Where is home?

Published: March 13, 2017

Fataneh Farahani, Associate Professor at Stockholm University’s Department of Ethnology, Gender Studies and History of Religions, gave the opening keynote at the Global Media Café "A Second Home: Mediating Borders and Hospitality" on March 8, 2017.

Fataneh Farahani gives the opening keynote at “A Second Home” on March 8, 2017. Photo by Martin Karlsson

The event was organized and sponsored by the Leading Research Environment “Global Media Studies and the Politics of Mediated Communication” (Director: Miyase Christensen) with Isabel Löfgren as guest curator, in collaboration with Botkyrka konsthall/Residence Botkyrka and Vision Forum.

In her lecture, entitled “Hospitality and Hostility in an Era of Displaced Responsibility”, Fataneh Farahani described the personal and intellectual journey that led her to the notion of hospitality, and discussed the politics of hosting that underlie processes of transnational migration and diaspora. Faharani noted that a migrant's conditions of arrival to a host country will vary depending on gender, class, ethnicity and sexuality, among other factors, and highlighted the crucial difference between proclaiming a place as home and actually feeling at home in that place. Quoting Homi Bahbha, she noted that one could be unhomed without necessarily being homeless, and discussed the delicate link between hospitality and hostility as expressed in the power asymmetries between host and guest. The question of what it takes for a location to turn into a home for migrants is at the center of Faharani's new research project, "Cartographies of hospitality". Initially funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the study will compare the hospitality practices of civil society organizations that support immigrants and asylum seekers in three multicultural cities -London, Stockholm and Sydney- and analyze how those practices relate to broader national discourses.

Faharani's keynote set the stage for the full-day interdisciplinary symposium, which brought together academic and artistic perspectives on refugees, migration and citizenship.

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