Conference Panels

SHIFTING VALUES IN MIDDLE EASTERN AND DIASPORIC CONTEXTS: MIGRATION, IDENTITY AND GENERATIONAL CHANGE [IUAES COMMISSION ON THE MIDDLE EAST]

Convenor: Gay Breyley, School of Music-Conservatorium, Monash University
E-mail: Gay.Breyley@monash.edu.au

This panel explores shifting approaches to knowledge and value in Middle Eastern contexts. We seek papers that deal with such issues as the problematics of marriage and issues of the reproduction and transformation of minority identities in diasporic contexts, including change in the attitudes of subsequent generations born in these contexts since migration. We aim also to explore how language maintenance, religious affiliation, participation in ritual, taste in music and other patterns of consumption, as well as other factors, contribute to maintenance and change within diasporic contexts of identities oriented to homeland affiliations.

  • SESSION 1     Room: G60 ARTS     Wed 6/7/2011     Time: 13.30-15.00     Room Location Map
    • Paper 1: “No arranged marriages here!” Lebanese women and the demand for equality and choice in Australia
      • Nelia Hyndman-Rizk, University of New South Wales (ADFA)
    • Paper 2: Love and marriage in Iraqi Kurdistan after 2003
      • Klara Öberg, École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), IRIS
    • Paper 3: Hayoutiun and the Islamic Republic: Language and Identity among the Armenian Christians of Iran
      • James Barry, Monash University
    • Paper 4: Globalisation and generational change in Islamic Iran: Shifting approaches to Shi’a mourning
      • Gay Breyley, Monash University

SESSION 1

Chair: Soheila Shahshahani, ShahidBeheshti University

Paper 1: “No arranged marriages here!” Lebanese women and the demand for equality and choice in Australia

Nelia Hyndman-Rizk, University of New South Wales (ADFA)

This paper examines the centrality of women for both the (re)production and transformation of Lebanese Maronite identity in Australia, by analysing the case of migrants from the village of Hadchit, North Lebanon, and their children in Sydney. Today, second generation Lebanese women demand forms of equality and choice in marriage that they believe were not available to their mothers. This paper analyses this transformation as a process of changing social relations of production, whereby the marriage contract shifts from relations of descent to relations of consent (Sollors 1986).

Paper 2: Love and marriage in Iraqi Kurdistan after 2003

Klara Öberg, École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), IRIS

This paper brings forward the issue of marriage for Kurdish men in the Kurdistan region in the North of Iraq after the U.S. invasion in 2003. A group of Kurdish young men that are living in exile in Gothenburg, Sweden, have been interviewed over a period of two years. Through their stories we see how the social regulations for love and marriage, but also the acceptances for a man to stay unmarried, have changed since 2003 and the U.S. invasion.

Paper 3: Hayoutiun and the Islamic Republic: Language and Identity among the Armenian Christians of Iran

James Barry, Monash University

Central to Armenian identity throughout the Diaspora is the concept of Hayoutiun, or Armenian-ness, which is based around the symbolic use of the Armenian language, adherence to Armenian sects of Christianity, loyalty to the homeland and identity based association with other Armenians. Maintaining Hayoutiun is usually considered a challenge when faced with assimilation into the host society. But during recent fieldwork in Iran, the author has discovered that the reverse is the case; that many Armenians have difficulty in encouraging the younger generation to speak the Persian language fluently or have informal relationships with non-Armenian Iranians. This paper will discuss this issue within the broader discourse surrounding language and identity, and will examine the role the Armenian educational, social and religious institutions have had in creating an insular Armenian identity over the past thirty years.

Paper 4: Globalisation and generational change in Islamic Iran: Shifting approaches to Shi’a mourning

Gay Breyley, Monash University

This paper explores the ways mourning ceremonies in urban Iran have adapted to the tastes of their young participants. These tastes include driving rhythms, associated with Western popular music, the availability of online recordings and a range of merchandise, from jewellery to ringtones. The paper analyses the ways globalisation and other factors have contributed to this shift and the re-contextualisation of Shi’a mourning practices in urban Iran.