Travelling Towards Home

11 06 2011

Travelling Towards Home: mobilities and home making

Date: 23 & 24 June 2011, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Room: Khalili Lecture Theatre

For more information & to Register

This conference aims to stimulate the use of notions of home and home making as ethnographic and theoretical lenses through which to view aspects of the relation between global migrations (of all kinds, including tourism) and trans-national identities.

Rapport and Overing (2007) identify home as a ‘key concept’ in social anthropology central to questions of identity. They further argue that, given a world shaped by migration, both concepts need defining in a way “that transcends traditional definitions of identity in terms of locality, ethnicity, religiosity, and/or nationality and is sensitive to allocations of identity which may be multiple, situational, individual, and paradoxical” (176).

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s there has been a consistent stream of writings on the theme of the relation between mobility and the idea of home which have moved beyond traditional anthropological boundaries: Mack (1991) and Bammer (1992) on the theoretical possibilities of the term home in a globally mobile world, Robertson’s (1994) collection of travellers’ tales about displacement and loss of home, Kain (1997) and Kheter (2001) on leaving home in South Asia and Lebanon respectively, Levitt and Waters (2002) on how migration has challenged traditional meanings of home, Long and Oxfield (2004) on refugees and ideas of home, Walters (2005) on home and diasporas in black writing, and others. However, Aguilar’s (2002:24) contention that “ubiquitous in the migration literature, ‘home’ and ‘family’ are words that appear self-evident but, on reflection, signal a domain of problematic assumptions, methodological complexities, and hegemonic discourses and ideologies .. magnified by processes of movement and displacement” still has considerable traction today.

This conference thus sets out to respond both to the considerable and growing general interest in the relation between mobilities and ideas of home but also to the uneven and arguably thin engagement with the field within the social sciences. We hope to generate a research framework capable of grasping the theoretical and analytical possibilities that the relation between home and mobility promises.

Conference organisers

Tom Selwyn, and Parvathi Raman,

Organiser: Jane & Rahima at the Centres & Programmes Office, SOAS





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