CFP: Edited Volume-The Enigma of the Homeland
Posted by Cristina Moreno on September 24, 2009 at 9:02pm in Call for Papers
Previously posted in H-ASIA mailing list (http://www.h-net.org/~asia/
September 24, 2009
CFP: Edited Volume-The Enigma of the Homeland
From: Catherine Gomes
The Enigma of the Homeland
Editors Catherine Gomes & Olivia Guntarik, RMIT University, Australia
We invite contributions for an edited collection of reflective essays,
creative writings and poems that reflect on the meaning of home.
The notion of ‘the homeland’ connotes soothing images of a place deeply
rooted in the past. It can refer to the nation as a ‘home’ or a domestic
space through the use of familial tropes. The homeland is inextricably
tied to the discourse of diaspora and exile – and to ideas of loss,
longing and nostalgia. The homeland is one’s birthplace, one that you
were uprooted from and perhaps still desired, but could never truly
return. Salman Rushdie writes about the idea of ‘imaginary homelands’ to
evoke the concept of home in terms of displacement and its instability.
Homeland also implies a complex historical connection, a shared memory of
the past tied to the land itself. Indigenous cultural knowledge, for
instance, often emphasizes a relationship with place and the ancestral
beings that created it.
The homeland is an enigma and has become a fluid concept which is not
necessarily exclusively associated with country of birth due to the
transnational movements of people. Such movements of individuals occur
for a variety of reasons that include work, business, lifestyle, study,
family, trauma, humanitarian and human rights. Both permanent and
temporary migrants have been subject to a wealth of experience that
confuses the concept of ‘home’. The fluidity of the concept of home
usually lies with the experiences of the migrant both in the home and host
country. Some migrants are forced to leave their birth countries because
of personal or national trauma (eg. human rights violations, politics, war
and natural disasters), while others leave out of choice and for less
traumatic reasons (eg. lifestyle, work, study and family). While some
migrants settle in their host countries with minimal
discomfort, others encounter challenges in settlement such as hostility
and suspicion. Some migrants more easily integrate into their host
society by perhaps assimilating into already established ethnic or
cultural communities. Others find assimilation more difficult because of
the lack of community support. However, joining an established ethnic or
cultural community can also result in less assimilation into the wider
community, therefore creating a dissonance in the concept of home for the
These different notions of home and homeland constitute salient and
evocative spatial metaphors, illustrating the ways our lexicon can produce
a range of meanings, interpretations and political uses around these
concepts. While such ideas and tropes remain pertinent, the extent to
which the homeland provokes counter discourses around
deterritorialisation, displacement, dispossession, travel, migration and
mobility, remain less certain. Such uncertainty invites an urgent call to
re-evaluate the meanings attached to the concept of the homeland or what
constitutes ‘home’ for people today.
This collection aims to highlight the often ignored intersections
between issues of home and host country, the foreign and the familiar, and
imaginary and concrete homelands. State-centred views of what
constitutes the homeland continue to dominate, but what is apparent is
that these limit our perspectives to understanding the connections between
home, citizenship, displacement, migration, belonging and
We invite reflective essays, which may address questions such as the
following in order to develop new perspectives on concepts of home and
- What are the cultural connotations and semantic implications of the word ‘homeland’?
- In what ways is the concept of ‘the homeland’ an enigma?
- What does it mean to think of our respective nations/countries of citizenship or birthplaces in the current context of mobility and flux?
- What does it mean to desire a lost homeland?
- In what ways does homeland embody a sense of nostalgia?
- In what ways does the homeland provide a new paradigm of national identity?
- What does homeland mean when it is threatened or destroyed by military occupation, invasion, war, genocide, terrorism or natural disaster?
- In what ways has travel shaped new ideas about ‘self’ and ‘home’?
- If dispossessed people share pasts that are fragmented, is a classical notion of ‘home’ necessary to sustain who they are?
- Where is there room for migrants in the space of the homeland as a site of indigenous origins or ethnic homogeneity?
- How do migrants find inclusion in the homeland? How are they excluded from the discourses of homeland?
- How do migrants and their families identify with their adopted homeland, even if they relocate their homelands elsewhere?
- What does it mean to go back and forth between two homes?
- How have indigenous, migrant, refugee or settler communities conceptualised the notion of homeland?
We also encourage a variety of types of contributions, including
creative submissions, such as storytelling, poems and other alternative
formats. Creative submissions may include reflections on the above or
- What is the meaning of home?
- Is home associated with the birth country or is it associated with the place of settlement?
- What does it mean to return home?
- What does it mean to live in exile?
- What are your experiences when you return home?
- What does it mean to be connected to different cultural spaces?
- What are the experiences that you face in terms of identity and belonging when you return to your birth country?
- Can you identify with the culture of the place that you left upon returning?
- Why leave or choose not to leave home?
- Why return or choose not to return home?
A 300-word abstract for academic papers, along with a short biography,
should be sent by 30 November 2009 to email@example.com
Please send all completed submissions by 1 June 2010.