The first decade of the twenty-first century witnessed a passionate engagement with the losses of the past. Rites of Return examines the effects of this legacy of historical injustice and documented suffering on the politics of the present. Twenty-four writers, historians, literary and cultural critics, anthropologists and sociologists, visual artists, legal scholars, and curators grapple with our contemporary ethical endeavor to redress enduring inequities and retrieve lost histories. Mapping bold and broad-based responses to past injury across Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, Australia, the Middle East, and the United States, Rites of Return examines new technologies of genetic and genealogical research, memoirs about lost family histories, the popularity of roots-seeking journeys, organized trauma tourism at sites of atrocity and new Museums of Conscience, and profound connections between social rites and political and legal rights of return.
Contributors include: Lila Abu-Lughod, Columbia University; Nadia Abu El-Haj, Barnard College; Elazar Barkan, Columbia University; Svetlana Boym, Harvard University; Saidiya Hartman, Columbia University; Amira Hass, journalist; Jarrod Hayes, University of Michigan; Marianne Hirsch, Columbia University; Eva Hoffman, writer; Margaret Homans, Yale University; Rosanne Kennedy, Australian National University; Daniel Mendelsohn, writer; Susan Meiselas, photographer; Nancy K. Miller, CUNY Graduate Center; Alondra Nelson, Columbia University; Jay Prosser, University of Leeds; Liz Sevchenko, Coalition of Museums of Conscience; Leo Spitzer, Dartmouth College; Marita Sturken New York University; Diana Taylor, New York University; Patricia J. Williams, Columbia University
About the Author
Marianne Hirsch is William Peterfield Trent Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Gender Studies at Columbia University. Her most recent books are Ghosts of Home: The Afterlife of Czernowitz in Jewish Memory, written with Leo Spitzer, and The Generation of Postmemory: Writing and Visual Culture After the Holocaust.
Nancy K. Miller is Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her most recent books are But Enough About Me: Why We Read Other People's Lives and the family memoir, What They Saved: Pieces of a Jewish Past.
Table of Contents
Marianne Hirsch and Nancy K. Miller
1 Tangled Roots and New Genealogies
1. The Factness of Diaspora: The Social Sources of Genetic Genealogy
2. Jews—Lost and Found: Genetic History and the Evidentiary Terrain of Recognition
Nadia Abu El-Haj
3. The Web and The Reunion: http://czernowitz.ehpes.com
Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer
4. Queering Roots, Queering Diaspora
5. Indigenous Australian Arts of Return: Mediating Perverse Archives
2 Genres of Return
6. Memoirs of Return
Saidiya Hartman, Eva Hoffman, Daniel Mendelsohn in Conversation with Nancy K. Miller
7. Return to Half-Ruins: Fathers and Daughters, Memory and History in Palestine
8. Singing with the Taxi Driver: From Bollywood to Babylon
9. Off-Modern Homecoming in Art and Theory
10. Return to Nicaragua: The Aftermath of Hope
3 Rights of Return
11. Between Two Returns
12. Adoption and Return: Transnational Genealogies, Maternal Legacies
13. Foreign Correspondence
14. "O Give Me a Home"
Patricia J. Williams, with Images by Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick
15. The Politics of Return: When Rights Become Rites
4 Sites of Return and the New Tourism of Witness
16. Sites of Conscience: Lighting Up Dark Tourism
17. Kishinev Redux: Pogrom, Purim, Patrimony
Nancy K. Miller
18. Trauma as Durgaational Performance: A Return to Dark Sites
19. Pilgrimages, Reenactment, and Souvenirs: Modes of Memory Tourism
What People are Saying About This
A stellar cast of scholars, writers, engaged journalists, and public intellectuals explore some of the most pressing issues of our time. Writing (and speaking) in voices urgent and intimate, public and political, these contributors transport readers across generations and national borders to ask what it means to belong to a place or a people in an age of overlapping claims and occupied territories.
What most distinguishes this accomplished and thought-provoking volume is its textured conceptual approach and resistance to facile formulations of identity, identification, loss, and return. The essays individually and cumulatively wrestle with a complex, shifting set of competing claims and elusive legacies. However we define 'home' and 'origins', this collection reminds us that there is no overarching narrative that will satisfy all historical and political desires for recognition and recovery, and the experiences that shape us personally and familially have global implications.
Bella Brodzki, Sarah Lawrence College