2001 Ethnicity, Migration, and Heritage Interdisciplinary Seminar

Selected Readings [pdf] on Heritage, Ethnicity, and Migration
Speaker Biographies

Introduction

Professor Amy Shuman Director, Center for Folklore Studies
Associate Professor, Department of English
Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology

The Ethnicity/Heritage/Migration interdisciplinary seminar focuses on the cultural, economic, and political implication of the production of new cultural identities by people who live in transplanted communities, whether as immigrants, refugees, or in forced repatriation. The seminar will seek to explore inter-disciplinary shared interest in questions of how groups display, promote, and transmit their Americanness and their foreignness. The course is supported by funds from the Graduate School, the Institute for Collaborative Research and Public Humanities, and the Mershon Center, and will involve guest speakers from Ohio State University, the U.S., and abroad who will speak on the following topics:

  • Theories and research methods for studying ethnicity, migration, heritage, and creolization
  • Ethnic museums, festivals, and other displays of self-conscious ethnicity
  • Language diversity and language pedagogy within ethnic communities
  • Nationalism and the politics of ethnic affiliation
  • European constructions of ethnic and heritage identity
  • The self-conscious promotion of ethnicity: The Greek American community in Columbus
  • New immigrants/refugees, social resources and cultural/language/legal obstacles
  • Conflict Management and Constructions of Identity Among Ethnic Groups

The interdisciplinary seminar will provide an opportunity to create a larger intellectual forum for the Center's Heritage and Learning research program.

Seminar Rationale

A large number of ethnic communities operate institutions, which we generally refer to as "heritage schools." The term "heritage schools" refers to community-based initiatives requiring grass-root support and extended volunteer services for their function. They usually involve after-school and weekend classes for the purpose of instructing their children in various aspects of their native cultures: language, religion, dance, food ways, and other forms of expression and knowledge. Heritage schools are a primary means by which immigrant communities institutionalize themselves as ethnic groups for both outsiders and for their children born in the United States. Other forms of preservation include compilation of ethnic histories and the production of videos documenting particular folk practices (storytelling, making of folk art, music, dance, and so forth). We refer to these native forms of cultural expression, social practice and knowledge as "native systems of knowledge."

Heritage schools and native systems of knowledge contribute to urban cultural diversity in Ohio and the nation in general, through their participation in festivals, exhibits, and folk performances among other milieux. Yet they have been a neglected resource in fully documenting urban cultural richness. Besides the seminal initiative "The Ethnic Heritage and Language Schools Project," sponsored by the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress to describe several ethnic language schools in the nation (see Bradunas, 1988), there has been no other systematic research effort to document the nature of preservation programs and the manner by which heritage preservation contributes to the urban cultural fabric. One of the most important findings of the project was that these schools practice the conscious transmission of culture from one generation to the next, organizing "cultural transmission around specific regular, and formal activities" (Bradunas, 1999:5). This finding is not surprising, but it is provides the basis for a research question. Although we might hypothesize that these programs share formats and methods of cultural transmission in their shared response to the contemporary United States' context, we do not know whether this is the case. Further, we do know that the groups have very different histories and face very different problems (especially in their different relationships to the "homeland") in conceptualizing their ethnicity.
Studies of ethnicity, diversity, and migration have overlooked heritage schools because, instead of providing raw cultural material for scholarship and social intervention, they create their own systematic knowledge and have their own agendas. Thus, the definition of authentic culture in a heritage school often responds to new criteria and draws on new cultural forms and content. Therefore, this project focuses on these inventions as key to understanding how groups conceptualize both their American-ness and their foreignness. The production of cultural identity is part of a group's self- positioning in political, economic, and religious networks both in the U.S. and internationally. We understand the heritage schools as a form of coalition building in new sites that will help us to understand the complex interactions of globalization and localization in both social networks and cultural identities.

This seminar proposal grew out of several other research initiatives on heritage study at Ohio State University. We have discovered several areas of shared interest, and the seminar will provide an opportunity to begin what we intend to be an ongoing conversation across disciplines and area studies. The interdisciplinary seminar will bring together colleagues whose interests intersect but whose disciplinary affiliations prevent much interaction and conversation. In addition, the seminar will provide an interdisciplinary framework for graduate students working in this area. 

Seminar Faculty

English 792: Ethnicity, Migration, and Heritage graduate seminar is the product of a larger CFS research project on Ohio's heritage schools, called the Heritage and Learning Project. The seminar will bring together international and national scholars, Ohio State faculty, and graduate students, for a unique opportunity to build a base of shared knowledge across disciplines. The seminar seeks to explore interdisciplinary-shared interest in questions of how groups display, promote, and transmit their American-ness and their foreignness. These questions will help us to understand how, when, and why informal ethnic networks decide to create formal institutions.

Folklore/Cultural Studies

  • Georgios Anagnostu (Greek and Latin: Greek Heritage)
  • Katharine Borland (Comparative Studies, Newark: Hispanic)
  • Tim Lloyd (English)
  • Gabriella Modan (English: Jewish)
  • Margaret Mills (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures: South Asian)
  • Patrick Mullen (English: Appalachian, African American)
  • Dorothy Noyes (English: Mediterranean)
  • Chan Park-Miller (East Asian Languages and Literatures: Korean)
  • Amy Shuman (English: Jewish)
  • Judy Wu (History: Chinese)

Foreign Language Study

  • Terrell A. Morgan (Spanish and Portuguese: Hispanic/Latina/o)

Language Diversity

  • Don Winford (Linguistics: Somalian; African American)
  • Brian Joseph (Linguistics: Linguistic diversity in Ohio)
  • Scott Schwenter (Lingusitics)

Agriculture/Land Use

  • Richard Moore (Human and Community Resource Development)

Legal Studies

  • Carol Bohmer (Sociology and Women's Studies: Somalian)

Politics and Nationalism

  • Greg Jusdanis (Greek and Latin Studies: Greek Nationalism)

Seminar Topics and Invited Guest Dates

The Seminar will be held for ten weeks in Spring Quarter 2001 in room 254 Central Classrooms. General topics include:

  • Theories and research methods for studying ethnicity, migration, heritage, and creolization
  • Ethnic museums, festivals, and other displays of self-conscious ethnicity
  • Language diversity and language pedagogy within ethnic communities
  • Nationalism and the politics of ethnic affiliation
  • European constructions of ethnic and heritage identity
  • The self-conscious promotion of ethnicity: The Greek american community in Columbus
  • New immigrants/refugees, social resources and cultural/language/legal obstacles
  • Conflict Management and Constructions of Identity among Ethnic Groups

Lecture Schedule

Wednesday, April 4, 11:30 am
Dr. Erika Bourguignon
The Ohio State University
"Exile: The Austrian Jewish Holocaust Refugees"

Friday, April 6, 11:30 am Dr. Georgios Anagnostu
The Ohio State University
"Defining Diaspora as Home: Three Generations of Greek Americans"

Wednesday, April 11, 11:30 am
Dr. Carol Bohmer
The Ohio State University
"Immigration Law"

Wednesday, April 11, 12:30 pm
Dr. Dorothy Noyes
The Ohio State University
"Network and Imagined Community in Italian-American Ethnicity"

Friday, April 13, 11:30 am
Dr. Barre Toelken
Utah State University
"'We've Always Been Here:' Native Americans' Perspectives on Migration"

Friday, April 13, 12:30 pm
Dr. Bonnie O'Connor
Education Coordinator, Brown University
Faculty Development in Pediatrics (BUFDIP)
Division of Pediatrics, Ambulatory Medicine
Rhode Island Hospital
"Being and Feeling Hmong in American Hospitals"

Dr. Pat Mullen, respondent
Dr. Tim Lloyd, respondent

Wednesday, April 18, 11:30 am
Dr. Melinda Kanner
Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio
"Italian-American Ethnicity and The Sopranos"

Wednesday, April 25, 11:30 am
Dr. Lucy Long
Bowling Green State University, Ohio
"Teaching Heritage or Ethnicity?: Korean Language schools and Irish Dance Schools"

Friday, April 27, 11:30am
Dr. Robert Barsky
University of Western Ontario, Quebec, Canada
"The Hypocrisy and Illegality of Contemporary Refugee Policy in the First World"

Friday, April 27, 12:30 pm
Dr. Ana Cara
Oberlin College, Ohio
"Creolization as a Lay Theory of Socio-Cultural Accord"

Wednesday, May 2, 11:30 am
Dr. Margaret Mills
The Ohio State University
"Afghan Narratives of Flight and Return"

Wednesday, May 2, 12:30 pm
Dr. Valerie Lee
The Ohio State University
"Theorizing African American Women's Experiences and Lives Through Folklore and Literature"

Wednesday, May 9, 11:30 am
Dr. Gregory Jusdanis
The Ohio State University
"The End of Identities"

Friday, May 11, 11:30 am
Dr. Judy Wu
The Ohio State University
"Mom Chung of the Fair-headed Bastards: Maternalism, Nationalism, and Sexuality"

Friday, May 11, 12:30 pm
Dr. Galey Modan
The Ohio State University
"Fear/lessness in Place: Urban Ideologies and Jewish Identity in Talk of a Multi-ethnic Community"

Wednesday, May 16, 11:30 am
Dr. Norma Mendoza-Denton
The University of Arizona
"Homegirls Remembered: Memory, Artifacts, and the Maintenance of the Subaltern Ethnic Identity"

Friday, May 18, 11:30 am
Dr. Mary Hufford
University of Pennsylvania
American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, Washington D.C.
"Voices from the Overburden: Discourses of Exile and Retrieval in West Virginia's Coal River Valley"

Friday, May 18, 12:30 pm
Dr. Richard Moore
The Ohio State University
"Watersheds, Pollution, and Heritage"

Wednesday, May 23, 11:30 am
Dr. Nancy Campbell
Department of Science and Technology Studies
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York
"Constituting Women"

Wednesday, May 25, 11:30 am
Dr. Amy Horowitz
Smithsonian Institution
 "Mediterranean Israeli Music: Cultural Resistance and Reformations in Disputed Territory" 

Friday, May 30, 11:30 am
Dr. Chan Park
The Ohio State University
"Oral Narrative Tradition: Another Time, Another Place"

Friday, May 30, 12:30 pm
Dr. Don Winford
The Ohio State University
Title To Be Announced


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