mobility, memory and place making:

displacement rather than emplacement,
routedness rather than rootedness,
are the norm for many migrants

(a mobile sense of place)


“people are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.”

  • James Baldwin / the Politics of Disconnection


Michel Foucault posits memory as a site of resistance


Jonathan Arac, Postmodernism and Politics:

the process of remembering can

“transform history from a judgement on the past in the name of a present truth to a ‘counter-memory’ that combats our current modes of truth and justice, helping us to understand and change the present by placing it in a new relation to the past.”


bell hooks said

“It is the telling of our history that enables political self-recovery”


colonial histories of displacement -

the so-called “Long Walk,” a term used to describe the forced removal of thousands of Navajos from Dinétah and onto a reservation in southwestern New Mexico.


“survivors of Dispersal”


The moon touched my shoulder
and I longed for a vanished love

The moon turned the desert to water

For a moment I saw islands
as they began to sink

The ocean was a dried floor

Below me is a world without footprints
I am alone I’m still alone
and there’s no trace anywhere of the drowned

The sun is setting over what was once an ocean

From Agha Shahid Ali's A Nostalgist's Map of America


While walking through the Tucson Mountains, Shahid imagines the desert landscape before him as the “dried floor” of an “ocean” that swallows entire “islands.” Apart from conjuring the myth of Atlantis, and thus the sudden loss of an entire society and culture, the reference can also be read as a nod to the geological history of the Tucson area and the Sonoran Desert more generally.

on belonging :

Carol Lee Flinders defines a culture of belonging as -

the “intimate connection with the land to which one belongs, empathic relationship to animals, self-restraint, custodial conservation, deliberateness, balance, expressiveness, generosity, egalitarianism, mutuality, affinity for alternative modes of knowing, playfulness, inclusiveness, nonviolent conflict resolution, and openness to spirit.”


bell hooks - “Not speaking in the tongue of my ancestors was a way to silence ridicule”

Working to heal, to be whole has been a process of awakening, of moving from trance into reality, of learning how to be fully present. Leaving home evoked extreme feelings of abandonment and loss. It was like dying. Resurrecting the memories of home, bringing the bits and pieces together was a movement back that enabled me to move forward. All my trance states were defenses against the terrors of childhood. When I left home, I took with me unresolved traumas. Carrying the voices of my ancestors within me everywhere I called home, I carried remembered pain and allowed it to continually sweep me away. This sensation of being swept away was like spinning.

more bell hooks:

Earth is a diverse ecosystem

if we think of the natural landscapes that surround us as simply blank slates, existing for humans to act upon them according to our will, then we cannot exist in life-sustaining harmony with the earth

(Estrangement from our natural environment)

we must consistently challenge dehumanizing public representations of poverty and the poor. Restoring to our nation the understanding that people can be materially poor yet have abundant lives rich in engagement with nature, with local culture, with spiritual values is essential


When we love the earth, we are able to love ourselves more fully.

Chief Seattle in 1854:

How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them? Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people ...We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man — all belong to the same family.

(what union and harmony with nature look like?)