Research Update: US Reception to Inbal Dance Theater in the 1950s and 1960s

By Hannah Kosstrin, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Dance, The Ohio State University

Additional Affiliations: Melton Center for Jewish Studies; Center for Slavic and East European Studies; Migration, Mobility, and Immobility Discovery Theme Working Group

I was honored to be awarded a 2017–2018 Global Mobility Project Faculty Grant for travel to archives to support research examining the cultural implications for dance circulating through the mid-century touring network of impresario Sol Hurok. Specifically, I focused on how US reception to the Yemenite-Israeli company Inbal Dance Theater from 1958 to 1969 underscored Ashkenazi American Jewish assimilation through dance spectatorship and mobile perceptions of Jewishness.

Between June 2017 and March 2018 I traveled to New York, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles to conduct research in archives that held materials related to Inbal and its 1950s–1960s tours. I also interviewed dancers who toured with the company and their relatives about Inbal members’ experiences on those tours. In New York, I worked in the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the New York Public Library Dorot Jewish Division, and the Center for Jewish History Special Collections. In Boston, I worked in the Harvard Theatre Collection, Harvard Judaica Collection, the Schlesinger Library, and the Boston Public Library. In Chicago, I worked in the Modern Manuscripts Collections at the Newberry Library. In Los Angeles, I worked in Special Collections at the University of California, Los Angeles, and with dance historian Karen Goodman, who generously shared materials with me.

As with any productive research endeavor, I came out of these trips with different questions than when I went in. As a result, I am working on two article manuscripts from this project. I am currently completing one article draft manuscript about how American Jewish acculturation was implicated in the US reception of Inbal’s 1950s–1960s tours. The other article, which pursues the local and transnational cultural effects of these tours, takes the material in a new direction that I hope will form the basis of my second book.

Research Update: Sharing and Learning about Adolescent Newcomer Programs

By Brian Seilstad, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Education, Teaching and Learning, The Ohio State University. 

The changes in the U.S. demographics in the last ~40 years have been dramatic, leading to a more diverse population overall in terms of ethnic, racial, or linguistic backgrounds in addition to distinctions in legal status, transnational aspirations, bi/multilingual identities, etc.  Ohio, its urban areas most specifically and Columbus in particular, is among those areas that have experienced these shifts. 

My research focuses on one manifestation of this phenomenon, how the state and city support adolescent newcomers who face intense pressure to master the language and content necessary for success in schools and beyond.  This work is primarily ethnographic and discourse analytic, investigating a specific local program, one cohort of students, and the environment and processes of meaning-making designed to support students in and out of the classroom.

I conducted my fieldwork during the 2016-2017 academic year and have spent the 2017-2018 year analyzing data and writing the dissertation.  Thus, nearing the end of my Ph.D. journey, the Global Mobility Project’s funding allowed me to share this research at two major conferences—Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and the American Educational Research Association (AERA)—and to explore a notable adolescent newcomer program model, the Internationals Network of Public Schools, perhaps the most prominent adolescent newcomer programs in the nation.  These schools, similar to the local program I researched, serve students from dozens of countries and language groups. 

At TESOL, I presented a key argument in my dissertation—that the local program reflects an “English-centric” ideology that manifests from the macro-level of the state/national standards, the meso-level of institutional structures, to the micro level of daily classroom interactions.  I suggest that this ideology is perhaps an improvement over many “English-only” ideologies and spaces but still often falls short of meeting many students’ needs.  In contrast, at AERA, I presented more micro-level data documenting the translanguaging practices of students in the program, focusing on how the English word “chick” is heard by Nepali speakers in the class as a “Nepali bad word” which then morphs into another bad word “chicki-chicki” and blends with the Daddy Yankee song “Shaky Shaky.”  I argue that these insights contribute to understandings about translanguaging by moving beyond individual speech events, tracking them across time, and reflecting adolescents’ interest in sexuality, popular culture, and peer relationships.  At both conferences, I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet and connect directly with a number of scholars active in this field such as Drs. Holly Hansen-Thomas, Mandy Stewart, Mark Pacheco, and Nelson Flores

As AERA was in New York City, I had the opportunity to visit Claremont International, a school in the Internationals Network, and the visit to the school reinforced many of the conclusions in my dissertation.  Among these is the importance of an inviting linguistic landscape, as evidenced with the school’s and main office’s welcome signs.

 

 

This is also reflected in the pedagogy of the individual classroom where students are organized by two-year cohorts where the second year students, who have improved their English ability, can help first year students acclimate to the program and academic tasks.  During classroom visits, I was pleased to see students collaborating in small groups that changed frequently to encourage different interactional possibilities across the content areas.  In a meeting with students, many commented that this arrangement was challenging but supportive through enhanced collaboration and communication across multiple domains. 

This ethos is further reflected in other school signs such as these below: 

 

 

 

 

Of course, there are a number of contrasts to the local program and my research.  One that remains is to what degree adolescent newcomer programs support and develop students’ home languages.  The Claremont program did have a specific course in “Native Language Arts,” but it was unclear to me how many students were able to access these options or what languages were available.  My perspective, drawing on my own work and broader reading, is that these programs will frequently leave students behind if their home languages are not directly supported and engaged in the learning process, not only of English but of the home languages per se. 

Undergraduate Grant Research Update

By Jessica Shakesprere, Undergraduate Student, The Ohio State University 

As a senior in the summer of 2017, I was given the opportunity to pursue an undergraduate research thesis with the assistance of Professor Jan Pierskalla in the Department of Political Science. I began my project with an inquiry of understanding the lasting impact of political violence on the psyche that went beyond visible-short term consequences. My background in Political Science and Biology with a concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience helped me understand how trauma is currently being narrated in these disciplines. I became invested in Sri Lanka as a case study as it is an understudied country concerning civil war violence. Moreover, given relatively recent political shifts within the country such as the change in political leadership in the 2015 General Election that “replaced” a government perpetrating state violence, this suggested evidence of political mobilization among Sri Lankan Tamils following the war. The diaspora is a new source of engagement in how political violence can having lasting impacts in new, foreign geographical spaces. To this end, I became interested in exploring the transmission of political violence across identities, attitudes, and behaviors in relation to political mobilization and social activism in the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora. This study aims to add to the existing literature on large-scale traumatic events and their lasting impacts on individuals across generations as well as inform readers on how to understand and describe the complex effects of trauma. This understanding of trauma is crucial for domestic and international efforts to effectively address the psychosocial impacts of trauma in post-war societies.

In order to study the possible link between direct exposure to violence and prosocial behavior, my specific goals are to 1) determine if civil war violence has an effect on prosocial behavior in second-generation Sri Lankans in the Western diaspora 2) unpack the mechanisms of transmission of civil war violence to sociopolitical engagement, and 3) determine if contextual factors such as the size of the local community or density of social networks in the diaspora condition this relationship. Through the course of this project, my main focus is to understand how this trauma affects second-generation offspring. Thus far, my research illustrates that individuals do not process or perceive trauma in a linear way such as via varying levels of exposure to violence. Rather, narratives of self in relation to history, community, psyche, and cosmos shape the present context of second-generation Sri Lankan Tamils in the diaspora. As a result, there are various reasons, some factors deriving as an effect of a traumatic experience, that lead to an individual’s sociopolitical engagement in their community.

Due to the generous grant sponsored by the Global Mobility Project at The Ohio State University, I helped advance my project by obtaining and accessing relevant archival data on political violence and trauma during the Sri Lankan Civil War. Moreover, I was able to connect with Dr. Daya Somasundaram, a senior professor of psychiatry, consultant psychiatrist, and leading researcher on trauma studies following the war in Sri Lanka. I was also able to conduct qualitative interviews with participants both within Columbus, Ohio and Toronto, Canada, the latter city holding the largest number of Sri Lankan immigrants from the diaspora. Through this, I was able to gain a diverse sample of participants but also hear from a multitude of perspectives in the diaspora. I have the utmost appreciation for the team coordinating the Global Mobility Project, and I am excited to see the progression of this project as I continue my research.

Research Update: Mobilizing Linguistic Resources for Diabetes Management in Latino Families

By Jordan Royster, Undergraduate Student, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University 

In the United States, Spanish speaking persons have a higher risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus1. Previous studies have examined health outcomes in relation to familismo on Spanish-speaking diabetic patients. However, the research did not determine the interplay of disease management and cultural values. Familismo is a cultural value, that emphasizes the needs of one’s nuclear or extended family over one’s personal needs. This project focused on the process of familismo and the effects of trans-lingual interactions on the patient’s management of diabetes.

All participants were Type II diabetic patients and family members living in the same household. The families had two to five members and everyone spoke Spanish. Four families from Columbus, Toledo, Lorain, and Cincinnati Ohio, were interviewed in March 2018. The cities were chosen because of their varied population sizes. In 2016, Columbus had the largest population of 860,090, then Cincinnati with 298,800, Toledo with 278,508 and Lorain with 63,7302.

The interviews, which lasted approximately one hour, were round table discussions with the patients and family members. The written questions were shared with everyone and each patient and family member was given an opportunity to address every question. The same researcher conducted the interviews and took handwritten notes of the discussions. A content analysis was done on the themes of the interview.

The objectives of the interviews were to determine the following:

  • The family’s perception of messages deployed by bilingual members through language brokering, the interpretation and translation of concepts to patients with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds3.
  • The factors that determine which family member serves as the primary support for the diabetic patient.
  • Changes in the family’s health behavior after the patient’s diabetes diagnosis. 

With two of the families, an adult child with advanced English skills attended the doctor appointments with the patients. They served as patient advocates, ensuring that the diagnosis and recommended changes were understood and carried out by the patient. The other two families only had the patient attend the doctor appointments because one family’s children lived in Mexico and the other family had young children. However, both patients mentioned their husband and one patient’s extended family served as a strong support network for when she was home.  For all the families the main support was a family member. Three of the families indicated their spouses as the primary support, although none of the spouses attended the doctor appointments. Two of these families then mentioned additional family members, children and an aunt that also support them through the management of diabetes. One patient relied on her adult daughter who was also suffering health complications.

In regard to lifestyle changes, two families shifted their diets to encompass the dietary constraints of diabetes, such as by eating less processed food and fats. For the Toledo family, the patient drastically changed her diet and her daughter also adopted healthier eating habits. Although other family members have resisted most dietary changes, efforts to improve their eating habits continue. The Lorain patient changed her diet and the family reduced unhealthy available foods in the home. To varying degrees, the members of all four families were involved in the diabetes management of the patients.

Within the Spanish speaking community, sharing food and meals is an important component of the familial relationship. Having one member not able to participate in this cultural practice can be isolating4&5. Medical professionals should be aware of the family’s dietary practices to best help the patient achieve lifestyle changes that are most effective.

The Global Mobility Grant helped fund the travel expenses as well as compensate the families for their time in participating in this project.

  1. CDC Features. (2017, September 18). Retrieved March 26, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/features/hispanichealth/index.html
  2. QuickFacts. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2018, from https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/loraincityohio,cincinnaticityohio,toledocityohio,columbuscityohio/PST045217
  3. Dorner, L. M., Orellana, M. F., & Jiménez, R. (2008). It’s One of Those Things That You Do to Help the Family. Journal of Adolescent Research, 23(5), 515-543. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/0743558408317563.
  4. Devine, Carol M. et al. (1999, March). Food Choices in Three Ethnic Groups: Interactions of Ideals, Identities, and Roles. Journal of Nutrition Education, Volume 31, Issue 2, 86 – 93. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-3182(99)70400-0
  5. Kulkarni, K. D. (2004, October 01). Food, Culture, and Diabetes in the United States. Retrieved March 28, 2018, from http://clinical.diabetesjournals.org/content/22/4/190.short  

Rapper Amir Issaa Visits OSU

By Enrico Zammarchi, PhD Student, Department of Comparative Studies

On February 28 and March 1, an Italian rapper called Amir Issaa visited the Ohio State University for a series of events that brought together music and education. Presenting excerpts from his recently published autobiography, and raising awareness on the situation of second generation Italians, students and faculty enjoyed singing along to the lyrics of Amir Issaa. 

Photo by Erik Scaltriti, Department of French and Italian.

Amir Issaa—who usually goes simply by his first name—was born in Rome in 1978 to an Italian mother and an Egyptian father. As an artist and an activist, Amir has been a spokesperson for sons of immigrants and second-generation Italians, collaborating with Italian associations such as UNAR (Italy’s National Anti-Racism Union), Il razzismo è una brutta storia (Racism is a bad story), and with the petition website Change.org. Through his artistic skills, Amir has helped the Italian youth by turning anger into creativity, believing that music can be a powerful means of social change. During his career, he recorded six albums, several EPs, and a new record that is planned to be released sometime in 2018.

Amir has also been active in Italian cinema, composing the soundtrack for Francesco Bruni’s movie Scialla!, and being the first and only rapper to ever walk on the red carpet of the Venice International Film Festival, where the movie premiered. He was nominated for important awards such as the David di Donatello and the Nastro d’Argento.

Amir’s most recent project is an autobiographical book titled Vivo per questo (I live for this), which was published in 2017 by Italian editor Chiarelettere. In the book, Amir describes his life growing up in a working-class suburb of Rome, where he was often subject to racist attacks because of his origins.

Amir’s visit was organized by the French and Italian Graduate Student Association (FIGSA), with the support of the Department of French and Italian, the Department of Comparative Studies, the Center for Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and the Global Mobility Project. During his stay, Amir performed a concert before an audience of more than one hundred students, alternating his songs with a Q&A that focused on his mixed racial origins and on the significance of growing up in Italy as a second generation Italian. Still today, children of immigrants who are born and raised in Italy cannot apply to receive their Italian citizenship until they turn 18; before then, they are forced to stay on a renewable visa, and they risk being deported to their parents’ country of origin if something goes wrong in the bureaucratic process.

Photo by Erik Scaltriti, Department of French and Italian.

On the following day, Amir led a workshop that focused on how to build a rap song. After talking about his own experience as a hip-hop artist in Italy, Amir explained how hip-hop culture allowed him to express himself in ways that were otherwise inaccessible to young artists. He then asked the audience to start working on their own, original lyrics, helping them to come up with ways to create rhymes while being concise. The multicultural and multilingual audience that attended the workshop eventually generated a song that included lyrics in English, Spanish, Italian, and Turkish.

Photo by Erik Scaltriti, Department of French and Italian.

Amir is now back in Italy, after touring the US and bringing his music to US states on the East coast, as well as to California. He is planning on coming back to the US in the Fall for another series of events, and the hope is to see him again soon in Columbus. Amir is on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify.

Alexandra Cuesta Named John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow

Alexandra Cuesta, a filmmaker and recent guest of the Global Mobility Project at The Ohio State University, has been named a Guggenheim Fellow. Alexandra’s work combines experimental film and documentary practices to capture how people move through public spaces. Her work examines social structures, instances of displacement, and cultural diasporas. As a Guggenheim Fellow, she will continue to work on a project titled Desde Aquí (From Here). According to the Guggenheim website the project is:

…an experimental documentary that explores the life of the inhabitants of Susudel, a small community in the Andes mountains in southern Ecuador. The film addresses the complicated post-colonial legacy of land ownership, labor, and migrations, particular to the region, while simultaneously constructing a portrait of place, which permeates between the exterior landscape and the private/ intimate scape.

The New York Film Festival, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Viennale International Film Festival, Centre Pompidou, Palacio Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, FIDMarseille, Bienal de Cuenca, Habana Film Festival, and BFI Film Festival, London number among venues at which Alexandra’s work has been screened. Alexandra received her MFA in Film and Video from the California Institute of the Arts and her BFA in Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design.

On February 12, Alexandra visited OSU to show three short films and to join Prof. Vera Brunner-Sung of the Global Mobility Project and the Department of Theatre for a discussion on their subject matter. The three films screened were Despedida, Piensa En Mi, Recordando El Ayer. These films depict movement, moments of waiting, separation and life in two distinct places: Los Angeles (Despedida and Piensa En Mi) and Jackson Heights in New York City (Recordando El Ayer). After showing her short films, Alexandra reflected on making films in marginalized spaces populated mainly by migrants.

Alexandra and Prof. Brunner-Sung discuss the filmmaking process, global mobility and migration, and the significance of Alexandra’s work in the podcast below. Alexandra explains how art can avoid the pitfall of existing outside the migrant experience, a notion she has observed in some academic research. Alexandra says, “What the arts can do in this regard is to look at this subject from another perspective and that means to me a more emotional perspective.”

She then recalls a showing of her film Recordando El Ayer at a church in Jackson Heights, where many of the film’s subjects were able to watch the film and subsequently participate in a Q & A session. Through this rare opportunity she was able to see firsthand how, “Art, again, can provide these open conversations, dialogues, and discussions in a more human and direct way.”

Speaking from her perspective as a filmmaker and as immigrant originally from Ecuador, Alexandra creates films that convey the feeling of leaving home and assimilating into a new culture. Central to her work are identities and a sense of belonging. She wonders, “Can anyone belong to a place? Is this even possible in the world today?”

A Talk with Alexandra Cuesta Podcast:

Research Update: Jewish Refugees, China, Australia: Finding Security After the Second World War

By Sara Halpern, PhD Candidate, Department of History

With the support of a Global Mobility grant, I spent five months in Australia studying its histories of foreign policy, Second World War experiences, immigration, and Jewish community.  This trip contributes to one of many facets of my dissertation, which examines the postwar lives and migrations of German and Austrian Jewish refugees who were stranded in Shanghai during the Second World War. They had escaped Nazism between 1938 and 1941 to Shanghai, one of the few places in the world that did not require a visa. After the Japanese occupation and the world war ended, the refugees preferred to resettle in Australia and the United States.  By examining the Australian path through archives and personal conversations in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney, the emerging narrative from my research differed from those refugees who departed for the United States. Between Sino-Australian diplomatic relations and the Jewish refugees’ thought processes, Australia, China and the Jews shared a desire in the post-Second World War moment: security. The Australians propagandized a population crisis for national defense; the Chinese sought to expel foreigners who occupied its lands since 1842 and economic rehabilitation; the Jewish refugees desired freedom from persecution.

In the National Archives of Australia and the National Library in Australia’s capital of Canberra, I dove headfirst into documents connected to the newly-established Ministry of Immigration, part of the Department of External Affairs, and Australian Legation in Shanghai.  After terrifying four years of Japanese invasion in Asia-Pacific including its northwest city of Darwin and growing separation from its mother country, Great Britain, Australia desperately needed to build national security.  It was felt that the population must grow—exponentially.  A Ministry of Immigration was then formed in June 1945 by Arthur A. Calwell, who served as its minister until 1949.   During these years, Australia embarked on a contradictory campaign: “Populate or Perish!” On one hand, it aimed to see the population grow from 7 million in 1945 to 20-25 million by the 1960s.  On the other hand, the government and the population, which was 97% white British, wished to maintain the “White Australian Policy”.  Since Australia became a federation in 1901, the immigration policy highly restricted entry of non-British migrants including Chinese.  This policy effectively led to Australia “being more British than Britain”.  The personal papers reveal tensions that Calwell faced in the anti-Communist Australian Parliament and with the anti-Chinese diplomats in Shanghai, the nativist public, and his influential friends in Chinese and Jewish communities in Melbourne. The papers from the Australian Legation chronicled the transformation of its approach to immigration, from cooperation to suspicion, as the staff changed between 1946 and 1949 and conditions in Shanghai worsened, especially for foreigners.

In Sydney and Melbourne, I sifted through folders from Jewish Board of Deputies, an overseeing political body of the Jewish community with branches in each state, and somewhat of a liaison between Shanghai’s Jewish community and the Australian government. As the port of entry for many ships from Shanghai, Sydney welcomed over 1,500 Jewish refugees between 1945 and 1955.  I walked from the Overseas Terminal in Circular Quay to streets in Central Business District (“CBD”) where the local relief society placed them in hotels.  From there, refugees chose to either stay in Sydney’s Double Bay, King’s Cross, and Bondi suburbs or take a long train ride to Melbourne. As part of “populate or perish” campaign, Calwell determined that a “family reunification” scheme needed to be created and many Jews in Australia seized the opportunity, especially in the wake of the Holocaust through the Jewish Board of Deputies, and later local Jewish relief organizations.  The scheme allowed only relatives to apply for “landing permits” (entry visas) and thus, Shanghai’s Jewish refugees came through relatives living in Sydney or Melbourne who arrived in the late 1930s. These relatives permitted Shanghai’s Jewish refugees to quickly escape threats of persecution as Europeans from the anti-imperialist Chinese authorities and public.  Thousands of other Jewish refugees had to wait for other visas.

As I began to listen to video testimonies and read memoirs at the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne, the “family reunification” scheme resulted in advantaging Austrian and German Jews with birthplace in post-1919 Poland. Unlike the United States at the time, Australia did not impose national quotas.  Jews with birth places in Austria or former German territories in post-WWI Poland found planning for surviving family members to meet in Australia easier than anywhere else. A number of families did not “finish” reuniting until the 1950s owing to factors beyond their control, particularly transportation availability in the Pacific in the 1940s.

Photo Source: Migration Heritage Center of Powerhouse Museum, New South Wales

Meanwhile, I searched for surviving refugees and their families through Google and personal contacts.  I found Peter Nash and Ilse Charny, volunteers at the Sydney Jewish Museum.  Peter invited me to join his weekly tour where he took a small group of Jewish and non-Jewish Australians around.  When we entered the newly renovated Holocaust exhibit, he began to weave his family story of survival into the general narrative.  He showed us his personal contributions to the collection—a letter of eviction from the family’s landlord in Berlin in 1938 and photos of two children in his extended family who perished in the Holocaust in the beautiful Children’s Memorial. Peter’s devotion to his family history and the story of the Holocaust made him an inspiring guide and person.  Although still a teenager in the postwar period, Peter did not hesitate to interview with me at his home in North Sydney.  He showed me the beautiful vases, representing friendship, from his father’s Chinese employee (pictured). Unfortunately, Ilse Charny and I ran out of time before I had to depart for Melbourne but she kindly showed me her memoir that she donated to the Museum’s library which I read.

In Melbourne, I spent one Sunday afternoon with a group of Austrian and German Jewish refugees and their families.  In the photo, the woman in the far left, Ilse Sherwin (age 91), the man in front of me, Horst Eisfelder (age 93) and the man on the far right, Heinz Wolff (age 84) all escaped Europe for Shanghai with their parents.

Photo Source: Author (standing in the back)

  Ilse Sherwin belonged to a social group, which their Australian children called “Schrei Abend” (screaming evening) that met biweekly since 1950. As the group grew smaller due to old age, other refugees and their descendants were invited to join. Ilse remains the only living member of the original group of 25 people.  Throughout that Sunday afternoon, conversations revolved around personal health, Australian and U.S. politics, and, of course, Shanghai. The two grown Australia-born children who came—Peter Kohn and Alan Wolff— also shared stories they inherited from their parents. It could not be completed without plenty of food, including sweet cheese strudel.  Classic Viennese.  I soon discovered how surprisingly and unsurprisingly small world of Shanghai’s Jewish refugees was in Melbourne.1

Security eventually came for Australia, China, and the Jewish refugees. Australia and China eventually enjoy tremendous trade partnership however politically ambivalent with one another.  The Australian government collapsed under pressure to gradually dismantle the “White Australian Policy” to allow Asians and other immigrants to enter in the 1950s and 1960s. The Chinese government embraced a positivist view of Jewish refugees’ lives in Shanghai during the Holocaust.  For the Jewish refugees from Shanghai, they found security in Australia even if they were forbade to speak German in public in their first years due to antisemitism, anti-immigration, and cultural intolerance. Many have returned to Shanghai to visit in recent years; possibly  more likely to do so than returning to Germany and Austria where they experienced greatest persecution.

1 For more on Schrei Abend and its members, see Antonia Finanne, Far From Where? Jewish Journeys from Shanghai to Australia (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1999.

Movable Memories

By Randall Rowe, PhD Student, Department of Slavic and Eastern European Languages and Cultures

 On Monday, March 19th the Global Mobility Project hosted two exciting events with South Korean artist Do-Ho Suh. There was a great turnout for his talk at the Knowlton School of Architecture, where he elaborated on his creative process. His work questions the concept of home and how a person transports home across time and space. Do-Ho has created fabric homes by measuring the dimensions of his former living spaces and then sewing together representations of these spaces. He has also engaged with his former homes in other ways. For example, he has used a technique called rubbing to create traced representations of these spaces. He wraps the subjects of his installments (his former homes) in white paper and carefully rubs the surfaces with a pencil to reveal the intricate designs and details of the living spaces. This very delicate and physical practice (measuring, sewing, rubbing, etc.) reinforces Do-Ho’s deep connection to the spaces. Consequently his memory of home becomes a portable manifestation of an abstract concept that may be carried with him in a suitcase everywhere he goes.

Do-Ho talked about how his fabric structures are developed from the memories of his former dwellings. They change meaning as they grow to include the various places he encounters in his work and life, he says. His presentation started with his original installation, Seoul Home, which debuted in Los Angeles at the L.A. Korean Culture Center (1991). His installation grew to incorporate his other former homes and began to move from exhibit space to exhibit space. Reflecting the transient nature of his work and the migration experience, Do-Ho’s Seoul Home became Seoul Home/L.A. Home/New York Home/Baltimore Home/London Home/Seattle Home… (1999).

Later in the day, we hosted a screening at the Wexner Center for the Arts of Fallen Star: Finding Home (2016), a film that was directed by our very own Prof. Vera Brunner-Sung and Valerie Stadler. This film documents the Fallen Star art installation (2012), which was a collaboration led by Do-Ho Suh at the Stuart Collection of the University California, San Diego. Fallen Star was an ambitious project that culminated in placing a small house, inspired by a cottage on the East coast of the U.S., on the 7th floor roof of a building in Southern California. Again, Do-Ho engages with the idea of home, but this time on a college campus where many arrive from other cities, states and countries. After the film, the audience was treated to a rare opportunity to ask questions of both the creator of the project and one of the directors of the films.

In our Q & A session, both Do-Ho and Prof. Brunner-Sung stressed the collaborative nature of their work. Fallen Star was made possible by the expertise of many people in a variety of fields. Do-Ho Suh envisioned the project, but conceded that he, alone was unable to execute such a large scale work. The Stuart Collection, together with local engineers and contractors constructed and raised the house, and the process was documented by Brunner-Sung and Stadler. The film not only shows the process of erecting the project, but also captures the process of change within those who helped carry out the project. A project of this scale was dismissed as too frivolous or nonsensical by skeptical observers, but the team stood by the mission. During a poignant moment in the film, the superintendent of the job, Don Franken, concludes that perhaps art can be difficult to understand because it is experienced by every person in a different way. This captures the transformative nature of Fallen Star and Do-Ho’s work in general. Those who view his art are invited to question otherwise stable and personal concepts such as home or belonging. Do-Ho’s work is particularly powerful, because it delicately reminds the viewer that one’s home is not always constant. In fact, it is often ever-changing, and every person uniquely relates to an idea of home.

Thank you to Do-Ho Suh for visiting us at The Ohio State University, and thank you to all who helped make both events happen. Thank you especially to our co-sponsors: Office of International AffairsAsian American Studies, Ohio State UniversityOSU Department of ArtKnowlton School of Architecture, and the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering!

Musician Visit with Ezé Wendtoin

Ezé Wendtoin, a prominent West African musician will visit OSU Campus March 19-27. He has dedicated his work as a musician to increase understanding of different cultures in Germany. As a solo artist and together with the Dresden musician collective “Banda Internationale” he has stood against racism and xenophobia through music in concerts, theater, social projects, and in his work as an educator and scholar of German Second Language Acquisition. At the Ohio State, he will offer concerts, conversations and lectures to engage with our local students, artists and community.

Find below the events open to the public which we encourage you to attend.

March 19:

12am: Public Lunch with graduate students, Research Commons 352, 18th Ave Library

1-2pm: Pop-Up Performances on the Oval

4-5.30pm: Lecture “Music in Foreign Language Education: Learning German through Music in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso“, Arps 388, RSVP HERE

March 20:

12.45am-2.10 pm: “Studying Abroad: Sharing Experiences”, CLLC Lunch Discussion with music with Foreign Language Students students, Hagerty Hall courtyard/ Crane Café, lunch snacks will be provided, RSVP HERE

2.30-4.30pm: “Bringing Different Worlds Together Through Music”, student workshops in German and French, SIGN UP HERE

5-6.30pm: “Being African in Trump’s America“, Roundtable Discussion and Concert, Frank Hale Cultural Center, 153 W 12th Ave, Columbus, Ohio 43210

March 21:

2-3.30pm: Lunch with graduate students, Jennings Hall 050

4-5pm: Pop-Up Performances on the Oval

March 22:

3-3.30pm: Pop-Up Performances on the Oval

3.30-5pm: Musical Discussion with the Migration Studies Working Group, Research Commons, 350A, 18th Ave Library, RSVP by emailing migrationstudiesworkinggroup@gmail.com

March 27:

6pm: “Ezé Wendtoin” Collaborative Concert at the Global Gallery Café in Clintonville

More information can be found on www.u.osu.edu/ezewendtoin OR www.go.osu.edu/eze

More information about Student Workshops in German and French:

Bringing Different Worlds Together Through Music

In this workshop, Ezé uses music invites students of German and French to develop ways to think about and bring together different understandings of culture and living. He will incorporate your perspectives to encourage a learning environment in which you are able to learn with and from each other.

Ezé will talk about his work with different non-profit organizations and collectives (Atticus e.V., Lauter Leise in Sachsen, Banda Internationale). He will also present his visits to local schools in Germany, during which he talked with students about issues of racism, prejudice, and clichés, telling the students about how he has made his way to Germany, and what role music played for his journey. He will talk about Burkina Faso by presenting different photographic materials.

The workshop is open to students of German and French.

Workshop 1 (French): 3/20, 2.45-3.30pm

Workshop 2 (German): 3/20, 3.40- 4.25pm

SIGN UP HERE

There is no minimum proficiency level required. Students of different proficiency-levels are encouraged to participate. Each workshop holds 20 students.

Event Page

Co-sponsored by the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures (GLL), the Center for Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (CLLC), the Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS), the Migration Studies Working Group, the Department of Music and the Global Mobility Project.

Plenary Panel: “Borders, Barriers, and Belonging: A Spotlight on Global Migration.”

Join us for the plenary panel that will open the Midwest Slavic Conference on Saturday, March 24, 8:30-10:30am. The plenary panel is free and open to the public.

Borders, Barriers, and Belonging: A Spotlight on Global Migration,” will host five interdisciplinary migration scholars to engage in a discussion that weaves together regional and global perspectives in historical and contemporary human mobility.

The panelists include Jeffrey Cohen (Ohio State), Steven Lee (UC Berkeley), Eleanor Paynter (Ohio State), Johanna Sellman (Ohio State), and Sunnie Rucker-Chang (University of Cincinnati). Tara Zahra will serve as the panel discussant.

The panel is organized by the Center for Slavic and East European Studies and co-sponsored by the Center for African Studies, the Center for Latin American Studies, East Asian Studies Center, and the Middle East Studies Center.