International Seminar: Homelands

International Seminar 3-4.06.10: What happens when diasporas come ‘home’? Invitation to seminar hosted by Kultrans, University of Oslo 3-4 June 2010

Photo: Purim, Tel Aviv, 1934. Wikimedia Commons.




Migration is one of the most important catalysts for cultural, demographic, economic, political and social change in the postwar world. Such change has proved unprecedented, and controversial – guest workers have become permanent and societies have become multicultural; émigrés and diasporas have exported radical and reactionary ideologies to their homelands; skills and capital earnt abroad have enriched source countries; diaspora lifestyles have become homeland norms; politics has polarised on the very issue of who belongs and who does not. Migration is the story of globalisation, told in the life histories of those who move – whether by choice or not.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the study of ethnic return migration – the mass movement of so-called ’co-ethnics’ back to presumed ’homelands’ - since 1945, and especially since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Millions of migrants have uprooted themselves – or were uprooted – from ancient territories of settlement to found new lives in lands they hold some ancestral or supposed connection to – the expelled ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe, and the Aussiedler who followed them; Jewish immigrants to Israel since 1948; Ingrian Finns, Italian-Argentines, Japanese-Brazilians, Central Asian Koreans – the list grows longer each year.

Identity is an inherently contested concept, rooted as much in bureaucratic fiat as individual emotion; nor is it straightforward, exemplifying the exceptions and complexities of globalisation in the modern world – the Kazakstani Pole in Warsaw who can only speak Russian; the Turkish-speaking Greek Karamanli; the western adoptee who must learn a whole new cultural history and belonging – and what of the grown-up children of European ’guest workers’ who settle back in their ancestral land? Of diaspora returnees faced with ’homelands’ that do not recognise them, and homeland cultures which only serve to alienate them? What social and personal challenges do returnees face?

Language, politics, culture, ideas and ideals all clash and merge in this under-researched corner of academic and public attention. Our conference seeks papers from the broadest possible range of researchers into every aspect of ethnic return migration, to create a vibrant human picture of a migration stream that is at the heart of globalisation in our contemporary era – for example, the life histories of millions of ethnic returnees; the impact of diaspora bilingualism on homeland language; biculturalism; diaspora homeland nationalism and its role in wars (i.e., North American or Australasian volunteers in the Balkans); cultural import from the diaspora (e.g. diaspora sports clubs and nationalism – Assyriska FK, Celtic FC, Sydney Croatia); the shifting role(s) and statuses of women in the diaspora and when they return home; racism against returnees in their supposed homeland; the politics of diaspora (i.e., the Aussiedler / Auslander debate in Germany). Our agenda is as exciting and as original as it is broad.

In particular, we have encouraged papers from postgraduate researchers and papers based in an interdisciplinary approach.

The call for papers is now closed and the final programme is available, along with abstracts and participant biographies, below.


Key note speakers:

  • Aino Rinhaug, post doctoral research fellow, Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages, University of Oslo. "Coming and Going: Adoptee Figuration and Fugitivity"
  • Chris Rowland, guest researcher Kultrans, University of Oslo. Paper: "Why Ethnic Return Migration? The Controversies and Implications of 'Diaspora Return'"



Participants needing accommodation in Oslo could book their room at Cochs pensjonat. For other options, please contact the organisers.



There is no conference fee. All participants will get free lunch and coffee during the seminar.



All sessions will take place in the Library of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Oslo, campus Blindern. 


 Library of Humanities and Social Sciences. Photo: pllatreille CC



Download the programme (pdf).  Participant biographies can be found here.



The following are abstracts accepted for the seminar.

Gish Amit (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)
Where is the Home of the Culture that Comes 'Home'? The Redistribution of Jewish Cultural Assets after World War II

In May 1933, a few months after Hitler came to power, students and professors at the Humbolt University of Berlin burned approximately twenty thousand ”non-Aryan" books in an event that came to be perceived as a symbol of Nazi barbarism and a hint of horrors to come. Yet the approach of the Nazi regime to "non-German" culture had facets beyond the destruction of books and spiritual property. At the beginning of WWII few Nazis authorities were established, in order to loot the cultural treasures of European Jews. These units, struggling over the domination of the Jewish collections and the right to establish anti-Jewish libraries and museums, gained a large portion of the confiscated books. The "final solution" of the Jewish problem was bound to their physical annihilation, as well as to the secure of their cultural heritage. As Hanna Arendt mentioned, due to this "bizarre insanity" hundreds of thousands of books were saved.

In 1945 a "Committee for the Salvage of Diaspora Treasures" was established in the 'Jewish National and University Library'. The committee was charged with managing the return to Israel of cultural property, books mainly, that had been robbed by the Nazis. The committee, active until 1958, was commissioned to handle all the complex aspects of this operation: it directed negotiations with different governments, organizations and communities across Europe and the USA; organized expeditions to Europe tasked with examining the books' condition and their irretrievability and stood in contact with the Zionist authorities (and later with the Israeli government) regarding various logistic, diplomatic and legal issues.

In 1946 the legal committee adjoined to the "Committee for the Salvage of Diaspora Treasures" published a memorandum phrasing the goals and claims of this operation. Two main tasks were set before the legal committee: First, to establish the legal right of the Jewish people to claim back the cultural property that had been robbed from it. Second to define the status of the Zionist nationality as the sole natural and legal inheritor of this property. It is important to point out that the committee's claims were central to the divergences of opinion and struggles that broke out between the 'Jewish National and University Library' and other Jewish communities and organizations in Europe and the USA That were also engaged in salvaging Jewish property and asked to receive at least part of the books. In this regard a special mention must be made of the "Committee for the Restoration of Jewish Culture" headed by Salo Baron and Hanna Arendt. The problems and dilemmas concerning the distribution of Jewish cultural treasures – which I intend to discuss in my lecture - created serious logistic and economical difficulties, in a tense field of political debates: It raised questions regarding the Jewish past, the ownership over memory, and the connection between the Holocaust and the foundation of the state of Israel.

Illa Ben Porat (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)
Between “Home” and “Homeland”: Processes of Identity Formation among Teenagers from the Former Soviet Union in Israel

In this paper I seek to examine the manner in which teenagers of families who immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union during the 90's and early 2000's, define their cultural-national identity. This examination is based on a reading of blogs published by a group of senior students from a high-school in Tel Aviv, most of whose students are immigrants from the former Soviet Union. The premise of the article is that looking at how those immigrants construct their identity may shed some light on the relationship between concepts like "homeland,","diaspora" and “host country”, in the context of global and transnational migration.

As can be seen in their blogs, the young immigrants define themselves as “Russians” in some occasions, and as “Israelis” in other occasions. I will claim that when they choose to define themselves as "Russians" the “Russian” self-definition points not only to the affinity to the countries of origin, but also to the way in which “Russia” functions as an imagined homeland that unites immigrants from different countries and imbues their cultural identity in Israel with meaning.

I will also claim that the national-cultural identity is shaped under circumstances which are intimately connected to the symbolic resources an individual possess by belonging to a certain social groups, as well as the market value attached to each social situation. I will demonstrate that often enough, the act of self definition serves as a cultural strategy of positioning the self within a cultural space in which the labels “Israeli” and “Russian” are a useful resource that can be used within the Israeli playing field of power-relations.

I will inquire, then, what are the circumstances under which each of those two affinities – to Israel and to Russia - function as an affinity to the “home” or to the “homeland, and will demonstrate shortly how for the second-generation immigrants, Israel functions as the concrete home, whereas Russia functions as a mythical home whose most prominent role is to underscore the unique character of the teenagers identification group.

Annika Bøstein Myhr (University of Oslo, Norway)
Why be Longing for where your Grandparents were Belonging? Assessing the Emotional Significance of ‘Communicative Memories’ in Novels about Repatriates

In my paper I will compare three novels about repatriates’ return to their ‘homelands’ and discuss how theory on cultural memory can be used to understand the challenges that repatriates are confronted with when trying to create a new (national) identity for themselves. Denis Gutsko’s Russkogovoriashchii (2006) ‘Russophone’ describes the return of a young Russian man from Soviet Georgia to post-Soviet Russia, in Andreï Makine’s Le testament français (1995) (Dreams of my Russian Summers 2008) the protagonist feels estranged in a contemporary France, which is very different from the country he knows from his French upbringing in Siberia, and in Sofi Oksanen’s Puhdistus (2008) (Purge 2010) the grandchild of a deported Estonian woman living in Vladivostok shows up at the farm of her grandmother’s sister, who can but does not reveal key family secrets.

Salman Rushdie (1991) has said about the migrant’s ‘homeland’, that it is an imaginary place, to which (s)he cannot return, because it no longer exists outside of the migrant’s mind. This is of course no less true for third generation emigrants returning to ‘homelands’ that they know only through what theory on cultural memory calls ‘cultural memories’, which are transmitted through physical media, or ‘communicative memories’, which are communicated between members of living generations (Assmann 1999 [1992]). To Jan Assmann it is the ‘cultural memories’, and not the ‘communicative’ ones that serve as basis for collective identities. However, as my paper will show, fiction describing the identity quest of repatriates makes it obvious that the emotional impact of ‘communicative memories’ is of tremendous importance for the repatriate’s expectations of belonging in a certain country and culture, as well as for his or her feeling of being estranged in the same country. The emotional effects of what Birgit Neumann (2005) defines as ‘collective episodic memory’ is only a partial explanation to this phenomenon, since some times, as in Oksanen’s Purge, the stories that are not shared, but effectively silenced, are the ones really spurring on the expatriate’s wish to return.

Anastasia Christou (University of Sussex, England)
Gendering Diasporic Mobilities and Emotionalities in Greek-German Narratives of Home, Belonging and Return

Guided by the combined qualitative, narrative and emotional turns in migration studies, and an emphasis on multiple mobility pathways, this paper considers how masculinities and femininities are practised, performed, negotiated and narrated in Greek-German transnational migration space. Migration and return migration entail a series of practical and emotional compromises and changes in lives and identities. These changes are profound, yet subject to continual negotiation, both within the ‘self’ and amongst family members. The family dimension opens up a context for considering expressions of mobility, identity and belonging which are likely to differ by gender and across generations.

In this paper we explore the impact of several kinds of mobility pathways (migration, return migration, homecoming visits, transnational family relations etc.) on the evolution and reconstruction of home, belonging and identity of first- and second-generation Greek-German men and women. The empirical material comes from a wider comparative project the authors are engaged in, which involves selected narratives of belonging and return from more than 150 Greek-Americans, Greek-Germans and British-born Greek Cypriots. Here we focus on the Greek-German case, comprising narratives from 30 second-generation individuals who have relocated to Greece, plus another 20 narratives from first- and second-generation participants in Berlin. Drawing on these two samples, which span both the ‘homeland’ and the ‘hostland’, as well as the first generation and the second, we take a series of gendered migration chronotopes – place-time settings and movements – as follows:

• the migration of the first generation to Germany in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, followed by an ambivalent partial integration in Germany combined with return intentions to Greece;
• the birth and growing up of the second generation in Germany within the Greek family context and ethnic community;
• the childhood transnational links of the second generation, including holiday visits and periods spent in Greece in the care of relatives;
• the ‘return’ of the second generation to the ‘ethnic homeland’ as adults.

Throughout this series of cross-generational gendered chronotopes we focus on participants’ emotional journeys, tracing a parallel between mobility/motion and emotion, noting the etymological origin of the latter term, from Latin emovere, to ‘move out’. Such moving out may also imply a redefinition of gender positionalities, as both men and women move from one country to another, and maybe back and forth, with heavy emotional connotations.

Our analysis shows that each aspect of mobility – physical movement itself, its ontological meaning, its imagined potential, and non-mobility (stasis) – has both a gendered expression and differentiation, and deep emotional resonance. We document a myriad of feelings which range from nostalgia, belonging, homing and warmth to disillusionment, displacement, fear and anger.

Sarah Gelbard (Carleton University, Canada)
Return to a Foreign Home: The challenges of creating Space/Place for the Jewish Diaspora in Mandate Palestine

In the decades preceding the founding of the State of Israel (1948), the Zionist movement was searching to create a national identity for the Jewish Diaspora. Architect Erich Mendelsohn phrased his desire to create a grand tradition in Jewish Architecture as the anticipation “for the dignity of [the Jewish] people to finally come to expression in its architecture.” Unlike most nationalist movements, the Jewish people had no personal memory or identification with the land. The ties to their ancestral home/land, literally Eretz Yisrael, were collectively held throughout the Diaspora since the Babylonian exile. Taking cues from the two dominant forms of Zionism – Herzl’s Political Zionism and Ha’am’s Cultural Zionsim – the architectural debate between the International Style, headed by Arieh Sharon, and Mendelsohn’s Localized Modernism centered on this issue of the placelessness of Jewish identity.

The work by Mendelsohn and his contemporaries during the Early Zionist period underlines the challenge of defining “Jewish Architecture”. Despite the rich and significant architectural contributions by the Early Zionists, many scholars and critics have since come to criticize them and their followers for reverting to a political mobilization of architecture as a tool for domination rather than one of cultural expression. Both the successes and failures of the architecture of the Early Zionists provides interesting insights that question the role of architecture as a traditional and fundamental expression and signifier of cultural identity and demonstrate how it risks being (mis)constructed as a statement of territoriality and dominion. Furthermore, it reflects the confusion and ambiguity created between the existential home and physical house by the architectural metaphor. The distinction between the literal and the symbolic, and the political and the cultural quickly become ambiguous and inseparable in the translation from the metaphor of home/land into architecture. The grand hope that home/land can cure the malaise of an alienated post-industrial world, suggested by modern philosophers including Heidegger, Herzl, Freud, Said, and Lévinas, proves to be a troublesome reference for architects attempting to navigate between the metaphor and the practice of architecture.

Marius Hjelle (University College of Finnmark, Norway)
"Lady I Love You" - Negotiating Cubanness behind the Sugar Curtain

The Cuban diaspora, some two and a half million people, have during the last fifty years left or fled the island. Opposition to the regime, dire economic conditions on the island has motivated them, by the dreams of having a meaningful life etcetera. The nature of this emigration has been ever changing and, so have the cuban policies towards it and also the policies in the receiving countries (about one million have come to the USA). There have been major exoduses like the Mariel in 1980 (some 130 thousand) and the Rafters in the early 1990s (some 40 thousand). However it seems that there is a slow running stream of people leaving Cuba.

Changes in Cuba seem to be the most important factor for people to leave. Perhaps the most significant change in cuban society since the Castro Regime consolidated its power in the late 1960s and -70s was the crisis produced by the fall of the Eastern Bloc (1989) and the Soviet Union (1991), this left Cuba in a state of indefinite state of exceptionality. It marked the end of a period of nearly two decades of little opposition to the political regime and of relative 'acceptance' of the power of the state. Those who where born in the 1970s and -80s where to become 'The New Man' to conquer the world (or at least inherit the country) and transform it into a socialist paradise.

While being cuban for a long time where governed by where you where born, your language, humor and certain (customary) behaviors the Revolution changed this radically. The foremost condition for being Cuban were your relation to the state and the regime (as "Revolutionary"). Many of the generation of "the new man" chose to leave the island when the prospects of conquering the world (or at least inherit the country) evaporated chose to leave. While there still are more cubans leaving, some do come back. While they didn't conquer the world they now have to re-conquer cubanness to inherit their country.

This renegotiation of cubanness is most evident in popular culture like blogs, song lyrics and movies. Those who left and came back (permanent or visiting) are both subjects and agents in the narratives that emerge from the return. This paper/presentation looks at how the generation of the new man negotiates the issue of cubanness. In particular I will look at Camila Guzmán Urzúa's documentary El telón the azúcar (The Sugar Curtain) is a personal account of the lost generation and Yoani Sánchez blog Generación Y (Generation Y).

Sheila Khan (guest researcher NTNU Trondheim, Norway)
What if motherland is not anymore a home? Displacement and Nostalgia: Portuguese Returnees after Decolonization

In her most recent book, Emendar a Morte. Pactos de Literatura (Amend Death. Pacts of Literature), Helena Buescu (2009) writes about place, nostalgia and displacement that many Portuguese men and women painfully underwent with the demise of the Portuguese empire in the former African colonies. By recurring, in her analysis, to the novel of the Portuguese writer António Lobo Antunes, As Naus (1990), Buescu delves into the reflection regarding the sense of loss, displacement and exile Portuguese had to face when forced to ‘return’ to their homeland, Portugal. My paper aims to discuss the notion of return home, place, homeland, as variables that cannot, no longer, be thought of as linear ontological axis, but rather concepts that, overtly, call attention to the problematic nature of what is to be at home, and what is home, when for many Portuguese men and women life in the colonies was taken for granted and untouchable.

My analysis and discussion will be based on two autobiographical texts both published in 2009, along with the profusion of titles that came to light vis-à-vis the Portuguese memories and experiences in Angola and Mozambique. These novels travel us into the life and identity experiences in the overseas provinces in Africa up to the confusing moments that occurred after the decline of dictatorship, colonial wars and the Carnation Revolution, and the problems of identity and of integration returnees had to face in their former ‘motherland’. With an autobiographical tone, Balada do Ultramar (Ballad of Overseas) from Manuel Acácio (2009), and Caderno de Memórias Coloniais (Notebook of Colonial Memories), from Isabela Figueiredo (2009), both texts fictionally depict the pain, the dissension and the unbearable feeling of nostalgia returnees experienced in Portugal. Theoretically, I shall present my analysis by immigrating into it the reflections of Helena Buescu (2009), Eduardo Lourenço (2001), Boaventura de Sousa Santos (2002), Edward Casey (1987, 1997) and, finally, of Svetlana Boym (2005).

Heather Levy (Western Connecticut State University, United States)
The Exiled Women Artists of Hopscotch: Disembodied Presences and Indelible Erasures

Paris nurtured the voices of expatriate Hispanic male artists. Nobel Laureate Miguel Angel Asturias elected to first publish his enormously popular Legends of Guatemala in Paris in 1930 and Argentinean Julio Cortázar spent almost his entire writing life in Paris and other areas of France. The French Legion of Honor was awarded to Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez in 1981. But what happened to the voices of expatriate Hispanic female artists in Paris, including Elena Garro during the “Boom Literature” era?

Julio Cortázar’s Hopscotch suggests that protagonists like La Maga become émigrés of an ineluctable spiritual and physical erasure. Initially they are filled with an almost metaphysically blazing creative promise and yet end as the Hispanic versions of Woolf’s Shakespeare’s sister who was buried at the urban crossroads. Hopscotch opens with Oliveira’s attempts to locate La Maga in physical space without deliberately searching for her: “Oh, Maga, whenever I saw a woman who looked like you a clear, sharp pause would close in like a deafening silence, collapsing like a wet umbrella being closed” (3). Oliveira always has the ability to finally find his muse La Maga and they enact their passion in several districts of Paris, rating each quarter according to its ability to house their libidinal exercises. They are sensual flâneurs who pay for their erotic indulgences with the financial contributions that Oliveira’s older brother mails from Argentina. La Maga used all of her limited financial means to buy a third-class ticket from Montevideo to Paris on a tramp steamer. She renames her only child Rocamadour and embarks on a singing career by finding a Lieder instructor. She intends to “confront what she modestly called ‘life’ ” (22).
Although she quickly becomes the paradoxically distained and revered erotic and spiritual center of Oliveira and his disheveled coterie of the Serpent Club, she also just as rapidly loses her creative focus and is overwhelmed by her involvement with her infant son and her demanding lover who characterizes her as his unwitting “witness and my spy” (13). E. Joseph Sharkey optimistically suggests that “La Maga’s ‘passivity’ is revealed as the condition of her strength…” (425) She is also wounded by her need to reconcile her violent past. She recites the details of a rape she suffered as an adolescent to Oliveira’ s narcissistic friends. Her son is mysteriously afflicted with a fatal illness and unable to confront the precise details of his feverish death, she vanishes. And just as Kate Chopin intimated in “Desirée’s Baby,” there is a suggestion that she has come to a violent end. She has become like the mutilated umbrella that they threw into the gully at the start of their frivolities and enchantments. Oliveira imagines that his “kisses were like eyes which began to open up beyond her” (13). He leaves Paris and tries to find familiar reiterations of La Maga in the women of middle class Argentina. Julio Cortázar suggests in Hopscotch that the price of creative exile for Hispanic women in Paris in the 1950’s was exorbitant, especially considering their only fruition and embodiment lay in the memories of the Hispanic males who captivated them.

Suren Manukyan (Armenian Genocide Museum Institute, Armenia)
The difficulties of “translation”: The tragic lessons of Armenian Great Repatriation of 1946-48


The tragic lessons of Armenian Great Repatriation of 1946-48s in economic and demographic areas. Its economy was ruined and a large portion of its population was lost. In these conditions the government of Soviet Armenia embarked upon the ambitious task of repatriation. Between 1946 and 1948 almost 100 000 (the official figures is 89 750, but there were small group émigrés, who came in personal level) Armenians repatriated to Soviet Armenia from 12 different countries, including the Syria/Lebanon – 32240, Iran – 20600, Greece – 18220, France – 5260, Bulgaria – 4385 etc. As previous and next repatriations were smaller, 1946-48 “Project” was called 'the Great Repatriation'.

This repatriation changed Armenian society drastically. New culture, lifestyles, mentality included in public life. Some skills (especially crafts) enriched country. Prominent scientists, famous artists shined in the new sky. Many everyday customs became usual for Armenians (for example, tradition to drink coffee came to Armenia with the repatriates). But actually this Reparation had begun as a pan-national dream of return to Homelend of the first generation of Armenian Genocide survivors, creating Armenian Diaspora, turned into a nightmare for many families. And this is the reason of Minister of new-established Ministry of Diaspora apologized in 2008 to all repatriates for sufferings of Great Repatriation.

1. Armenians from around the world went to Armenia, but came to Soviet Union. After WWII the international image of Stalin and Soviet Union was very attractive. Many repatriates had photos of Stalin in their pockets. But reality was more brutal and eventually many newcomers were exiled by Stalin in June of 1949 along with thousands of others to Siberia. Some of them because of the suspicion of having links with the ARFD viewed as a threat to Soviet Society.

2. For initiating repatriation Soviet propaganda worked hard. Many diasporal newspapers published “advertising” articles about the achievements of Armenia: the construction of housing, lowering food prices. They published articles of intellectuals calling diasporains to come home, with the slogan "Homeland is waiting for you" In the Diaspora, lectures, movies showing, books and albums presentations organized with the aim of present Armenia as flourishing and rich country. But reality was worst. Everything - local residents clothing, the empty shelves of shops, food for coupons and the queues for bread destroyed the myth of prosperous homeland. Soviet Armenia was not prepared to handle tens of thousands of its sons and daughters after decades in exile. It could not provide neither decent housing nor jobs nor hope for the future. Stories of poverty, degradation, and unbearable living conditions still haunt repatriates three generations on.

3. The USSR was no integration policy. Soviet citizenship was required to all migrants and lectures on political awareness were organized. All newcomers were obliged to attend them, although sometimes without understanding this “Soviet Armenian language mixture with Russian”. Migrants from countries with other political systems and structures were disoriented. Even those who had been members of the Communist Party in their states had difficulty understanding the Soviet communist system.

4. There were socioeconomic differences. Newcomers were left alone with a new and unfamiliar situation. They did not have the slightest idea about the Soviet system of values. For example the attitude to property was dramatically differing. Emigrants came from countries where private business has been evidence of hard work and a guarantee of prosperity. In the USSR private enterprise was forbidden. Only the craftsmen were able to find their niche and occupied a worthy place in Armenian society.

5. Some themes which were central points to the identity of Armenians in the Diaspora were banned in Soviet Armenia. For example, it was forbidden to go to church and get married there while in diaspora Church was the cornerstone for Armenian Identity. It was forbidden to speak of genocide while Diasporal Armenians were ancestors of genocide victims and survivals and genocide memory was part of their identity. It became a cause for frustration and physiological trauma. Repatriates didn’t understand the indifference of local Armenians toward Armenian national issues. This “lack of patriotism” showed that the Soviet authorities achieved in creation of alter identity to Armenians living in Armenia so as two parts of one people have percept each other almost as a stranger. Diaspora returnees faced with ’homelands’ that do not recognized them, and homeland cultures which only serve to alienate them.

6. Integration and co-residence of migrants and the locals formed in the process of mutual understanding and adaptation going through everyday communication. It was a bad experience, because different cultural and everyday customs, education level and socio-economic backgrounds. Lack of intermarriage between repatriates and locals in the first decades after Great Repatriation was another interesting case.

7. Problems with integration including difficulties surrounding language emerged. Locals speak Eastern Armenian and Newcomers speak Western Armenian Dialects of the same language. Different Dialects were not an obstacle, but a boundary separating migrants from locals. Word “Akhpar” become symbolic marker. Migrants used it to denote the close and relative person and locals said it with irony to name repatriates and soon it became an insulting nickname for them.

8. Soviet propaganda labeled repatriates “unreliable elements”. They haven’t chance to take high positions in power and in forces and to make a good career. Many of them became victims of Stalin's repressions. And it is not strange that repatriated have exported radical ideologies to their homeland and founders of underground, anti-Soviet organizations had repatriate background.

The big portion of repatriates leaved Soviet Armenia after Helsinki Agreements in the end of 1970s. And paradoxally, when they came to USA, the local American-Armenians met them very cold and called newcomers “Hayastantsi” (Armenians from Armenia). The repatriates eventually win a right to be named Hayastansti, but only after leaving Armenia.


Conference dinner

A free conference meal will be provided by KULTRANS and the University of Oslo at Al-Chouf Restaurant, Henrik Ibsens gate 60C, Oslo at 19.00 on 3 June. Participants should make any special dietary requirements known to the organisers beforehand if they have not done so already.




Publisert 24. mars 2010 19:20 - Sist endret 8. jan. 2014 11:12