Errance in a Time of Displacement


Dreaming of Nigeria: Experiencing Death from Afar
Vivian Chenxue Lu (Stanford University)

Absence is produced both through mobility and through death. How do people make their presence while being physically elsewhere? This presentation pieces together visual materials gathered during fieldwork to explore the dreams of Nigerian merchants who traverse the Global South—dreams that bring African migrants to other places at night-time, that foretell deaths at home, halfway across the world.

Jonathan Echeverri (Universidad de Antioquia) & Brenda Steinecke Soto (Fundacion Espacio-Arte)

Drawing from the roamings of West African travelers in and out of the African continent, this presentation reflects on “elsewheres,” potential destinations that are not predetermined and fixed but ever shifting. Elsewheres fuel travelers with a stubborn will to continue the journey. In turn, national borders and travel documents are part of the bureaucratic machinery that seeks to relent and obstruct the movement of these travelers. The roamings of these Africans stand in deep contrast with modern European imagination around travel. This presentation evokes this differences and wonders about the motivations that remain out of grasp.

Wandering as Re-collective Collage
Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan (Goldsmiths, University of London)

This experimental film features a wander/walk I took with Hanif, a 22-year-old Somali refugee who currently lives in the far northern reaches of Finland. I first met Hanif in Delhi, India in 2012. In 2014, Hanif and his family moved to Finland as a result of their successful asylum petition. Our filmic walk through the streets of Oulu, three years after we last spent time with each other, is a collage of recollections of Hanif’s experiences in India, his remembrances of Somalia, and his recent experiences in Finland. The filmic walk or wander we took reveals the ways in which motion creates an opportunity to remember transnational experience and layer it onto the terrain and temporality of pedestrian errance.

Un-Stories: Disrupting the Narrative Urge
Cristiana Giordano (UC Davis) & Greg Pierotti (University of Arizona)

Animating Everyday Errance on Stage
Mariam Durrani (Hamilton College)

On stage, Saad presents himself as a young man, like many others, looking for jobs, experiencing racism, and dating in the city. What isn’t visible on stage is that aside from his legal status, Saad used to give sermons at mosques, or that he is putting himself through college as a waiter and bartender. This ethnographic film project juxtaposes Saad publicly processing his multiple mobilities, or lack thereof, with his everyday, off-stage life.

Places of YouTube
Patricia Lange (California College of the Arts)

Ethnographic exploration is increasingly being conducted in mediated and hybrid forms. In this visual anthropology project, YouTubers are observed as they gather at participant-run meet-ups across the United States. The idea of YouTube becomes physically emplaced as participants achieve interconnected sociality. Pink (2105) asserts that place is productively conceptualized as an “event” which is co-created by participants and ethnographers. This video essay depicts scenes in which YouTubers’ interactions help create meaningful places. Through playful, mediated interactions, they achieve co-connectedness with each other and the ethnographer.

Michelle Munyikwa (University of Pennsylvania)
Michelle Munyikwa (University of Pennsylvania)

In this presentation, I explore the life of a Burmese refugee woman I call Garuna. I display a number of photographs she shared with me that characterize her movements since being resettled in the United States. Through an analysis of Garuna’s decision to move from South Philadelphia to a local suburb, I suggest that displaced subjects are not only racialized themselves – though they certainly are – but inhabit racialized modes of thinking and feeling the world as they navigate their surroundings, meaning they must ultimately racially position others to survive.

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