The contemporary diasporic experience is fragmented and contradictory, and the notion of ‘home’ increasingly blurry. In response to these moving circumstances, many diaspora and multiculturalism studies’ scholars have turned to the everyday, focussing on the local particularities of the diasporic experience. Using the Italo-Australian digital storytelling collection Racconti: La Voce del Popolo, this paper argues that, while crucial, the everyday experience of diaspora always needs to be read in relation to broader, dislocated contexts. Indeed, to draw on Grant Farred (2009), the experience of diaspora must be read both in relation to—but always ‘out of’—context. Reading diaspora in this way helps reveal aspects of diasporic life that have the potential to productively disrupt dominant assimilationist discourses of multiculturalism that continue to dominate. This kind of re-reading is pertinent in colonial nations like Australia, whose multiculturalism rhetoric continues to echo normative whiteness.
Germany is considered a relatively recent country where multiraciality has become a recognised phenomenon. Yet, Germany still considers itself a monoracial state, one where whiteness is conflated with “Germanness”. Based on interviews with seven people who are multiracial (mostly Korean–German) in Berlin, this article explores how the participants construct their multiracial identities. My findings show that participants strategically locate their identity as diasporic to circumvent racial “othering”. They utilise diasporic resources or the “raw materials” of diasporic consciousness in order to construct their multiracial identities and challenge racism and the expectations of racial and ethnic authenticity. I explored how multiracial experiences offer a different way of thinking about the actual doing and performing of diaspora.
After the fall of the socialist bloc some authors celebrated the advent of Romani nationalism, emphasising its Eastern European roots and its potential force to foster emancipation among an ethnic minority oppressed for so long. There is another perspective on the community organisation among the Roma from actors who had much less sympathy towards collective claims on behalf of the ‘Gypsies’. Recently published documents from the archive of the secret police testify that Gypsy nationalism (“naționalism țigănesc”) was systematically denounced in Romania. Roma leaders suspected of being its proponents were persecuted during the late period of the Ceaușescu era. This article is an attempt to interpret a contested category in the context of late socialist Romania.
Marian Viorel Anăstăsoaie
This paper addresses one of the first translations of a US anthropological monograph into Romanian. Its author, John V. Murra (1916–2006), born into a Russian-Jewish family in Odessa, grew up in Romania, where he studied and became involved in the Communist movement before his departure for Chicago in 1934. His 1956 PhD thesis in anthropology at University of Chicago on the Inka state was a first step towards turning Murra into an influential figure in the field of Andean anthropology. His sister Ata Iosifescu lived in Romania and translated his PhD thesis into Romanian, published in 1987 as Civilizaţie inca: organizarea economică a statului incaş(Inka Civilization: the Economic Organization of the Inka State). Based on their correspondence kept at the National Anthropological Archives at the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC), I propose to reconstruct this translation’s story: the context, the constraints and the process of translation itself. I am also addressing the question of the book’s reception in Romania.
Steven G. Randall
This discussion looks back at socialist Romania and the collapse of the Ceauşescu regime. It suggests that Romania, like all states, socialist, social-democratic and neoliberal are confronted by the same world systemic capitalism and that all states use a mixture of policies involving both capitalist and socialist, democratic and authoritarian features in the attempt to avoid the hazards and to gain the advantages of a global system dominated by capitalist accumulation. Using a diversity of assets and hampered by limitations inherited historically, some will fail and some will succeed as state projects. Cold War era analysis will not be useful as a way to evaluate or predict winners or losers. Likewise, the failure of Communist Romania as a state system could not have been predicted either by its authoritarian or by its socialist policy features.
This is a biographical account of my work in Romania and the influence it had on my research that followed. I focus on the impact that my almost five years in Romania had on the framework and orientation of my anthropological practice that I employed in the United States. I suggest that anthropologists have a moral imperative we must carry out when we choose to conduct research among the most vulnerable in society. In doing so, we must also come to understand the conditions that have made them vulnerable in the first place (Nader 1969). I assert here that as anthropologists of the twenty-first century we no longer may stay on the sidelines, but we must engage our work as allies with the vulnerable, supporting them in their self-identified struggles for dignity, liberation, and sustainability as part of a unified global effort. This entails the transformation of participant observation into a participatory research approach.
Yuri Vella (1948-2013) was a well-known personality in Western Siberia’s indigenous world. Unlike most Western Siberia indigenous inhabitants, Yuri Vella was exceptionally skilled with words. He used words in everyday life in order to achieve his goals, among which the main one was to protect his kin and neighbours in the forest from the destructions induced by the oil industry. He was able to hold his own in discussion with the oil industry representatives and to have the last word with them. But how did Yuri Vella use words in private life? That is what months of fieldwork sharing the hut he lived in with his wife allowed me to ascertain. I shall concentrate on patterns of speaking - how? with whom? - and silence in everyday life, outside the attention of an audience. Or was my presence in the hut enough of an audience to change his patterns? These reflections are what this article is about.