“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

Saturday, March 19, 2011

School of Historical and Philosophical Studies Research Day

SHAPS Research Day 22 Oct 2010

Session 3. Research Networks: (27 people present)
Prof. Andy May: These schemes will continue to be funded by Faculty
1. Multi-Disciplinary (Australian Studies, Classics and Archaeology, Theater Studies, Anthropology, Jewish Studies, Art History) The Site is a Stage/The Stage is a Site: Archaeology and the Narration of Transcultural Identities: Preliminary Report on a Cross-Disciplinary Research Network
Dr. Mammad Aidani: conversational: presented  his background and discussed how collaboration came about. He mentioned that his evolved in cultural theory and hermeneutic philosophy and psychology, also a playwright involved with various migrant and minority communities in Victoria and overseas.  He highlighted that his activities have been embraced in Australia. Mammad said that his plays have been written in Persian along with 8 in English.
In his presentations he addressed that his is interested in how the City engages the other for example the Middle Eastern communities here and abroad both in the past and present. He emphasized that there  are many aspects of our narratives that are both visible and invisible when we tell them to others. He disused the importance of knowing how the stories appear and  are performed in the context of the city, particularly with regard to suffering and trauma. He said we mostly  focus on the refugee, but not on everyday experience of being in exile. He said he want us to think of  Melbourne as an exilic city as well which is not the case in most of our approached to studying refugees and migrants.  He said that many people live with the view of  themselves of being invisible and of feeling of being excluded:  He quoted Middle Eastern  and Iranians refugees saying that "They don't know where I come from and who I am." "I feel that they think we who are from Iran and the middle eastern-countries are barbarians and fanatics."  He said  that we need to pay more attention on the Language of narrators and the mythological reference the bring into their conversations when we study them. For example he said that there is a constant reference amongst Iranians that Cyrus the Great's cylinder of 580-529 BCE was the first human rights charter in order to let us know that they have a deep culture that knows what human right is and wish to defy the stigma that some people attached to them that Iranians never understand concept of human rights. He said that today's migrants go back to the past in order to find out who they are and as result resisting distress and social alienation. He said that symbols and signs have a huge impact on the way we need to imagine communities and the future. “Migrants have seen the monuments that form a great part of the history of their homeland. People refer to them whether or not they have seen them. Dead places still have profound meanings and evoke meaning. This is becoming more pronounced in the age of fundamentalism. There is a lot of references to the past in reference to the present” Mammad Said.
Prof. Peter Eckersall: English and Theatre program: speaking on behalf of himself and James Oliver in Anthropology. Theatre is a site to investigate things, not just stories, but embodied practices give us a way to investigate things with regard to specific practices, performance studies, esp. Shanks and Pearson Theatre/Archaeology: the re-articulating of fragments of the past as a real time event. The layers of the past being available to the present through the power of imagination, a process brought by Benjamin. Using Verbatim or Documentary or Political Theatre: reviving the world as a place to draw on through experience of place. Through a Japanese group called Port B where sites of the Tokyo Olympics were visited to create a perspective of the past by bringing it into the present. Elaborate performances that take place on a site, using the distribution mechanisms of a city through the experience of the truck driver. Field site for digging. Performing future memories with James Oliver and Sara Wills: Performance Cosmologies: Testament from the future and the past, through capturing stories from the past to create an archive of future memory in a way that isn't sentimental and romantic. Data taken out of the individual experience becomes a representational framework.

Dr. Felicity Harley-McGowan: Late Antique Ivories: Sites of Cross Cultural Referentialism. Hopes the group will assist her in thinking about her own work. A lot of attention in the last 10-20 years about breaking down the barriers that made this a traditional discipline, and getting away from particular types of material being within the domain of certain scholars, so it gets separated into categories and into different disciplines, which bring different questions and biases to the study of the Late Antique where we want to embrace all of that material and bring it into a more broad and fluid context. Felicity works with material of the pagan classes in Rome. Hinged ivory diptychs may have celebrated or recorded a significant event. Representation of pagan sacrifice is depicted on an elite object when pagan beliefs were under attack from Christianity. Christian elites are creating their own versions of these objects on elite goods and using a narrative language that pagan viewers would understand, but where there is a new context. Role of similar symbols plays a role within contemporary ancient audiences but with different ritual, religious, and cultural beliefs. Suicide depictions don't survive in Greco-Roman art, so look at the cringe issues regarding suicide in society at this time to develop an new visual vocabulary where models don't exist. Ivory workshops are responding to commissions regardless of the religion of the patron, which affects its meaning

Dr. Louise Hitchcock: Mammad is a muse for developing this project with his work on identity, trauma, ethnicity, and diaspora. I started the group to have the kind of conversations I had as a grad student. It is organized very loosely using the concept of the network metaphorically. It is not a system, using the term also metaphorically, coordination, with no centre.  Mammad and others are looking to the past to interpret the present. I'm looking to the present, to migrant, indigenous and traditional communities to understand the process of identity formation in the past, theorize diaspora, to give the voice to trauma in prehistory, to re-invigorate the study of the past and the evocation of memory. We are looking at new ways to interpret and view identity. We are open to having new participants. 

Joy-lyn Bell Ogilby is investigating the role of environment in the orientation of Mediterranean identity. How did trade negotiations result in relationships between traders and indigenous communities.  Movement in the ancient Mediterranean is not so different to the movement of layers of identities today with the amalgamation of culture. Is there a transportability of culture? Different priorities and currencies in occur in different circumstances. Different identities emerge depending on the context of family and community. Trade is a viable enterprise. Repression is a deterrent, trade is an exchange of culture and politics is the creation of hegemony. Food is the most fundamental marker of identity for structuring social relations and fostering communal identity. How is food prepared and maintained. Materiality is a leveler of ancient society. Time, space, and movement: each generation’s identity is defined by transportability and adaptability. Layers in interpretation pervade most discussion of archaeological remains. Clay is used by an archaeologist to identify time, place, culture: plastic may take this place today. Time has many layers

Marcia Nugent is examining the relationship between botanic motifs and Identity. Belief, Ritual and Trade: Move from form to botanic remains as having a structuring function in the construction of identity. For example, Spanish Vetchling: uniquely found at Akroitiri on a breasted jug that was ritual. Spanish vetchling exported to Tell Nami in Israel as a marker of identity, and evocative of memory and it's role in identity; smell, taste, and intoxication as evocative of identity, social connection, and identity.

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