Mobile Identities: Linking Colonial Histories of Displacement with Portable Affective Objects and Memories
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This project considers portable affective objects as sites that hold and emit narratives of colonial displacement, generational ties and ruptures, and loss of identity for South Asian diasporas. I propose that the affective objects provide memories, geographies, and emotion. I look to previous scholarship on affect and trauma that suggests that the question of survival can be understood through what is unsaid. My project will add to this discussion by showing how objects and artefacts—material things—can be linked to trauma and displacement; it is specifically the emotions surrounding the affective object—the meanings attached to things—that will uncover some of the unspoken and unsaid complexities of displacement. The very characteristic of portability of objects creates an ability to carry a history, narrative and even home. This project is an analysis of three separate objects; these objects chronicle and are read alongside the narratives of my own familial history with colonial displacement. Through tracing personal narratives that attach themselves to these objects, I uncover that what is lost in upheaval and violence can be found, once again, in the memories the objects hold.