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Accepted Paper:

Rooted in the soil: Exploring the emotional bond between the soil and Syrian immigrant roots  
Selcuk Gunduz

Paper Short Abstract:

The soil being the place where life is rooted, the relationship between humans and soil corresponds to existential, historical, and cultural meanings. In this presentaton, I delve into the relationship between soil and homeland, particularly through the personal narrative of a Syrian immigrant.

Paper Abstract:

Soil has long been intertwined with human history, evident in creation myths and religious narratives. Many creation stories, such as those in Semitic mythology and Christianity, assert that humans were formed from the very soil. In Semitic mythology, the Quran specifically mentions the creation of humans from soil. This connection with soil extends beyond mythology; Considering characteristics such as dwelling on the soil, building a home, cultivating and harvesting the land, and the soil being the place where life is rooted, the relationship between humans and soil corresponds to existential, historical, and cultural meanings.

Through extensive field research, soil emerged as a recurrent element and metaphor for origin. Given these associations, it is understandable why immigrants leaving their homeland might carry a piece of land with them. It serves as a reminder of one's roots and where they come from. In this study, I delve into the relationship between soil and homeland, emphasizing the connection to one's roots, particularly through the personal narrative of a Syrian immigrant, Yazan.

Yazan's story, intertwined with the soil and cactus he brought from his hometown, can be interpreted as an expression of rooting and permanence. Despite being physically distant, these tangible elements create an emotional bond to his homeland. The combination of soil and plants establishes a tangible connection, allowing Yazıcı to remain emotionally tied to his roots.

Panel P204
Roots and their undoing: ethnographies of connection and dislocation
  Session 2 Wednesday 24 July, 2024, -