The article aims to show how ethnographic data concerning religious rites, both Catholic and pagan, circulate in culture and thus become a kind of historical source for re-enacting other, invented religious rites. In the example of the Rękawka fair in Cracow, it is demonstrated how religious content present in nineteenth-century ethnographic descriptions, originally ascribed to pre-Christian paganism but incorporated into a Catholic fair, was separated from it and used in recreating and performing a neopagan rite. Investigating an Early Middle Ages re-enactment movement, the author focuses on the process of transforming ethnographic data into historical ones. Analysing the problem of authenticity of such sources, she points out the particularities of achieving authenticity in a re-enactment movement: to some, the contemporary Rękawka fair remains only a kind of historical re-enactment, while according to others it is a true neopagan rite.
The Rękawka Fair in Cracow
Linguistic and Cultural Images of the Kurtijo Sephardic Courtyard
Agnieszka August-Zarębska and Zuzanna Bułat Silva
The present article investigates the concept of kurtijo, roughly ‘courtyard’, ‘home’, in Judeo-Spanish (known also as Ladino, Djudezmo or Sephardi), the language of Sephardic Jews, currently under threat of extinction (Harris 1994, 2011). It argues that after the Holocaust kurtijo became a culturally salient word and it may be regarded as a cultural key word in Ladino. Dictionaries and 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 an NSM explication (Goddard and Wierzbicka 2002, 2014).
Anthropology and anthropological literature have had an irreversible effect on the practice of contemporary shamanism. In this small-scale study, I look at the complex ways the literature has been recorded, initiated interest, revived and verified the shamanic practices. Over the years, anthropologists have also caused distortions in revived practices as they have left some things unrecorded. On the basis of written responses and interviews from shamanic practitioners and active drumming-group members, I demonstrate that the argument of neo-shamanism as the only form of shamanism still alive is not completely true. Attention is drawn also to the claim about the cycle of learning in contemporary shamanism. My argument is that the main part of learning in the deeper levels of shamanic practices still happens in face-to-face situations.
Transnational Mobilities of Moroccan Middle-class Professionals in Istanbul
This article explores the ways Moroccan middle-class professionals residing in Istanbul have forged transnational connections since the 2006 free trade agreement between Turkey and Morocco. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, the article finds that research participants embrace three interdependent mobilities – imaginative, corporeal and virtual. First, Moroccan television viewers imaginatively internalise images of Turkish society through Turkish programmes broadcast in Morocco. Then, Moroccan nationals engage in physical travel to Turkey, initially as tourists, but later also as job seekers. Finally, Moroccan residents of Istanbul travel virtually to keep in touch with friends and family through media such as online platforms and instant messaging applications. In this article I argue that users of virtual environments have developed into new transnational brokers, facilitating the spatial extension of border-crossing networks.
Expatriates, Stateless Peoples and the Politics of Citizenship
In this article I examine why Kuwait and other migrant-receiving countries in the Persian Gulf have failed to enfranchise migrant workers and their descendants through citizenship. I contend that the increasing exclusion of expatriate workers from these societies can be understood in comparison with the disenfranchisement of the stateless populations to which these governments are host. I argue that nationalist narratives that portray these groups as threatening to the host societies have been extremely significant in creating an atmosphere of increasing isolation and exclusion for both expatriates and stateless peoples. I conclude by examining what the Kuwaiti case tells us about how notions of membership and belonging develop and the significant role of historic and political circumstances in shaping these notions.
Documenting Second-generation Iranian Americans in Los Angeles
In 2009–2010 I collaborated with four Iranian documentary photographers to document everyday lives of the second-generation Iranian-American community in Los Angeles (LA). This article offers an overview of that project and exhibition, along with a selection of images, and presents interview data that suggests several impacts of place and of representations of Iranians on second generation Iranian-American identity. Youth experiences of geopolitical, community and familial struggles have motivated many in this generation to re-mould the image of ‘LA Persians’ by claiming space in diaspora for themselves and their children, the growing third generation.
Diasporic Art and Finding Home in Exile
Rushdi Anwar is a Kurdish artist in exile who references his personal experiences of genocide, situated within the modern history of his homeland, Kurdistan, to reflect on the region’s sociopolitical issues. His conceptual art demonstrates that exilic consciousness may be articulated and continuously developed through diasporic artistic expressions. Rushdi’s artwork installation ‘Irhal [Expel] – Hope and Sorrow of Displacement’ (2014–2015) aims to draw attention to the commonalities of human experience by narrating the journey from sorrow to hope. It invites audiences to understand displacement from a common perspective, the search for a safe home. Through a Deleuzian lens, this article explores Rushdi’s nomadic journey by looking at his diasporic artwork that connects the Australian context with the global crisis of conflict and displacement.
Transnationalism and Transgenerationalism in the Middle East and Its Diasporas
G. J. Breyley
Interactions across the Middle East and between the region and the rest of the world have arguably intensified in recent years, from shifts in economic and cultural relations to unprecedented levels and changing forms of migration. In response, anthropologists and others working in the social sciences and humanities have deepened their collective investigation of transnationalism, approaching this theme and the questions it raises in diverse ways (see Alsultany and Shohat 2013; Chatty 2015; Graw and Schielke 2012; Hage 2005; Kearney 1995; Naficy 2003, 1999; Silverstein 2015; Vertovec 2009). Many scholars have explored the limitations of thinking in ‘national’ categories, while at the same time observing the persistence of this way of thinking and its effects on the everyday lives of those who live transnationally or experience ‘the diasporic condition’. Jumana Bayeh (2014: 19) suggests that: ‘Defined by alterity, double consciousness and a fragmented identity, the diasporic condition, like the figure of the foreigner, accepts the dis-integrated subjectivity of the self and in turn exposes the nation-state’s own internal heterogeneity’. The articles in this interdisciplinary special issue variously address these and other aspects of the diasporic condition in several different Middle Eastern and diasporic contexts.
Derrida’s hostipitalité formulation provides a framework through which we might begin to explore the relationship between Iranian citizen-hosts and Afghan refugee-guests in the city of Shiraz and the surrounding province. Notions of Iranian hospitality thread through multiple and diverse constructions of Iranian selfhood. Religion, poetry and history speak to what it means to be Iranian, marking out categories of Self and Other and, in doing so, exposing the limits of hospitality in the very spaces that the nation is most acutely felt.
Kurdish Diasporic Experience in Binghamton
Aynur de Rouen
Through interviews with Iraqi Kurdish refugees who are currently living in and around Binghamton, New York, this study aims to evaluate details about the impact of the diaspora on these refugees and its effects on the development of Kurdish identity. Specifically, it focuses on the narratives of refugees who have faced physical pressure and violence, cultural assimilation and ethnic cleansing in their homeland, which has left an indelible mark on their memories and identities. Lastly, these notes from the field articulate how collective memory gives voice to the shared Kurdish past, refugees’ experiences in diaspora and the importance of spreading memories of the older generations, particularly to second-generation refugees, in shaping identities and reconstructing place in the United States.