Houses and domestic space in the diaspora: materiality, senses and temporalities in migrants' dwellings
Ester Gallo (University of Trento)
Henrike Donner (Goldsmiths)
Thursday 16 August, 9:00-10:45, 11:15-13:00 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

The panel explores the relation between moving, settling and house making in the diaspora across gender, religion, ethnic, class and generational lines. It analyses the relation between material culture, temporality and history in migrants' domestic places.

Long abstract:

While images of stillness arouse when thinking of houses, the material, relational and symbolic significance of domestic space is implicated in a complex way in population movements. Houses are reference point in migrants' home making but their meanings are also transformed and in the diaspora. Houses mirror migrants' search of stability and yet also their dilemmas about the future, tensions in kinship relations, and ambivalent engagement to places. They do not stand only for the 'privacy' of domestic life, but are actively engaged in the challenges posed by political histories and present conflicts. Domestic materiality and temporality constitute a relevant and yet understudied context where to apprehend the intersections between macro-forces (market economy, political histories, gendered migration trends) and micro-practices (consumption, object display, daily spatial routines, and recalling) underpinning migration. We explore the relation between moving, settling and house making among diasporic population, and address the following questions:

• How does diaspora transform the meanings of houses among mobile population?

• What experiences of mobility (or immobility) are recalled, made visible or silenced through domestic space?

• What temporal engagements are disclosed through migrants' material/relational organization of houses?

• What do diasporic houses say about people engagement with wider political histories of displacement and about (trans) national, ethnic or religious belonging?

• To what extent, and how, the social life of houses mirror changes in gender and class relations, and in the related meanings of femininity/masculinity?

We welcome papers addressing these questions through the analysis of different contexts.