The conference is being organized in the context of the European network “A Europe of Diasporas” and will focus on the public representation of diaspora identities, and on the way these representations reflect, and also influence identities. In view of their dispersion and of their dependence on the rest of society around them, individuals who share a diasporic identity are particularly strongly influenced by, or sensitive to, the representation of these identities in the societies where they live. Under what conditions, for instance, might these representations contribute to the desirability, or otherwise of diasporic identities? How do these representations differ between European countries, and how do they impact the communities in question? And what strategies have diasporic groups attempted to seek to influence these public representations? The examination of this subject will come as an indispensable complement to the work already carried out by the Europe of Diasporas network over the past 18 months.
There are several reasons for the choice of these concepts. In any state, a public institution creates various symbolic dimensions and is partially reproduced through referring to those symbols – flags, monuments, ceremonies, banknotes, squares and so on – these are all a central variable in the creation and maintenance of identity/identities. It is the very nature of human beings grouped together in collectivities to form an identity. However, the process of this formation is not a simple one, identities being structured by a web of factors at the two different levels.
In many parts of Europe, even diasporas with strong identities suffered oblivion – the reaction after the collapse of the authoritarian regimes, but not only, was to seek restitution of these identities into the public’s minds.
The choice of the public space issue is that this can be defined as a fusion of areas that are, in theory, made available and accessible to all members of society. This approach can be analyzed by breaking down the meaning of “area” which implies outdoor areas such as streets, sidewalks, parks and squares, monuments and public buildings, but also symbolic aspects such as flags, anthems, traditional clothing. Moreover, more recently, the concept likewise encompasses virtual networks such as social networking websites. Diasporas of various kinds do express themselves in these frameworks.
Scholars from Armenia, Belgium, Romania, United Kingdom and USA will present and debate these issues during a one day conference, held under the framework of the Europe of Diasporas project. Details about the participants and the titles of their intervention TBA soon.
The working language of the event is English
This conference is organized by the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Bucharest, in partnership with the Armenian Union of Romania, The Goldstein Goren Center, The Hellenic Foundation for Culture, Picture Factory and AGBU Europe.