(Un-)Boundedness: On Mobility and Belonging
Issue 2 | spring 2014
[Rui Manuel Brás]
Abstract | The condition of exile implies the violent detachment from the origins, a rupture which can be lived in a more or less dramatic way. Forced to leave the fatherland, permanently confronted by instability and the unknown, the exile rethinks the meaning of his/her existence, gives it another direction in order to find some stability that sometimes can only be found in a deeper relationship with what he already knows, namely, his cultural identity. This strengthening of the identity is made in a complex framing where the exile is confronted with the other who hosts him, in a dialogic and contradictory relationship. Taking some sequences of Nostalgia as examples, this article analyzes how Andrei Tarkovsky’s opposition to Western values and the deepening of the links with the cultural origins and of the sense of identity were expressed in his exile films.
Keywords | Exile, Cultural Identity, Memory, Film, Tarkovsky, Nostalgia
[Bonnie S. Gill ]
Abstract | The act of bearing witness implies immediacy and chance, but also intimacy and responsibility. The witness observes but also participates in what he sees, in part by reporting back to those who are not present. In Chris Marker’s 1983 Sans Soleil his fictional stand-in, Sandor Krasna, reports back on the events and people he witnesses, both by letter to an unnamed female correspondent and by word and image to the film’s audience. Marker implies that the audience too may bear witness to the people and places visited by Krasna, no matter how foreign they initially seem. In particular, Marker encourages the audience to identify with whichever images – among the multitude presented in the film – resonate with their own experiences, moments of recognition which, as he quotes from a 11th century philosopher, “make the heart leap.” In spurring a more emotional connection, in the style of Proust’s involuntary memory, these moments of recognition allow for a deeper understanding of the other, and, in a postcolonial France, remind us that even the unknown may have associations with the self.
Keywords | Sans Soleil, Chris Marker, involuntary memory, témoignage, postcolonial France
Abstract | In her Sea Islands series (1991–1992), photographer and visual artist Carrie Mae Weems visits the Georgia/Carolina coast in the United States, enacting and enlivening the African-American memory in the region. Combining photography, text, and ceramics, Weems creates an original hybrid language to depict the physical landscape and the history of the Sea Islands, where African people were once brought as slaves and later formed a unique Creole culture known as Gullah-Geechee. The concepts of home, land, and memory in the framework of African diaspora are explored through a vivid recounting of Gullah- Geechee folklore and the traumatic memory of slavery. The paper examines how Weems addresses the subject as both an insider and an outsider, questioning the mainstream American history and culture through African-American memory. It also highlights the significance of landscape in the expression and transmission of memory.
Keywords | memory, landscape, photography, slavery, African American, folklore, Gullah-Geechee.
Abstract | Migrant literature is the artistic exemplification of border-crossing: from the linguistic hybridity that brings the author into breaking the boundaries between native and acquired languages, to the concoction of genres and styles which make migrant works eclectic and unique, migrant words become reminders of the struggle between home and away, a conflict that the itinerant being tries to resolve within literature. The case proposed here is that of Italian-Canadian literature, a sub-system within the multicultural mosaic of Canadian literature: the pluralization of selves, languages, and places enacted in the works by Italian migrant writers becomes symbolic of the border breaking and bridging between genres, languages and cultural experiences. In the process of writing, in their search for identity and roots, the three migrant authors analyzed occupy the space in-between home and away to finally realize that there is no home to go back to, because ‘this’ is now Home.
Keywords | Migrant Literature, Italian-Canadians, Boundaries, Identity, Home, Heterolingualism, Translation
[Ana Salgueiro Rodrigues]
Abstract | The work of João Manuel Varela (Cape Verde, 1937-2007), unstable and plural in its disciplinary and cultural affiliation, is constituted by literary and art criticism texts, signed both by the author himself and by three pseudo – heteronyms: João Vário, Timóteo Tio Tiofe and G. T. Didial. It also includes academic research (neurosciences and ethnomedicine), as well as collaboration in various scientific, cultural and educational projects. The cross-reading of all these fragments shows us a strong implication of these multiple legacies and a recurring epistemological reflection on cultural and disciplinary boundaries. Subverting the Enlightenment paradigm of strongly hierarchical segmentation of knowledge and cultures, Varela, mainly since the 1970s, developed a literary and cientific discourse which can be identified with the liquidity of late modernity described by Bauman. The Capeverdean author proposes an epistemological paradigm that can be metaphorically represented under the image of the archipelago. Structured on principles such as the porosity of borders, the critical autonomy and the implication between life / art / science / philosophy, this innovative paradigm (at the time) was tested in the architecture of his transgressive and tensional work. Thus, Varela challenges us to ( re)look at the so-called peripheral cultural systems and to see how these cultural spaces have been implicated in the construction and questioning of modernity and its plural modernities
Keywords | João Manuel Varela, Modernity(ies), Cape Verde, archipelago-epistemology, humanistic criticismo, fluidity, hybridity
Against World Literature. On the Politics of Untranslatability | Emily APTER
Mobility, Transnationalism and Contemporary African Societies | Tilo GRATZ (ed.)
The Future as a Cultural Fact: Essays on the Global Condition | Arjun APPADURAI
[Christiaan De Beukelaer]
An Inquiry into Modes of Existence. An Anthropology of the Moderns | Bruno LATOUR
Women Migrants from East to West. Gender, Mobility and Belonging in Contemporary Europe | Laura PASSERINI, Dawn LYON, Erica CAPUSSOTTI and Ioanna LALIOTOU (eds.)