Movement, Migration and Refugees NUBS 2.03
Jul 06, 2023 09:00 - 10:30(Europe/London)
20230706T0900 20230706T1030 Europe/London 5.3. Visual, object and personal memories NUBS 2.03 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023
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Becoming memory objects: Circulating old mobiles as classics among Chinese enthusiasts
Individual paperMemory and Diverse Belongings 09:00 AM - 10:30 AM (Europe/London) 2023/07/06 08:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 09:30:00 UTC
This research looks at the process of circulating old mobile phones as classics and vintages among Chinese enthusiasts. Old mobile phones refer to feature phones designed, manufactured, and circulated from the 1980s to the early beginning of the emergence of smartphones, e.g. Nokia, Motorola, Sony, and Ericsson phones. This process reveals the value transformation of old mobiles from different starting points to objects imbued with memorial and historical meanings in the second-hand market, and their journeys are engaged with a group of enthusiasts, most men born in the 1970s and 1980s. Their practices are linked with biographical memories and technological interest, as well as collective tech-nostalgia and generational memory of economic deficiency in their youth. As a part of my doctoral research, this study specifically investigates how enthusiasts are engaged in the travelling of objects through different 'regimes of value' (Reno, 2015). It aims to respond to the lack of concern of economic activities in the field of memory studies (Sturken, 2007, 2008; Pfoser & Keightley, 2021).
Commodification refers to the process of exchanging old mobiles in which value is created and embodied in a monetised way (Appadurai, 1986). In this case, memory and nostalgia are decisive factors to realise their value of being personally important, historically significant, and materially authentic. Empirically, analysis of commodification practices is conducted under two themes, one on sourcing, and the other on selling. 
Practices of sourcing are analysed with 31 online in-depth interviews. Routes of old mobile movements can be categorised as 'journeys of becoming memory objects' and 'journeys of being circulated as memory objects'. 'Journeys of becoming memory objects' refer to routes in which memory and nostalgia are engaged to identify and discover the affective values of second-hand phones. The sources are diverse, such as global and domestic recycling industries, rural and urban households, closed manufacturers and laboratories in China, etc. Together they indicate an alternative movement of e-waste other than being sold for practical uses or e-waste processions. And 'journeys of being circulated as memory objects' refer to the circulation of phones within the enthusiasts' community, in which memory and nostalgia facilitate maintaining a continuous flow of things. It indicates how people are involved in preserving, activating, and circulating memories of old mobiles individually and collectively.
Practices of selling are analysed with virtual ethnographies of 4 live streams, in which second-hand mobile phones are sold as nostalgic commodities. Sellers invested 5 forms of digital labour, including promotional labour, shopping scene setting, relational labour, knowledge sharing, and labour of remembering. For sellers, the authenticity of nostalgia as an enthusiast, as well as experience and knowledge are key elements to show credentials. Initiated by their interest and passion, they create a field for nostalgic consumption and remembering for enthusiasts of the 70s and 80s generations. Meanwhile, they contribute to the maintenance and circulation of memory of old mobiles in the form of 'subcultural knowledge'. 
Yanning Chen
Doctoral Researcher, Loughborough University
Between Official and Vernacular Memory: Mediated Representation and Remembrance of Han Chinese Community in Xinjiang in Museum Photographs and Family-owned Albums
Individual paperMovement, Migration and Refugees 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
This paper examines the mediation of the memory of governmental-led Han Chinese who relocated and resettled to China's north-western Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC, hereafter) at the peak period of China's 1950s-1960s. This internal relocation of Han to Xinjiang was part of an ideological project in contributing to socialist constructions on China's north-western borderland, which involved agricultural reclamation, frontier safeguarding, building infrastructure, developing of the population and other activities. Going beyond mainstream political discourse that primarily constructed and presented Han migration as "borderland constructors" in Chinese nation-building, this paper seeks to uncover a more complex mnemonic landscape by shifting attention from dominant official memories to vernacular memories of Han migration themselves through the lens of "practices of remembering" (van Dijck, 2007) on their "memory objects"-particular the family-owned photographs. This paper brings together two layers of debate in media and memory studies. One focuses on the micro-level of memory objects and practices (van Dijck, 2007), and the other on the macro-level of the interaction between official and vernacular memory (Bodnar, 1992). The combination of two theoretical perspectives, van Dijck's objects and practices and John Bodnar's (1992) theoretical framework unofficial and vernacular memory, is original and helps explain the complicated interaction between official and vernacular memory embedded in the photographic mediation of memory.
Based on the ethnographic qualitative data received through qualitative interviews with fifteen multigenerational Han families in Xinjiang, organised around the discussion of the mnemonic practices of family-owned photographs including taking, storing, displaying and sharing photographs within families, this paper discusses how family photographs work as markers of special moments and means of connection that ritualise personal resettlement, strengthen generational connections, and consolidate a community's identity within families. This paper also further investigates the complicated interaction between vernacular and official memory that embedded in family photographs from two aspects: 1)Vernacular memories support official memories. 2) Tensions and contestations exist between vernacular memory and official memory. 

Jin Dai
Loughborough University; The University Of Manchester
"Pictured Narratives of Egyptian Jews Immigration between 1945-1970: Family Albums as Mnemonic Devices"
Individual paperMovement, Migration and Refugees 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
At the end of the 1940s, the Jews in Egypt were the second largest minority community, after the Greeks, and their number was estimated at about 80,000. Waves of immigration began near the establishment of the State of Israel. The departure increased after the Suez War (1956), and continued until the end of the 1960s. Some Jews left voluntarily, while others were forced to leave due to Egypt's policy against the presence of foreigners in general and Jews in particular. In 1970 only 300 Jews remained in Egypt.
The proposed paper presents the ways in which Egyptian Jews who emigrated to Israel between 1945 – 1970 shaped the memory about their life and their exodus from Egypt in family albums and private photo collections. Photographs and albums are among the most significant mnemonic devices that Egyptian Jews carried with them on their migration to their new destination country. By reading an album as a family memoir or as a personal diary it is possible to reveal what and whom their makers considered important and worth remembering, what they feared to forget, and how they ordered their life story. The paper discusses also the questions what role photography and album compiling practices played in the preparations for leaving Egypt, how these practices together with the practice of viewing the album over the years used in structuring a personal and intergenerational memory of Jews leaving Egypt.
My research shows that near their departure from Egypt, Jews took farewell photographs: images of places and people around whom their daily routine took place, and who were linked by their sense of belonging to the place. 
 Using the camera, they created small 'memory objects' to take with them to their migration destination. Some of them created farewell albums for themselves, summarizing their lives in Egypt even before they left it. Others made memorial albums shortly after arriving in Israel, or even decades after the immigration. The photography, the compiling of the album and the shared viewing with family are practices that helped the immigrants deal with the crisis of immigration, re-organize their world, and what would they like to remember from the life that was about to change.
In this study I adopted the methodological approach developed by the Professor Martha Langford, which she calls the 'oral-photographic framework'. This approach offers a combination of interviews and joint viewing with the owner of the album or its creator, simultaneously with an independent visual analysis of the album.
Family albums are never just private objects. Being shaped by social conventions and norms, created through shared technologies and aimed at future audience, they operate at the intersection between personal memory and social history. Therefore, this analysis of family albums takes into account the historical, cultural and social context in which they operate.

Presenters Sharona Zilbershtein
Doctoral Student, University Of Haifa
Individual paperMovement, Migration and Refugees 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
Our attachment to objects can be influenced by a range of factors, including our personal experiences, cultural and societal norms, and emotional significance. For example, an object that belonged to a loved one who has passed away may hold a different emotional meaning for different individuals depending on their relationship with that person. Objects play a role in experiencing absence caused by events such as death and separation. Following in the footsteps of researchers such as Daniel Miller (2007) and Klass et al. (1996), I discuss the feeling of absence within the context of migration in relation to objects and memory. 
Absence is at the center of migration experience. Immigrants often experience a feeling of loss when they move to a new place, leaving behind people, places, and traditions. In the context of migration, objects can symbolize meanings such as a homeland, traditions, family, and the journey from the homeland to the new country of residence. Objects can help fill this void by embodying the memories and meanings that are associated with these things. However, as immigrants adapt to their new environment and encounter new experiences, the meaning and significance of these objects may change and evolve over time.  
Scholars have extensively written about the role of material objects in shaping cultural practices and social relations, leading to the emergence of the broader field of material culture studies (Appadurai, 1988; Miller, 2005). Scholars such as Forty & Küchler (2001) Jones (2007) and Drazing&Frohlich (2007) focused on objects in relation to memory. And the works of Svasek (2012) and Frykman, M., & Frykman, J. (2016) emphasized the emotional and identity aspect of objects. This study examines the complex relationships between memory, emotions, and identity through an immigrant's belongings, drawing on the works of these scholars. 
In this study I focus on the family heirloom book and prayer rug that Yusuf, a 45-year-old Syrian immigrant, brought with him to Turkey. This semi-structured deep interview case study illustrates what role objects play in the migration experience and how immigrants relate to their belongings. I analyze what meanings Yusuf attributed to these objects and how the relationship with these objects is reshaped after migration. Additionally, I compare these two objects and reveal how a family heirloom object differs from another personal object. 
By examining the complex relationships between memory, emotions, and identity through an immigrant's belongings, the case study provides insights into how objects can play a crucial role in helping immigrants adapt to their new environment while maintaining a sense of connection to their past.This study suggests that objects can play an important role in helping immigrants maintain a sense of connection to their past, evoke emotions, and reshape the identity. 

Selcuk Gunduz
Research Assistant, Hacettepe University
Negotiating (interior) frontiers: memories of political violence and dislocation as articulated in the artistic practice of Lara Haddad
Individual paperMovement, Migration and Refugees 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
Located at the nexus of cultural studies, art, activism, and history of law, this paper investigates the memory-work related to experiences of political violence and dislocation articulated in the practice of Lara Haddad, an artist who--due to the eruption of war in Syria, her country of origin--was in 2012 forced to relocate to the US. My reading of her works is informed by the concept of "internal frontiers" (Etienne Balibar, Ann Stoler), indicating that both the "internal bonds" and the "internal borders" are at the roots of several legal regulations introduced in the context of the "global war on terror," as well as exploring how they are intimately negotiated and engaged with. Such analysis must be situated in the broader context of cultural production related to the relatively recent experiences of war and political violence in the Middle East region, and especially in Syria. These events have given rise to new forms of political activism, new methods of resistance, new articulations of memory politics, and new means of expressions employed as part of community-based interventions. They also stimulated a massive, forced migration of those, whose properties have been destroyed and who could no longer envision their livable future in their war-torn country of origin. This aspect of the aftermath of massive violence and destruction, however, provoked a great number of negative responses across Western societies terrified with the imagined, exaggerated threat of huge numbers of Muslim migrants knocking on their vigilantly guarded doors. Both in the EU and the US, the arrival of refugees from the Middle East region reinvigorated the Islamophobic sentiments, for long embedded in the Western societies. Amidst revival of xenophobic moods and increasing visibility of right-wing formations on political scenes in several Western democracies, these hostile attitudes have substantially co-shaped experiences of forced migration. 
Produced shortly before the official nomination of Donald Trump for a presidential candidate, yet within the political mood pervaded with the xenophobic and nationalist opinions that eventually brought him to the office, Haddad's project A Question of History (2015-16) help us to engage with an expanded understanding of the term "extreme" as applied to the intimate, ambivalent experience of (non)belonging in the country which is not welcoming to Muslim refugees, yet-as in Haddad's particular case-allows for survival and temporary stabilization, away from the ongoing ravages of war. In such a situation, artistic memory-work becomes a space of negotiating these affective extremities, perhaps even serving as a means of endurance, enabling expression of the memories of lives lived under the forms of duress that tend to go unregistered or ignored. In this paper I demonstrate how--engaging with personal traumatic (dis)identifications and tackling the painful memories of violence and dislocation--Haddad's artistic practice offers a means to affectively connect with the intimate ways of coping, often ineffectively, with the enduring visceral presence of structural violence as well as of an ongoing law-based exclusion.
Dorota Golanska
Associate Professor, University Of Lodz Poland
Loughborough University; the University of Manchester
Doctoral Student
University of Haifa
research assistant
Hacettepe University
Associate Professor
University of Lodz Poland
Doctoral Researcher
Loughborough University
Memory Studies Association
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