Daniela Berghahn - Speaker, 21-Jun-2012 → 23-Jun-2012
Conference paper presented at the annual NECS conference in Lisbon in June 2012. Since the mid-1990s, a number of Turkish German, Maghrebi French and Asian British filmmakers have excavated their parents’ memories of migration to the old Europe in documentaries including Memories of Immigration (Benguigui, 1997), We Forgot to Return (Akin 2000) and I for India (Suri 2005). This paper explores the triangulated relationship between the collective memory of diaspora and the social memory of the family in relation to official accounts of immigration written and preserved by the host societies. These ‘domestic ethnographic’ documentaries (Renov 1994) draw attention to the complex layering and medialisation of personal and collective memories, characteristic of postmemory texts (Hirsch 1997). Family photographs and home videos function as mnemonic triggers for recollections that unfold in extended dialogues with (real of symbolic) parents. Archival footage from televised programmes about immigration provides a narrative counter-point, while popular songs capture the parents’ nostalgia for to their homeland.