“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.”