This working group arises out of an interdisciplinary group that is planning a research and conference program around the theme of Exile, Expulsion, and Religious Refugees. The group is organizing workshops, colloquia, and an international conference for the academic year 2011-2012. Through a series of lectures, seminars, and discussions, we will explore some of the topics and themes and inform the research program more broadly.
Our meetings will identify readings for seminar-style discussion, and we plan to bring local, regional, and visiting scholars into our discussions. We also plan to assemble a bibliography of materials for wider discussion. The themes of the meetings will include:
Varieties of Belief: dynamics of conversion, particularly in the context of fluid religious identities; exile in the social construction of religious identity (moving beyond liberal notions of the self as a starting point); exile and nationalism as an emerging religion that lies beyond various forms of ethnic and racial 'cleansing'.
Violence and Anxiety: as a historical fact and methodological challenge; forced exile/self exile; 'vagrants' and 'rogues' whose movements risk rendering them 'godless'.
Motion: movements of individuals in and out of exile; the dynamics of coming 'from elsewhere'; the tensions between migration and exile; mobility as a way of life; and the inter-relationship between spiritual and physical journeying.
Spaces and Places of Exile: particular cities like Geneva, Amsterdan, and Salonika; places like urban ghettos or rural communes; forms of internal exile and psychological exile; relations to 'host' countries and/or cities; how the presence of 'diasporas' shape and reshape host societies (eg., Constantinople/Istanbul) with multiple confessional groupings and dynamics policing their boundaries.
Tolerance-Intolerance: how can we exchange while moving beyond the concept of 'hybridity' (which presupposes fixed and determined lines); denaturalizing and contextualizing assumptions about 'mixedness' as part of this project; interconfessional, cross-cultural or cross-religious relationships (eg., godparenthood, marriage); spaces, representations, and practices of tolerance.
Imagination and Identity: writing in/from exile; cultures of/in exile (literature, music, art, theology); exile shaping the histories of communities or groups; effects on those 'left behind' -- how the absence of the exiled affects those who remain.
Social Structures of Refugee Communities: diaspora and hybridity; gender relations in exile; authority structures (social, legal, intellectual, familial); 'national' churches and synagogues (eg., in London, Amsterdam, Venice).
The Languages of Exile, or Representing Exile: the figurative language that allows for various exiles and foreigners to be rendered interchangeable.
Mixed Motives: economic refugees into/as religious refugees; economic refugees who 'become' religious refugees; slavery; exile realities/motivations behind broader global movements (eg., exiles as merchants, as slave traders, etc.)
FACULTY / STAFF Marvin Anderson, Instructor, History Mark Meyerson, History Franco Pierno, Italian Studies Srilata Raman, Religion Natalie Rothman, Humanities-History (UTSC) Marjorie Rubright, Humanities-English (UTSC) Nhung Tran, History Stephanie Treloar, Assist. Director, Centre for Reformation & Renaissance Studies Megan Armstrong, History (McMaster University) Greta Kroeker, History/Medieval Studies (Waterloo)
GRADUATE STUDENTS Stephanie Cavanaugh, History Alexandra Guerson, History Duc Huynh, East Asian Studies/History Victoria Loucks, History Hoang Nguyen, Anthropology Adele Wilson, English Talia Zajac, Medieval Studies