffirming the womanhood through the successful performances of the domestic responsibilities, improving home through space purification, and controlling the space by achieving the expected result of the painting activities. Starting from these three connotations this practice can be considered a ritual practice through which the house is passing from a dirty and messy house to a purified and ordered one. At the same time it provides means to understand how the domestic investment mediates between the inhabitants' perception about their house and the imagination of the ideal home.

Home as an emotionally-loaded space

Author: Mari Sarv (Estonian Literary Museum)  email

Short Abstract

A place can obtain emotional value through one's personal memories related to it or through the shared memories. Home is a place with remarkable emotional load. My question is, how this emotional value emerges, and what is the role of the (recurrent) stories in creating this value.

Long Abstract

A place can obtain emotional value through one's personal memories related to it or through the shared memories (either personal or public). Home is a place with remarkable emotional load. My question is, how this emotional value emerges, and what is the role of the (recurrent) stories in creating this value.

There seem to be different emotions of being in home (I am in a safe and familiar place) and being separated from one's home (homesickness). Memories, and retelling of memories, sometimes inherited memories from previous generations or in a larger scale, the stories related with local or national identity foster these feelings.

Making home productive: energies in circulation in the art of Joseph Beuys

Author: Victoria Walters (UWE Bristol)  email

Short Abstract

This paper seeks to investigate what artist Joseph Beuys' emphasis on material and energetic processes and circulations might offer understandings of home.

Long Abstract

German 20th Century artist Joseph Beuys' installation I Want to See My Mountains (1950-71) is made up of furniture from his early life in Cleves, items taken from his childhood home and the studio he worked in during the 1950's. The energy from such items seems to be galvanised and focused by the artist and connected to broader processes in the landscape. This paper will ask: what does Beuys' use of materials in this work suggest about how we might understand home in relation to material energies and forces that can be worked with and brought into circulation once again to get things moving? How does the artist understand such processes as being connected to language? Drawing on Tim Ingold's discussions of the meshwork and Heidegger's notion of dwelling, the paper will ask whether Beuys' work refers to or works with spatial metaphors particular to the German language or, in drawing on Swiss Celtic language, opens up new understandings from within indigenous traditions of what it means to be at home. Finally, the paper will consider the way in which Beuys' work entered into conversation with artistic dialogues around the nature of landscape art and the connection between people and the wider environment of which they are a part.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.