Diasporic myths used to be grounded in the images of the home left behind. Increased mobility and electronic technologies affect the perception of old and new homes, bringing about the bifocal feeling of dwelling in two places and increasing the tension between change and continuity in immigrants’ life.
People migrate in search of a better life, secure future and a new home. Even in situations when going back is impossible, ties with the old home are seldom broken completely. They may be as concrete as remittances sent to families left behind, or symbolic, devoid of material form and perpetuated in memories, stories and mental images. Nostalgia used to be an indispensable part of migrants’ life and fertile ground for creating diasporic myths (Cohen 2008.) In order to overcome nostalgia people tried to reproduce the familiar in everyday practices, dwellings, rituals, crafts, and art forms. When memories of the old home were not fed by new encounters, they gradually became blurred, giving rise to hybridization. Borders have become porous, international travel more affordable, and electronic technologies allow migrants to be virtually present in the places they left. How has it affected imagery and representations of home in distant places? Does it contribute to migrants’ feeling that they dwell in both places at once, and if they do, is it detrimental to the process of rooting in their new country? How are the proliferation of visuals created by individuals today and new modes of online communication changing the nature of narratives about distant home? Do these new developments reinforce or challenge the myth of return triggering an increased mobility and movement between old and new homes? This panel seeks to explore these and related questions and welcomes contributions that bring together comparative perspectives.