“Since , O Mazda from the beginning, Thou didst create soul and body, mental power and knowledge , and since Thou didst bestow to mankind the power to act , speak and guide , you wished that everyone should chose their own faith and path freely.”

Zaratostra - Yasna 31, Verse 11

One who always thinks of his own safety and profit, how can he love the joy-bringing Mother Earth? The righteous man that follows Asha's Law shall dwell in regions radiant with Thy Sun, the abode where wise ones dwell.”

Zaratostra Yasna, Verse 2

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Research Network 3, November 2010

Research Network 3, November 2010
The Site is a Stage / The Stage is a Site:
Archaeology and the Narration of Transcultural Identities
Minutes from the meeting at Danny and Joes Restaurant


Dvir Abramovich
Peter Eckersall
James Oliver
Sara Wills
Louise Hitchcock
Joy-Lyn Bell Ogilvy
Marcia Nugent

Gocha Tsetskhladze
Felicity Harley McGowan
Eran Martin
Caroline Tully

Peter: volunteered to circulate his grant proposal application around.
Mammad: Needs to book table for us to go to the Afghan Restaurant Galley for Dec 9
Mammad will send around the web address for the blog.

Date for the Conference: May 1, 2011 was decided for our day conference
·                     We need a room with mini conference possibly at the Old Arts.
·                     Need to apply for fee waivers ask for a building supervisor and technician to be present on the day and assist us for internal hookup.
·                     Put out a call for papers for the group mini conference.


Everybody congratulated and celebrated Mammad and Sara's ARC. Dvir greeted us at Danny and Joe’s restaurant. He described the meaning of Bet Hervon which is healthy appetite.

During our conversations the Issue of belonging was discussed and how it comes into interdisciplinary research. The following question was brought up and discussed.
Peter:  How do you imagine future memories?
·                     Future is conceived in terms of the past which is a lovely way of conceiving our project.
·                     Use video cameras to create a data bank of people’s experiences.

·                     People coming together to create experience.
·                     Multi-media: video, musicians, archaeological sites and objects.
·                      We need to communicate interdisciplinary better as academics

Dvir:   Raised issues regarding transgenerational transmission of trauma in Jewish community. People who came in the 40s and 50s didn't talk about their experience, but there is an explosion of work by the 1st and 2nd generation.  In relation to Israel he said that Israeli's coming to grips with the 6 million Jews killed. He talked abut the 7th million who are the children of the survivors. He mentioned that parents transmitted their trauma, not by talking about it but by their behavior. On the issue of migrant experience Dvir talked about the questions regarding what does it mean to be an Israeli both in Israel and here, are they Israeli’s, Jewish, or Australians. He said in Israel it has been looked down upon those who leave Israel. He said there is an influx of Israelis over the last 7-8 years coming to Australia. Most of them came from the dot com bubble burst in their 30s and 40s, so they are economic migrants. He highlighted that there is a division between the Sephardic and Ashkenazi. He said that one of his students is doing a thesis on schisms in Israeli society.
Sara: When Australia was negotiating with Timor, there were some great works done on what are Australian borders and coming up with clearly defined boundaries.  She refered to the children of survivors of East Timorese living in Sydney.

Dvir: Talked about how literature helps society to preserve the memory and stressed on holocaust deniers. He made reference to writer Wiesel: The opposite of love is indifference because a bystander is despicable.

Sara: In immigrant societies in general, the 1st generation is trying to make a living and 2nd has the prosperity to begin to look at things.
Dvir: Identity is hybrid as you can't divorce yourself from your genes or your DNA.
James: Identity is not just about claims but also about how they are received.
Dvir: Passover is a re-enacting of the ancient Passover meal.
Mammad: Identity is fluid and is about ongoing reflective processes interpretations and remembering the things we call lived experiences.  
Peter: interested in the term self-hating Jew. Frequently applied to people who criticize Israel.
Dvir: doesn't accept the term, but refers to people who turn their back on the Jewish people. People who use the term want to silence criticism. Great works are being down by young authors. The holocaust is beyond our comprehension.
James: does the integration of different groups create a problem with the state for Jews/ Jewish state?
Peter: Theater people he knows in Israel feel threatened by the religious orthodoxy there.
Sara: Thinking about holocaust deniers. What is the current situation? What is the current size of the Jewish community there in Israeli?
Mammad: Iranian Jews in Israel see themselves as displaced people from Iran.
Dvir:  Iranian Jews in Israel call themselves Persians.
Peter: Does Ahmadinijad really believe there was no holocaust. Hard to understand people like that. He makes himself extremely other.
Mammad: He almost seems to enjoy provoking everybody to keep himself in power.
Peter: It's an apocalyptic cult.
Dvir: 31 years since the Iranian revolution. Revolutions are usually to improve the life of the people, but life is not better. Iran is a wonderful, artistic country.
Peter: A lot of Iranian artist are emerging in the west and the films coming out of Iran shows that.
Sara: Said that she thinks of research as a narrative journey through different projects that may not seem connected on the outside but make sense.
Sara:  My PhD is on William Morris and his environmentalism.
Sara: My work reflects my own status as an outsider here.
Sara: I realized the process of migration through a short period that I spent living in the US.
Sara: My Post doc looked at postwar British identity, looking at a British estate in Frankston, developed an interest in place. No coincidence that it was close to where my family moved to Australia.
Sara: this work was influenced by a couple of streams: class, migration was a redefinition of class and status and moved up the hill to Mt Eliza. Frankston had economic problems in the 1980s: high unemployment. A lot of British migrants were situated there creating an English ghetto. Also interested in women's narratives and how material culture was used to create identity such as tea towels or gardens. Sara: Has written a chapter about a Scottish man in Frankston. He had written his autobiography and it's full of references to the Beatles. Mentions the re-creation of the Eros statue in Piccadilly. This chapter is in a book and the story shows his passion for things connected with his English identity.

Sara: Then, I started looking at space and place, through abandoned hostel sites in Altona (Wiltona). A failing business park where someone was murdered. Interested in hostels. Nothing's there, but there was a particular architecture with corridors around it. It was purpose built, moving away from common rooms
to self-contained living space. Location between factories, refineries, and a swamp is evocative. Marybynong detention center as well as army barracks were converted into migrant hostels. Another site made into a heritage site was published in an edited volume: Places of Pain and Shame.
Sara: when on sabbatical, she wants to take the English stuff: it's been set aside because she was too bound up emotionally in it, esp since her dad made the family move here from Dorset. She referred to a paper called Flora's Box: a box made after the WW ME by a relative who was traumatized by the war. The box was not used but remained empty.
Sara: the box is a metaphor for migrant families who don't tell their stories. 
Mammad: archaeology of emotions, invisible things need to be described and expressed when we are ready. Too much emotional engagement, we need to put time aside in order to give things that need to be expressed better attention.
James: Writing a book chapter about the strong lack of understanding between race and otherness. To Sara “so you get class based experiences rearticulated as racial problems which reproduce the problems.”?
Sara: I become interested in what happens to people depending on the age they migrate here. I feel that my Identity is split because I migrated here at 14. My next project is to look at local sites in the form of migration memorials. There's a post-migration phase of remembering in a reclaiming project. I am also interested in Sadness as a project.
Paper:  Idea on faces of sadness. The work is filled with objects and monuments.   
Mammad: memorials, future memories, create new spaces to think. Appearing in public as a right. When someone talks about sadness, they become deliberately marginalized. When you appear, you claim your right. If you have to ask about your belonging, do you really belong? Is belonging reflected or unreflected.
James: You may not feel like you belong (even if you fit in) because you have a longing for somewhere else.
Louise: What about the prehistory of sadness and emotions.         

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Paper proposals for the Conference Presentations on the 1st of May 2011

 1: Associate Professor Louise Hitchcock

Archaeology and Sedimented Identities: Trauma, Migration, and Performativity in the Late Bronze Age Mediterranean.

Bibliomancy: In contemporary Jewish mysticism, a question about the future is answered by choosing a random passage from the Bible. Ancient means of foretelling the future include scapulamancy: reading an animal scapula and hepatoscopy: liver reading.

Fragmentary objects such as this burned figurine fragment often turn up in rubbish pits as a sacrifice, and in some instances a piece is retained to preserve a memory of the event.

The fire pit is for the burning of a sacrificial meal for the Samaritan Passover in northern Israel, where the meal is hastily consumed, but the scent goes to heaven, a common practice in ancient religion. The Samaritans see themselves as carrying on the traditions of the ancient Israelites to which they trace their descent.
Utnapishtim in Epic of Gilgamesh (Mesopotamia) “The raven went, and saw the waters receding… Then I put out to the 4 winds, and I made a sacrifice…the gods smelt the pleasant fragrance”
Genesis 8:20: “Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the Lord smelled the pleasing odor, the Lord said in his heart, I will never again curse the ground because of man...”
Iliad I: 62-67: “Who can tell why Phoibos Apollos is so angry, if for the sake of some vow, some hecatomb he blames us, if given the fragrant smoke of lambs, of he goats, somehow he can be made willing to beat the bane aside from us.”

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Research Network: 19th October-Meeting Agenda

Research Network
The Site is a Stage/The Stage is a Site:
Archaeology and the Narration of Transcultural Identities

I.                   Introduction
II.                Purpose of Group
III.             Goals
IV.             Research Interests of Members
V.                Contacting Absent Members to Organize Off-site Sessions
VI.             Schedule of Future Meetings: Local and Off-site
            1. Mid-October (1pm Mon. 18 October, BYO Lunch)
            2. Nov. 3, 6:30 PM at Danny and Joe’s Place
            154 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield North 3161; 9530-0090
           (Between Inkerman and Glen Eira Road)
            Reservations to be made by member Dvir Abramovich
VII.          Meetings during the summer break
VIII.       Presentations: School Research Days
IX.             1 Day Conference in Semester 1 2011
            Possible dates suggested: Thurs 28 April; Sun 1 May; Sun 29 May; Thurs June 1 (earlier dates were deemed better)

Minutes and Discussion: Research Network 28th Sept 2010

Research Network 28 Sept 2010
The Site is a Stage
Minutes and Discussion

Senior Members
Mammad Aidani
Peter Eckersall
Louise Hitchcock
James Oliver
Gocha Tsetskhladze

Student Participants:
Marcia Nugent
Joy-lyn Bell-Ogilby
Caroline Tully

Agenda distributed
Purpose and goals of group outlined

* Future meetings will alternate between on campus lunch time meetings and social          
meetings at an off-site location at an ethnic restaurant.
* A 1 day conference will be held toward the end of semester 1 in 2011.
Proposed dates were a Sunday or a Thursday at the end of semester or towards the end of the Easter break, on Thurs April 28 or Sun 1 May. The end of semester dates were not good for Gocha. Peter will be on SSP-long but will submit a paper
* Members are extremely eager but there were absences due to being sick, having surgery, and it being the break.
We agreed that a BYO Lunch time meeting would be held next on Monday 18 October at 1pm. The proposed location is in the Staff Lounge of the Old Quadrangle. The Old Quad is building 150 on the campus map and is located between the Old Arts and Raymond Priestly Buildings. The staff lounge is in the southwest corner of the Old Quad on the first floor.
* It was uncertain whether we would meet during the summer break but Louise and Mammad proposed a Christmas time social meeting at a Persian restaurant for those who were in town.
* We discussed the possibility of a presentation at Research Day in the various Schools involved. C & C is already full, and PASI is being split up. The group will make a presentation at SHS Research Day on Oct 22. It will be scheduled between 10am & 12pm, to accommodate our schedules.

* The discussion was lively and productive with both James and Louise indicating that they were already getting ideas for research papers.

Below is an edited summary of the discussions undertaken:

Mammad: suffering alienation displacement specifically Iranians, working within arts, sedimentation as a model, presentations, references to remote and/ or ancient symbols, names places, ancient civilizations and how they are rewritten into contemporary life. An archaeology of emotions. Look into the past and present to create interdisciplinary dialogues. We are performing all the time. Ancient history comes into present narratives.
Joy: are there different degrees of relating to the past in different societies. It's symbolic and emotional. Whether you are a villager or an elite you have stories and strong attachments.
James Oliver: anthropology cultural identity, and cultural identity with relationship to place, mental health, migrants, education, performativity - dialectic of social life
Petere Eckersall Japanese studies, cultural history and space in Japan in the 1960’s, plays in sites since the 1980’s with modernity, virtual creativity and future memories project. Staging of performance.
Gocha T classical archaeologist, colonization between Greeks and natives, try to compare between modern colonization.
Joy wants to rehabilitate the Phoenicians and look at great diaspora during the Iron Age and look at Phoenicians as transposers of culture, looking at the sea as something connecting people, and knowledge of the sea by the Phoenicians. Use the vessels; look at coastal regions that informed the identities.  Evidence for changes in the landscape.
Caroline looking at reception of antiquity in neo paganism
Marcia: looking at identity through art
Mammad: displacement is something that happened in all different time periods. Contemporary people are connected to the past even if they don't speak of it. How narratives are consciously or unconsciously shared. The smells of food or sounds always evoke a response. Hopes, dreams, arts, positive aspects; not just trauma informs migration experience. Sedimentation of emotions.
Joy: is displacement a Near Eastern phenomenon.
Mammad: there are sites wherever you go. Social and cultural theory has not dealt with sedimentation. Romanticism and nostalgia
Peter: performativity deals with repetition through time and space. Performativity challenges authenticity. Physical presence: places are performative.
Caroline - do Iranians go to pilgrimage sites?
Mammad: it might be about childhood nostalgia, it may be available in literature.
Louise - Homer and the Bible are examples of that
Caroline - there is imagined heritage
Joy: what about the difference between migration and colonization- one is imposed, possibilities, memories
Peter: scholar who took people through his village and recounted his childhood to be contradicted by his mother
James: colonization v migration - both can be oppressive. Performance is looking forwards as it's also looking forwards. Joy: not an entire family can migrate; the child has to negotiate a variety of relationships. Gocha: all migration is forced. You don't migrate for no reason.
Mammad: how does modern language and global context bring new ways of analyzing? Stories change over 10 years. Emotions are readily accessible and it's about us. Our current mindset revolves around the past, sedimented emotions bring us to alien places, which are expressed through conversations. Experiences during rehearsal are producing new texts. Peter: rivalry between China and Japan
Gocha: Migration: links and memory something that persists mainly in the first and second generation.
Mammad: enacted through the body.
Peter - some people don't want to be ethnic. Theatre privileges the idea that you have to have an identity.
Louise - how do you identify acculturation?
Peter there's a book about invented Japanese traditions. What happens if you don't smell the cherries?
Mammad - it's about the experience, what happens when they see something?
Louise - what happens if you no longer have the experiences that evoke your memories?
Mammad: no grand narratives, but there are fragmented narratives. A freer less structured situation. The nearness of the evocative experience, how do symbols do this? Shared symbols collapse the boundaries of status difference. Suffering is a site of creating beauty because there is also hope. Debilitating emotions in first 2 generations. Suffering is a site of redemption.
Peter: modern theater is the reinvention of communities particularly through music and song which is not threatening whereas warrior traditions are not revived. Performance is used to revive, mentioned a book by Joy Hendry, and entitled Reclaiming Culture: Indigenous People and Representation. It deals with how and why indigenous cultures around the world can be rekindled. Performance is negotiated.  Knowledge is assumed in our intellectual transactions.