Diaspora, Homeland, and Folk Imagination in the Twentieth Century
Folklore Studies in a Multicultural World
What happens to ethnic communities when they have two homelands to love—one real and immediate, the other distant but treasured in the heart and imagination?
Ukrainian Otherlands is an innovative exploration of modern ethnic identity, focused on diaspora/homeland understandings of each other in Ukraine and in Ukrainian ethnic communities around the globe. Exploring a rich array of folk songs, poetry and stories, trans-Atlantic correspondence, family histories, and rituals of homecoming and hosting that developed in the Ukrainian diaspora and Ukraine during the twentieth century, Natalia Khanenko-Friesen asserts that many important aspects of modern ethnic identity form, develop, and reveal themselves not only through the diaspora’s continued yearning for the homeland, but also in a homeland’s deeply felt connection to its diaspora. Yet, she finds each group imagines the “otherland” and ethnic identity differently, leading to misunderstandings between Ukrainians and their ethnic-Ukrainian “brothers and sisters” abroad.
An innovative exploration of the persistence of vernacular culture in the modern world, Ukrainian Otherlands, amply informed by theory and fieldwork, will appeal to those interested in folklore, ethnic and diaspora studies, modernity, migration, folk psychology, history, and cultural anthropology.
“Vernacular culture, migration, and feelings of longing to belong are explored in this multisited ethnography of the connections among diasporic ethnic Ukrainian communities. . . . In an ambitious stroke, [the author] extended her research from the postwar outmigration period, when most Ukrainians went to North America, to include interviews with Ukrainians who migrated to Portugal and Italy for work after the collapse of the USSR.”
“An important book. . . . With the current mass movements of peoples, looking at the relationships between those who leave and those who stay is a must.”
—Journal of Folklore Research
“The author takes her readers on a profound journey through time and across geographic borders. In clear, engaging language, she finds a balance between culturally rich ethnographic examples and complex theoretical interpretations, introducing a folkloric perspective that is largely underrepresented in diaspora studies.”
—Mariya Lesiv, Memorial University of Newfoundland
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