Rites of Return: Diaspora Poetics and the Politics of Memory

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rites of Return: Diaspora Poetics and the Politics of Memory edited by Marianne Hirsch and Nancy K. Miller available for purchase on Columbia University Press (2011).

The first decade of the twenty-first century has witnessed a passionate engagement with the losses of the past. Rites of Return examines the widespread effects of a legacy of historical injustice and documented suffering on the politics of the present. This collection of original essays devoted to feminist diasporic studies maps bold and broad-based responses to past injury across Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, Australia, the Middle East, and the United States. It examines new technologies of genetic and genealogical research, memoirs about lost family histories, the popularity of roots-seeking journeys, organized trauma tourism to sites of atrocity and new Museums of Conscience, and profound connections between social rites and political and legal rights of return.

Rites of Return brings together twenty-four writers, historians, literary and cultural critics, anthropologists and sociologists, visual artists, legal scholars, and curators to explore our contemporary ethical endeavor to redress still damaging injustices and retrieve lost histories. Their essays reopen the conversation about the importance of a cultural memory that honors the lessons of the past without, in turn, being paralyzed by nostalgia for lost places. Rites of Return provides a necessary new perspective on the intimate and public experiences of dispossession and displacement shaping our twenty-first century condition.