13 SES 17, “When Are We Ever at Home?”: Nostalgia for the future, for Europe and elsewhere
Barbara Cassin’s question, “When are we ever at home?”, is likely to seem pertinent, first of all, to those who are away from home, for personal, political, or other reasons. But it speaks not only to people in such positions: it can also say something to those who have never left home. Cassin’s insight is powerful and alarming for us, especially at a time of large-scale migrations, often arousing extreme political emotions, both for migrants and for those who are apparently at home. It is a time when the question of whether there is any ground for us to make claim for ourselves arises in a new way. What is it that can be claimed as “our” history and our collective and individual identity? These matters pose questions of educational import, in both formal and informal ways.
In Nostalgia: when are we ever at home? (2013/2016), Cassin considers the three different homes of Odysseus, Aeneas, and Arendt, in order to explore aspects of the human condition: “I thus choose to understand, as the lesson of an odyssey, that we cannot stay ‘there,’ that is to say, that we ‘are’ never ‘there,’ never at home. Rather than cultivating roots, I would cultivate the elsewhere, a world that does not close itself off, full of the ‘likes’ of us, all different – like us, not like us (Cassin, 2013/3016, p. 63).” In their readings of Cassin, the four presenters in this symposium bring concrete examples of home into question.
The first paper attempts to examine Heidegger’s longing for home particularly through exploring his attitude toward other languages. The discussion moves from language to languages, and then to translation. Translation is shown to be of special importance in terms of the conceptualisation of a responsible response to the other.
The second paper begins with the widespread feeling of Nostalgia and homelessness in Europe. Recent events in the West, such as Brexit and the return to nationalism, have revealed a nostalgia for the past. Migrants, when moving to another place, may also experience nostalgia. Based on this mutual feeling of nostalgia, this paper suggests educative practices emerging and supporting the move from the nostalgia for the past to a nostalgia to the future.
The third paper discusses the themes of exile and return in the collection of short stories entitled “Exile and the Kingdom” by pied-noir Albert Camus. Written during the time of the French-Algerian war, these stories may be said to exemplify those who, in Cassin’s terms, “‘are’ never there, never at home.” This paper suggests the importance of these ideas in education, not only in recognising identities of those who ‘belong-in-exile’, but in creating educational spaces where such identities can be more fully accounted for.
The last paper shifts the focus from Europe to elsewhere. This paper illustrates the National Museum of Korea for a Korean on matters of national, collective, and individual identity in relation to the problem of nostalgia. It discusses the fragile nature of identity in the museum expressed in the construction of the building and the (re)presentation of its objects. This paper examines the educational role of the museum in relation to matters of identity.
How are children to be taught a sense of home, of their history, and their identity? The four papers attempt to respond to this question. The symposium calls for new ways of thinking about the sense of identity. We refer mostly to historical cases from Europe, but Europe is not only the case. The symposium attempts to bring to the discussion on nostalgia and the sense of home that is everywhere and elsewhere.
Camus, A. (2006). Exile and the Kingdom. Trans. Cosmann, C. London: Penguin Modern Classics. (Originally published in 1957). Cassin, B. (2016) Nostalgia: When Are We Ever at Home? Trans. Brault, P-A. New York: Fordham University Press. Derrida, Jacques. 1998. Monolingualism of the Other: Or, The Prosthesis of Origin. Translated by Patrick Mensah. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press. ———. 2005. Sovereignties in Question: The Poetics of Paul Celan: The Poetics of Pual Celan. Edited by Thomas Dutoit and Outi Pasanen. New York: Fordham University Press. Heidegger, Martin. 1976. What Is Called Thinking? Translated by J. Glenn Gray. New York: Harper Perennial. ———. 2003. ‘A Dialogue on Langugae: Between a Japanese and an Inquirer’. In On the Way to Language, 1st Harper & Row Pbk. Ed edition. San Francisco: HarperOne. Nietzsche, F. W., Kaufmann, W., & Hollingdale, R. J. (1968). The will to power. New York, Vintage Books Reisinger, C., Steiner, J. (2006) Reconceptualizing object authenticity, Annals of Tourism Research, 33(1), pp. 65-86.
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