Rites of Return: Diaspora Poetics and the Politics of Memory

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The first decade of the twenty-first century witnessed a passionate engagement with the losses of the past. Rites of Return examines the effects of this legacy of historical injustice and documented suffering on the politics of the present. Twenty-four writers, historians, literary and cultural critics, anthropologists and sociologists, visual artists, legal scholars, and curators grapple with our contemporary ethical endeavor to redress enduring inequities and retrieve lost histories. Mapping bold and broad-based responses to past injury across Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, Australia, the Middle East, and the United States, Rites of Return examines new technologies of genetic and genealogical research, memoirs about lost family histories, the popularity of roots-seeking journeys, organized trauma tourism at sites of atrocity and new Museums of Conscience, and profound connections between social rites and political and legal rights of return. Contributors include: Lila Abu-Lughod, Columbia University; Nadia Abu El-Haj, Barnard College; Elazar Barkan, Columbia University; Svetlana Boym, Harvard University; Saidiya Hartman, Columbia University; Amira Hass, journalist; Jarrod Hayes, University of Michigan; Marianne Hirsch, Columbia University; Eva Hoffman, writer; Margaret Homans, Yale University; Rosanne Kennedy, Australian National University; Daniel Mendelsohn, writer; Susan Meiselas, photographer; Nancy K. Miller, CUNY Graduate Center; Alondra Nelson, Columbia University; Jay Prosser, University of Leeds; Liz Sevchenko, Coalition of Museums of Conscience; Leo Spitzer, Dartmouth College; Marita Sturken New York University; Diana Taylor, New York University; Patricia J. Williams, Columbia University