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Acknowledging home(s) and belonging(s) : border writing Purru, Kadi 2003

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ACKNOWLEDGING HOME(S) AND BELONGING(S): BORDER WRITING by KADI PURRU  B . A . / M . A . St. Petersburg Institute o f Theatre, M u s i c and Cinematography, 1980 M . A . University o f British Columbia, 1996  A THESIS S U B M I T T E D I N P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T OF T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in  T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES Faculty o f Education The Centre for the Study o f Curriculum and Instruction We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A Vancouver, B . C . M a y 2003 ©  Kadi P u r r u , 2003  In  presenting this  degree at the  thesis  in  University of  partial  fulfilment  of  of  department  this or  publication of  thesis for by  his  or  scholarly purposes may her  representatives.  of  an advanced  Library shall make it  It  be is  granted  by the  understood  that  head of copying  my or  this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written  / lu  G - K ^ ^  The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  DE-6 (2/88)  for  agree that permission for extensive  permission.  Department  requirements  British Columbia, I agree that the  freely available for reference and study. I further copying  the  \HLL  S{Q<  Abstract M y dissertation is an inquiry into issues o f home and belonging. For many people, the struggle to create a home i n a "new" country, and the oscillation between a past "there" and present "here" have become ways o f existence. Displacement challenges and raises questions regarding one's roots, affiliations, loyalty and belonging. The yearning for a place such as home becomes a site o f inquiry for communities o f displaced people. Destined to live between languages, cultures and national affiliations, im/migrants construct their homes in the particular place o f "border." Home(s) andBelonging(s):  Acknowledging  Border Writing is "homeward" journeying through the  discursive landscapes o f nation, ethnicity, diaspora, and "race." It explores how border interrupts/initiates a discourse o f home. I am an im/migrant researcher. The word "migrant" connotes impermanence, detachment and instability.  From this positionality I introduce a slash into the word  "immigrant" to transform these connotations into a permanence o f migration. A s autoethnographic and conversational inquiry, I explore im/migrant experiences from the position o f "I," rather than "We." However, "I" is not a position o f isolated individual(istic) exclusiveness, but a position o f the personal articulation through the relationships with/in community. M y research includes conversations with: theorists, colleagues from different disciplinary backgrounds, members o f the "ethnic" communities to which I belong, and my daughter. I construct these conversations as borderzone arriculations where a "third space" emerges. The word dissertation stems etymologically from Greek dialegesthai, to converse, to dialogue; whereby dia- means "one with another," and legesthai means "to tell, talk." M y dissertation endeavors to recognize - to know again, to know anew these deep layers o f border as dialogue and conversation. A s an im/migrant inquiry, my dissertation intends to create a different, mother knowing and culture o f scholarship that broaden and deepen the space o f academic researching/writing.  11  Journeying homeward is (not) about homecoming, is (not) about homesteading, is (not) about leaving home. Journeying homeward is being at home i n the journey .  TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract  ii  Note to the Reader  vii  Acknowledgements  viii Dear Reader  D W E L L I N G IN T H E DISSERTATION  1 2  im/migrant inquiring border writing theoria departing journeying (non)methodologically homewards  3 6 11 16 18  W H E R E N E S S O F BELONGING(S): B E T W E E N H E R E A N D T H E R E  24  our home is far away  25  what do you take with you when going on a journey? between Estonia and Colombia  26 27  between Colombia and Canada  30  between here and there between disciplines: autofictional dialogues between Canada and Estonia where do you come from? between belonging and not belonging  C O N V E R S A T I O N A L REAL-I-TBES the road is a slow moving river of red clay WANDERING BORDER A TRA VESANDO DIASPORIC S P A C E S W I T H A F R I E N D , M A I J A contextual FOOTnote entering into diasporic space locating: where are we from?  32 33 36 38 42  45 51 55 56 57 58 64  iv  from "North" to "South," from Finland to Mexico from "East" to "West," from Estonia to Columbia pedagogical encounters re-locating: where are we at ? email from Maija: where am I at WANDERING BORDER " A T H O M E " O N T H E B O R D E R : E N T A N G L I N G E T H N I C AFFILMTIONS voices from the border letters to Linda Kivi, an Estonian Canadian writer contextual FOOTnote not my country becoming Estonian Canadian: from theatre to community  68 72 75 80 86 88 89 90 91 92 106 108  ring  110  who are we? professional vs. amateur "high" vs. "low" ring  Ill 118 122 132  Werewolves among us: a drop of foreign blood (un)familiar: mother - daughter kitchen table talks  134 139  contextual FOOTnote  140  ethnic  154  WANDERING BORDER NATION: T H E UNCANNY H O M E  155 158  fairy tales and/on a "civilizing mission"  159  Nukitsamees: The boy with horns not home the "uncanny" unheimlich ' the Nation as home  161 164 168 171 176  ii  v  v  WANDERING BORDER  180  UN/ENDING: C O N V E R S A T I O N W I T H A N E D U C A T O R , C O L L E A G U E A N D FRIEND, H A R T E J G I L L contextual FOOTnote  183 184  uncoding the "colour" code  186  defining transcultural un/comfortable ethnic realities un/ending  194 204 215  WANDERING BORDER H E A R T ( H ) M I N D I N G AWARENESS O F B E ( L O N G ) I N G sudametunnistus: heart witnessing koda be(long)ing in the journey WORKS CITED AND CONSULTED  228 231 232 243 244 252  vi  Note to the Reader: I acknowledge the following texts interwoven with/in my dissertational text/ure:  1. Enrique Buenaventura, "The Schoolteacher," translated from Spanish by Gerardo Luzuriaga and Robert S. Rudder, in The Orgy: Modern One-Act Plays from Latin America. Berkley, C A : University o f California Press, 1974.  2. Jaan Kaplinski, "The East-West Border," translated from Estonian by Jaan Kaplinski with Sam H a m i l l and R i i n a Tamm, i n The Wandering Border: Poems by Jaan Kaplinksi. Port Townsend: Copper Canyon Press, 1987.  3. "How Can I Recognize M y Home" is an Estonian runo-song adapted by Jaan Kaplinski and translated from the Estonian by Kristin Kuutma. It is published i n a booklet accompanying the C D titled Litany to Thunder prepared by the composer Veljo Tormis, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tonu Kaljuste. The C D was recorded in 1999 by E C M Records G m b H , Miinchen, Germany. "Runo-songs link modern Estonians to the ancient pre-Christian shamanistic culture practiced by the Baltic Finnic peoples around the Gulf of Finland." This is what Veljo Tormis, a composer who has dedicated his life to the collection and exploration o f the legacy o f runo-songs, says on the program accompanying the runosongs.  But how do I establish this link when the modernist master narrative of "nation " and my schoolbooks have disconnected me from my past and my roots, from my connections to my ancestors' home? This is my underlying concern when quoting and referring to words from " H o w Can I Recognize M y H o m e " throughout my thesis.  vii  Acknowledgements "[KJnowledge is in the end based on acknowledgement... " - Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty.  M y researching/writing dwells with/in relationships. I acknowledge: the commitment o f my dissertation committee through all the stages o f my work: the caring and inspiring guidance o f my supervisor Dr. Karen Meyer; the unconditional support and trust in my work of Prof. Jan Selman and the creative understanding and editing assistance o f Dr. Lynn Fels. the questions, comments and suggestions that deepened and broadened my understanding of the issues at hand o f the members o f my examination committee, Dr. Carl Leggo and Dr. E r i k a Hasebe-Ludt. the respectful reading and generous critique/response to my work o f the external examiner Dr. Jurgen Kremer. the gift o f exchange o f ideas and thoughts with my colleagues - M a i j a Heimo, Hartej G i l l , Rauna Kuokkanen - who provided me with learning opportunities through the engagement i n conversations. the courage of my daughter, Iana Veronica Rey who shared with me her personal struggle on "multicultural" issues in the space o f my dissertation. the contribution o f the members o f the Estonian Canadian theatre group i n Vancouver Armas K i v i s i l d , A i n o Lepp, Leida Nurmsoo, Dagmar Ohman, Helle Sepp, Marje Suurkask - with whom I have worked together since 1991. the impact o f writings and friendship of Estonian Canadian writer Linda K . K i v i . the importance o f discussions and editing support from my friend, Warren Linds, the University of Regina. the Centre for the Study o f Curriculum and Instruction's (CSCI) community for providing me a scholarly and emotionally supportive academic home. the invaluable help o f my colleague Teresita Tubianosa with formatting and other technical issues.  viii  I dedicate my dissertation to my family - my husband, Jose Rey; my daughter, Iana Veronica Rey; and my mother, L i n d a P u r r u - who have supported and accompanied me during the entire researching/dissertationwriting journey.  ix  Dear Reader, Armas  Lugeja,  Please, allow me to begin with the ancient lines from an Estonian runo-song  me/'e meel teeb teele minna  let's set out on the road teele minna maale saada  set out on the road and begin to go osata oma koduje  to go towards home margata oma majaje  to find our own dwelling  kust ma tunnen oma  kodu  how can I recognize my home millest markan oma  maja  how can I find my house  kus me lahme vastu 66da  where shall we go towards the night vastu 66da vastu pdhja  towards the night towards the north vastu helgasta ehada  towards the shining twilight vastu koitu keerulista  towards the brightness of dawn  DWELLING IN THE DISSERTATION  2  im/migrant inquiring W e are living i n the age o f "immense spatial upheaval" (Massey, 1992, p. 3) caused by globalization and instantaneous worldwide communication as well as by political and economic diaspora. Even i n the last twenty years, changes have been enormous, and the sense o f dislocation, fragmentation and disorientation is currently expressed by many. Modern cultural theorists (such as Bammer, Kaplan, Sarup and others) agree that the appearance o f "displaced" people - refugees, immigrants, migrants, exiles - has become the defining feature o f our time. Julia Kristeva is convinced that "our present age is one o f exile" (1986, p. 286). Iain Chambers thinks that "migration, together with the enunciation o f cultural borders and crossings, is also deeply inscribed in the itineraries o f much contemporary reasoning" (1994, p. 2). A s an im/migrant researcher, I have chosen "im/migrant" among other available scholarly categories to articulate experiences o f post/modem displacement such as refugee, exile, expatriate, tourist, nomad (Kaplan, 1998). Although I am ethnically affiliated with Estonian Canadians, historically I do not form part o f their diaspora as expatriates o f the Second W o r l d War. I "came out" from Estonia during the times o f the C o l d War, not as a political refugee and not as an im/migrant to Canada. Rather, I went to Colombia due to my marriage. I belong to the Colombian diaspora, although I did not arrive i n Canada as a refugee but as a "visitor." I am not ethnically connected to this community o f Colombian Canadians. A s a Canadian citizen, I identify with and participate i n both the Estonian Canadian and Colombian Canadian communities. However, since my journey between home and away stands apart from collective experiences o f these ethnic communities, I do not feel entitled to speak on their behalf or to represent them. D w e l l i n g i n the space between belonging and not belonging, I can only position myself within the particularities o f this space which forms part o f the experiences o f displacement o f both Estonian Canadian and Colombian Canadian communities. Due to these circumstances, I feel a need to inquire into the experiences o f displacement from the position o f " I , " rather  3  than " W e , " where " I " is not a position o f isolated individual(istic) exclusiveness, but a position o f the personal articulation through the relationships with/in community. "Settling i n a country to which one is not a native" makes me an immigrant. 1  However, / prefer to write this word with the slash "im/migrant"  in order to point to the  tension that the condition of immigration evokes - the tension between settling in and being on the move, between home and away, between belonging and not belonging.  [T]o t r a v e l i m p l i e s m o v e m e n t b e t w e e n f i x e d p o s i t i o n s , a site of departure, a p o i n t of a r r i v a l , the k n o w l e d g e of a n i t i n e r a r y . It also m t i m a t e s a n e v e n t u a l r e t u r n , a p o t e n t i a l h o m e c o m i n g . M i g r a n c y , o n the c o n t r a r y , i n v o l v e s a m o v e m e n t i n w h i c h neither the p o i n t s of d e p a r t u r e n o r those of a r r i v a l are i m m u t a b l e o r certain. It calls for a d w e l l i n g i n language, i n histories, i n identities that are c o n s t a n t l y subject to m u t a t i o n . A l w a y s i n transit, the p r o m i s e o f a h o m e c o m i n g - c o m p l e t i n g the story, d o m e s t i c a t i n g the d e t o u r - becomes a n i m p o s s i b i l i t y . ( C h a m b e r s , 1994, p . 5)  "The word Migrant houses connotations o f impermanence, instability, detachment," writes Azade Seyhan i n her article "Geographies o f Memories: Protocols o f Writing in the Borderland" (1997, p. 76). Thus, cutting the "im/migrant" with the slash settles me into permanence o f migration. Migrancy and exile, as Edward Said points out, involves a "discontinuous state o f being" (1990, p. 365) where "sense o f belonging, our language and the myths we carry i n us remain, but no longer as 'origins' or signs o f 'authenticity' capable o f guaranteeing the sense o f our lives" (Chambers, 1994, p. 19). L i v i n g i n the history o f border crossings, de-territorializations and re-territorialization, the monolithic national or ethnic identities and the formulations o f our "originary" communities now manifest themselves "as traces, memories and murmurs that are mixed with other histories, episodes, encounters" (Chambers, 1994, p. 19).  The Houghton Mifflin Canadian Dictionary of the English Language. 1982, p. 658. 4  Regardless or because o f the condition o f "migrancy" and "displacement," the yearning for a place such as home becomes essential for the community o f dis-placed people. Home is one o f the notions that lie i n the heart o f im/migrant communities. It lies i n the heart o f the people who live outside o f belonging or on the border between belonging and not belonging and for whom national, ethnic, geographical, cultural belonging has ceased to be granted. A s one o f the central themes i n the im/migrant narratives, "home" has caught wide attention from cultural theorists, human geographers, postcolonial and feminist critics (such as Massey, hooks, Bhabha, Sarup, M i n - h a , Lavie, Kaplan, and Hall). The notion o f home is closely related and intersects with the notion o f "identity" a key word o f "multicultural" living and academic inquiring - however, I have chosen the topic o f "home" as the centre o f my inquiries. Unlike complex theorizations about "identity," "home" has a potential to create ties o f understanding and conversational links between "academic" and "non-academic" communities.  N i g e l Rapport and Andrew  Dawson discuss the viability o f "home" as an analytical construct for their book, Migrants o f Identity: Perceptions o f Home in a W o r l d o f Movement. They talk about "the expressive deficiencies o f traditional classifications o f identity, such as locality, ethnicity, religiosity and nationality" which do not convey the "universally affective power o f home" (1998, p. 8). They also refer to Torgovinick who argues that "home" is one o f the "few remaining Utopian ideals, and does not need to be replaced by more abstract analytical terms" (as quoted in Rapport & Dawson, p. 8). B y choosing "home" as the guiding concept o f my inquiring/journeying, I situate myself i n the intimacy o f im/migrant living, hoping to speak from the position o f attached involvement and participation rather than distanced unattached observation. I am aware, however, that while I am living/researching i n an academic space, the danger o f "academizing" the notion o f "home" remains.  5  border writing I am living-re-searching-writing at the border between nations, "races," cultures, languages, disciplines, epistemologies, discourses and wor(l)ds. Destined to live between homes, cultures and national affiliations, im/migrants construct their homes i n such particular places as "border." A s the very epitome o f the immigrant genre, "border" is an intriguing place o f inquiry since it constitutes zones o f perpetual motion, confrontation, confusion, and translation where different idioms, intellectual heritages, and cultural memories are engaged. It subverts the overarching themes o f modernity: the nation, language and identity and de-stabilizes the homogeneity o f dominant metropolitan cultural discourses and ways o f knowing. Heather Leach shares her experience o f borders:  T h e place of b o r d e r s . . . is a place w h e r e n e w things get m a d e - a fertile, y e t d a n g e r o u s l y v o l c a n i c place. Y e t it is also n o place at all, n o k i n g d o m , o n l y l a n g u a g e i n m o v e m e n t : l a n g u a g e so m o l t e n that a l l i n s c r i p t i o n s melt, a n d o n w h i c h n o t h i n g c a n be f i n a l l y i n s c r i b e d . In academia, to be without a k i n g d o m is to risk sinking without trace or tenure. ( m y h o l d i n g , 2001, p . 208) So be it. I surrender to this risk. A s an im/migrant researcher and border writer, I can claim no kingdom, no nation, no discipline. I can intend to dramatize this dominant academic order from the space o f border and make it a more hospitable place because, as Heather Leach reminds us, the borders, the boundaries o f writing, are at least as temporary and disputable as the walls and lines which divide and surround countries and nations. She asks:  6  " I f . . . w e are left w i t h w r i t i n g that has n o p r o p e r n a m e , n o f i x e d adobe, then w h a t k i n d of realms of truth a n d meaning m i g h t such w r i t i n g create?" (pp. 207-208)  The notion o f "border" has been the focus for more than a decade o f those scholars who explore the issues o f ethnic, racial, gender identities and differences o f those who occupy the margins - the "borderlands" o f modem nations - "the colonized," "women," "the coloured," and "the immigrant." There are a variety o f ways to inquire into the notion o f "border". . .  "contact zones" [are] s o c i a l spaces w h e r e disparate cultures meet, clash, a n d g r a p p l e w i t h each other, often i n h i g h l y a s y m m e t r i c a l relations o f d o m i n a t i o n a n d s u b o r d i n a t i o n — l i k e c o l o n i a l i s m , slavery, o r their aftermaths as t h e y are l i v e d o u t across the globe today.  (Pratt, 1992, p . 4)  "in between" is a p l a c e o f e n u n c i a t i o n that is n o t o n l y b e t w e e n t w o p o l a r positions, i t is also i n a n e w place - f o r m e d w h e n those t w o p o s i t i o n s s o m e h o w ignite, incite a n d initiate s o m e t h i n g  O n e o f the characteristics o f this p l a c e  " i n b e t w e e n " is that there is a l w a y s that m o m e n t o f surprise, that m o m e n t of i n t e r r u p t i n g s o m e t h i n g . ( B h a b h a & B u r g i n , 1994, p . 454)  7  "creolization" is a c u l t u r a l process - m a t e r i a l , p s y c h o l o g i c a l a n d s p i r i t u a l - b a s e d u p o n the s t i m u l u s / r e s p o n s e o f i n d i v i d u a l s w i t r r i n the society to their [new] e n v i r o n m e n t a n d to each other (Brathwaite, 1971, p . 11).  T h e t e r m has u s u a l l y a p p l i e d  p a r t i c u l a r l y to the C a r i b b e a n a n d S o u t h A m e r i c a n , a n d m o r e l o o s e l y to those p o s t - c o l o n i a l societies w h o s e presence e t h n i c a l l y o r r a c i a l l y m i x e d p o p u l a t i o n s are a p r o d u c t o f E u r o p e a n c o l o n i z a t i o n . (Ashcroft, Griffiths, & Tiffin, 1998, p . 58)  "metissage'' is a site o f creative resistance to the d o m i n a n t c o n c e p t u a l p a r a d i g m s . . . T h e g l o b a l mongrelization o r metissage o f c u l t u r a l forms creates c o m p l e x identities a n d interrelated, i f n o t o v e r l a p p i n g , spaces. ( L i o n n e t , 1995, p p . 6-7)  "borderland gnosis" (border gnosis for short) is a u n i q u e f o r m o f k n o w l e d g e c o n s t r u c t i o n a m o n g s u b a l t e r n c o m m u n i t i e s , i n w h i c h the p e r i p h e r a l is b r o u g h t to the centre. It is a k n o w i n g f r o m the p e r s p e c t i v e o f a n empire's b o r d e r l a n d s that counters the t e n d e n c y o f occidentalist perspectives to d o m i n a t e , a n d thus l i m i t , u n d e r s t a n d i n g . It is c o i n e d b y the c u l t u r a l critic W a l t e r M i g n o l o i n the context o f L a t i n A m e r i c a n studies as a n e w p l a t f o r m for t l i i n k i n g b e y o n d the c o n t r o l o f m o d e r n / c o l o n i a l categories o f t h o u g h t .  The question is how knowledge equivalent to European disciplinary knowledges, not only subjugated but placed them [other knowledges] in a subaltern position and justified the colonial effort to discipline (e.g., Christianize, civilize) non-European communities. ( M i g n o l o , 2001, p . 179)  8  "hybridity" has n e v e r b e e n a peaceful encounter, a tension-free t h e m e p a r k ; it has a l w a y s b e e n d e e p l y e n t a n g l e d w i t h c o l o n i a l v i o l e n c e . W h i l e , for some, h y b r i d i t y is l i v e d as just another m e t a p h o r w i t h i n a D e r r i d e a n freeplay, for others it is alive as p a i n a n d v i s c e r a l m e m o r y . H y b r i d i t y , i n other w o r d s , is p o w e r - l a d e n a n d a s y m m e t r i c a l . (Stam, 1997, p . 1)  "nepantla" is a N a h u a t l w o r d m e a n i n g "the l a n d i n the m i d d l e " a n d i t is u s e d b y C h i c a n a w o m e n to discuss the l i v i n g o n the b o r d e r .  " N e p a n t l a " is the site o f  t r a n s f o r m a t i o n , the place w h e r e different perspectives c o m e i n t o conflict a n d w h e r e y o u q u e s t i o n the basic ideas, tenets, a n d identities i n h e r i t e d f r o m y o u r f a m i l y , y o u r e d u c a t i o n , a n d y o u r different cultures. N e p a n t l a is the z o n e b e t w e e n changes w h e r e y o u struggle to f i n d e q u m b r i u m b e t w e e n the outer e x p r e s s i o n of change a n d y o u r i n n e r r e l a t i o n s h i p to it. ( A n z a l d u a , 2002a, p . 548) I feel affiliated with the conceptual dwellings that map borderlands writing and generate a space where different idioms, intellectual heritages, colonial legacies and cultural memories engage in the process o f exchange, confrontation, and renegotiation. However, since these dwellings are embedded in different historical and cultural experiences, I can't claim them as my theoretical homelands. Thus, the border thinking/ writing i n my dissertation dwells i n articulating and reverberating itself through the poem "The East - West Border," written by the Estonian poet Jaan Kaplinski (1987) : 2  The Wandering Border: Poems by Jaan Kaplinski. 1987, p. 9. All quotationsfromand reworkings/modifications of the poem rely on this text. 2  9  THE  EAST  -  WEST  BORDER is always wandering, sometimes eastward, sometimes  west,  and we do not know exactly where it is right in Gaugamela, or maybe in  in the  now:  Urals,  ourselves,  so that one ear, one eye, one nostril, one hand, one foot, one lung and one testicle or one ovary is on the one,  another on the other side. Only the heart,  only the heart is always on one side: if we are looking northward,  in the West;  if we are looking southward,  in the East;  and the mouth doesn't know on behalf of which or both it has to speak.  theoria  I knew about the etymological connections between the notions o f "theory" and "theatre," but I never imagined that there are affinities between "theory" and "tourism" until I came across Gregory U l m e r ' s book Heuretics: The Logic o f Invention (1994), that fosters a link between theory and travel/tourism:  The Greeks d e s i g n a t e d c e r t a i n i n d i v i d u a l s to act as legates o n c e r t a i n f o r m a l occasions i n other c i t y states o r i n matters o f c o n s i d e r a b l e p o l i t i c a l i m p o r t a n c e . These i n d i v i d u a l s b o r e the title o f theoros, a n d c o l l e c t i v e l y c o n s t i t u t e d a theoria. T h e y w e r e s u m m o n e d o n s p e c i a l occasions to attest the occurrence o f s o m e event, to w i t n e s s its happenstance, a n d to t h e n v e r b a l l y certify its h a v i n g t a k e n place. (Godzich, as q u o t e d i n U l m e r , 1994, p . 120) Does the positioning o f "im/migrant" re-searcher allow me to j o i n the ranks o f prestigious theoros/theorial  I doubt it since, as Gregory Ulmer reminds us, the theoria  are "the i n s t i t u t i o n a l l y a u t h o r i z e d witnesses" (p. 121). Although the institutional authority might provide one o f the privileged positions o f looking, there is a danger that one might lose the possibility to see through one's own eyes. Rather than taking the position o f theoria, the over-viewing and looking down on "life" i n the university from the top o f "institutional heights," the im/migrant inquirer experiences life walking as a "pedestrian," mingling and getting lost on the streets o f the univerCITY.  3  Rather than travelling by academic highways, the im/migrant inquirer  I am referring to Michel de Certeau's The Practice of Everyday Life (1984) where he compares two different ways of looking: 1) looking at the city of New York from the top of the World Trade Centre (which is after September 11, 2001 no longer possible) with voyeuristic pleasure as a whole, as a single map and 2) seeing the cityfromthe perspective of the pedestrians when walking on the streets down below as a conglomeration of properties. 3  11  wanders on the side-roads and outskirts developing her erratic "trajectories" through the theoretical landscapes and disciplinary (border)zones. A s "im/migrant" researcher, I am a wayfarer dwelling i n the journey where knowing emerges through and with/in the process o f travelling/journeying: Caminante, son tus huellas W a y f a r e r the o n l y w a y is y o u r footsteps, el camino, nada mas, there is n o other caminante no hay camino, W a y f a r e r there is n o w a y ; se hace camino al andar, y o u m a k e the w a y as y o u go. al andar se hace camino, as y o u go, y o u m a k e the w a y , y al volver la vista atras s t o p p i n g to l o o k a r o u n d se ve la senda que nunca y o u see the p a t h Se ha de volver a pisar; T h a t y o u r feet w i l l n e v e r t r a v e l again. caminante, no hay camino, W a y f a r e r there is n o w a y , sino estelas en la mar, o n l y tracks o n o c e a n f o a m .  4  Spanish text isfromAntonio Machado. Caminante. In Poesia y Prosa. Madrid: Espasa-Calpe. English translation isfromAntonio Machado. (1982). Selected Poems. Trans. A. Trueblood. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, pp. 142-143. 4  12  To make one's road when walking means giving up the desire to "fit into" conventional theoretical (pre)establishment. It means giving up the privilege to dwell i n a secure and permanent academic adobe, the pre-fixed theoretical bastion from where one strategically over-views battles between different critiquing clans. To make one's road when walking means tactical  5  dwelling i n institutional interstices and confusing and  insecure academic in-between zones. Such theoretical position/ing choice but inevitability of im/migrant  is not the question of  dwelling.  After taking the responsibility for my theoretical journeying/dwelling, I notice a remark i n U l m e r ' s book I had not paid attention to during my previous readings.  Ulmer,  quoting Burnet, provides the reader with the original sense o f theoria when it  d i d n o t m e a n the k i n d of v i s i o n that is restricted to the sense o f sight. T h e t e r m i m p l i e d a complex but organic mode of active observation - a perceptual system that included asking questions, listening to stories and local myths, and feeling as well as hearing and seeing. It e n c o u r a g e d a n o p e n r e c e p t i o n to e v e r y k i n d o f e m o t i o n a l , c o g n i t i v e , s y m b o l i c , i m a g i n a t i v e , a n d sensory experience. (my b o l d i n g , B u r n e t , as q u o t e d i n U l m e r , p . 121)  I invite you to dwell with/in my dissertation and to co-journey with me into the issues o f home and belonging with that kind o f "theoretical" perspective. This journey w i l l evolve on/through the different discursive landscapes o f NATION  DIASPORA ETHNICITY "RACE"  I am referring to Mishel de Certeau's notions of strategy and tactics from The Practice of Everyday Life (1984). Strategy, according to de Certeau, is an art of the powerful - of producers. These "subjects of will and power" operatefromtheir own place (a "proper"), an enclosed institutional space, which they have denned as their base for controlling and managing relations. Tactics are arts of the weak, by means of which the weak make disciplined spaces "smooth" and "habitable" through forms of occupancy (tricks, maneuvers). 5  13  Before we embark on this journey, I offer some metaphorical devices that might (or might not) orient you i n the process o f this reading/journeying.  Y o u can approach this dissertation as an anthology, composed o f different essays, co-written dialogues, poetic intermissions written while I was making my road through the Ph. D . program at the university.  Y o u can also approach it as a "valley of flowers," since an anthology is a lovely word rooted etymologically i n Greek anthologia "flowergathering," f r o m anthos "a f l o w e r " + logia "collecting," f r o m legein "gather" . T h u s 6  my dissertation gathers together a variety o f "colourful" writing pieces articulated i n different voices, styles and genres: academic, conversational, in/formal, poetic, comic, dramatic, pathetic, dry, epistolary, fragmented, confusing, and reflective. After all, "the border crosser develops two or more voices" (Gomez-Pefia, 1995 p. 149) and the accented language o f im/migrant writer carries the styles o f "other" times and places and bearing generic traces o f "other" heritages, stories and memories. In Estonian the word "to write" is ft/r/utama kirju in English means "multicoloured, multiple colours"  fcXRJUtama: "writing" in Estonian is multicoloured! A s im/migrant inquirer, I am writing i n accented academic lingua using un/familiar narrative and generic schemes that m i x and mingle with the patterns o f orality o f my native - Estonian - tongue which only became writing i n the middle o f the last century. A n d then, I am sure, there are traces o f Spanish with singing Santanderian dialect (a province i n the West Cordilleras) I learned to speak i n Colombia, and o f Russian that I acquired un/willingly during my schooldays.  6  The Houghton Mifflin Canadian Dictionary of the English Language, 1982, p. 56. 14  Or you can approach this dissertation as a suitcase, containing an array o f items, necessary and unnecessary things, carefully folded and wellarranged pieces, last minute additions - everything that one might need or might not need on the journey.  Y o u can approach this dissertation as a dwelling, constructed o f diverse epistemological and disciplinary hallways leading into the main floor o f awareness,  the corridors o f confusion, the getting-stuck comers, and many  "other" rooms. B y the way, as the im/migrant inquirer, I walk around with dictionaries translating, looking up, and trying to make connections between languages and words. I looked up the word "dissertation"...  The dissertation is " a l e n g t h y a n d f o r m a l treatise o r discourse, especially one w r i t t e n b y a c a n d i d a t e for the d o c t o r a l degree at a u n i v e r s i t y ; thesis" as The Houghton M i f f l i n Canadian Dictionary o f the English Language (1982, p. 381) confirms. When inquiring into the etymological roots o f the word "dissertation" I was guided towards a Latin root-word dissertate (frequentative of disserere) c o m p o s e d of dis -, apart + serere, "to connect, j o i n ( i n speech), d i s c u s s " (p. 381).  A s an im/migrant re/searcher I note that the roots o f the word "dis-sertation" reveal the co-existence o f both processes, separating and connecting, which brings the word "dissertation" closer to a borderzone writer.  15  departing It seems to me that border writing might present a very partial, one-sided point of view depending on which side of the border you are at. I acknowledge the importance o f the word partial in regards to my thesis/writing/home. M y thesis conveys/presents partial - "not total, incomplete, biased, prejudiced" - positions, perspectives, knowings in regards to the concept o f home. A n d 7  home is/feels very particular. H o w can I know what colour the walls o f your home are?! H o w can I know what flowers are on your table? H o w can I know what sounds fill your house? H o w can I know what you are talking about around your dinner-table? H o w can I know how b i g your family is? H o w can I know i f you live with your parents, grandparents, older brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, friends? H o w can I know how your home looks? Where is it? In which country? In which continent? H o w does it feel to be forced to leave behind your home? H o w does it feel to see the home o f your ancestors taken and destroyed? H o w can I feel/perceive/know your experiences/homes? Thus, in choosing the topic of home for my dissertation, I acknowledge that I can only convey the very partial knowing through my particular  experiencing/writing  of home and  belonging.  After reminding myself about the partiality and particularity o f my writing, I also recall the other meaning o f the word "partial," stemming from the Latin  pars/partis  7 The Houghton Mifflin Canadian Dictionary of the English Language. 1982, p. 955. 16  meaning o f "part," offering us new possibilities and ways in perceiving the word "partial" and "particular." partn. a p o r t i o n , d i v i s i o n , piece o r s e g m e n t of a w h o l e .  8  Thus, the notion part evokes and is embedded i n the notion o f whole. These two notions, "part" and "whole," are interdependent; the one does not only make sense, but cannot exist without the other. When pointing at the partiality o f my research approach/perspective and particularity o f the topic, I do not intend to imprison the writing o f home into exclusionary, isolationist or individualistic frame. Quite to the contrary, I hope that my writing/researching home evokes and generates the particular readerly experiences/homes which become part o f shared writing/reading/dwelling in/through this partial dissertational text.  I leave larger spaces here so you can begin writing between my lines and the lines  about/of/from your home, i f you so desire.  I invite you also to attend to the other words connected to part like  participation  and partition, particle and partner, partisan and party, revealing the  amazing interrelatedness between the part and the whole.  The word "departing" also departs from part, and so does farewell party]  If you are now truly getting amazed, please don't forget about maze in  a  m  a  z  e  d.  The Houghton Mifflin Canadian Dictionary of the English Language. 1982, p. 955. 17  journeying (non-methodologically) homewards  What method/ology would support inquiring into the borderzone? method n. 1.  A m e a n s o r m a n n e r of p r o c e d u r e ; especially, a r e g u l a r a n d systematic w a y of a c c o m p l i s h i n g a n y t h i n g .  2. O r d e r l y a n d systematic arrangement; orderliness; r e g u l a r i t y . 3. T h e p r o c e d u r e s a n d techniques characteristic of a p a r t i c u l a r d i s c i p l i n e o r f i e l d of k n o w l e d g e . 9  Method/ology has served the academy as a way o f ordering the disorderly material/lity o f our lives by "objectifying" unruly "subject matter(s)," by creating disciplinary territories and boundaries, and by taking control and organizing "knowing" under the fixed categories. Perhaps the notion appeals to the more "settled" researchers looking for order, discipline, principles, prescriptions, "systematic" thinking and established boundaries. But it does not suit an im/migrant re/searcher who dwells i n the geopolitical, cultural, linguistic, and disciplinary borderzones, who changes places, transgresses boundaries, and wanders along unfamiliar territories, who lives i n perpetual transition and uncertainties, who is always on the journey. Thus it looks to me that such an inquirer is in a need o f a b/orderly method/ology able to deal with the perpetual disorderliness, irregularities, and unsystematic rearrangements taking place in the process of journeying. Re-writing the definition o f method from a b-orderly perspective seems not only to undermine the current academic method/ological order but to de-stabilize the meaning o f the notion itself. However, inquiring with help o f The Houghton M i f f l i n Canadian  9  The Houghton Mifflin Canadian Dictionary of English Language. 1982, p. 826.  18  Dictionary o f English Language into the etymology o f method/ology uncovers the un/expected root meaning o f the words:  F r e n c h methode, f r o m L a t i n methodus, f r o m G r e e k methodos, " a g o i n g after/' p u r s u i t (as of k n o w l e d g e ) : met(a)-, after + hodos, journey. (1982, p. 826) The etymological roots o f the word method extend to Greek hodos, meaning way, journey. Isn't it a more meaningful "method/ology" for the im/migrant re/searcher whose researching/writing is a journey? Isn't it a possibility to rethink/question the purpose and usage o f method/ology from the perspective o f the unstable and unpredictable reality o f "search" within the process o f academic "re/search"? The notion o f "journey" insinuates a mobile research positioning, an im/migrant positioning, a position that moves between locations, changes perspectives, wanders through and around multiple sites, looks at different sights, and engages with transformative insights. "Homeward" conveys displacement - a condition and state o f not being at home. A t the same time, it conveys the yearning, the movement towards home, the desire to journey, to move towards. Since any desire is fuelled by unfulfillment, reaching home is an unattainable dream. Thus what matters in "homeward" is not so much stability o f home but the movement - "(to)vrart/."  Journeying  homeward is (not) about homecoming, is (not) about  homesteading,  is (not) about leaving home. Journeying homeward is being at home in the journey.  "Homeward" is not about finding home. It is about searching, coming close and leaving behind, turning and re-turning, departing and searching again, re-searching, endlessly moving towards . . . home.  19  For me, the journey is not romantic, heroic or extraordinary, as the notion o f journey is often seen i n Western narrative contexts. Journey for me is related to "ordinary," to "everyday," to daily learnings, struggles, tensions, mis/understandings, transformative insights. journey n. M i d d l e E n g l i s h journey, jorne, p e r i o d of t r a v e l , a d a y ' s t r a v e l i n g , f r o m O l d F r e n c h jornee, f r o m V u l g a r L a t i n diurnata (unattested), f r o m L a t i n d a i l y p o r t i o n , neuter of diurnus, daily, f r o m dies, d a y .  diurnum,  1 0  A n d to journey, to move forward from one place to another, does not only mean to move towards a future. To journey, to move forward is not a unidirectional movement. The prefix for(e) indicates "before" in time. For(e)- in forward destabilizes the "future" oriented "infront" positioning, the unidirectional advancing/achieving/progressing movement and asks us to look back, towards the past, towards our own previous experiences and towards the wisdom o f those who journeyed before us - "beforehand." In journeying, moving forward, we dwell i n the presence o f the daily interactions between past and future.  In my re-search on home I am motivated To approach but/and not define I am motivated To approximate but/and not arrive I am motivated To search but/and not find  My re-search dwells in the journey. . .  10 The Houghton Mifflin Canadian Dictionary of English Language. 1982, pp. 707-708.  20  Phenomenological researcher Edward Casey traces the word dwell back to two apparently antithetical roots: O l d Norse dvelja, "linger," "delay," "tarry," and O l d English dwalde, "go astray," "err," "wander," reminds us that "dwelling is  accomplished  not by residing but by wandering" (my italics, Casey, 1993, p. 114). When approaching method/methodology as journey, remember that every journey is different. Every inquirer/journeyer faces challenges and risks, possibilities o f taking a wrong turn, getting lost, not arriving at her or his desired destination.  Doctoral seminar. O n educational research methodology. T h e i n s t r u c t o r asks u s to close o u r eyes a n d t r y to v i s u a l i z e , i m a g i n e the thesis each o f us is g o i n g to w r i t e . I close m y eyes b u t c a n n o t see a n y t h i n g . Different thoughts r u n restlessly through m y mind:  Did I tell lana that I can meet her after the swimming lesson at 7 o'clock so that we can walk home together? No, I didn't. Oh, why did I forget?! I love to be with my daughter, she has grown up so quickly. . .what friends we have become...  Ah, yes . . . thesis . . . thesis . . . I a m t r y i n g to i m a g i n e a stack of three h u n d r e d pages, e v e r y single p a g e f i l l e d w i t h m a n y , m a n y . . . m a n y w r i t t e n lines . . . a n d , o f course, w i t h v e r y c l e v e r ones. I am so tired; perhaps I shouldn't run every morning. I hate running. . . funny . . . why do I run then? I like to greet the morning forest. . .  Thesis, thesis . . . I cannot concentrate . . . stupid thesis . . . stupid me . . . Interesting, how can Margo take a plane every Wednesday and fly to Vancouver from Prince George just for this seminar? What DEDICATION!  Yes, yes, thesis . . . I a m trying to imagine its title... 21  "Journeying Homewards: Poetics, Politics and Pedagogies of Belonging" "Im/migrant Schoolteacher"  Sites,  Sights,  Insights:  Following  La  Maestra/The  " T O W A R D HEART(H)MINDING CURRICULUM: H O W C A N I RE-COGNIZE HOME?"  There is little to see through the windows o f our seminar room. Sterile sites. Grey sights. Concrete buildings. A n d more concrete buildings. O h , no, I can see a bit o f a sky. The sky is pink. What an unusual color for the autumn sky! L i k e Sohaila's poetry she recited to me on our way home yesterday: "Autumn is pregnant." Strange. Perhaps seen from a Pakistani perspective? In Western culture autumn is usually related to dying. The autumn sky i n my hometown Tartu is normally passionately violet containing grey raining and the burning read-yellow o f the maple trees.  Now I am asked to envision my favourite lines from my thesis . . . but WHERE IS MY THESIS? I cannot see it!!! A W O M A N is sitting i n front o f me right o n the table. She teases me w i t h something. Y e s , I c a n see, she has got h o l d o f a stack o f papers - a l l filled w i t h many, m a n y . . . m a n y written lines.  MY THESIS?! How come? Who is this woman? Why does she have my thesis? How did she get a hold of it?  The w o m a n laughs. Teasingly. I have never seen her before, a n d yet, I recognize her. It is L a Maestra - T h e Schoolteacher - a character from the play o f C o l o m b i a n playwright E n r i q u e Buenaventura, also called La Maestra (The Schoolteacher).  I have known this play for a long, long time; I am very fond o f it. So many events, experiences, memories are related to this play. I have read it hundreds o f times, participated i n its stagings, presented conference papers on it. One paper I wrote was called " H i s story, History, Her Story: Whose Story is L a Maestra telling?" A n d yet, I have never met L a M a e s t r a before.  22  N o w , here she is - right i n front o f me - playing w i t h m y thesis. A n d I d o not have a clue what is written there inside m y thesis. A n d then I hear her voice telling me very softly a n d somewhat sadly, "Don Hforget about the Red Road."  23  WHERENESS OF BELONGING(S): BETWEEN HERE AND THERE  24  meie kodu kauge'ella  OUR HOME IS FAR AWAY viisi versta vaheta  many miles from here kuusi kuivada jogeda  with six dry rivers  seitse sooda  sitke'eda  seven sloppy swamps kaheksa  kalamereda  eight seas of fish  uheksa hiiva ojada  nine beautiful brooks kumme kulma allikada  ten cold springs in between  What do you take with you when you go on a journey?  Do you take many things? Or just your toothbrush and nightgown? Depends how long your journey will be! What would you take when the duration of your journey is unknown? What would you take if you were allowed to take just a small suitcase of things? What would you take when you have only an hour. . . a half hour. . . ten minutes to pack before being deportedfrom your homeland? What would you take when you have to run, run away to a far away land? What would you take when leaving forever?  26  between Estonia and Colombia  WHEN I LEFT Leningrad on a huge Finnish cargo-ship with my two-year old daughter to re-meet my husband in Colombia one day in June, 1983... I took ten big boxes of books in Russian and Estonian; the books on parasitology, poultry, fishery, pig-farming, histology, cellular biology, veterinary medicine, beekeeping, agriculture that belonged to Jose; I took my books on world theatre history, Russian literature, literary theory, aesthetics, drama theory and criticism, Spanish-Russian and Estonian-Spanish  dictionaries,  Spanish Language textbook published in Poland, albums from the Hermitage and the Russian Museum, cookbooks on Estonian food, photographs with sites of Tallinn, Moscow, Leningrad, Tartu npo6ji3MM riosTHKH JJocroeBCKoro B. Eaxmuna, Lotmani Pushkini eluloo, Garcia Marquez 'e Sada Aastat Uksindust MopdpoJiormo CKa3KH B. nponna,  27  3HUHKH0ne,a;HK) MapKCHCTKO-JIeHHHCKOH OHJ10C(J)HH,  HcTopHio  flpeHeft  Pycn B. JIuxaueea; I took toys for my daughter, yellow, green, maroon, orange, blue stuffed animals, baby-dolls and lady-dolls;  I took the clothes my grandmother had sewedfor me and my daughter with great care and love;  I took two iron pans andfour big pots, a large collection offorks, knives and spoons because my friend Sarma from Latvia who had left to live in Mexico a few years before me had told me that kitchenware abroad is awfully expensive;  I took black-red-green Russian kerchiefs and shawls with flowers, leather valets and belts, Estonian ceramic vases, juniper  beer-cups,  candle holders for my Colombian relatives that I hadn 't ever met;  I took a Soviet made massage machine that broke after I tried it out for the first time;  I took an iron, the refrigerator that had a tractor motor according to a mechanic who repaired it in Colombia, a washing machine that we finally never used,  28  several large and small transformers to be able to make the Soviet-made machinery work in Colombia; I took a lot of pincers, pipettes, and things that I cannot name but that Jose supposedly was going to need in his laboratory work; I took Jose's heavy microscope and I was seriously thinking of taking a white concert piano, "Estonia, "just in case my daughter wanted to study music in Colombia. . . and, I almost forgot I took a green plastic potty which served us well throughout our trip, especially during our 48-hour bus trip from Cartagena, a seaport where we arrived,  to our new home Malaga,  Colombian Cordilleras.  a little village in the Western  While other travelers -  campesinos with gray  heavy ponchos and senoritas with make up, large hoops and butterfly bows on their back - had to go outside during requestedpee-stops, Iana was happily making use of her green potty just like at home. And one more thing. On our way from Cartagena to Malaga we stopped in Bucaramanga. Jose went to buy some items. He said that we could not begin our home in Colombia without them. He came back with an object I had never seen before. It was a liquadora, a jucemaker. Without a liquadora, / learned, you cannot begin a home in Colombia. All these things I took with me to Colombia are perhaps still there, though turned into other "things" by tropical rains, unbearable heat, industrious and frenzied mice, and aggressive termites...  29  between Colombia and Canada  Jfelt lost,  confused and anxious in the airport of Mexico City. My luggage - two  enormous trunks and three smaller suitcases - was beyond my control. Luckily, I had been able to get rid of the bigger baggage, somehow squeezing it into a tiny storage slot/chamber. However, the backpack full of books on Colombian theatre, the handbag with the emergency items and my daughter's toys were still weighing down my shoulders. My daughter and I visited different food stands and ate in more than four different places, always leaving some food behind on our plates because the Mexican burritos and nachos were unusually "hot" compared to the Colombian food that had never tasted so picante. We had been in every single women's bathroom and were very familiar with all the banners and posters of the airport's tourist andfinancial officinas. Finally, we did not know what else we could do. I had made a decision to spend this night in the airport after I lost hope to find a place to stay. Although I looked like a gringa, / did speak Spanish.  I thought that I  would not have a problem finding a hotel room in Mexico City for one night on our trip from Cali to Vancouver. However, our plane from Colombia was late. We had arrived at midnight and were given contradictory recommendations regarding hotels. I got dizzy and refused to accept any more advice. And so there we were, exhausted and bewildered, waiting for morning andfor our plane to Canada.  We were in the passage from  the Third World to the First World. I felt so excited when we finally found ourselves on the Japanese airline's plane heading towards Vancouver. All the worries seemed to be over. Soon we would be reunited with Jose who had left Colombia three months before us. He was already immersed in his newly discovered student life in the unfamiliar country, pursuing his second Ph.D. degree, when our daughter and I were still struggling to obtain visas, permissions, certificates for exits and entrances, andfinishing, tying up the ends of our life in Jose's homeland. During these three months I hadfelt the utmost solitude.  Or  perhaps it was not solitude, since I did not feel isolatedfrom the surrounding people.  30  Rather, Ifelt, as my mother used to say in Estonia, "in between earth and sky." It was a state of anxiety, confusion and dislocation. After Jose had left, the familiar reference points of belonging were suddenly gone. I was disconnectedfrom the country where I had begun to feel at home, where my daughter had grown up, where I had worked, loved and struggled for more than six years. Suddenly, I realized how helpless, alone andfar away from home I was.  31  between here and there  "Where am I?" is, after all, one of the most poignant of human formulations. It speaks for an anxiety that is intense, recurrent, and all but unbearable. -John Russell  Here or there There or here Where is here? Where is there? Here is here There is there There is not here Here is not there  But where is between? Here? There? Or t/here?  Not to know where we are is torment, and not to have a sense of place is a most sinister deprivation. -John Russell  32  between disciplines: autofictional dialogues  APPLICATION FORM MUCA10MW1M  Department of Theatre.  HE: We phoned you because you seem to have a pretty interesting background in theatre...Estonia. Russia. Colombia. Hmmm... M E : / would like to continue my theatre studies. I am interested in looking at the pedagogy of the theatre program 1 was involved in when working in Colombia. It was a very experimental program and before I left we began working on its re-structuring. I would like to .  ~ V^C^^W8J\ ^\\j^jn\VNJvV  ^  HE: Well, in this case it might be better for you to contact the Department of Education. You c a n t buy shoes in a meat shop.  Department of Anthropology.  HE: If you want to study in our department you have to start with the undergraduate courses. What? You have a M.A.? ME:  Yes. In Theatre Studies.  HE: You see, that's what I mean, you don't have a background required for graduate studies in our department. Deportment ol fooioloqu. HE: I see.  you ore interested in lookino, ol theatre  from o loraer soeiolooical perspective. What ore you currently reoolno? ME:  / am reading Marco De Marinis'The  ~* WM Mi  Semiotics  o f P e r f _ .  HE:  This is not our approach. You have to read Becker's M  this booh in the library.  APPLICATION lUortds.  You'll find  AfPLlCATI 33  APPLICATION FORM  ME:  I am desperate, my soul is dying in this asphyxiating  materialistic consumerist world. My background is in theatre and I think that theatre and spirituality are intimately connected.  HE: indeed. What religions congregation do yon belong to? On, yon donl belong to any? I donl know how we can help yon, certainly, please keep In tonch. With time....  Department of Hispanic ftudief HEt I understand that you lived and worked In Latin America for five years, but your academic records dont show any evidence of documented academic credits in the discipline of Hispanic Studies. Vou need to start as an unclassified student taking courses in Spanish Literature.  The  APFIICAION HOM  » WM  IP A Tf A M  Al 1L1L  VATI t 1  A l illW f UKM  Programme of Comparative literature.  SHE: [After four years}. We consider yon to be a 'suitable candidate* for our programme because of your diverse cultural and linguistic background. However, you have to repeat the master's degree because your M. A. is not...  The/ Centre/ for the/ Study of Curriovdoum/ oiyid In&friActtovu.  I: Whew already writing' my PhiV. 1heM^i^thje/Vrogrc^mme/iYi' CowipGuratOve> L iterature/, I travwferred/ to- CSCI. After yeary of itKag^UngPs quaStiOYUMty, wcu^dering/I hcu&tfbwndthe/ commuriity where/1 wo* not forced/ to- "fit wv" butwhere/ my 34  knowledge; wov^ re^xn^ru^edi It felt  if I }u&d/fbu<nd/ my  between Canada and Estonia  My friend Livana was leaving for Greece. She phoned me to say good-by. "I am so tired of Canada, you can't imagine how much I want to go home.. .1 haven't seen my parents for two years. I miss my country, the warmth of my people, the sunshine...  you know, here, in Canada, people are so cold, money-minding and boring.  Aren 'tyouplanning  to travel to Estonia?"  I said no and that I was expecting my mother to come to Canada. And then I also explained to her that I am in trouble because my mother hoped to spend Christmas with us, but my daughter desired to be in Colombia with my husband's family.  I told her how  much my daughter misses Colombia and how little she remembers Estonia, where she was born. And then I announced to Livana that  on June 16 we were becoming th  Canadian citizens. "So, you are going to swear to the Queen of England," she laughed, and asked, "What took you so long? I got my citizenship a few years ago!" "Well, it is because you are married to a Canadian," I guessed. "Yeah, right, " she agreed but then she added, "It was easy to get a passport, however, I still get 'stuck' at the Canadian border. The immigration officers always seem to be suspicious of my dark skin and eyes." Then she exclaimed with some resentment in her voice, "You must pass the customs real quickly, even without the Canadian passport.  You look so Canadian, so white!"  Feeling uncomfortable, I responded, "Well, sometimes I do get stuck because it happens that some immigration officers have never heard about a country such as Estonia before." "Could be," she agreed and tried to re-establish the solidarity between us. "I have heard that the people from Great Britain can get Canadian citizenship in a few months, imagine?!"  36  Afterwards we had a really long discussion regarding the war in Kosovo, and we both expressed our disgust regarding Canada's participation in bombings. "I am afraid about my family. They are so close to the war zone," my friend said. "Yeah, these pictures of Bosnian refugees on the TV-screen remind me of Estonian refugees of World War II who arrived in Canada under quite similar circumstances," I replied to her. At the end of the conversation, we talked a bit about our  dissertation-related  work. By the way, my friend's thesis is about Latin American women poets. And we speak to each other in Spanish.  37  Where do you come from? "From Tartu, " I would say if I were in Estonia, feeling proud of the connection with this centuries old-university city in which 1 was born.  Where do you come from? "From Estonia, " I said when studying at the Leningrad Institute of Theatre, Music and Cinematography in Russia (1975-1980), as I perceived the hidden admiration in people's eyes for being from the most disobedient (the most western, capitalist) Soviet Socialist Republic.  Very  often the admiration intermingled with a note of hurt feelings: "You Estonians don't like Russians, nobody wanted to talk to me in Russian when I was in Estonia. And I know that you understand Russian perfectly, you study it at school. " "Yes, " I had to admit and suggested strongly that they try any other language, like Lithuanian, Moldavian, English, whatever, but not Russian. "Although the Estonians might not understand a word, you will be treated much friendlier,  that's for sure, " 1 added. I never talked about the  cause of this hatred, about the Ribbentrop-Molotov  Pact, the pact between  Hitler and Stalin annexing Estonia unlawfully to Russia. Until perestroika it was a taboo topic, part of Estonia's erased history which was left out from "Soviet" history books. The relationships between personal, political and national belonging were entangling. I felt tormented by contradictory emotions. On the one hand, I rejected the discriminatory attitudes of Estonians towards Russians -1 had many very close Russian friends!  On the other, I shared anti-Russian sentiments with other  Estonians, questioning and resisting Russia's occupation of Estonia in whatever ways we could.  38  Where do you come from? "From Estonia, " I said when living in Colombia, South America, from 1984 to 1990. was obvious that "Estonia " did not make too much sense to Colombians.  It  They could not  locate me on their geographical map of the world. "Where is Estonia? " they asked. "In Europe, " I explained. "Yes, but where exactly????? " "On the shores of the Baltic  Sea..."  "?????" "Across from  Finland."  "Aaahaa, you are from the Soviet Union!" they finally burst out with relief. This was exactly the conclusion I tried to avoid since it seemed to be nearly impossible to explain to anybody in Colombia that Estonia is culturally and language-wise very different from Russia. Regardless of my "explanatory " efforts, my theatre students in Cali, at the Universidad del Valle, kept calling me "Rusa " and the nacionalidad on my Colombian residency card  ra*<i"Soviet:ica."  Where do you come from? The bureaucrat in the Soviet consulate in Colombia never asked me this question. He knew that although my Russian was not perfect, I must belong to the category of  "Hanra " (ours) like many other representatives  of non-Russian ethnic groups in the former Soviet Union.  The most  difficult times were the perestroika times. These were the times I was preparing to move to Canada.  Soviet Estonia had almost ceased to exist,  but I needed desperately to renew my Soviet passport. Estonia was breaking away from the Soviet Union but I was still a "Soviet citizen " depending on the U.S.S.R. consulate in Bogatd. Thus, I found myself in the midst of the world's political struggles and major historical changes.  39  My fate was in the hands of the Soviet bureaucrats who, finally, agreed to add additional pages to my Soviet passport for a solid amount of money. Indeed, the Soviet Union has changed, I thought while leaving the Soviet consulate in the fancy barrio Chico.  The money I had to pay spoke  eloquently that the Soviet Union was moving towards a market economy. Earlier, my passport problems would have been resolved with the "help" of long moralistic lines.  Where do you come from? "Is Estonia a country? " the US custom officer asks every time I cross the US Canada border, looking at me with suspicion and slowly turning the pages in my Estonian passport. Customarily it takes him about half an hour to figure out that such an unheard of country indeed exists.  Where do you come from? "From Colombia . . ."I  said after my arrival  while introducing my "Soviet"passport  in Canada at the airport of Vancouver,  to the immigration officer.  "From Colombia,"  I  was repeating this to myself in confusion while trying to understand why I was separated from my Mexican co-traveler. to Vancouver.  We had become friends during the flight from Mexico City  We were directed to separate lines. Although I learned about Canadian  multicultural ism much later, I did notice already that this airport line-up, where my Mexican co-traveler ended up in, was definitely "darker" than the one in which I was asked to stand. Her luggage was given a thorough search. Mine wasn't.  Where do you come from? "From Colombia . . ."I  kept saying for a long time. I couldn't quite understand why  people looked at me with misunderstanding eyes. It took me a while to realize that I did not look  "Colombian"  to Canadian  eyes, which reminded me of my  "Estonian"  background.  40  Where do you come from? Nowhere have I heard this question more often than in Canada. "I am from Canada. " "How come? You have an accent, you can't be from Canada. " "I am a Canadian citizen. " "Well, yes, but where are you from? "  Nowadays, I postpone my response. I feel confused. Living in Canada has made the answering of this question regarding belonging incredibly complex.  Where do YOU come from?  41  between belonging and not belonging  What is between belonging and not belonging? What space? What place? Is it possible to belong and not to belong at the same time?  "Belonging" is a peculiar word, containing i n its womb conspicuous words "being," "longing," "long." The word belonging seems almost too tight, too narrow, too constraining for these notions, which request more infinite and undefined living space. It seems to induce tensions between fixity and ambiguity, between time and space, between hereness and thereness, between leaving to the journey and staying at home. I remember a Serbian Canadian man stating on television during the Kosovo conflict how proud he is to be Canadian. But when asked on whose side he would "fight" i n Kosovo, he responded without a blink o f his eyes, " O n the Serbian, o f course!" "Belonging to" is about a relationship between individual and community/social organization. "Longing" in belonging addresses the desires o f those who don't belong, who don't meet the requirements, who can't adapt, who don't "fit i n . " Longing is about not belonging... not belonging is about longing! long intr.v. 1.  T o y e a r n , w i s h earnestly; desire greatly: He longed to go home  2. M i d d l e E n g l i s h longen, [to s u i t ], O l d E n g l i s h langian, "to s e e m l o n g (to some)," to y e a r n f o r 1 1  I am writing and . . . my cat is sleeping her paw is lying on the word yawn Y a w n - "to open the mouth wide with a deep inspiration"that's what is written in my dictionary right under my cat's paw. I am writing and . . . 12  1  2  The Houghton Mifflin Canadian Dictionary of the English Language. 1982, p. 768. The Houghton Mifflin Canadian Dictionary of the English Language. 1982, p. 1482. 42  my cat's paw is lying on the yawn but she is not yawning she is lying lazily and idly on my fat open dictionary her paw on the word "yawn."  I am writing and . . . looking at m y cat's paw.  She lies graciously and calmly her back turned without regret to the book I haven't opened yet. It is called Altogether Elsewhere: Writers on Exile.  I am writing a n d . . . exploring. W h y is my cat's paw lying on the word "yawn"?  She lies frivolously and freely, embracing with her curly tail and tummy Theories o f Desire written by Patric Fuery. This is a book I am now learning, wanting to know what kind o f desire is described by the word belonging.  I am writing . . . wondering and yawning,  43  my cat is lying quiet and so still.  Suddenly she and her paw moves from the word yawn to another word -  yawns yearn  yearn intr.v. 1. T o h a v e a s t r o n g o r d e e p desire; be f i l l e d w i t h l o n g i n g . U s u a l l y u s e d w i t h for or to. 2. T o feel d e e p p i t y , s y m p a t h y o r tenderness 3. M i d d l e E n g l i s h yermen, O l d E n g l i s h gyrman, gierman, to strive, desire S y n o n y m s : yearn, long, pine, hanker, hunger, thirst. T h e s e v e r b s m e a n to  h a v e a s t r o n g desire. Yearn a n d long b o t h stress p r o t r a c t e d a n d insistent desire o r c r a v i n g . Sometimes yearn is applied to a wish for the return of something lost, and long for the attainment of something unfulfilled ( m y h o l d i n g ) . Pine i m p l i e s l i n g e r i n g desire that saps strength o r s p i r i t . Hanker often refers to a fleeting desire, b u t it c a n also a p p l y to a n u r g e to satisfy a p h y s i c a l appetite o r to a c r a v i n g for fame, p o w e r or w e a l t h . Hunger a n d thirst are a p p l i e d f i g u r a t i v e l y to c o m p e l l i n g desire for the attainment o r possession o f s o m e t l i i n g . 1 3  I am writing a n d . . . and then my cat turns with such strife that Clarice Lispector's The Stream o f Life falls to the floor. I am writing and . . . w a i t . . . how strange, she finds a comfortable place right i n front o f me lying down on the white empty page. That's a sign, I think with inspiration, and yawn, there is no reason to write any more. I am not writing . . . for a moment I am just contemplating living writing by my cat's paw.  3  The Houghton Mifflin Canadian Dictionary of the English Language. 1982, p. 1483. 44  CONVERSATIONAL REAL-I-TIES  45  "Conversation" is the word that closely addresses the nature and process I have dwelled with/in when writing/researching this dissertation. When spending time midst long lines o f books and shelves in the library, I found out that "conversation" has become a notion o f interest within the Humanities. Earlier, the concept o f conversation belonged mainly to the discipline o f linguistics and was approached mostly from the perspective o f descriptive structural discourse analysis. M o r e currently, I found books and articles aware o f the notion o f conversation as a principle, as a way o f knowing and learning i n the areas o f fine arts, psychology, theatre, education, cross-cultural studies. Different scholarly voices were talking about the underlying importance o f conversation. C o n v e r s a t i o n is at once the m o s t o r d i n a r y a n d m o s t p r o f o u n d of h u m a n activities. It is u b i q u i t o u s , ever present, a n d a l l a r o u n d us. I n its m a n y forms - face to face, telephone, a m o n g w r i t t e n texts, o r i n cyberspace —  c o n v e r s a t i o n is a process of interpreting and understanding human experience. (my holding, Baker, Jensen, & K o l b , 2002, p. 1)  C o n v e r s a t i o n is c r u c i a l . It is p a r t of the m a c h i n e r y of c u l t u r e , of society, o f  the self. It stretches the imagination and makes it possible to envisage new narrative at the end of a century i n w h i c h s o m e o f the m o s t c o n t i o l l i n g master narratives h a v e c o l l a p s e d . It shapes a l m o s t e v e r y o n e ' s notion — or dream — of friendship a n d family. (my holding, Brenson, 1998, p. 121)  . . . c o n v e r s a t i o n is fundamentally collaborative (my holding, Sawyer, 2001, p. 2). As p r o p o n e n t s o f e x p e r i e n t i a l l e a r n i n g , w e are i n c r e a s i n g l y a w a r e that  m u c h o f learning that occurs through experience emerges out of the interaction among people, especially t h r o u g h their c o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h e a c h other. (my holding, Baker, Jensen, & K o l b , 2002, p. ix)  A m o n g these scholars who inquire into the intricacies o f conversation is H o m i K . Bhabha, a renowned postcolonial literary theoretician. H i s article, "Resonances o f  46  Conversation" (1998), was written i n the context o f the Arts Festival o f Atlanta Conversation at the Castle - a project seeking to transform the distance between art and its audience, between the viewer o f art exhibition and the viewed art object. Bhabha discusses conversation within the framework o f this art project. A l l o w me to share with you some moments from Bhabha's writing when he journeys, "from the connoisseurial pedagogies of silence to the contingent and contextual practices of conversation" (my holding, p. 46). I leave you to linger i n the artful conversational space H o m i Bhabha has created i n his article: T h e s p i r i t of c o n v e r s a t i o n a l art lies i n i n i t i a t i n g " u n p l a n n e d d i r e c t i o n s " a n d p r o v o k i n g " m u l t i l a y e r e d interpretations" (p. 44). T o m o v e t o w a r d s the act of c o n v e r s a t i o n is to m o v e a w a y f r o m this n o t i o n that r e a l i t y a n d v a l u e lie i n " c o n f r o n t a t i o n " w i t h a g i v e n object o r r e a l i t y that contains, w i t h i n itself, a p r i v i l e g e d " t r u t h " a b o u t its n a t u r e a n d b e i n g (p. 41). " C o n v e r s a t i o n a l realities" are n o t i m m a c u l a t e c o n c e p t i o n s o r " r e a l " correspondences that satisfy the "eye" o f the m i n d ; they are d e p e n d e n t for their a u t h o r i t y o n the messy, c o n t i n g e n t c o m m u n i c a b i l i t y that meshes together a c o m m u n i t y . . . (p. 42). It is, i n fact, the great gift o f c o n v e r s a t i o n a l art to a c t i v e l y engage i n the a m b i v a l e n c e s a n d a m b i g u i t i e s that emerge as c o n t e x t u a l contingencies f r o m the i r o n i c a n d c o n t r a d i c t o r y forces that constitute s o c i a l r e a l i t y (p. 42). I f . . . c o n t e x t u a l c o n t i n g e n c y liberates u s f r o m a b i n a r y a n d p o l a r i z e d v i e w that opposes r e a s o n to p a s s i o n , the present to the past, it also c o m m i t s us to l i v i n g o u r l i v e s a n d m a k i n g o u r art f r o m experiences that are a m b i v a l e n t , c o n t r a d i c t o r y , a n d u n r e s o l v e d . (p. 42) F o r c o n v e r s a t i o n . . . d e p e n d s for its e t h i c a l a n d aesthetic i n q u i r y o n l i v i n g t h r o u g h c o n t r a d i c t i o n a n d a r t i c u l a t i n g a m b i v a l e n t interests a n d identities (p. 47). For me it is not easy to feel "at home" in Bhabha's intricate house o f language. It is not easy to engage with h i m i n conversation because his language entangles with its  47  sophistication. Perhaps it is because o f the remnants and echoes o f his Parsi background reverberating i n his English writing acquired at Bombay and Oxford Universities. A t the same time, Bhabha is a kindred soul, a border-dweller like myself. After all, it was H o m i Bhabha who proposed a reconceptualization o f "border" as " i n between" or "third space":  "[b]etween" is a v e r y interesting place o f e n u n c i a t i o n , because it's also the place " i n the m i d s t of." It's n o t o n l y b e t w e e n t w o p o l a r positions, i t is also i n a n e w place - f o r m e d w h e n those t w o p o s i t i o n s s o m e h o w ignite, incite a n d initiate s o m e t h i n g that, i n m y o w n w o r k , I h a v e c a l l e d a " t h i r d space." (Bhabha & Burgin, 1994, p. 454) Lingering i n the midst o f intriguing notions and conceptual threads o f H o m i Bhabha's "art o f conversation," I find myself a c t i v e l y e n g a g e d i n the ambivalences and ambiguities that emerge as contextual contingencies o f the "third space" where his  unfathomable English writing with a Parsi accent meets my English with Estonian pronunciation. I begin wondering i f H o m i Bhabha's articulation o f "conversation" as "contextual contingency" points to the underlying metonymic nature o f conversational realities, to the relations based on contiguity rather than metaphoric similarity. It seems to me that I get caught by the "spirit o f conversational art" which according to Bhabha lies i n initiating "unplanned directions" and provoking "multilayered interpretations." However, this "spirit" leads me also to think that "conversation" after all might be a bordezone art where a "third space" emerges and is created in conversations. The vocabulary related to conversation as a way of knowing comes from the scholar o f communication studies at the University o f N e w Hampshire, John Shotter. "What we need," he claims, "is not knowledge in the form o f theoretical representations, but o f a different, much more practical k i n d " (1994, p. 1). Shotter's concern is about a very different kind o f knowing, "a knowing o f the third k i n d " that he describes as not theoretical knowledge (a "knowing - that"), since it is only present to us i n our everyday social practices, nor simply a technical knowledge o f a skill or craft (a "knowing - how") but "a joint k i n d of knowledge, a knowledge-held-in-common 48  with others, and judged by them in the process of its use" ( m y h o l d i n g , p . 1).  Shorter is convinced of the need to focus upon living, embodied, dialogical utterances, since they are relational - things that exist only in the interactive space between speakers and listeners. They do not exist "in the minds" (p. 4). His concern with the nature of conversational realities is driven by the desire [t]o m o v e a w a y f r o m those forms of talk that d i v e r t o u r attention a w a y f r o m w h a t is i m p o r t a n t t o us, that excludes u s (or great n u m b e r o f us) f r o m those m o m e n t s i n w h i c h w e as o r d i n a r y p e o p l e c a n participate i n the c o n s t r u c t i o n o f o u r realities - so that w e d o n o t h a v e forms o f life c o n s t r u c t e d b y elite - others i m p o s e d u p o n us. As professional academics, we really must move away from what can only go on within persons, to what goes on within relationships - even if it means giving up the theories we can each get inside our own heads. ( m y b o l d i n g , p . 4)  My dissertation is not only about conversational inquiry, it is conversation. It is indeed risky to engage with someone in conversation and to invite them to speak into your text. Including the co-authored dialogues in my dissertation is a commitment. These conversations/dialogues came into being through collaborative seminar work and conference presentation as texts of reciprocity. I assume the responsibility for the wellbeing of these voices in my dissertational text/home. Thus, I approach my dissertation not as solitary isolated individualistic closed space but a place that emerges through relationships, as a home that exists through the conversations between guests, friends, and colleagues. By welcoming my friends and colleagues into my dissertation/home I acknowledge and honour their presence. I express my gratitude to all who generously agreed to engage with me in conversation: my friends and colleagues Maija Heimo and Hartej Gill; and the members of the Estonian community theatre group: Armas Kivsild, Aino Lepp, Leida Nurmsoo, Dagmar Ohman, Helle Sepp, Marje Suurkask. And I give a big hug to my daughter Iana-Veronica who found courage to share with me "publicly" her opinions and thoughts. 49  I perceive my dissertation not only as conversation, but as collective creation where my author/ial self has an opportunity to become truly intersubjective, a "self-inrelationship" (Wilber, 1995, p. 183), a "self-in-communion" (Jensen & K o l b , 2002, p. 22). Here I recall the Latin meaning communio, "mutual participation," that allows me to leam to listen and become keenly aware o f the other. After all:  [w]e are subjects i n others' stories, others are subjects i n o u r stories; others are a u t h o r s of o u r stories, w e are authors of others' stories. O u r n a r r a t i v e s are essentially i n t e r w o v e n w i t h other narratives. W e are characters i n other narratives - w e are o u r parents' c h i l d , o u r partner's partner, o u r friends' f r i e n d - a n d they are characters i n o u r narratives. A l s o , t h r o u g h o u r discussions a n d intersections w i t h others w e facilitate the a r t i c u l a t i o n a n d d i r e c t i o n of their narratives, a n d t h e y ours. A l l this is to say that o u r i d e n t i t y is n e v e r s i m p l y o u r o w n . It is e m b e d d e d w i t h relations w i t h others a n d w e d o n o t h a v e u l t i m a t e c o n t r o l o v e r the n a t u r e o f these r e l a t i o n s h i p s m u c h less the nature of o u r i d e n t i t y . (Vessey, 2002, p . 2) B y giving up the individualistic solitary authoritarian position o f my writing, I dissolve my voice in conversation among the other voices, becoming a character rather than the author o f my play. When you encounter the possessive noun " m y " (which happens very often!) in my text, suspend it i n brackets i n order to remember and honour (my) self-in-relationship. A l s o , I recall that in Estonian the word " I " is ma which is homonymically very close to the word maa meaning "earth," "land". . . and I would like to speculate that ma was once and becomes again part o f maa. A t least that is what I want to feel when using the word " I " - ma.  50  the road is a slow moving river of red clay . . . For me, researching/writing differently/alternatively i n an academic space is not a question o f choice but o f responsibility. It is not only my im/migrant dis/location that relates me to "border zone" inquiring/knowing from a "subaltern" perspective. The colonial history o f my ancestors connects me to Latin American, including Colombian, colonial legacy and to the position o f colonized. I f I want to recognize the pre-colonial ways o f knowing o f my ancestors from a distance o f more than 700 years, I need to decolonize not only the colonial history o f my culture, but also the mechanisms and structures o f coloniality inscribed in Western institutions and discourses o f power. Walter Mignolo, a scholar o f Latin American studies, argues that the dominant scholarly tradition o f Western academia is epistemologically part o f the "modern/colonial" design embedded in the foundational myths o f the Enlightenment 14  rationalism, scientism, universalism. Western scholarly knowing, once just a local history among many other local histories, dominates now as the global design over the "other" ways o f knowing, holding them i n a position o f "epistemic dependency" (Mignolo, 2002). Thus, I have found that i n order to decolonize Western global scholarly design we need to research, know and write from the positions o f local histories, from the perspectives o f local truths. I believe that we need to liberate alter/native ways o f understanding/writing/knowing from the position o f epistemic dependency and resist the "totalizing" stance o f Western modernist universalistic epistemology. M y dissertation writing/researching project, as a particular im/migrant story/knowing, participates in creating a space for a different, an-other culture o f scholarship. . . The notions of "global design" and "local histories" come from Mignolo (2001, p. 8), who sees the world in terms of multiple local histories where, however, some local histories are in a position of imagining and implementing global designs. He explains, for example, that at the moment we are living under the control of such global design as the "modern/colonial world," which came out of certain local histories: Imperial Spain made the implementation of Christian designs for conversion to a global one possible; Imperial England, in complicity with French Enlightenment, displaced Christian global designs into Secular civilizing ones; Imperial U.S. displaced the global design of the civilizing mission by a global design of development and modernization. Currently, the market is becoming the global design of a new form of colonialism, a global coloniality. 1 4  51  A t a t i m e w h e n the grands recits o f the W e s t h a v e b e e n t o l d a n d r e t o l d ad infinitum,  w h e n a certain postmodernism (Lyotard's)  speaks o f a n " e n d " t o metanarratives a n d w h e n F u k u y a m a talks of a n " e n d o f h i s t o r y , " w e m u s t ask: p r e c i s e l y w h o s e n a r r a t i v e a n d w h o s e h i s t o r y is b e i n g d e c l a r e d at a n "end"? D o m i n a n t E u r o p e m a y c l e a r l y h a v e b e g u n to deplete its strategic repertoire o f stories, b u t T h i r d W o r l d p e o p l e , First W o r l d " m i n o r i t i e s " . . .  1 5  S  N  I  L  E  C  E  Then a voice speaks. I am reminded yet again of that which I promised not to forget.  Shohat & Stam, 1994, p. 248. 52  Iam  dead.  I was born here, in this town.  clay, with a straw  In the little house  roof. By the road, across  the  made  of red  school.  The road is a slow moving river of red clay in the winter and whirlwind  of red dust in summer.  When the rains come you lose your sandals horses faces  get their bellies smeared  of the horsemen  sun hangs dirt.  legs of the horses, the manes,  in the mud.  with mud.  are spattered  The saddles  with mud.  high and long in the sky,  The sandals  a  The mules  and  and even  In the months  the  when  the  with  red  the entire town is covered  go up the road, filled with red dirt and the hooves  and  and the snorting  and horses,  and  all become  filled  and saddles,  nostrils  and the sweaty  of the mules  faces,  and hats,  with red dirt. I was born from that mud, and from that red dirt, and now I have to it. Here, in the small cemetery surrounded  by daisies,  of red mud mingles afternoon  geraniums,  that watches lilies,  and thick grass.  with the sweet odour of  even the smell of the woods upon the  over the town  below,  The acrid  yaragua grass,  drifts overhead,  returned  smell  and in the  and rushes  down  town.  16  It is L a Maestra! I promised her I would not forget about the R e d Road . . . the road that carries the memories o f colonial histories and violence i n Colombia.  L a Maestra, is this the road towards decolonization, towards home, towards belonging?  Buenaventura, 1974, p. 24. 53  kust ma tunnen oma kodu how can I recognize my home  kiila kummene seasta among ten others in the village talu seitseme  taganta? behind seven strange farms?  millest markan oma maja how can I find my house  kuusi kuivada jogeda beyond with six dry rivers seitse sooda sitke 'eda seven sloppy swamps kaheksa  kalamereda eight seas of fish  iiheksa huva ojada nine beautiful brooks kumme kulma allikada? ten cold springs in between?  I am (re)searching (for) home, kodu. But I have forgotten koda, my ancestor's h o m e . . . If I follow the R e d R o a d can I hope to re-cognize home?  54  WANDERING BORDER THE EAST  -  WEST  BORDER is always  wandering,  sometimes eastward, sometimes  west,  and we do not know exactly where it is right in Gaugamela, or maybe in  in the  now:  Urals,  ourselves,  so that one ear, one eye, one nostril, one hand, one foot, one lung and one testicle or one ovary is on the one,  another on the other side. Only the heart,  only the heart is always on one side: if we are looking northward,  in the West;  if we are looking southward,  in the East;  and the mouth doesn't know on behalf of which or both it has to speak.  ATRAVESANDODIASPORIC  SPACES  WITH A FRIEND, MALTA  56  contextual FOOTnote  A conversation with my friend Maija Heimo, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia, began under the title Atravesando Diasporic Spaces: From "East" to "South." It was conceived for the International Symposium: Nations, Pollinations and Dislocations,  bringing together Latin American artists living on the different sides of the  North South border. The symposium took place in the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Vancouver, October 29-31, 1999.  Atravesar is a Spanish verb meaning to put across, to cross, to penetrate, to go 17  through.  Atravesando is a gerund, formed from the verb atravesar. A traves (de) means across, over, through. Andar means to walk, to move, to go.  (Yo) ando means in English Thus  (I) walk, wander, move.  atravesando articulates the process of crossing, wandering, moving through.  Later the conversation continued on the 9th Annual Arts Graduate Student Conference: Articulating Ambivalent Legacies, at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, January 26-28, 2000, and at a Brown Bag Seminar, The Centre for the Study of Curriculum and Instruction, UBC, March 29, 2000, Vancouver, under the title Diasporic Imagi(nation)s: Re-Locating "Canadian Otherness."  Laurousse Concise Spanish-English/English-Spanish Dictionary. 1993, p. 53 57  entering into diasporic space  Together: Dear Reader, our conversation is an invitation to you to join us as we inquire into the diasporic space of im/migrant identities. We would love to share with you some moments of our exploration/journey to different places and spaces such as Finland,  Mexico,  Estonia, Colombia and Canada.  Maija: W e have known each other quite a while. We are both immigrants and have been i n Canada for more than eight years. Kadi: / arrived in Canada from Colombia after living and working there in the department of theatre and literature at the University ofValle,  Califor  six years . . . however, my native country is Estonia.  Maija: I arrived i n Canada from Finland. However, because o f my research on pre-Colombian agriculture, I have spent long periods living i n M e x i c o . Kadi: Estonia and Finland are neighboring countries and are culturally and linguistically very close. If we tried hard, we could understand each other in Estonian or in Finnish.  Maija: W e met through a common Estonian friend; paradoxically, she thought that we might relate through our "Latin American" connection. She was right. Latin American culture and Spanish language have not only become a special bond between us but have influenced immensely the formation o f our immigrant identities. 58  Kadi: We usually speak in Spanish, and very often we reflect upon the "intricacies " of our im/migrant identities. When Maija told me about the Metropolis project.  . . our identity  discussions became particularly  "hot"!  Maija: The Metropolis is one o f the largest investigation projects on immigration i n Canada, funded by S S H R C and aimed at making suggestions regarding National Immigration Policy.  18  The researchers o f the project have already arrived at some conclusions. Their studies underline the centrality o f English language as the "most important" factor for the immigrants' success i n Canada. Success, in these investigations, is considered mainly i n economic terms. Kadi: It sounds to me as a very discriminatory position, although close to reality as we both know! How can one measure success solely in economic terms? Don't you really feel depressed, even repressed when you read that the "labor market simply does not value language knowledge and the possibilities such knowledge brings... knowledge is wasted capital. "  19  in Canada language  As a Vancouver School Board study showed a few years  ago - the majority of kids do not speak English at home! Maija, how many languages do you speak. . . "waste "?  http://canada.metropolis.net/index_e.html Pendakur & Pendakur, Speak and Ye Shall Receive: Language Knowledge as Human Capital, 1997, http://riim.metropolis.net/frameset_e.html 1 8  1 9  59  Maija: I use four or five languages every day. I learned Spanish when I started to do my research and now I speak Spanish daily alongside with English and Finnish. Some days I also speak Swedish. For me it is crucial to be able to access daily Finnish and Swedish newspapers. In fact, I am dying to write i n Finnish, and English is starting to sicken me. Kadi: Maija, watch out, Krishna and Ravi Pendakur (1997), who looked at immigrants  1  language knowledge in terms of human capital also talk in their article about "accent penalty. " Every language you use might leave your English with the traces of different accents, so you might have to pay a high penalty.  ..  Maija: Yes, indeed. I do feel like being penalized, marginalized not exactly as a "visible" but as an "audible minority," as the minority who communicates i n different "ethnic" languages and who, i n order to succeed, is forced to get r i d o f "mistakes" and "accents" - subjugate the other cultures and languages under the dominance o f "perfect E n g l i s h " . . . Kadi: However, as we both know, the formation of immigrant identities is a complicated process, which cannot be so easily subordinated to or coordinated by the "English " centre.  Maija: There is more . . .The researchers o f the Metropolis project have pointed out that because o f the existence o f this "accent penalty," non-native English speakers also receive lower paid jobs and salaries.  60  Kadi: Feeling frustrated and confused about the findings of the Metropolis immigration project we decided to embark on our "own exploration " of im/migrant identities! We found that one of the concepts that seem to describe living in such space most closely is the notion of "diaspora."  Of course, the usage of this concept is not an unproblematic task. There is a gap between signifier and signified.  We are aware that "diaspora " belongs linguistically  to Greek  culture and is embedded in Jewish, Armenian and in African history. We face a gap with all the words we are using. All words carry a history. However, in the research focusing on the issues of im/migration, the notion of diaspora has become a popular term.  For better or worse, diaspora discourse is being widely appropriated. It is loose i n the world, for reasons having to do with decolonization, increased immigration, global communications and transport — a whole range of phenomena that encourage multi-locale attachments, dwelling and travelling within and across nations. (Clifford, 1994, p. 285) There are a variety of proposals to determine a complex historical and discursive field o f diaspora. Some o f them center on a teleology of homeland origin/return (Safran, 1991), some around a theme o f settling down, putting roots "elsewhere" (Brah, 1996). However, the majority o f current discussions approach diaspora in terms o f constant negotiations, oscillations, fluctuations, tensions, evolving relationships between one's place o f origin with that o f one's present home, between an earlier "there" and current "here," between "where you're from" and "where you're at" (Ang, Guilroy, H a l l , Radhakrishnan, Venkatasawmy).  Diaspora has been defined as:  •  dwelling-in-displacement  ( C l i f f o r d , 1994, p . 298)  •  site of hybridity ( V e n k a t a s a w m y , 1996, p . 19)  61  •  space of the hyphen ( R a d h a k r i s h n a n , 1996, p . xiii)  •  journey (Brah, 1996, p . 182)  Diasporic subjectivity is seen as:  d o u b l e : a c k n o w l e d g i n g the i m p e r a t i v e s o f a n earlier " e l s e w h e r e " i n a n active a n d c r i t i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the c u l t u r a l p o l i t i c s o f one's present h o m e , a l l w i t h i n the figurality o f a r e c i p r o c a l d i s p l a c e m e n t . ( R a d h a k r i s h n a n , 1996, p . xiii) As an immigrant I live in diasporic space, in between an earlier elsewhere, my place of origin, and my present home. In his book, Diasporic Mediations: Between Home and Location (1996), Radhakrishnan asks:  Is the d i a s p o r a a n e p i p h e n o m e n a l c o n d i t i o n that recalls a n d c o m m e n t s o n (and is s u p p l e m e n t a r y to) a n earlier authentic c o n d i t i o n , o r is it, as the h i s t o r y o f the present, transformative b o t h o f itself a n d its origins? (p. xiii) / would respond to this question that both are. I can identify with these approaches because I do live in between nations, languages and cultures. In a way I live in both Canada and Estonia at the same time. Living in diaspora has not only forced me to confront the adaptation problems in the new country - Canada, but has forced me to look differently at the country I come from - Estonia. Living far away from one's "native " land, struggling to make a home in a "new " country, and oscillating constantly between them, a past "there" and a current "here" where "here" and "there, " "past" and "present"are  overlapping, interweaving, interacting..  . constantly.  Maija: But what i f you are oscillating in between more than two locations, i f your "diasporic identity" includes more than two cultures, nations, countries?  62  Kadi: In her book, Cartographies of Diaspora:  Contesting Identities (1996), Avatar Brah  claims that "at the heart of the notion of diaspora is the image ofjourney"  (p. 182).  She points out that not every journey can be understood as diaspora since diaspora is clearly not the same as casual travel nor temporary sojourns. Diasporic journeys are about settling down, about putting roots "elsewhere. "  W h a t is i m p o r t a n t about d i a s p o r i c j o u r n e y is - h o w a n d i n w h a t w a y s d o these j o u r n e y s c o n c l u d e , a n d intersect i n specific places, specific spaces, a n d specific h i s t o r i c a l conjunctures? (Brah, p . 182)  This is the definition we are the most keen about.  Together: W e w i l l embark now on the journey to follow our diasporic roots and routes, to look at where we come from, where we are at, and how we articulate our identities. W e are intrigued about why and how we, as immigrants i n Canada, construct our shared daily spaces and experiences in/through Spanish language and the Latin American culture.  Kadi: Although we often wander along our common Finno-Ugrian  "home-cultural"  language  lines looking for similarities and differences between Estonian and Finnish,  Latin  America and Spanish is a centre where our friendship, informal conversations and scholarly interests intersect and meet.  Maija: It is really strange to speak English to K a d i because we have known each other through the Spanish language. But o f course i f we want to communicate with other Canadians, w e ' l l need to translate our Spanish into E n g l i s h . . .  63  locating: where are we from? Kadi: So, Maija, where are you from?  Maija: What do you mean? From Finlandia, o f course?! Kadi: Actually, I wanted to ask how, where would you locate Finland on the world map? Living between here and there makes me think of geopolitics.  Would it be . . . Are you from Eastern Europe?!  Maija: Oh, you are looking through the glasses o f the C o l d War when Finland was seen as the buffer state between the East and the West. Culturally, we think that we belong to the West; after all Finland was under Sweden's occupation for more than 600 years. Geographically, Finland is part o f the Eastern European peninsula. Politically, Finland is "neutral" but now it has joined the European U n i o n ' s common "crisis management policy" and many would like Finland to j o i n N A T O . A n d what about you? Where are you from? W e in Finland feel that Estonia is almost a relative, not just for its language but also for its long history o f oppression. A n d then we feel pity for Estonia because it lost its independence i n 1939 and Finland didn't. Where are you from, Kadi? Kadi: It is a tricky question. During the times of the Iron curtain - Estonia existed under the denominator of Soviet Block and was clearly part of Eastern Europe.  64  In the book Uses of the Other: "The East" in European Identity Formation (1999), political scientist Iver B. Neumann situates Estonia in Northern Europe.  Now that the Berlin Wall is gone and Estonia has regained its independence, Estonia exists on the world map under the common denominator of Baltic States. Along with the other former Socialist bloc countries, Estonia is remodeling its economy, politics, and culture, according to "Western" ways and standards. Currently the Estonians want to belong/consider themselves belonging to Western Europe!  Eastern Europe has become for Estonians a contested and humiliating denominator, reminding Estonians about their "underdevelopment" and status of the "Other." "Eastern Europe " was invented by Western Europe as its complementary other half in the eighteenth century, the age of Enlightenment.  Larry Wolff has investigated this  process in his book Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization  on the Mind of the  Enlightenment (1994). Also, look how cultural historians are describing the perception of "East" and "West" by the Western mind:  It] s h o u l d be u n d e r s t o o d that the v e r y w o r d s "West" a n d "East," i n themselves a n d b y d e f i n i t i o n , are expressions o f W e s t e r n E u r o p e a n c i v i l i z a t i o n ' s c u l t u r e . T h e y are l o a d e d terms that c a r r y certain specific p e r c e p t u a l i m p h c a t i o n s for a l l Westerners. T o the W e s t e r n m i n d , 'East' is synonymous with such expressions as inferior, superstitious, dangerous, threatening, backward, corrupt, mysterious, weak, effeminate, and any number of other negative perceptions regarding humans and their societies. B y c o r o l l a r y , 'Wesf is associated with such opposite terms as superior, scientific, secure, benign, modern, virtuous, rational, strong, masculine, and various other positive individual or collective human attributes. ( m y b o l d i n g , H u p c h i c k , 1994, p . 72)  65  Maija: It sounds like the South and North dichotomy: undeveloped vs. developed; black people vs. white; traditional vs. modern; uncivilized vs. civilized, etc. Kadi: Sure, there are correspondences, according to those dichotomies both "East" and "South" denominate the "uncivilized other" that is opposed to "North" and "West" both representing the civilized self.  Maija: But it is even more complex. Look, following the perspective o f the South/North border stereotypes you and I could be seen as being from the North. Kadi: Because we both look white?!  Maija: Not only. In Finland there are the indigenous Sami people who are considered Finland's "Other." W e l l , according to South/North and West/East stereotypes, they represent "South;" however; geographically they live i n the far North! Tourism in Lapland has appropriated their culture and ways o f living for its own purposes. They are portrayed as "traditional" or "primitive," "living i n harmony with nature," and the words from their culture are used as names o f restaurants and hotels.  Kadi: Appropriation  of indigenous cultures by tourist industries is such a common "business "  happening not only with the Sami in Finland but with indigenous people in Colombia,  66  Mexico, Canada, in sum, all over the world! And not only by tourist industries but by all nationalistic discourses.  Maija: I lived among the Sami for three years, working i n tourism. I gradually became aware o f the status o f the Sami people as the "Other" o f the Finnish "Self." However, it was only after journeying to M e x i c o , to the actual North - South border that I became really aware of/uncomfortable with my positionings as the "colonizer" and the "self."  67  from "North" to "South," from Finland to Mexico Kadi: But tell me, Maija, how did your experiences in Mexico change your understanding of these dichotomies of othering and your positionings?  Maija:  I ' m awakening to the process o f "othering" and learning how, for instance, I myself have been and am part o f it. When I went to M e x i c o for the first time i n 1994,1 had the impression, shaped by my Northern culture, that tropical people are lazy because o f the climate. W e drove from M e x i c o City to Veracruz and passed through many small towns with the highway in the middle. It was hot and we had the windows open. There was so much "noise" around us: klings and klangs from the vulcanizadora, knockings from a carpenter's shop, vendors shouting their ads, burros Mopping, cars and bicycles rattling while delivering this and that. A n d I remember myself wondering where all the lazy people were.  After several years and postcolonial readings I went to M e x i c o again. I went to visit chinampas, an agricultural system i n M e x i c o City, built originally by the Aztecs and later reworked, expanded and preserved throughout the colonial and contemporary times. A t this time I was already suspicious o f the preconceptions regarding the notion o f "traditional" agriculture understood as ecologically sustainable and, therefore, unchanging; rooted in the indigenous tradition and, therefore, in harmony with the nature. Despite many changes due to urbanization and market economies, within the agriculture o f the chinampas, the nostalgia for the sustainable and traditional practices (that need to be salvaged) prevails i n much o f the academic literature, and the image o f the "great past" continues to be idealized/exploited by tourism.  68  We also explored canyons and the traditional agriculture practiced there, so we went down to a village at the bottom o f the canyon. The people explained to us their agriculture: they plant and tend to individual trees and bushes; and they create suitable growing conditions and soils on the slopes according to the microenvironment and its subtle variation. Every house had a kitchen garden with some animals. There were no agricultural fields as I had conceived agriculture within my Western education, but there was an intricate agroforestry and the forest was all managed. This was a miniature o f Amazonia.  The western media gives us the idea that the destruction o f the Amazonia happens because o f the Indigenous people's "ancient" and "traditional" slash and b u m techniques, which destroy the forest and leave the soil bare, vulnerable to erosion and infertility. In the media, however, we don't read about the sophisticated slash and b u m agroforestry. If managed ideally, this system leaves the soil bare for only a few month's period o f time and mostly during the dry season and, thus, maintains species diversity, imitates the forest composition, and produces tens o f edible and other products.  The media is also silent about how the incursion o f and integration o f capitalist economies has made it impossible to manage slash and b u m i n the traditional way: how access to enough land is denied, how markets are far away and uninterested i n the products, how a shift to commercially viable products disrupts the working cycle o f slash and bum, leaving it vulnerable to overgrowth and diminished yields.  The media portrays the natives living an unchanged lifestyle i n harmony with the pristine nature; it is a myth. Because o f the "traditional" slash and b u m agriculture, the forest was never pristine but managed, and in some places, it even ran into disarray due to excessive land use, causing erosion and deforestation. However, the reality today poorly supports the nostalgic contentions. What is perceived as "traditional" agriculture is changing character. "Traditional" and "modem" 69  agricultural methods coexist and interact with each other. Complexities, and skewed representation, are issues that I have come to see as "othering" due to my readings i n the postcolonial criticism and my M e x i c a n experience.  In my classes I need to make students aware o f the complexities, to explain that only i n certain socio-economic and political conditions the chinampas were sustainable and the basis o f a culture. I also want to talk about how colonization continues in the chinampas and how we are implicated i n this process. W e are appropriating the pre-Columbian knowledges and technologies despite our postcolonial awareness. This occurs i n a seemingly harmless manner. "Scientists" from the "North'V'West" have been cruising the "South'Vthe "Third W o r l d " for the last twenty years to collect the "traditional" wisdom about sustainable agriculture. There is now a substantial body o f knowledge available so that the discipline o f "Agroecology" is an academic field i n universities, including the University o f British Columbia. This body o f knowledge is, i n my mind, vital i f we want to transform "modern" agriculture into ecologically more sustainable agriculture; much o f it, however, is based on the appropriation o f indigenous knowledge.  H o w to deal with this dilemma? The textbooks o f agroecology do not describe how the holders o f this knowledge are treated by the globalizing forces, nor do they mention local pressures they are under and what discourses are circulating about the "traditional" resource use and users i n the Third and the First Worlds. Having said this, I gladly acknowledge that, for instance, i n the University o f British Columbia the faculty o f agriculture has hired an agroecologist with a social science background trained i n ethics and critical thinking. These issues are also being inserted into technical courses ranging from agroecology to nutrition and community. Needless to say that I ' m delighted.  A s a researcher and teacher I feel like a conqueror. But as a Finn with the long national history o f oppression, I empathize with the conquered. I feel in between these opposing positions. A t the same time, I do not want to feel a victim, nor do I want to victimize  70  anybody. N o w that I am so conscious o f these processes o f othering, my challenge, for instance, i n teaching, is to question, to do something i n regard to these tensions and construed positions.  71  from "East" to "South," from Estonia to Colombia Kadi: / am struggling, fighting with very similar dilemmas.  I journeyed to Colombia for personal reasons -1 met and married a Colombian when studying in Russia, in the Institute of Theatre, Music and Cinematography. For me it was not going to the South but to the West - everything beyond the Iron Curtain was West for us then, before perestroika/ (I have started locating Colombia in the South from here, from Canada!)  That's why I perhaps may say that my journey to the West...  to Colombia has been not only challenging but life-changing.  the South -  It totally transformed my  habits, my worldview, changed my previous cultural and political preconceptions and my views of my home country. One of the most transforming experiences was my encounter with the Colombian theatre director, actor and playwright Enrique Buenaventura.  "La vida es dura, " said Enrique Buenaventura when I met him the first time in front of his Teatro Experimental de Cali when coming from Estonia in 1987. You will locate this building if you walk three or four blocks southwards from the centre of Cali, which is filled with the high buildings of modern banks.  Soon you find yourself  on old narrow streets with white, two-storied, dubiously crooked clay houses. Among the houses, there is an iron fence where, I am not so sure, I don't remember, you will find the sign Teatro Experimental de Cali. Peeking through the bars of the gate you might be able to glimpse part of a surprisingly spacious patio sheltered by a wide crowned mighty mango-tree with a long table and benches, a few chairs with broken backs, some papier-mache  "corpses " and a magnificent 4 metre tall puppet in a white wedding dress  (it was Mama Grande from a production called El encierro, as I got to know later). This building where Enrique Buenaventura has created his space of decolonization of Latin American self was squeezed in between Spanish colonial architecture and North American industrial dictatorship.  72  Enrique was glad but not surprised to meet me. He was used to the pilgrimage  of  countless travellers from the countries of "developed" theatrical traditions who came to refresh/rediscover/recolonize their languished inspiration from the abundant springs of Latin American creativity. Barba, Grotowsky, Brook - which traveller from Europe has not tried to establish contact with the indigenous cultures in order to reconnect with the lost ritualistic realms in hope to "save " the Western Theatre from its decline?  Maija: That's exactly what has happened with agroecology! Kadi: In Cali, I could feel that Latin Americans look at these "new colonizers " with caution and skepticism: what are they after now? And what do they have to offer in exchange? The obdurate heart and the soul sold to the "God of Money? " In Colombia in theatre couloir's I heard the story about Grotowsky - the group of indigenous people thought of him as being a fake-witch since to the ritual that Grotowsky conducted the "spirits " did not arrive . . . So much blood and violence has been brought from Europe to Latin America - there is nothing to wonder then that Theatre Gods from Europe are not always greeted with open arms. Enrique's theatre is dedicated to analyzing Colombia's history of violence and colonization. In an environment where social conflicts are extremely acute, where hunger accompanies great numbers of people on an everyday basis, where police "clean " the city streets by killing homeless kids and throwing them into the river. . . who would not criticize the existing "order? " Who would not search for the ways of resistance?  Who would not  want to stop the violence? This is why Enrique's theatre is so critical, this is why the principal characters of his theatre belong to/come from the never-ending round dance ofpolitical  and social  machinations: President, Priest, Colonel, Sergeant, versus prostitutes, beggars, Teacher and the perpetual companion of life - Death . . .  73  Like you in Mexico, I was in an ambivalent position, although I was not aware of it when living in Colombia.  Coming from a country which was part of the Soviet Union, I did not  feel like a privileged  Westerner. In addition, before perestroika times the artists and  intellectuals in Colombia looked sympathetically towards Socialist countries. Of course, I learned pretty quickly about the advantages of being "white " and having "blue eyes. " However, I became aware of my possible "colonizer "/"self positioning  gradually,  mostly afterwards, when looking back to my Colombian experience from here, from Canada.  In "multicultural"  Canada I got confronted and deeply immersed in the issues  of racism and colonialism, theoretically and practically,  on an everyday basis. In  Canada I become acutely aware of Self/Other, centre/margin, white/colour dichotomies. Now I feel like living on the border - constantly oscillating back andforth between memories and experiences of the cultures and places I have been part of. But to live on the border is so hard, sometimes so illuminating and sometimes so confusing. . .  74  pedagogical encounters Kadi: Maija, I remember that you tried to convey the experience of living on the border in the course you were teaching on The Americas in the university?!  Maija: Yes, I was teaching a third year course, Geography o f the Americas, where I wanted to make thematic links and connections between the "North" and the "South." One o f the topics was the borders. However, I felt horrified imagining myself lecturing about the dynamics o f the M e x i c o - U S border and the in-between lives o f people who have crossed this border. Therefore I decided to "throw" the students into the "border" experience. I entered the classroom and started to talk about the borders i n Spanish. After a couple o f sentences a student o f Salvadorian background said i n English: " C a n you speak English, please." After a few more sentences a white Canadian woman showed me a piece o f paper where she had written: "Habla Ingles, por favor"  I continued in Spanish until a  Canadian man stood up and started to walk towards the back door o f the room. When I asked h i m in English not to leave yet, he turned around and yelled at me: " W h y should I stay, I don't understand a word. Besides this an English speaking university and I expect to hear English i n the class!" I asked h i m to hang on for a few more minutes and promised to explain to h i m what this was all about. He came back. I asked the students to write down what they felt, thought, wanted to do during my "experiment;" I waited outside the room. When I returned I lectured "normally" about the borders and, thereafter, asked people to share what they had written down. The reactions ranged from amusement to surprise to feelings o f superiority, pity, and helplessness. The man who was going to walk out admitted that he had experienced outright anger. A t the end o f the course, many students said that this "lecture" stood out and was the one that provided them with a deeper understanding o f the Americas. One male student 75  wrote about having come to Canada from Romania at the age o f twelve and having always felt not fitting i n and considering it his fault. The "border experiment" helped him to understand what he had gone through and to come to terms with his experience. Kadi: It is amazing how some events can so radically change our former understandings. . . I remember well how I became aware of colonialism and Eurocentrism when teaching a theatre history class at the University of Voile, in Cali, Colombia. In order to avoid being a typical "colonizer" and not impose my ideas on my students, I decided to use in our class not one but several theatre history text-books. I divided the class into groups and assigned a different book to each group.  We had Spanish  translations of theatre history books written by Italian, French, Russian and North American authors.  I was expecting that in the process of comparing these different  descriptions of theatre history, we would learn that history is not something fixed but varies. .. and that there are different interpretations of history. I was sure that this way the students would come to their own conclusions.  Maija: D i d it work? Kadi: No, it failed. Completely. Quite to the contrary to my expectations, we could not find anything different in those theatre text-books. All the books were telling the "same hiStory. " All the books were structured the same way - they all started in Greece with "teatro antigua " - passed through all "epocas grandes " of European theatre in France, Great Britain, Germany, Spain, Russia - and ended with the contemporary avant-garde movement in United States. It became so obvious that all the other cultures and continents beyond Europe and North America did not exist! In addition, all the books approached theatre as literary genre - "written dramatic text" - and they did not include or completely undermined the performative events. The only thing that differed in these books was the included data and details. 76  Now, if you look at Colombian theatre from this perspective you would come to the same paradoxical conclusion, as did the North American theatre historian Leon F. Lyday. Researching pre-1800s Colombian theatre history he could identify only four (!) texts which would qualify as theatre:  - entermes Laurea critica by Fernandez de Valenzuela, - coloquios La competencia en los nobles and - Pardphrasis panegirica by Cueto y M e n a  - loa i n honor o f " L a jura" o f Ferdinand V I by Jacinto de Buenaventura. (Lyday, 1970, pp. 35-51) Isn't is obvious that Leon F. Lyday approaches theatre as written text of the Creole elite conceived according to European/Hispanic dramatic canons, imposing the European (colonizer's!)  codifying system over the Latin American signifying  practices?!  Maija: H o w did this experience change what you do now i n Canada?  Kadi: After my "experiment, " I became very conscious that "theatre " is not a transparent neutral notion. It is like m/any other notions used by global theoretical currency today, such as "culture, " "development, " "progress, " etc., firmly embedded in the European cultural history (the West providing the universal models for the non-Western/other cultures to follow).  Bound tightly to the tradition of written dramatic text, the European concept of theatre excludes the vast and rich domain of non-European and popular expressions. That's why I have become keener about the notion "performance " instead of "theatre. "  Latin  77  American theatre historian Diana Taylor, in her opening remarks to the book, Negotiating Performance: Gender, Sexuality, and Theatricality, 1994, comments:  T h e fact that n o exact e q u i v a l e n t for " p e r f o r m a n c e " exists i n S p a n i s h d i d n o t d i s s u a d e u s f r o m u s i n g the t e r m , p r i m a r i l y because there is a l o n g a n d very r i c h tradition of performance i n L a t i n A m e r i c a . Evidence of preH i s p a n i c r i t u a l s , dances, a n d p l a y s exist i n the c o d i c e s ( i n d i g e n o u s m a n u s c r i p t s ) , the bas-reliefs o n t e m p l e s a n d b u i l d i n g s , a n d the j o u r n a l s o f the fifteenth- a n d s i x t e e n t h - c e n t u r y e x p l o r e r s a n d c o n q u e r o r s . I n o r d e r to be able to a p p r e c i a t e the p l e t h o r a o f spectacles n a t i v e to o u r c u l t u r e s , w e h a v e to r e t r a i n o u r s e l v e s to l o o k b e y o n d the t e r m "theatre," a t e r m that w a s i m p o s e d i n the e a r l y c o l o n i a l p e r i o d a l o n g w i t h the o b l i g a t o r y a d h e r e n c e to S p a n i s h m o d e l s , t h e m e s a n d styles. (p. 14)  Since my interpretation of the notion of "theatre " has changed, I could not join the Theatre Department at the University of British Columbia. In Canada, I identify myself with community and popular theatre movements. Very soon after arriving in Canada I got involved in community theatre work with a group of Estonian immigrants. Right now we are working on a project based on the exploration of diasporic spaces in our lives in Canada.  Also, I learned that the majority of popular theatre work takes place in the Faculty of Education.  My experience in Colombia, the encounter with Enrique Buenaventura and Teatro Experiemetal de Cali, and my work in the Theatre and Literature Department at the University ofValle  in Cali totally transformed not only my "theatrical" but  "political  consciousness, " if I may say so. I became aware of the Eurocentric nature not only of the discipline of theatre history but also of my own theatre education/background from Leningrad.  Earlier, I had always thought of Russian culture more in terms of Eastern,  even Asian influences; I had never perceived Russia in terms of a Western Eurocentric mindset. I realized that the ideology of Socialism, based on theories of the German  78  philosophers Marx and Engels, is Western ideology!  Furthermore, I realized that there  is not much difference between Socialism and Capitalism - between these opposing Cold War ideologies, because both of them are embedded in Western Modernist discourse.  In  Colombia I changed my Cold War lenses (Socialism versus Capitalism) to different lenses through which I became aware of the domination of the Western Eurocentric view of the world and through which I began to see the worldfrom a different perspective; from the perspective of othering, from the perspective of colonizer and colonized.  Maija: But how do you view now the country you are coming from - Estonia? Kadi: Now, living here in Canada, and looking through the lenses I acquired in Colombia at the events happening in my native country, Estonia, I cannot afford to not be concerned. Estonia, celebrating its recently gained independence (1991), is dying of a desire to be included into the West. What worries me is how quickly and easily the Estonians have forgotten about their other colonizers, about 700 hundred years of colonization by the Western European, mainly German powers. From one side, it is understandable that in order to survive in the complex economic situation of the global world, it is necessary to overcome the position of the victim, but on the other hand, idealizing the West andforgetting completely about the history of colonization can bring about a possibility of RE-colonization.  In my point of view, it is  already happening. There was an article in a recent Georgia  Straight:  "Tallinnn - N e w Prague, new tourist mecca - castles and cheap beer!" Aren't these the signs that Estonia is becoming a new banana-land of the rich West?  79  re-locating: where are we at? Kadi: / do not feel like belonging to the West, rather, similarly to Latin Americans, Ifeel like being in the position of European "other. " That makes me feel connected to the burning issues of Latin Americans, such as a critique of Eurocentrism and decolonization.  These  are among my central concerns.  Maija: This is where I am at also . . . very aware o f the processes o f othering o f the Sami and other culturally distinct groups in Finland. Kadi: It appears to me that there is a connection between East-West and North-South conceptual divisions; they seem to intersect. . . at least in our lives.  Maija: This takes us back to the maps. W e already showed how difficult it is to point out on a map where we are from. Kadi: Indeed, geographical, historical, cultural, personal locations don't coincide at all!  Maija: If one goes deeper to the history o f cartography it becomes also clear that maps are fictions. Kadi: Cartographic twists . . .  Maija: For instance, the Eastern border o f Finland has migrated tremendously over the hundreds o f years and so has the M e x i c a n border which once was not far from south o f Oregon.  80  Kadi: Similarly, the border of Europe has traveled. In the 17 century the Russian tsar Peter I th  the Great, who has gone down in history as the ruler who Westernized Russia, ordered his court geographers to draw maps where the Ural Mountains were defined as the Eastern border of Europe.  That's how Russia became part of Europe.  Maija: The maps are also part o f power discourses! O n Hecateu's schematic map o f the world, from medieval times, Jerusalem is in the center, i n the middle o f the three known continents. O n this map, Jerusalem represents the world's ideological center, symbolically reasserting its power and the authority o f Christianity. Kadi: Maija, have you seen Sebastian Munster's map of Europe from 1588? This map is not an abstract representation but a "real" embodiment of power. It is the map where Europe is embodied with "Hispania " as a head, "Gallia " and "Germania " as an upper body, "Italia " as a right arm, "Livonia " (Livonia was a name for Estonia during medieval times) as a part of the lower left edge of the royal gown.  Maija: Another interesting characteristic common to medieval maps is that the cardinal directions are positioned according to the power discourses o f the time. O n these maps East is i n the North and South is in the East! Later, when navigation and exploration increased, these maps became useless and new maps were drawn. This time, England, the most important imperial nation, moved into the center.  81  Kadi: A renowned theoretician of nationalism, Craig Calhoun, writes that modern maps reflected a transformation both in how the world was understood and in how power was socially organized. In the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries, maps began commonly to represent the world as divided into territories with fixed borders rather than vague frontiers.  This reflected the increasing division of the world into the dominion of  different European states, the policing and even militarization of borders.  Map-making  and nationalism reflected both the new internal unity and the clearer borders (Calhoun, 1997, pp. 13-14).  Maija: These cartographic twists show that cartographic designs o f East/West and South/North are not just contemporary constructions but have been constructed and reconstructed according to the historical discourses o f power. Kadi: We have been journeying/oscillating  in between where we come from and where we are  at. . . Shouldn 't we then look at/make sense of these realities of "diaspora " through bifocal lenses? As far as I know, bifocal glasses have lenses made in two halves - the top part for looking at distant "there " and the bottom part for looking at nearby "here. "  Maija: O h no! It is not that simple. I think that we should, instead, look at diasporic spaces through lenses that show multiple perspectives. The so-called progressive or gradual lenses might serve more adequately (as a better metaphor) for this purpose. These progressive or gradual lenses have up to twelve different vertically located zones o f optical strength. Additionally these twelve zones o f vision somehow merge on the sides.  82  Kadi: It seems then that if we want to look at our journeys through "diasporic lenses " we would not see a dichotomous but a much more complex picture of reality. And, it seems to be not only a question of the lenses but also how and what we focus on, plus how we position ourselves.  If all these places and spaces are constructed, the diasporic identity  can be imagined only in a movement shaped by the dynamics of evolving journeys as a mobile network emerging during these journeys between different re-locations.  Maija: K a d i , have you noticed something? W e have started talking about looking at diaspora. Seems that we are stuck i n disembodied voyeuristic gaze!  Kadi: Uh, indeed I start feeling like a monkey from a poem by Krylov, a famous Russian fable writer. I remember his poem "Monkey and Glasses" from my childhood. It was about a monkey who tried on thousand pairs of glasses without finding the right ones.  Maija: Perhaps it is more appropriate, then, to talk i n terms o f in-sights . . .  Kadi: Yes, there is something I have learned while co-journeying - atravesando - diasporic spaces. In Canada my im/migrant identity unfolds/happens along the axis of evolving relationship between my Estonian and Latin American related experiences. Of course, in my identity network many other cultures are involved. Living in Canada, we constantly intersect with people, languages and cultures from multiple locations of the world. However, Latin America and Estonia, Spanish and Estonian and the issues of othering and decolonization are the relevant centers around which my identity negotiations occur.  83  Maija: So, instead o f an Anglocentric or English language centered model o f im/migrant diasporic existence we would like to suggest an existence o f different configurations o f relationships, where English is just one o f the cultures we as individuals are oscillating between.  Kadi: Thus, in the configurations of im/migrant identities in addition to THE English Center, other linguistic and cultural centers may play an equally central role. Sociologist Craig Calhoun in his book, Nationalism (1997), invites us to look differently at existing modern maps:  [T]he globe has n o t a l w a y s b e e n d i v i d e d i n t o the p a t c h w o r k q u i l t o f differently c o l o u r e d countries s h o w n o n t o d a y ' s m a p . M a k i n g m a p s this w a y , w i t h s h a r p b o r d e r s b e t w e e n countries a n d a n a t t e m p t at a ' b i r d ' s eye' v i e w f r o m above, is a m o d e r n practice. M o s t earlier m a p s w e r e either l o c a l - l i k e city p l a n s o r charts o f shorelines - o r f o c u s e d o n d i r e c t i o n s for travelers, featuring r o a d s b e t w e e n cities a n d n a t u r a l l a n d m a r k s l i k e m o u n t a i n s , a n d offering m u c h v a g u e r representations o f w h o l i v e d w h e r e , w i t h o u t the attempt to define b o u n d a r i e s p r e c i s e l y  M a p s t e n d e d to  l o o k o u t w a r d f r o m the centers o f p o w e r . . . . (p. 13)  Diasporic journeys challenge us to reconsider modernist cartographic practices and reimagine the maps, to re-map our locations according to our personal experiences/journeys.  84  Together: Please, dear Reader, feel free to mark here your own journey  MEXICO  FINLAND  ESTONIA  COLOMBIA  CANADA  RUSSIA SWEDEN  e-mail from Maija: where am I at... Sent: Saturday, A p r i l 05, 2003 9:48 AM  Querida Kadi: Thanks for inviting me to a d d a paragraph or two to our conversation years a g o -1 write these lines after just having read the introduction to your dissertation. Yesterday I participated in a seminar about the conversion of conventional (read industrial, capitalist, colonialist, white, scientific, 'enlightened' (hah!) etc.) agriculture to a more sustainable one. We take models from 'Latin America,' 'Asia,' or 'Africa,' c o n c o c t them to what is now 'Agroecology,' a n d then apply in California, Lower Mainland, Finland, Mexico, perhaps Estonia, too. Increasingly, however, w e include social studies in Agroecology programs, a n d I hope to soon prepare a course on gender a n d race in agriculture! Yesterday w e also visited UBC Farm (yes, such a thing exists and operates - they sell organic food every Saturday during the season!) a n d w a t c h e d grade 7 students from a private school learning to grow food. They are a n "explicitly chosen group" because "they most likely will be in positions where they c a n effect a c h a n g e . " Also underprivileged children c o m e to the farm to learn to grow their own food, understand the food system, its inequities, a n d unsustainabilities. I hope the students in both types of groups are taught that the soil they cultivate is in the Musqueam territory. I also hope to b e c o m e part of the 'instructional' team on UBC farm.  86  Last summer I visited (!) my grandmother's birth place, Hassis, a small farm on the 64th parallel in Finland, near Kokkola where you touched port on your way from Estonia to Colombia! The farm has been in the family for almost 400 years, a n d my grandma told me shortly before she died that in her dreams she was lying on her stomach in the field, clawing the soil. She left the farm a n d region in her twenties, a n d much later, when almost eighty, she m o v e d to C a n a d a . The weeks before her death, she spoke her Swedish language with her dialect to me, Finnish to my mother, a n d Swefinglish to the staff of the nursing home. She is 'buried' in the Georgia Straight. I find my spiritual home in the soil a n d with the people of Hassis, a n d plan to t e a c h agriculture in English to multicultural students on UBC farm.  Now I g o 'back' to writing 'my' dissertation on what I encountered, saw, shared, a n d heard about the lived experiences of farmers in San Luis Tlaxialtemalco, Mexico City, where they make a living on the  chinampas.  I write about how they negotiate the imposition of a 'participatory' 'conservation plan' on the  chinampas  a n d their hopes, livelihoods, a n d  community. I aspire to your statement: "We need to liberate alter-native ways of understanding/writings/knowings from the position of epistemic d e p e n d e n c y a n d resist the 'totalising' stance of the Western modernist universalistic epistemology."  Thank you, Kadi, Maija  87  WANDERING THE  BORDER  EAST  -  WEST  border is always  wandering,  sometimes eastward, THE  SOUTH  sometimes -  west,  NORTH  border is also  wandering  moving forcefully southwards,  only  southwards  and we know exactly where it is right "The U.S. - Mexican  now  border es u n a h e r i d a a b i e r t a where the Third World against the first and  Dear  Maestra, how  grates  bleeds"  20  can I re-cognize  home  if this border divides the world so that "West" and "North"  as superior, scientific, secure, benign, modern, rational, strong,  virtuous,  masculine  are on the one "East" and "South"  as inferior, superstitious, corrupt, mysterious,  dangerous,  weak,  threatening,  backward,  effeminate  on the other side? so that self, colonizer is on the one colonized,  2 0  "other" on the other side.  Anzaldua, 1987, p. 3.  88  AT HOME ON THE BORDER: ENTANGLING NATIONAL AFF/JLL4TIONS  89  voices from the border "The West is no longer west. The old binary models have been replaced by a border dialectic of ongoing flux. We now inhabit a social wiiverse in constant motion, a moving cartographywith a floating culture andfluctuating sense of self." Guillermo Gomez-Peria, The New World Border: Prophecies, Poems  & Loqueras  for  the End  of the  Century.  "Home, Esther decides, was not a point, a place, or spot. Home is the way in which points join. It is a grid for references only, not a firm, fixed thing that never alters. Home can grow. And shrink. " Linda Kivi, If Home Is a Place "I'm  Guillermo  verdecchia,  not  in  Canada;  I'm  on  the  Fornteras  I'm  not  Border.  I  in am  Americanas/American  Argentina. Home." Borders  "It wovy wujced/. I wovy vmjced/. It wovy Oh. You/ ctidw' howe/to-Speak/Evx^U^perfectiy, you/ dldw't have/toSpeahSpa4nl^pe4fetfly you/ could vmjo both la#i%u<a%e4'." my cloAAcfhter, peryonal (Xrn^eryatiovv )  "I had such good E s t o n i a n . . . n o w , w r i t i n g the letters to E s t o n i a I get embarrassed, I can see h o w clumsy m y w r i t i n g is. T h i s has influenced m y selfesteem, I perceive m y s e l f as imperfect, incomplete, a 'half-person'... M y life seems to be d i v i d e d : h a l f o f me lives i n C a n a d a , h a l f i n E s t o n i a . " a friend, personal conversation  "Home is where you are. And sometimes it's where you aren't. Home is the trick of going on. And the trick of going on, Esther thought, is nothing more complex than simply going on." Linda Kivi, If Home Is a Place  90  letters to Linda Kivi, an Estonian Canadian writer  91  contextual FOOTnote The paper "Letters to Linda Kivi, an Estonian Canadian writer" emerged in conversation with the group ofgraduate students from different departments when  preparing for the interactive panel "(Des)borda(r)ndo 'Filiations': 500 Years of Solitude in Nepantlah" for the conference:  Latin America Moving Beyond Neo-liberalism, Canadian Association for Latin American and Caribbean Studies X X V I I I Congress, M a r c h 19-21,1998.  The participants and co-presenters o f the panel were: 1. Fresia Sanches ( U B C ) "Borders, Crossroads and Thresholds i n Gloria Anzaldua's Borderland/La frontera: The N e w Mestiza." 2. Olga Pizarro (Universite de Quebec a Montreal) "The Chicano Culture: The Other Side, 500 Years o f Solitude." 3. Litsa Chatzivasileiou ( U B C ) "Stitching and Quilting Mam(ac)ita or (Des)borda(r)ndo the Chicana Body." 4. K a d i Purru ( U B C ) "The Homes on the Border: T w o Canadians, Linda K i v i and Guillermo Verdecchia, Rethinking Their 'Filiations'." 5. Alejandra Medellin ( U B C ) "Towards Nepantlah: From ' L a Esperanza' to ' L a realidad': Theatre i n the Borderlands." The preparation of this panel was a collective effort and a unique learning experience which evolved over the period of five months. During the process of collaboration my presentation took a form of "letters " intended to question "conventional"  and create new ways/forms of possible literary analyses. I read and  intersected my "letters " in between the presentations of my colleagues. Presented in such a way, the letters created the spaces of cultural and discursive dis/connections.  92  February 20,1998  Tere Undo,  It has been a few months now since we met. You told me that there is not much to do in Nelson during winter. Does it mean that you have time to write, write and write? Although you explained to me that winter means for you hard a time, a lot of physical work, isolation - there is no electric heat, nor telephone, not to speak of television, in your home it all looks so romantic, so idyllic from here, from  Vancouver...  I am really happy that we met. I slipped into the seminar room in UBC's German Department a bit late. You were sitting behind a long table reading fragments from your recently published novel If Home Is a Place ....  By good luck I ran into the Estonian professor leading the Baltic  studies seminar who told me about your presentation. I liked you from the first glance. You were sincere, approachable and homely - kodune. / listened to your clear and serene voice making every word resonate with uncommon clarity. You know, I have noticed that these people who were born in Canada but whose first (parents') language is not English pronounce every word in English with extraordinary caution, as if words were made of some easily breakable material. No, it is not the perfection of a language teacher, what I mean is that you spoke with the precaution of the person who is still painstakingly conscientious of the newness of her acquisition and cannot imitate the careless joviality of the native tongue. And then there was something else, something beyond the careful articulation of the words. I did not only understand everything you said, but I felt the existence of intimate and secret ties between us that no other person sitting in this seminar room possibly could feel. This 93  connection between us did not emerge, it existed there before; we ore both tied to each other already before our actual meeting, by the filial bonds with the common denominator called "Estonian." But don't misunderstand me. I did not like you because you were Estonian; it was precisely this shared denominator - Estonian - that made me skeptical and tense. This linkage - Estonia — does not only unite us but imposes the boundaries on us. The fact that Estonia is a homeland of our parents, both yours and mine, makes us members of the same "imaginary community." But does it immediately unite us and guarantee the common understanding? Are we supposed to think the same, feel the same, act the same? You were born in Canada. I was born in Estonia. Until a few years ago an insurmountable wall between East and West separated our lives. Now the wall is gone - does it mean that all Estonians have formed a big happy family? Paradoxically, only now when the scattered Estonians from all over the world are able to meet, it has become painstakingly obvious how difficult it is to unite different people with different perceptions, visions, life experiences under the same denominator. The old actual wall between East and West is gone but so many new walls, borders, boundaries have revealed their existence, separating Estonians politically, socially, ideologically, economically, culturally, generationally... You and I are separated by the wall between valiseestlased ("foreign" Estonians) and kodueestlased ("home" Estonians). Unfortunately, this wall of misunderstandings, interruptions, displacements, disconnections, discontinuities resulted from the historical scars of the Second World War, when thousands of Estonians had to leave their homeland, Estonia — this wall between Eastern and Western Europe is not 94  disappearing but getting bigger. Your parents, grandparents succeeded in fleeing to Canada, my parents, grandparents could not escape and stayed. Are we, you and I, able to tear down this wall between East and West, erase the dividing scar within Estonian psyche? What unites us? In Vancouver, when we met, I could not tell you, yet, what I think of your book. I was not sure since my impressions of it were still too fresh. Now I can tell you that your book talks to me, I can closely identify with the problems you are puzzling with in your book. Just like you, I am struggling to liberate myself from the strangling hold of national affiliations in order to explore the relationships between my "many selves." Most of all, I identify myself with your desire to resist the injustices of the society in which we both actually live. Perhaps when summer comes I will be able to visit you and learn more about how this small "alternative" creative community in Nelson lives. When I arrived in Canada six years ago, it seemed that people were looking at me with pathetic compassion, their eyes seemed to say: you are very fortunate, you escaped from the strangling hold of a totalitarian system. I remember, I was in shock (I still am!) but it was not the cultural shock every immigrant, according to Canadians, is supposed to have. I was shocked because of the confrontation with the capitalist consumer society! I could not understand how people can be so uncritically complacent with the dehumanizing effects of their commercialized existence! In my opinion this (and not the Soviet one) is the most totalitarian system in the world; the system which manipulates people's desires and makes people voluntarily collaborate with their own exploitation. And as you know, I did not arrive in Canada from Estonia but from Colombia.  If Estonians of perestroika would have not looked solely into 95  the "developed West" as a mirror, as a frame of reference, but would have taken a close look at the Third world countries, perhaps they would have been able to avoid the current "thirdworldization." Everything is for sale to the rich West for a cheap price! My elder friend Olav tries to warn Estonians not to sell the land to foreign companies but instead rent it. He has worked here in Canada as a land appraiser and is so concerned that Esonians will sell away their land and become homeless. In the centre of Utopian dreams and populist hopes, both "communism" and "democracy," political buzzwords of our century, have lost their credibility. Haven't they? Did you see the U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright saying on TV on February 19 - oh yeah, you don't th  have TV in Nelson, lucky you! - Albright said that as a diplomat she feels utterly secure dealing with the Middle East because she is supported, backed up by U.S. Army - by the most powerful army in the world, she underlined. No wonder! This is just a typical example of how U.S. democracy works. I really don't know, honestly, what to "prefer," communism or consumerism?! And there seems to be no other options left in the world! Of course, I can understand what strangles you most within the hold of your parents' Estonian legacy - your parents' generation cannot free themselves from the ghosts of Russians and communism and have aligned themselves, therefore, with the most conservative right wing politics and stance. Exactly like the community of Cuban exiles in the U.S. Linda, the most astonishing thing about your book If Home Is a Place, is that it has been able to build connections, bridges between generations: between your parents' generation who has been upholding and obliging their children to uphold the banner of their mission - to free Estonia! - with amazing, yet strangling strength, and your own generation that is struggling to make sense of their Estonianess within their Canadian 96  self. What an achievement within the community which seems to be like a minefield: wherever you step there is a possibility of explosion! I heard that the Estonian Cultural Society has invited you to talk about your book. I am so glad, so perhaps I will see you soonl  Tervitades,  Kadi  97  February 27, 1998 Tere Linda, How are you? Today I am in a very stupid mood! I started thinking about my research; about what am I doing in my Ph.D. programme. I do not know. I think I am in crisis. I do not trust academic knowledge, academic writing any more: There are suspiciously many "posts" (poststructuralism, post-modernism, post-colonialism, etc.) and academic fashions are changing with such a speed that whatever one does or investigates seems to immediately become post-... postponed. It is time to liberate ourselves from these "high" untouchable "great" theories floating indiscriminately above all University departments. Let them float away. And let's search for languages - the ways to get in touch with ourselves and our lives, to make connections between l-YOU-SHE-HE-WEUS-THEY-THEM! Just read National Identity by Anthony Smith where he points to the process of self-definition and location as the key to national identity: It is t h r o u g h a shared, u n i q u e c u l t u r e that w e are e n a b l e d to k n o w " w h o w e are" i n the c o n t e m p o r a r y w o r l d . B y r e d i s c o v e r i n g that c u l t u r e w e " r e d i s c o v e r " ourselves, the "authentic self," o r so i t has a p p e a r e d to m a n y d i v i d e d a n d d i s o r i e n t e d i n d i v i d u a l s w h o h a v e h a d to c o n t e n d w i t h the vast changes a n d uncertainties of the m o d e r n w o r l d (1991, p . 16).  Aren't you, aren't we all in Canada, those "divided and disoriented individuals" who have had to contend with the vast changes and uncertainties of the modern world A. Smith talks about? But how do I opt for this "prism of collective personality, this shared unique cultur" through 98  which to define and locate my individual sell which prism should I choose? And where should I locate myself? Who am I? Estonian? Canadian Estonian? Estonian Canadian? Colombian Estonian? Estonian Colombian Canadian?  How confusing,  the problem is that I have an Estonian passport, a "Colombian" husband, and I live in Canada. I was born in Soviet Estonia, got my undergraduate degree in Leningrad and had a Soviet passport. I have lived a part of my life - six years - in Colombia and in my Colombian " C e d u l a d e ciudadania" was written "Rusa." / speak Estonian, Russian, Spanish and English and I think in Esto-span-eng-rus...  I breath in ... I eat... And oh  yes, the things become even more complicated if I tell you that I like Japanese food, the films of Iranian filmmaker Kirostami, the political ideas of Noam Chomsky, Brazilian bossa nova, especially when my Brazilian friend, an electrical engineer called Washington, plays it on his guitar. One of the Canadian women athletes exclaimed ecstatically to the interviewer in the Olympic games in Nagano, Japan: "Oh, I feel right now so Canadian!" Me too, when I studied in Russia I felt so Estonian, when I lived in Colombia I felt so European, when I came to Canada I felt so Latin American, when I visited Estonia last summer I felt so American. And then there are of course the times when I get confused, when all these feelings of belongings mix up, form coalitions and appear all together...  so that I  am not able to define the borders between my Estonian, Canadian, Colombian and Russian selves anymore ... and very often I feel myself like a war-zone where my different selves question, dispute and fight with each  other...  How strange, absolutely unintentionally, I have introduced the new labels "Europe," "Latin America," "America" into my letter! Why do I say that I feel in Colombia "so European," how come?! Why not Estonian, for 99  God's soke? And how to explain that in Canada I feel so "Latin American"? Where did this "huge" geographical common denominator - Latin America - suddenly appear? My personal experience relates only to Colombia? And it is so bizarre and snobbish to say that I feel "American in Estonia." Have I become as you - "foreign" Estonian? Would Guatemalans, Peruvians, Mexicans, and the other Latin Americans agree to share this prism of collective personality - their national identity - with me? I doubt. And the Colombians? Ok, mono, you lived some years in our country, ate hundreds of pandebonos, learned few steps of salsa, montaste en una chiva y tomaste agurdiente  en la feria d e Cali - but does this give you the right to feel "Colombian," they would say, I guess. Even my daughter would laugh and say with skepticism: "you are 'a wannaby Colombian." However, she herself is not in a better situation. She has a Colombian passport, yes, and a Colombian father, but she was born in Estonia, learned her first words in the Estonian language and her mother, well, her mother is not so sure about her Estonian identity any more .... Right now, here in Canada my daughter is desperately trying to fix and defend the borders of her Colombian identity, to stay Colombian and erase the rest of the cultural, legal, geographical attachments she has had during the sixteen years of her life. I wonder whether she will ever succeed. You see, Linda, I have such a difficulty establishing my national affiliation -1 simply cannot find my "unique culture," neither do I know with whom to share it. How can I say that I am Estonian? A few days ago I read a very interesting poem, I'll send it to you. I can identify myself very closely with the author. Here it is:  100  Jose Antonio Burciaga's "Poem in Three Idioms and Calo,"  Spanish between  between  Nahuatl, How  English  between mad!  My mind spirals to the so smooth  Calo.  clouds  I feel four tongues  in my  mouth.  Twisted dreams fall and I feel a flower bud from four different  I distinctively  lives.  remember  when I was  Maya,  when I was a  Spaniard,  when Cortez raped my great great when I walked over the  I remember  temple  sleeps  nahuatl  my  killed by the and  Southwest.  the sun  in my mouth woman,  grandmother  mouth, English  wounding my  Spanish,  now I limp walk in fractuated But there is no for everything with or without  Spanish  problem is valid safeties.  Linda, how about you? How are you dealing with your Estonianess and/or Canadianess?  I recall now that in your novel you talk about "a  big family secret" - that your grandmother is Russian! You found it out 101  only recently. I can't imagine that your mother never told you about it before?! Actually, I understand her-she had to hide it or she wouldn't have been able to be part of the Estonian community in Toronto (who equate Russians with communism/invasion of Estonia), that's for sure. How is your writing going? How far are you with your'new novel? I, for sure, want to know more about this relationship between the Estonian young woman and her Congolese stepfather. But I must confess - / AM intrigued: why did you choose to write about racial relationships?  Kalli-kalll  Kadi  102  March 12, 1998 Tere jalle, Linda  Congratulations! You wrote that there is a newcomer in your family Marina Taara Delgado Kivi - your brother's wife got a daughter and brought some Brazilian blood into your family. Interesting how many LatinEstonians there are in the world? I know of two Colombian Estonian kids: with very Estonian names - Kroot and Arno. For sure you know that your name Linda means "beautiful" in Spanish? Linda is also such a common name in North America.  And Linda is also the name of the well-known  mother figure of the Estonian national epic Kalevipoeg. How strange! The world is becoming border. Cultures get so mixed. Here in Canada. And even in Estonia. During my trip to Estonia this summer — it was so clear the "world had poured in." I saw everywhere new tacky coloured MacDonalds, car companies, fancy banks forcing their way through the centuries old buildings I used to cherish. Familiar looked so unfamiliarl A pretty sad picture, to my eyes at leastl Tartu is a very old town where one can still see the traces of the 13 century, but for how fh  long, I wonder?! The old national filiations get disrupted and new affiliations, perhaps not even national ones but inter-national or should I say, post-national are emerging. Suddenly one finds oneself in the company of "strangers"... Right now I am working on my paper for the CALACS conference in Vancouver. It is a huge and very important conference of Latin American Studies. The great thing is that I have been able to work with a group of people - we decided to prepare a panel for CALACS - who all come from different places of the world: Fresia from Chile, Olga from Peru, Laurie from Quebec, Litsa from Greece and Alejandro from Mexico. We have 103  formed strong affiliations, and not all of us are even Canadians. And you know, I have enjoyed this work in the "company of strangers" and I think that this is exactly where I  belong...  How long do you have to stay in some foreign land in order to become part of the "imagined community" living in this country? What experiences (eating habits, musical taste, aesthetic preferences, thinking structures) make you transgress the borders of the national community you belong to by birth? Actually, I wanted to ask you: Do you mind if I take up the analysis of your novel If Home Is a Place in my paper? Oh, I see, you would probably ask - what has a conference of Latin American Studies to do with you, you are Estonian? Oh, don't worry -1 got this "great" idea to compare your novel with the work of another Canadian - Guillermo Verdecchia - whose parents came to Canada from Argentina. There are many similarities between him, you and me. We all live on the borders. And we all search for home. Verdecchia's play is called American Borders/ Frornteras Americanos and in this play he says: "I'm not in Canada; I'm not in Argentina. I'm on the Border. I am Home." Although Latin Americans live on the North - South border and Estonians on the border between East and West, they can connect and share their experiences of the "borderlives." Aren't "undeveloped" Latin Americans looking towards the "developed North"?! Aren't Estonians glancing from the "backward East" towards the "exemplary West"? Aren't they, thus, confronted with the same border dividing the world into powerful and powerless, leading the world towards "thirldworldization?" My "favorite bordeologist" Guillermo Gomez-Peha has wittily noticed that: I n the era o f c o m p u t e r s , faxes, v i r t u a l reality, W o r l d beat, a n d ' t o t a l t e l e v i s i o n ' (a la C N N ) , it has b e c o m e i n c r e a s i n g l y difficult for us to  104  c o m m u n i c a t e across the b o r d e r s of c u l t u r e a n d language. T h e s m a l l e r a n d m o r e c o n c e n t r a t e d the w o r l d becomes, the m o r e f o r e i g n a n d i n c o m p r e h e n s i b l e it seems to us. W e are e x p o s e d to m a n y languages, b u t w e l a c k of the k e y s to translation. W e h a v e the access to a n i n c r e d i b l e a m o u n t of i n f o r m a t i o n , b u t w e d o n ' t h a v e the codes to d e c i p h e r it. T h e s e d u c t i v e v i r t u a l u n i v e r s e , w i t h its u n l i m i t e d o p t i o n s a n d m u l t i d i r e c t i o n a l p r o m i s e s , c o n f o u n d s o u r a b i l i t y to o r d e r i n f o r m a t i o n a n d to act i n the w o r l d w i t h ethical a n d political clarity. (1996, p . 170)  Linda, I am planning to found the Institute of Bordeology here In Vancouver, would you join me? We need to begin inquiring into/knowing our world from the border perspective. We need to take "advantage" of our border lives/knowings. Let's resist the imposed "thirldworldization" and create a space/place to celebrate the encounters between my broken English, your broken Estonian and many other broken tongues! Bye for now, and let's talk about it when you come to Vancouver! Kadi  105  not my country Restless anxious night. Silence fulfilled with noise. Waking up. Listening. Listening. Listening. Listening to silence. Searching for signs of possible threat. Listening to what might happen. Listening to where and when... it will happen... and how... Listening to the heartbeats. So frantic, so frequent, so out of rhythm and tone. What should I do? Where should I run? This was a gunshot! I heard! I heard it clearly! And why don't I hear anything else? No barking of dogs. No voices. No noises. Oh, My God, Where is lana? Where is Jose? I have to find them.  They are asleep, haven't heard a thing. Go back to sleep, don't worry. We are safe. I'll try to close my eyes. Silence. Again silence. I can see the moonlight through my closed eyes. When I wake up in the morning in our home in Vancouver I remember my dream of how the security man from the neighboring building shot the ladron at night And then I realize that I had remixed dream with reality. This incident DID happen when we were still in Cali, Colombia. I hove tried very hard to forget about the turbulent experiences of my Colombian past in order to live in the tranquility of a Canadian present. I have failed. It has not been possible. Since the day I arrived in Canada, I have been living with the memories of the  past...  alucinada por este mundo Macondiano . . . borracha de fiestas tropicales Calenas  . . . envenenada por las ideas de Enrique y Creation Golectiva . . . terrorizada vomitando residuos de sustos y miedos de interminables bodas de sangre en C o l o m b i a  106  Iam  dead. I was  clay, with a straw slow moving  born here, in this town...in  roof. By the road, across from the school.  river of red clay in winter,  summer.  When the rains  mules  horses  and  come you  get their bellies even the faces  are spattered  the little house  with mud  . . . I was  and  a whirlwind  lose your sandals  smeared of the  with mud,  The road is a  of red dust in in the mud, the saddles  the  the and  horsemen  born from that mud,  returned  made of red  and  now I have  to it.  Since the day I arrived in Canada, I have been living in constant anxiety and guilt. I know that my sensation of tranquility here, in this country, is deceptive and very fragile. I am confronted with an enormous abyss that I cannot afford to overcome. It is this abyss between the social realities of Canada and Colombia, between the so-called "First" and "Third" Worlds, between here and there... I have tried to tell myself that Colombia is not my country. I have failed. I have not forgotten. It has not been possible. I am connected to that country. Connected through my blood. My daughter ties me forever to that country. The road is the slow moving  river of red clay . . .  107  becoming Estonian Canadian: from theatre to community  108  / thank my co-authors, Vancouve,  the members of the Estonian  Armas Kivisild,  Community  Aino Lepp, Leida Nurmsoo,  Sepp, Marje Suurkask for their collaboration conversation  which is also published  in Popular  Theatre Group  Dagmar  Ohman,  and contributions  Theatre In Political  Britain And Canada In Focus,  in  Helle to this Culture: 2000.  109  RING!!! (a telephone sounds) This is a call from Aino to Kadi, both are members of the Estonian community theatre group in Vancouver. AINO arrived in Canada as a young woman after the Second World War. Like many post-war refugees, Aino has had to struggle, economically and culturally, in order to make Canada her home. The war interrupted her studies of medicine in Estonia. However, in Canada Aino has been able somehow to follow her vocation.  Selling  chemical and biological products to medical research laboratories, Aino has traveled significantly and met a great number of people. Aino also has a curious and explorative attitude towards life; it is hard to find a course she has not taken, especially in the areas of alternative medicine, philosophy, spirituality.  Right now, although retired, Aino is  learning new skills - her new vocation is quilting.  Obviously enjoying her  communications across multiple cultures in Canada, she, however, keeps close contact with the culture of her homeland. Aino has been acting on the stage of the Estonian community theatre in Vancouver for several years. KADI arrived to Vancouver about eight years ago. She grew up in Estonia when it formed part of the Soviet Union. Due to the Cold War and separation between East and West, she knew very little about the Estonians living on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. She has a theatre-related background: she studied theatre history and criticism in Leningrad and taught theatre courses at the University ofValle  in Cali, Colombia.  After arriving in Canada, Kadi struggled to survive, asked questions, reviewed and transformed her previous understandings and convictions. But there was something Kadi was not ready to give up - her devotion to theatre. She became connected with the Estonian community theatre group in Vancouver. K A D I : [answering the phone] Hello, Aino...yes, yes I can talk, I am not so busy anymore. Oh no, I am not finished yet, I still have to write a dissertation. About what?! O f course I know about what — it is going to be about HOME and DIASPORA.  No, I will not abandon my work  with our theatre group, on the contrary. No, no, it's not only the question of time, it's more, I see the work of our theatre group directly related to my thesis. Aren't we all immigrants?!  no  WHO ARE WE? Vancouver. A Sunday in June 1998. Comfortable West side home. There are many Estonian national regalia around. Paintings with Estonian motifs - the girls in Estonian national costumes, the peaceful green valleys and the medieval views of the Estonian capital Tallinn hang on the walls. The bookshelves hold books with Estonian language titles, the prominent place belonging undoubtedly to the beautifully edited Estonian national epic, Kalevipoeg. There are also traditional juniper beer cups and candleholders here and there in the room. The Estonian blue-black-white flag is visible. Seven Estonians are sitting cozily around the dining table, speaking in Estonian. They belong to the Estonian community theatre group in Vancouver. The name of the group is Kalevala and it was established in the late sixties. This name is a little odd because it recalls a title of the epic of the Finnish people. However, the founder of the group named the group "Kalevala " after the place described in the Estonian epic Kalevipoeg. Estonians and Finns have common roots, both belonging to the group of Finno-Ugric people who have lived on the shores of the Baltic Sea for more than three thousand years. Thus, their culture and language are similar. The group is in the beginning of a new project that is somehow interrupting, changing their former aesthetics and ways of work. They also reflect on the past, present andfuture of the group. From the window opens the beautiful mountain view to the north of Vancouver. Karl Aun,  A I N O : [inquires with insistent curiosity]  The Political  Tell us, Kadi, more about our new project. I have not  Refugees: A History of the Estonians in Canada, 1985,1-51: The Estonians are one o f the smallest ethnic groups in the Canadian multicultural mosaic. The Estonian ethnic  understood yet what you exactly have in mind? D A G M A R : [Dagmar is always optimistic, full of energy, temperamental and straightforward. She recently celebrated her 35th birthday. In Estonia, Dagmar was a volleyball player. She came to Canada eight years ago, marrying a Canadian volleyball coach. Dagmar is not only a hardworking hostess in the Bayshore Westin Hotel but also the Estonian theatre group's "leading lady. " She acts, sings, dances with an Estonian folk dancing group, and frequently skis on Cypress Mountain.]  group i n Canada is  Don't worry, Aino, just wait until you get a script  essentially a community o f  with your part!!!  recent immigrants, the majority o f whom arrived  A I N O : [impatiently]  shortly after the Second  This is precisely what bothers me - the script! How  W o r l d War.  do we get to the script? What kind of script would it be?  It should be remembered that  K A D I : [Kadi considers herself lucky to have spent a few years in the epicentre of Latin American New Theatre, in the ill  these Estonian immigrants fled their homes due to the occupation o f their country by foreign forces (Soviet Russia) o f which they became victims, losing all they had: material possessions, social and  Teatro Experimental de Cali. She participated in and closely observed how a Colombian playwright, Enrique Buenaventura, and his group used the methods of "collective creation " in their work. Now she is eager to try this approach out with the Estonian theatre group. Kadi is passionate about the Colombian method because she thinks that it could help the group to create collectively their own plays and to address the problems of the Estonian community in Vancouver. At the same time, Kadi worries, she does not know how to communicate the Colombian methods to Estonians. Until now the group has staged mainly the plays written in Estonia dealing with life in Estonia.]  professional standing, close  I agree that until now the things have been quite  friends and relatives.  confusing. I know, it is much easier to have a dramatic text and work with it. This is what we have always done. But can't we create the play O U R S E L V E S addressing O U R ISSUES!?  The majority o f Estonians hoped sooner or later, after settlement o f the Big-Power  D A G M A R : [laughing in a carefree tone] What kind of theatre would it be? Are we going to take our coffee-table to the stage?!  struggle and the freeing o f Estonia, to return to their  A I N O : [with worry and suspicion]  country. Hence, they refused to call themselves immigrants, but rather refugees or exiles.  Who would care about our coffee-table talks?  K A D I : [trying to look confident and show that everything is under control] Well, all the stories we have been telling to each other have a great dramatic potential! They are compelling and different! It will be so easy to transform them  The hope that Estonia would  into play!  be freed o f Soviet domination was solemnly reaffirmed at most Estonian gatherings.  M A R J E : [Marje arrived in Canada as a child on a boat that the Estonian Second World War refugees had obtained in Sweden. Her family had to flee from Sweden because of closeness to and threatsfromtheir former homeland -  112  The emphasis among Estonians was on remaining distinguishably Estonian, which meant primarily the preservation o f the Estonian language and Estonian  Estonia. By profession Marje is a French language and literature teacher; however, it is not an exaggeration to entitle her also with the honour of being one of the principal hubs of cultural activities of Vancouver's Estonian community. This honour extends to Marje's family: to her husband, children, parents, and sister. She is leader of and participant in different Estonian organizations in Vancouver, such as the Estonian Society, Filia Patria (academic women's organization) and of course the Estonian theatre groups, where she has been active since the 1970s. Marje is also an important intergenerational link; she is not only supporting but also intermediating between both her children's folk dancing group and the gatherings of her parents' generation.]  culture. Yes, I agree. The stories are different. There are stories about Estonians who, although in Canada, live like in Estonia; for example, my mother lives as if still in her native village Raekiila. Another example is my Remaining Estonian also  great-aunt, now dead. M y aunt's home was here, in  meant socializing the next  beautiful British Columbia, but she seemed to live in  generation to national  Estonia: her house was full of Estonian souvenirs,  cultural matters. This was  books, newspapers; she could barely speak English; I  the root from which the  had always to accompany her to the doctor, to the  "explosion" o f organizations  lawyer. She did not have any Canadian friends. Isn't  and activities i n Canada  it sad?!  emerged during the 1950s. AINO: I know many Estonians in Toronto, who have lived the same way. The driving force behind the  KADI:  vigorous cultural organizations and activities  Why did the people choose to live like that? AINO: I would say that for many Estonian Second World War refugees, after being forced to leave their homes 113  o f Estonian refugee  behind, time stopped, they refused to accept that they  communities after the war  were in Canada and continued living as if still in  was basically political. Its  Estonia.  aim was not only to preserve Estonian culture but to keep the Estonian patriotic spirit and morale intact for a return to a homeland.  MARJE: M y great-aunt labored selflessly in order to save some money; she never wanted to spend it, she never bought herself anything "fancy." After her death we found out that she had saved quite a bit of money, which we sent to her older relatives in Estonia. They must be millionaires by now!  There was a strong feeling  KADI:  that while the Soviet occupied Estonia and suppressed Estonian cultural  Do you think that money made her happy, helped her to feel at home?  activities, only the Estonians abroad had the freedom, and therefore the obligation, to  AINO: O f course not, but she was comfortable and safe!  carry on fostering the development o f Estonian culture.  KADI: I can imagine that war caused the people innumerable deep wounds, including psychological and economic ones. Perhaps for refugees who arrived in the new country with their hands in empty pockets, the  The way o f life, value systems, and standards  construction of the economically safe place was one of the ways to overcome the feelings of loss?  specifically o f pre-war Estonians were idealized and became a measurement o f the  MARJE: Yes, for my aunt the economic stability was very  114  way o f life everywhere.  important and she celebrated her accomplishments in  Such ethnocentrism  her own way - sending photos from Canada to her  sharpened the cultural shock,  relatives in "Soviet Estonia;" photos which pictured  provoking rejection and  her standing in front of her wide-open refrigerator  criticism o f Canadian  full of food, in front of her T V set, in front of her car.  society. For many Estonians the image o f "primitiveness" o f Canada continued to linger for a long time. O f Canadian cities, only Montreal was found to be "pretty European."  The cultural differences, whether real or imaginary, reinforced Estonian  H E L L E : [Helle is among those very few Estonians who immigrated to Canada in the 70s, right at the peak of the Cold War. Although married to a Canadian Estonian, she had to confront the hostility and distrust of the majority of Estonians in Canada. The Cold War situation seriously affected the relationships between the Estonians in Estonia ("home "Estonians) and the Estonians in abroad ("foreign " Estonians). These relationships were almost non-existent, fractured and suppressed. Helle had to swallow many bitter moments of isolation before the suspicion of her being 'a communist spy' was overcome and she was accepted into the Estonian organizations in Canada. Presently Helle does not easily miss attending any of the activities of the Estonian community in Vancouver. Helle, having a background in economics, is an accountant for the West Coast Shipping Company. Helle's contributions to the theatre group are invaluable not only as an actor but also because of her expertise in "money matters " of the group.] And we DID look at these photos depicting the details  ethnocentrism, especially  of the "economic wonderland" of the New World in  among those to whom the  Estonia of Soviet times with jealousy and admiration.  workplace could not afford  Very soon people started sending letters to their  full satisfaction.  relatives abroad asking them to share.  MARJE: M y own life has been definitely more complicated than my mother's because I have not been able to live A s a result, in many cases Estonian immigrants developed a pattern whereby they lived one life at the workplace i n English,  solely according the Estonian traditions; I have been involved in the life of Canadian society. I feel like I am living in between two countries, one leg in Estonia, another in Canada. I do not know how could we bring these things into the play? I really do not know.  115  conforming to Canadian social customs and another i n their leisure time in their own Estonian society and organizations.  AINO: What Marje says is very important. This should be included into our play. All Estonian children who grew up here, in Canada, share the experience of living in between two countries.  HELLE: Living in between cultures is very confusing; I am Such dualism was dependent on a number o f factors: the older the immigrant and the less proficient i n English he was, the more he separated  living at the same time in both places in Estonia and in Canada, but I do not feel that I belong to either of them. I haven't learned to speak English with absolute fluency, and now my Estonian has become pretty rusty.  his "Canadian" economic life at work from his social,  MARJE:  cultural, "Estonian" life after  I am constantly inserting Estonian words into my  work and on weekends.  English! AINO: I have lost a lot in terms of literary richness of my Estonian, of my mother tongue. In Canada my  However, "relapses" i n  language has become so limited, I express myself in  "Estonianess" were soon  what we call - "kitchen Estonian."  noticed and d e p l o r e d . . . The young people who grew up i n  HELLE:  the Canadian environment  I had such good Estonian, now, writing the letters to  could not be expected to  Estonia I get embarrassed, I can see how clumsy my  devote their energies solely  writing is. This has influenced my self-esteem, I  to the Estonian cause like  perceive myself as imperfect, incomplete, a "halfperson." M y life seems to be divided: half of me lives 116  their elders, or master the  in Canada, half in Estonia.  Estonian language perfectly, or marry only Estonians.  KADI: But what about the third generation? Marje, what about your daughter, Liisa?  MARJE: Moreover, i n the 1960s a new element entered the controversy, namely meeting in person with people from Estonia under the Soviet rule  Liisa is ready to step into my shoes and participate in the organization of Estonian community events. She has an interest in Estonian cultural legacy, but there are not many people like her around. Right now, Liisa is leaving for Argentina for a month. What happens if she gets married there? If our children forget Estonian traditions, who would carry on? O r has the story of the Estonian ethnic community in Canada come to its conclusion? Should we stop fighting for its survival? Is it time to let our children define themselves as Canadians or Estonians because now they have the option to live permanently in Estonia? I don't really know what will happen but something is certain - we are passing through very critical times. We should bring these concerns into our play!  117  PROFESSIONAL VS. AMATEUR K a r l Aim, The Political Refugees: A History of The Estonians in Canada, 1985, pp. 94-97: The theatre has formed the second most important sector o f Estonian ethnic culture i n Canada. The most popular activity for Estonians is group and  KADI: Let me ask something. There are more than 200 Estonian organizations now all over Canada. Each one of us participates in different community groups such as the Lutheran congregation, the Vancouver Estonian Society, the Estonian Cultural Association, the Estonian Supplementary School, men and women's choirs and folk dance groups. What has been the role of theatre among these many activities?  choral singing. Estonian theatre i n Canada  MARJE:  is rooted i n the traditions o f  It's fairly important! The Estonian theatre in  the home country where  Vancouver has more than thirty years' history! I had  amateur theatre was as  my first role when I was 17 years old.  popular as the professional theatre and was pursued  HELLE:  actively on a wide scale, not  As far as I know, in its earlier times the theatre was  only i n the cities but also i n  more professional, the professional theatre people used  small rural communities.  to lead the groups, Asta Willmann, Ain Soodor.  The Estonian immigrant post-war population  MARJE:  contained a number o f  Yes, and it was really interesting to work with them!  professional actors,  In the beginning the Estonian theatre in Vancouver  actresses, and producers  was very popular, now the tradition seems to perish  who laid the basis for the  gradually. Our community has become older and  Estonian theatre i n Canada.  many leading people have died.  During the 1950s almost every Estonian Association  118  in different Canadian cities  DAGMAR:  had its theatre group and  But it hasn't stopped. Since the day I arrived, eight  plays were produced several  years ago, I have been on the stage.  times o f the year. MARJE: The most stable theatre groups were operating i n Montreal and Toronto. In Toronto, for example, three to six plays were produced  Dagmar, before you had your first role in August Kitzberg's The Werewolf, there was a fairly long pause in the activities of our group. \The Werewolf is one of the most popular and cherished  annually during the twenty-  Estonian plays. It was written by playwright  year period from 1952 to  Kitzberg in the beginning of the century. Since then it has  1972.  been endlessly staged.  Unfortunately, the Estonian  family takes under their roof an orphan whose mother had  theatre has largely been  been killed at the village square because she was believed  limited i n its activities to  to be a witch-werewolf.  the Estonian communities; it has had scant impact beyond Estonians.  August  The story is: an Estonian peasant  A tragic love triangle is formed  when the orphan becomes a young woman andfalls in love with the son of the family, Margus, who is supposed to marry another woman. The peasant family/community does not accept this love because Tiina, the orphan girl, is  P. Kangur, K. Muru, U . Tonts, Valiseesti kiriandus, 1991, p. 70 (translated into English by K . Purru):  an outsider who has a different temperament and darker  The main objectives o f  tragic plot the play seems to demand 'great dramatic'  skin color. As a result, Tiina leaves the village.  During  the stormy night Margus, fighting against hungry wolves, accidentally shoots his beloved Tiina. Because of its  Estonian language theatre i n acting.] Canada have been to maintain the identity o f the homeland's culture, to  HELLE: The Werewolf was meant initially for the Estonian  preserve Estonian language  West Coast Festival in 1987. We were in the midst of  and to assure the continuity  the rehearsal process when the organizing committee  119  Throughout its earlier period  of Estonian authors. It would help to introduce the  o f existence, due to the  younger generation to Estonian culture.  presence o f theatre professionals, the groups  MARJE:  were able to preserve and follow the theatrical traditions o f their homecountry.  The Werewolf is my favourite Estonian play and I have always wanted my children to know it. However, it was somewhat utopie to think that they are going to read it. Theatre facilitated them to appreciate this  Later, because o f lack o f 'replacement', the artistic and professional  play. When we finally succeeded to stage The Werewolf in 1991 my children did not only enjoy watching it but they participated in The Werewolf!  possibilities o f the groups became more and more amateurish. In sum, i n exile the Art o f  DAGMAR: And the older generation? Aino, why are you doing theatre?  theatre became an amateurish pastime activity.  A I N O : [laughing] I am participating because there are not many 'actors' any more around. Every time I promise to myself that it would be the last time to help them out, but very soon I receive the next phone call and I'll find myself in a similar situation - helping out.  121  of national legacy  sent us the notice that The Werewolf is not a suitable  throughout generations.  play for the Festival. Some of the members of the  The repertoire o f the  committee argued that amateur actors should not  Estonian exile theatre has  touch the Estonian classics! We all had worked so  been principally composed  intensely, with such an enthusiasm!  o f the plays by the authors popular i n pre-war Estonia.  MARJE:  Due to the amateur nature o f  Unfortunately these kinds of conflicts do happen in our  this theatre, the groups  small community. These things make me sad and I  have been making  often ask myself - why I am doing this? Is it all worth  compromises to audiences'  it?  preferences for light entertainment over high quality theatre.  Very often the groups have been motivated by particular political inclinations.  KADI: Hmm, and yet you have been continuing doing theatre despite of all these internal misunderstandings. Why do you participate in the theatre projects of the Estonian community? What motivates you to come to the rehearsals after a long and busy working day?  P. Kruuspere, Eesti Pagulaskirjandus: Naitekirjandus. Collegium Litterarum 5,1993, pp. 13 -16 (translated into English by K . Purru):  MARJE: Theatre plays an important role in the Estonian cultural traditions. We have an audience in the Estonian community that is interested in theatre and  B y its quantity and aesthetic standards the Estonian  enjoys it. Theatre, since it is such a collective event, also keeps us together!  drama i n exile, i n comparison to other literary genres such as prose and  HELLE:  poetry, is significantly less  I also like the idea of Estonians getting together and  developed.  doing something. We should keep working on the texts  120  "HIGH" VS. "LOW" HELLE: After many nerve-racking experiences in my  K A D I reflects on the work of the Estonian community theatre group:  "acting career" in Vancouver's Estonian community I have been very cautious with my theatre commitments. When Kadi initiated the project The Wedding in Abruka's Style and  It was not easy for me to j o i n the Estonian theatre groups i n Vancouver (there are two), although I was warmly invited.  invited me to participate in it, I asked for the smallest part. MARJE: I loved very much the beginning of The Wedding in Abruka's Style! It was really impressive to  Although I tried to be respectful towards local theatrical traditions and artistic trajectories o f the groups, I could not compromise myself because I felt that my background and ideas o f theatre were so different.  watch how you all gathered with your backpacks, bags, milk cans, beer barrels and with the C O W ! in the harbour of the small Estonian island Abruka; how you pushed and argued in order to get into the small boat taking  The experience with methods o f "collective creation" practised i n Colombian theatre had definitely influenced and shaped my ways o f thinking and approaching theatre.  you to the city. HELLE: It all looked and felt so hilarious and funny because we had an unusual staging strategy. Instead of being compressed on the tiny stage of the Estonian community center, we had plenty of  It seemed to me that such factors as the tight and stressful rehearsal period, "directorial" interpretation of a play, inflexible rules o f "professional" theatre and lack o f space for joy sometimes caused unnecessary tensions i n the process o f work.  space: the two harbors, Abruka and Roomassaare, were at the different ends of the hall. This changed many things; the audience was not only seated in a weird triangular way  These concerns triggered a rethinking of the questions: -What inspires people to get together after a long working day? 122  but they had to participate very actively turning their heads towards the locations where the different episodes took place. As actors we had a feeling of real distance and we could and had to shout - how else can the people in the boat communicate with the people waiting for them in the harbor when there are more than ten meters of ice between them!  KADI: And because our audience consisted basically of  -What is the purpose o f theatrical activities o f the Estonian community i n Vancouver? -What kind o f repertory, rehearsal format, and production goals 'suit' the people who do not have particular professional training and who make theatre because they love it? -What are the differences between so called "professional" and "amateur" models o f theatre?  elderly people who frequently have hearing problems and because not all of our actors can effectively use their voice, our "shouting" helped to resolve these problems.  MARJE: The play was also physically very challenging; Sometimes I wondered while sitting there behind the curtain ready to remind to the actors of their  A m o n g all these questions my main concern, o f course, was with the refugee community itself. I felt that there were so many misunderstandings, frustrations, conflicts, and tensions around due to the unhealed wounds caused by interrupted careers, broken dreams, left behind mothers, brothers, husbands, friends - i n sum, unlived lives.  lines - how can they endure sitting, all crammed, in this little boat throughout these long conversations and episodes?!  KADI: And the text of this play was so complex, hard to follow and memorize. It did not have traditional  H o w to find a common language, build the connections with/between people, create a positive and collaborative spirit within the community which i n a way seemed to be like a minefield? Wherever one stepped there was a possibility o f explosion . . .  narrative logic or "normal" dramatic development, it was all so fragmented: people constantly mixing their voices, conversational  Needless to say, it was not easy to find a play that would possibly 123  themes, sentences getting interrupted or overlapped - just like the conversations in real life!  L E I D A : [Leida comes from a tiny Estonian island, Muhu, where people are used to harsh climate, hard  inspire and unite the participants into a common project. I knew that it would have been wrong to force people right away to work according to the methods they were not familiar with, so the option to create our own play was out o f the question.  work and speak in a slightly singing Estonian dialect. One day in 1944, with her little son and elderly mother, Leida left home. She was forced to cross the sea to a foreign country on a fragile boat due to the dangerous situation her husband was caught in as a young man (similar to the majority of young Estonians), willing to join neither Russian nor German sides in the war.  It was necessary, I felt, to introduce different philosophies and ways o f doing theatre gradually, to invite people along i n the process o f work and also to make sure that there was a need and desire to inquire into the new avenues.  Having never been "afraid of any work " as goes the Estonian saying, Leida is now able to enjoy her retirement years. However, it is hard to imagine Leida not being busy: she is one of those persons who make you feel at home. Although preferring to work backstage, she definitely stole the show in Abruka with her energetic and spontaneous acting as a commanding  Finally we agreed upon The Wedding i n Abruka's Style. Our choice was quite intrepid and unusual because this play, written by Juri Tuulik in the 1970s, pictures the life o f Estonians during the "Soviet times."  and scolding countrywoman.] Since it was hard to understand where it all went wrong, when it happened I just yelled to my partner "Shut up!" and started the episode all over again! AINO: I remember, in the boat scene I had to be very comforting and caring with my cow, who was  A few years ago, during the C o l d War, the intent to stage such a play would have probably caused very strong, politically motivated counteraction in the Estonian Canadian community. Yet, it was the year 1993 and perestoika had already produced radical changes in the political map o f the world.  supposedly very sad because of being sold and forced to leave her native island Abruka. So in  In addition, since the play's context is very closely related to 124  the scene where I console and reach to stroke her body, it resonates with a hollow and booming sound - B O O M ! I had forgotten that my dear cow - Leesike - was made of a plastic beer barrel!  (satirizing/criticizing) the socialist way o f life, it also became a possibility for me, Dagmar and Helle (we all grew up i n Estonia when it was under Soviet rule) to explain and communicate our experiences to the other members o f the project.  MARJE: Visiting the real Abruka in Estonia I found that the play has depicted it very realistically; I saw the people carrying their packs and barrels and traveling in the tiny boat from Abruka to the city. Our play was an accomplishment - we  It worked as a healing process. Getting to know about each other's lives under different social systems helped to lessen the abyss o f distrust dividing the Estonians during the C o l d War.  showed to the Estonians in Vancouver how the people live on this tiny Estonian island. The critique and satire regarding the differences between the rural and city people were also  W e opted for this play because we found it charming and very human, we all seemed to be receptive to the warm humour o f the play.  among the achievements of the play. I am only sorry that this critique caused misunderstandings.  W e considered the play funny but not banal i n its depiction o f the differences and misunderstandings, between "down to earth" country people and snobbish city people.  HELLE: The play ridiculed the city snobs who think of themselves as "cultured," "educated" and who look down on the country people. But it depicts these characters of fishermen and countrywomen with such ingenuity and warmth that I think it is impossible to get offended by these coarse words we used. This is exactly how the people in the country talk! I myself come from the Estonian capital Tallinn and as a city  The play has also very hilarious plot: the people from the tiny island Abruka undertake the journey across the half-frozen sea. The trips are, for the islanders, an everyday reality, thus, every person i n the boat travels to the city because for a different reason: to get married, to sell the cow, to buy a refrigerator, to visit a daughter and so on.  125  woman I learned a lot about the Estonian rural ways and traditions through this play. A I N O : [laughing] O h , I know many Estonians who pretend to be "highly" educated, for them the reality and speech of the characters of Abruka can easily be "obscene or dirty." These are the people who  The comic nerve o f the play is inscribed into the interactions o f different socio-cultural discourses expressed through a variety o f characters and speech styles including for example, the juicy language o f the country folk, pseudoscientific talks o f the university professor, selfcelebrating thoughts o f the petty city lady.  claim "having left their concert piano in Estonia." A R M A S : [Like Marje, Armas arrived in Canada in his childhood. He grew up in Canada learning English at school and speaking Estonian at home. Earning his everyday bread in a government relatedjob, Armas spends the majority of his evenings, holidays and weekends with the Estonian community in Vancouver. It is impossible to imagine any Estonian event without Armas 'presence. Furthermore, Armas is not only present but he is the cornerstone of many events: Santa Claus in the Children's Christmas party, member of the Estonian Church Committee, dancer in the Estonian Folkgroup and singer in the Estonian Choir. Besides, one can hardly find a play where Armas does not have a major role! By the way, Armas in Estonian means "beloved. " Indeed, regardless of difficulties Armas is always smiling and joking, emanating joy and support for others.] Yeah, the piano and the maid!  AINO: Some people always talk with nostalgia about the great culture they left behind in Estonia, in  In many ways the play was for our group the "neck breaking" undertaking. W e had such trouble with finding participants since Abruka involves so many characters. W e also faced serious staging problems due to the small performance area and due to the fact that Abruka required quite a sophisticated set. In addition, we were also confronted with other "traditional" problems o f "amateur" theatre, like physically and vocally untrained actors, including the shortage o f time.  However, falling quickly under the spell o f the play, which made us laugh, laugh and laugh in every r e h e a r s a l . . . little by little we got drawn into this challenging project.  126  Canada everything for them is so "tasteless" and "culturally undeveloped."  KADI: Wouldn't you say then that The Wedding in  Rehearsal periods grew longer and longer until we realized that, without noticing, a whole year had passed by. O f course this year did not exclude moments o f frustrations, tensions, fatigue and loss o f hope.  Abruka's Style became kind of a test of taste?!  [Everybody is laughing.]  Nevertheless, the year also included joy, artistic explorations, the celebrations o f birthdays, discussions and discoveries.  DAGMAR: Armas, I have been wondering where you got so much energy to put into this play? First Jaan  It was wonderful to become aware o f a collaborative spirit gradually emerging i n the process o f work.  got sick and we had such a problem to find someone who could replace him; then Arno refused to play his role in Portland in the Festival and I thought that we'd be never able to find anybody who could play his role. And in order to save the trip to Portland you decided to play Arno's part!  ARMAS: Well, I never quite succeeded in Arno's role. His Professor role was so wonderfully realistic - a city academic living in the ivory tower of science, alien to life around him. Remember, his  Since we had opted for "naturalistic" staging involving a "real" boat, "real" cow and the other "real" stuff found in the "real" harbour, many people ended up participating i n our project i n very different ways: building a boat, constructing a cow, painting sheets for a "blue sky," finding old beer barrels i n dark and dusty basements, searching for music, creating the sound-effects, transporting the props, manufacturing the stage set, designing the program, taking care o f finances, and so on.  research topic was dealing with artificial insemination but he could not differentiate between the cow and the bull! [laughing from his heart] Arno played the Professor's part so  Inadvertently, a large section o f Estonian community - family members, neighbours, friends had become part o f our project.  truthfully because similarly to the Professor, he 127  also did not have any clue about "artificial insemination"!  KADI: How come!?  MARJE: Arno was born and grew up in Canada, he feels that his Estonian is not so good and he is a city boy!  HELLE: Arno is a very disciplined actor, he learns his lines very early because he has to work with his Estonian very hard. I am always happy to work with Arno, he is so committed and experienced.  KADI:  There were also changes in terms o f presenting the work to the audience. I just could not bear the thought that all this work on Abruka would end with one or two performances as was the tradition, so we performed it at least five times. Furthermore, after accepting the invitation to the Estonian West Coast Festival i n Portland, we kept rehearsing Abruka still another year.  A n d although our presentation i n Portland i n a way "failed" - i n addition to many technical difficulties it was very hard to break the chilly official atmosphere o f the large hotel conference room designed for business meetings and to reach the audience. However, it is not the night o f performance we remember the most about Portland.  With The Wedding in Abruka's Style we had so many struggles, complications and F U N ! But how do you feel about this project being so long - two years? It took us a year to stage it in Vancouver and then another year to rework it for the Festival in Portland.  AINO: I feel very positive about our rehearsals; these  Looking back to this trip we cherish the moments o f communality, which happened when -sharing the rooms in the hotel or having a meal together; -searching for the " c o w " who got lost i n the huge hotel i n downtown Portland;  were great gatherings with coffee and snacks always around.  -having fun carrying dirty beer barrels, pieces o f our "boat" and 128  HELLE: It was never boring during the rehearsals, the play was full of jokes and we always laughed so much!  MARJE: Did you always believe that our trip to Portland would take place? During its preparations there was a time when I completely lost my hope! I took the whole process so much into my heart, living through it very intensely. In Portland I got disappointed with the Estonians who were going to MISS our play. Think how much  other props - so terribly out o f place - around i n this five or four star hotel; -traveling together i n a little minivan listening to each others' stories about "tragic" and funny incidents during the performance, or singing Estonian popular songs with "indecent" words; -feeling the sense o f belonging to the theatre community in the midst o f big crowds o f Estonians from all over the world; -realizing that i n spite o f differences i n our ages, political ideas, professional backgrounds, cultural aspirations, we enjoy being together.  energy and time we all put into this play during these two years!  HELLE: The presentation of the play in Portland was a disaster! There was not enough space, the lights were blinding to the eyes, we were tired of  The C o l d War is over. M a n y Canadian Estonians have returned to Estonia, their home country, some have stayed, some have come back. The Estonians i n Canada are still actively organizing/participating i n cultural events.  preparing the stage and the fact that we could not have any rehearsal on the new stage just made it all impossible. The best part of it was the trip back to Vancouver. Remember how we were singing, making jokes and laughing all the  However, the mission and purpose o f events has changed, there is no need anymore to worry about the continuity o f Estonian language and preservation o f Estonian culture.  time! What is the purpose o f Estonian gatherings i n Vancouver?  129  KADI: For me theatre is not just the premiere, I value very much different aspects of it, the whole  What kind o f mission is the Estonian Canadian community currently involved in?  process, rehearsals. Recently I read the comments made by two critics in Estonia about the theatre of the Estonians abroad. Both critics coincided in the opinion that theatre is the aesthetically weakest and the most unprofessional artistic expression among the  Working two years on the Abruka project we had become a group and there was an eagerness to continue. But we were not sure how. W e kept coming together, talking about past events and Abruka related endeavours, searching for new texts to stage.  cultural activities of the expatriate Estonians. I thought - how can one approach the activities of community theatre solely from the aesthetic perspective!? The work we have done here with  However, we have not been able to get started with a new project, we have not found a play that would address our issues or inspire us i n some other ways.  our group has another purpose, function and meaning. We come together in order to communicate, to share our experiences, stories, to explore the "Estonianess" of our culture abroad. And theatre is a great tool that has helped us to communicate, investigate and  H o w to find a script that could speak -to the Estonians who have made the preservation o f the Estonian identity the central mission o f their lives;  express those experiences. I do not think that perfectionism should be our ultimate goal. In  -to the Estonians who have desired to become Canadians;  addition, even the so-called professional theatre has multiple models, visions, styles.  -to the Estonians who have felt like living i n between cultures;  MARJE:  -to the Estonians who have arrived in Canada i n their adulthood;  The next Estonian West Coast Festival will be in Los Angeles and then there will be the Estonian  -to the Estonians who have been born-in Canada;  World Festival in Toronto. What do you think, would we have the courage and energy to  -to the Estonians who have married non-Estonians;  participate?! -to the Estonians who have arrived  130  in Canada just recently;  AINO: I am getting anxious! Have we decided . . .  HELLE: Really, let's decide, I need to run, we have been discussing more than five hours! DAGMAR:  -to the Estonians who have always dreamed about returning to their home country; -to the Estonians who have felt i n Canada at home . . . ? In the process o f telling each other our stories we came to understand that there is not a universal model but the endless stories o f "Canadian Estonianess" each o f which is an intriguing journey worthy o f theatrical exploration. . .  Wait, wait a little, Leida, there are rumours going around that you always take your burial clothes along to the folk dance rehearsal. Is it true? Leida, tell us about this story!  131  RING!!! (a telephone sounds) This is a call from Kadi to Aino. It is Sunday evening, April 18, 1999. Earlier in the day, the Estonian theatre group had presented their work in progress in the Estonian Church.  The meeting was titled: The  Journeys . . . from Home to Foreign Land. The idea of the presentation was to share the stories of the group members with a wider public in order to explore the audience's response and to encourage people to tell about their experiences of immigration (to gather more "material" for the future play). After a year of storytelling sessions, the group members felt a needfor communication, so we decided to accept the Estonian Cultural Association's invitation to give a presentation during one of their meetings. We organized the event in a discussion forma, as the theatrical shape of these stories had not yet emerged. We placed the audience seats in a semicircle and arranged several smaller tables as multiple "sites of enunciation. " We used music, slides, quotations from history books, not only to explore the expressive scope of diverse media, but also to inquire into how personal memory and subjective accounts of events interact with the generalized objectivity of history books. In addition, we wanted to tell stories as spontaneously as possible without referring to written remarks, in order to gain self-confidence and to observe what happens when a personal story becomes a public presentation.  The  audience response was enthusiastic. Numerous comments were made regarding the content of our stories and suggestions were given for possible perspectives. Many people who approached us afterwards were interested in collaborating and sharing their stories with us.  AINO: No, I don't know. I am still confused, not sure about how it all worked. But that's good that you found the answers to your questions. The audience was large!  It is  good that many people were interested in coming forward with their stories. What are we going to do next? You know, I am not interested in repeating my story, people already know it. The next step would be to give our stories theatrical form? O h , I see, that would be interesting. Today telling my story of escape on a little boat  132  from Estonia to Finland during the war, I felt that something really important was completely missing. I C O U L D N O T C O M M U N I C A T E M Y F E E L I N G S T O T H E A U D I E N C E ! I would like to convey to people the fear, desperation, asphyxiating loneliness I felt when I was left with the group of other Estonian refugees behind the closed doors in the Finnish prison during the heavy bombing. We heard bombs exploding everywhere around us and yet we were unable to run, to run away in order to save our lives. The prison executives were all g o n e . . . the only thing we could do was to close our ears and eyes and just h o p e . . . h o p e . . . h o p e . . . to stay alive. I think that these feelings could be explored and expressed through theatre.  133  werewolves among us: a drop of foreign blood  In our clan everybody has blond hair and blue eyes. We have always married among ourselves. There isn't a drop of "foreign" blood in our vessels, our blood is pure. -Kitzberg My hometown, Tartu. An introverted and seemingly very quiet university town in Estonia founded at the beginning of the 11 century. It is the year 1985. Some th  time in March or April.  My four-year old daughter with a not so Estonian name, lana Veronica, and I are sitting in the darkness of a theatre named after the Estonian god of song and merriment - Vanemuine. We are at a Sunday matinee presentation of The Werewolf, a ballet version of the Estonian drama classic.  On the stage, in the dim light, we witness a scene of punishment: A woman stoned to death by the surrounding villagers. The woman is executed because she is different, she is believed to be a witch-werewolf. Her body twitches and it is hard to say what causes her more pain - the actual rocks or the hatred of surrounding people.  I feel my daughter's tense grip on my hand and I embrace her firmly to protect her from the cruelty of this scene. "Don't worry, it is just theatre. And this story happened a long time ago," I whisper to her.  The next moment I find myself under a heavy burden of guilt-thoughts: It's too much to bear for a four-year old, it's too early to expose her to the violence of the adult world. Why am I equating the adult world with violence?  134  But the adult world is violent  that's what the adult world is (all) about!  What we are watching is real, it did happen it's part of Estonian history. To distance oneself historically or geographically is an illusion of safety. I shouldn't have brought my daughter to see this. But sooner or later she will see "this." Why is our world violent? Isn't this a question I as an adult, as a parent, must be worried about? Why hadn't I been aware of the cruelty of this scene before? I know the story very well. Every Estonian knows it. The Werewolf, written by playwright August Kitzberg in the beginning of the century, is an "honorary" text in our "national curriculum," firmly embedded in Estonian national consciousness and identity.  The scene of execution had never caused me such anxiety. It had always passed by unnoticeably and quickly as necessary dramatic exposition departure. My attention had always been on the romantic love story that follows this tragic beginning scene.  The woman beaten to death in the village square has a daughter, Tiina. One of the peasant families witnessing the execution offers the orphan-girl protection under their roof. Tiina, growing up in midst of this family, falls in love with their son, Margus. However, the peasant family/community does not accept this love because Tiina is different - an outsider who has different temperament, behaviour, eyes and skin colour.  Margus is supposed to marry a local woman from within their community. In the play Grandmother explains to Margus:  135  In our clan everybody has blond hair and blue eyes. We have always married among ourselves. There isn't a drop of 'foreign' blood in our vessels, our blood is pure.... We are calm and moderate; we have never had more than three children. We have always worshipped God and slaved for our landlords in fear and obedience; joy and merrymaking have been forbidden to us. Our songs are sorrowful and worrisome. We have never seen brighter days or felt burning passions. (Kitzberg, 1955, p. 360)  Although Margus' love belongs to Tiina, he obeys and marries the blond hair and blue eyed local woman with the submissive and joyless character.  While recalling the memories and earlier impressions of Tiina's story, the scenery on the stage has changed and the love story between Tiina and Margus is unfolding. My daughter is watching attentively. She loves dancing, that's why I brought her to see this ballet. She has seen Swan Lake so many times that when asked, Who would you like to become in the future?, she answers: A swan!  The dancer who performs Tiina has a graceful and limber body, long dark curly hair and deep brown eyes. Although all the dancers wear similar grayish rough looking clothing, she stands out, she is different from the surrounding villagers. She does not look Estonian. We sit close enough to see that it is not a fake theatrical imitation of difference created with the help of maquillage and a wig.  I know the dancer well. I have seen her dancing on  Vanemuise's stage throughout  my childhood. She has been my ideal of Beauty, my fairytale character, my imaginary Snow White, a dreamland character who comes from a far away country where people are warm and tender, refined and spontaneous, happy and passionate, where people do not have a bitter heavy depressing look in their eyes.  136  However, the dancer who is performing Tiina does not belong to a imaginary world but to the real world. One sees her walking the streets of our small town Tartu: from home to theatre, from theatre to home. When our paths cross, I follow her with an adoring glance as do many of the other habitants of the city. We revere her because she looks so different from us - she is so charming. I envy her for her "unbearable lightness of being!" I feel so heavy carrying my burden of Estonian colonial history and memories of serfdom on my shoulders. Sometimes it is hard even to smile.  The first act is over. It culminates with a passionate scene between Margus and Tiina: they are in love. People calmly leave the dark hall of the 19th century's imagining and re-enter modern reality. In the spacious sunny foyer with huge glass windows looking over the city, they form a large walking circle. Moving slowly and talking quietly, audience members exchange their opinions about the ballet or listen to the "hot" news in the city. My four-year old daughter interrupts the sacred solemnity of this intermission ritual. I watch her run around, crisscrossing and disordering the orderly walking circle. She dances and sings loudly over the audience's whispering voices:  "I am Tiina! I am Tiina! I am Tiina!"  I look at her tenderly: she seems so happy in her snow white muslin dress we brought from Colombia, accentuating her difference: her glowing deep brown eyes, darker skin colour and joyous nature.  And then I perceive the silent reproach, irritation, intolerance in the eyes of the moving people. I want to explain to them that my husband is Colombian, that we just arrived from Colombia, that in Colombia the children are brought up differently. That we came because I was yearning for MY home... 137  Suddenly I realize that now I have a responsibility to look at The Werewolf through my daughter's eyes. I realize that somehow I do not belong to my home anymore.  I n o u r c l a n e v e r y b o d y has b l o n d h a i r a n d b l u e eyes. W e h a v e a l w a y s m a r r i e d a m o n g ourselves. T h e r e i s n ' t a d r o p of " f o r e i g n " b l o o d i n o u r vessels, o u r b l o o d is p u r e . -Kitzberg  It feels as if I have stepped to the other side of the border...  138  >)familiar: mother - daughter kitchen table talks  139  contextual FOOTnote  I cherish these conversations with my daughter when she shares her difficult in the Canadian "multicultural"  journeying  landscape of belonging and not belonging. I thank her  for her patience in responding to my "silly" adult questions andfor her courage to agree to share her opinions with you, dear Reader. Our conversation took place on March 23, 2001 at our home, and evolved as a longer interview which was tape-recorded.  It was  interesting to observe that although tape-recording distanced us, my daughter and me, it also provided our conversation with a new unexpected quality. In daily family conversations, interactions are often missed and we do not pay attention to the opinions of each other. Tape-recording,  thus, provided relevance to daily conversations, and  became a device that helped us "really" listen to each other.  140  Mother: What did you say when you first arrived at University Hill [Elementary School]? didn't speak  You  English...  Daughter: Obviously. I came from a Spanish speaking country. Why obviously? Because I spoke Spanish! You were in the situation where people around were speaking a different language.  How  did you feel? Did you feel like your language was not important? Did you feel bad that you could not speak English?  Y o u want to fit in. A s a k i d you want to fit i n with everyone around you, you don't want to be an outsider.  Did other people ever ask you to speak/teach them some Spanish? No! They were not interested? No!! There were other children from different countries. I remember Mary was from China? W e l l , she spoke English perfectly.  Did all the children from other countries speak English perfectly? Yeah.  Thus, you were the only one who didn't?  141  A n d even though they all had different backgrounds . . . at school they spoke English perfectly.  / remember, I felt that there was a time when you didn V want to go out with your dad, you wanted to go out only with me.  Yes.  Because dad looked dark?  Yes. And I looked white?  Yeah. The majority o f kids were Caucasian and their parents were Caucasian.  Because of the majority, you felt. . .  When you are a kid, you want to be part o f the majority, you don't want to be the minority.  How did you realize this?  That's how it was. Everybody was looking at me. A n d you want to fit in, you want to blend in. Y o u don't want to stand out, to look different. I f you don't speak perfectly, i f you have a different background then you stand out. That's why you learn English, you adapt to the society so that you fit i n and don't stand out at all.  How did it happen that you became aware of yourself as Latina, as Colombian?  I  remember when you went to high school. . .  142  A t the beginning o f high school I was still more in the "Caucasian phase." It happened i n one class when an Iranian girl came into my class and sat right behind me. A n d the first thing she said to me was: " A r e you Spanish?" A n d at that point I thought: "Should I tell her the truth? Or should I lie?" A very strong part o f me wanted to lie and say: " O h no, not really!" or to say: "Half!" and then I thought what does it matter i f I am " h a l f or " f u l l , " I still am Spanish and I said: " Y e s . " A n d I wanted to avoid, I didn't want to talk about it anymore, but she said: "Where are you from? What country?" Then again, I had that fear like I was going to be judged. E v e n though she was a minority, I was still afraid that I was going to be judged. Then I said: "Colombian." She smiled and said: "That's really neat, I have tons o f friends that are Colombian, that are Latino." Then I felt good, I was accepted. I thought, Ok, that's O k to say who I am. Because once again - 1 fit i n !  Did you.  . . were you able to overcome your fear of being seen with your dad because he  was Latino?  W e l l , yeah . . . then it was ok.  Then you became comfortable going out with your dad.  Yeah. / also remember this period of hatred towards "white culture " you had.  You began  looking at me as "white " . . . for you I became a part of this white culture you seemed to be becoming increasingly uncomfortable with. And then you left Kitsilano High School to go to Charles Tupper High School. I still haven't understood completely why  you  decided to do this?  W e l l , in Tupper I was a majority. Whites were a minority. I felt powerful. I felt like blending in. But if you already felt. . .  143  Whites here are said not to have a culture. For example, we were doing the presentation in Anthropology i n Langara. W e came out from this class, and these two boys i n my class, I think they were like Scottish or English or something like that, said among themselves: "I wish I had a culture, I don't have a culture." I found that roles began to change. Even i n Tupper, I remember there was that one particular white girl who was Canadian and she was the minority i n our school! She hung out with different groups like Filipinos, East Indians and she wanted to adapt to their culture, depending on what group she was with.  I am still thinking back to this time when you decided to leave Kitsilano and go to Tupper. It was when we were moving from Vancouver's East side to live in family housing at UBC on the West side. And exactly at that time you decided to change schools, to leave Kitsilano on the West side in order to go to Tupper on the East side. You didn't mind the long bus trips from West to East.  What happened to you during this  time? I still don't understand. What was bothering you so much?  I was tired o f Kitsilano . . . I wanted to go to school where we are all Canadians brought up here but born i n different countries as opposed to Kitsilano where the majority was born here and their parents were born here and they were Scottish, Irish or something like that. / remember there was so much pain.  Your desire to change the school was so strong that  I could not say no, although, I remember I was talking to the Mexican family (well, their father is Guatemalan and their mother is from Mexico) whose kids went to Tupper. I phoned them trying to learn about Tupper school. They told me that they would love to send their boys to Kitsilano, because when you go to Kitsilano you have more opportunities in your future life in terms of where to go to study, who you hang out with, what societal group you belong to. Their mother told me that she couldn't get her boys accepted in Kitsilano because they don't live on the West side. And she was so surprised that you were going from Kitsilano to Tupper, you were voluntarily giving up the  144  opportunity that she saw like a big social and educational advantage.  How do you  explain it now? What happened?  I wasn't happy in Kitsilano. I did not like it there. It was very groupy, clicky, people weren't human. But you had several friends.  I had friends. I just didn't like it. I wanted to find something new. I wanted to be i n a scenario where everyone was a minority as I said before.  But you were already speaking English "perfectly "?  Yeah, but it didn't matter, it felt like I was pretending. I could not talk about my background. When I went to Tupper it was understood, yeah, you are Chinese or you are brown, and although you have been raised here you still speak your other language like Asians, for example, occasionally exchanged one or two words in their language.  So this was understood in Tupper but was not understood in Kitsilano?  Not so much!  But your friends in Kitsilano were from Iranian, Italian, Chinese backgrounds? What about your friend  Mary?  She was pretty much like a Canadian; they didn't keep any o f their Chinese heritage. Yeah, they ate Chinese food, so what?! As I am listening I am starting to realize that you were feeling like faking of not being able to be who you are.  145  I felt repressed! In what ways? In terms of environment? Or because of a particular Did  incident?  teachers...  N o , the whole atmosphere! In terms of your skin colour, your English - it is hard to imagine that someone would ask you 'what culture do you belong to'?  Your cultural difference is not so visible, audible?  It is not just your appearance... .It is you, yourself. Deep down you just know that you are different. I knew that I was different! I knew that I had a "background." I remember walking with two friends from Kitsilano school who are both Caucasian along the street i n grade 8 or 9, and the girl said to me: " O h , yeah, your dad is Mexican, isn't he?!" A l l that feels so shallow because white people don't know about what you know. It would have been different i f some East Indian person or some Chinese person would have said that to me because they have their culture as well.  Did it feel offensive?  Yeah, it felt offensive. I felt she was poking fun at me, " Y o u got some M e x i c a n in you!" Not that she meant to be offensive but it felt like she was saying, " Y o u are different!" I couldn't say to her, " Y o u are Mexican, you have Hindu or you have Chinese or B l a c k i n you." She had nothing i n her.  So you had reached like a point where you started to realize that what you felt inside and the role that you had to play at school became so contradictory that you couldn 't bear that conflict anymore . . . like what you felt inside who you are and what you had to be! In order to fit into white mainstream culture?!  Yeah. 146  And in Tupper school? Did you feel well?  I felt better, I felt well. But then again, it's a torn thing. Y o u know, some or most Spanish people, I guess, looked very Native or very much like Indian Native Americans. They looked at me and said: " Y o u don't look "that" Spanish! Y o u look more like white!" So it was like I was pushed away from them as well. But they accepted me anyway even though I looked kind o f "more white" than them, so it was ok. So it became like a whole skin colour thing for me. The only difference between them and me was our skin colours and where our households were. Their house was more typical than mine. But as far as remembering and living there, I had lived T H E R E and I remembered THERE!  But then it becomes contradiction again because sometimes when I am at work I have my hair curly and I have hoops. We got some Honduras people one time and I said to them that my parents are Colombians. A n d the guy said to me, " O h yeah, she looks like she's Latina"!  Do you like such comments?  Yeah, I like them. But then again, I feel torn. It is like the one half o f Latinos says that I don't look like them and the other half says that I look like them. So apparently I look it when I have my hair i n a certain way, the curls, and a lipstick or hoops. But when I don't have any make-up and my hair is pulled back and I look pale, then I am looked upon as white. So it is a type o f look, people judge you by a look! What do you feel inside?  I feel like I am Spanish, it's the only culture I have known . . . truly known.  147  You feel that you don 7 know anything about Estonian culture?!  Because you left  Estonia when you were so young [four years old].  I don't remember anything and there is nothing I can do about it. I can't go back and fake it now. I might be half, technically, by blood, but not mentally. H o w am I supposed to know anything about Estonia? Y o u yourself don't speak Estonian here. Y o u have taken on more like a Spanish personality than being Estonian. When I am going to Estonian church I ' m not accepted like that. O h , yeah, sure, you are that little Estonian, that half Spanish k i d . . . or something. / don't remember anybody ever telling this to you.  Not telling, but it is all i n appearance. You feel this way.  O f course, I do. Bleach blond hair and then there I am right beside them.  But maybe this is just your own feeling?  I don't think so! No, I am not blaming you for feeling this way.  I am different, I know I am different. Maybe it means something that I was b o m i n Estonia, but that's not part o f me.  You know that I have never forced you to "become part of Estonian culture. "  I know, but it's not part o f me.  / know that culture cannot be imposed.  It's all about where you were brought up . . .what you have inside.  148  Sure, but...  1 am from this culture, so through me you have been in touch with Estonian  culture. Perhaps you just haven't had enough exposure to it?  I have had exposure . . . but I don't identify with it. I am not like that. M y personality is not like that.  Well, yes, we make our choices, I mean, culture is something constructed, it's not like coming through blood by some "natural" means.  But I still have this guilt when I am in the Estonian church and not feeling Estonian.  You have this guilt?  I have this guilt because you remind me about it all the time. But where I had the most guilt was the Colombian side, when I was ignoring that.  Why?  Because I felt deep down it really is me and I was hiding this. I mean, like I said earlier, when people asked me, I could not say - no, that wouldn't be true. But I didn't want people to ask me where I was from.  / know many people whose parents, grandparents are Estonians, but they have never been exposed to that culture and then suddenly, when they get 40 or 50 years old they begin looking for their roots. Thus, it happens for each of us in very different ways; it varies when and how this question becomes relevant to us. I don't think that you should feel guilty about not feeling connected to Estonian culture right now.  I  try...  I don't think that your blood makes you who you are. I believe that you are what you feel you are. When people saw me with you they always asked: " O h , are you adopted? Is that your mom?" I remember when I went to Kitsilano I was on the show boat one day  149  watching the performance. I was there with dad. A girl came up to me and said: " O h , is that your dad? W o w ! Y o u guys look so much the same!"  And you didn't like it?  N o . . . it was ok.  / don't think that anybody should impose the culture but I tried to expose you to Estonian culture when there was an opportunity. But the interest in what this culture is all about has to come from you. Because you have been living in this culture, you have been living in between cultures. Would you feel comfortable being like all of them? Colombian, Estonian, Canadian?  Together!  No!!!!  No?  I don't feel that way . . . the closest I have ever felt is Colombian. When i n English class we talk about Canada, I mean, I really don't care about Canada.  No?!  I live h e r e - y e a h ! I speak the language - yeah! But I don't feel Canadian.  Who is Canadian?  What does to be "Canadian " mean?  I don't know. But when we were talking about the past history o f Canada or geography o f Canada at s c h o o l . . . whatever, I couldn't care less. Why? I don V know. I just don't care. It does not feel important!  150  Did other students care?  Yeah, some people did. There were the discussions i n the classes. People do care about Canada when criticizing, comparing it to the United States.  What then feels important to you?  [long silence] I don't know. Colombia feels important to an extent. I mean, when I went to Colombia a few years ago there were no questions asked. I was from T H E R E . Y o u know. Unless I opened my mouth and they could tell by my accent. But as far as my appearance I was from T H E R E . [laughing] But you told me that while in Colombia you were missing Canada.  In Colombia I felt different i n a sense that I could not communicate as well as they could in Spanish, you know?! But it was only the shock o f the first few days, afterwards I felt comfortable. There were the aspects I liked and I was familiar with, but yes, there was still this other part i n me that told me that I am used to Canada.  Could you imagine yourself going back to Colombia?  Would you feel happier there?  I don't know. There are certain aspects I would . . . Would you be able to live there? I remember when you came back you said that in Colombia you felt Canadian.  You learned that you are Canadian in Colombia.  O h yeah, obviously, especially because o f the language barrier.  And you felt that Canada was your home. Even Jose said that he would not be able to live in Colombia anymore. That he is already feeling at home in Canada.  151  It would take time. Would you go back to Colombia?  You know what I think would be an ideal place?! Somewhere in the U S where there are lots o f Hispanics! L i k e when we were i n M i a m i . That feels like home!  Really?  Yeah!!! Because in M i a m i people were all o f Hispanic descent, no matter what colour, not just "Indians," but black Hispanics, white Hispanics but every kind o f colour o f Hispanics. A n d they all spoke English a n d Spanish!  You felt that they were like you?!  It was mixed. I was mixed. It was O K . Y o u don't have to speak English perfectly, you don't have to speak Spanish perfectly, you could m i x both languages.  / asked you if you could live in between cultures. And it looks like you could.  [enthusiastically] In a m i x like that where you live i n North America but you are surrounded by the people from your culture. I could. I would live then very well. I would feel very comfortable. A n d it's still that the atmosphere was not so North American, so European, it was relaxed, it was very Latino, m i x e d . . . Latino and North American at the same time.  Do you know that many Latino people don't like it when they are called Hispanics because they say, "We have never been in Spain, we are  Americans!"  W e l l , they call them Hispanics in the United States.  152  "They" do call, but people from Latin America who live in North America don't call themselves  "Hispanics."  Here i n Vancouver are just Salvadorians, Mexicans, Guatemalans, they all have this certain look, there is not much variety here, i n Vancouver. That's why labels are put to Spanish people. But down there in Florida there is such a variety . . . regardless what you look like, you are Spanish. A n d the nice thing is that people mix. Brazilian people speak Portuguese to Spanish people and they speak Spanish back to them. They use both things, both cultures to their advantage!  153  ethnic  21  1. Of or pertaining to a social group within a cultural and social system that claims or is accorded special status on the basis of complex, often variable traits including religious, linguistic, ancestral, or physical characteristics. 2. Broadly, characteristic of a religious, racial, national, or cultural group. 3. Pertaining to a people not Christian or Jewish; heathen; pagan 4. Late Latin ethnicus, heathen, foreign; from Greek ethnikos, of a national group, foreign; from ethnos people, nation.  The Houghton Mifflin Canadian Dictionary of the English Language. 1982, p. 450. 154  WANDERING BORDER  The East  -  West  border is always wandering, sometimes eastward,  sometimes west,  and we do not know exactly where it is right now: in Berlin or in the Urals. The North  -  South Border  is also wandering but only southward,  only southward.  These borders intersect in me so that one ear, one eye, one nostril, one hand, one foot, one lung and one testicle or one ovary is on the one,  another on the other side; so that  valiseestlased, "foreign" Estonians, Canadian Estonians are on the one kodueestlased, "home"Estonians, "Estonian" Estonians 155  on the other side. Which side do I belong to ethnically?  V ethnic as "nation" is on the one side ethnic as "foreign,-pagan"on the other side? Do I choose according to my filiations or my affiliations? Both words are connected to the Latin root filia, "daughter"... However, "filiation refers to lines of descent in nature" "affiliation refers to a process of identification by culture"  22  My mouth doesn't know on behalf of which or both it has to speak and my heart... my heart is lost in the gap between my past in Colombia and my present in Canada, here and there. This gap is widening while I am trying to make my road through academic 2 2  Said, quoted in Ashcroft, Griffiths, &Tiffin, 1998, p. 105. 156  "investigation." How can I overcome this gap between the academic and personal, personal memories and academic arguments ? How can I tell the stories of injustice and suffering from Colombia to Estonians? How can I tell Colombians the stories of Estonian colonial history? Would Canadians care to listen to these stories?  157  NATION: THE UNCANNY HOME  158  fairy tales and/on a "civilizing mission"  Did your mom tell you bedtime stories? Do you remember which stories you were told? Did your dad tell you fairy tales? Do you still cherish them? What was your favourite one? Do you continue telling them to your children?  Similar to any other child living within the Western cultural hemisphere, I grew up with R e d Ridinghood, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White and Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, and other tales o f the "universal" fairy tale repertoire. However, the tale that left the strongest imprint i n my childhood memory belongs to an Estonian author, Oskar Luts, and is called Nukitsamees (The B o y with the Horns). This is how it begins.  It's a beautiful summer day. Kusti and Iti, a brother and a sister, have left their village home to pick wild strawberries. Immersed in their activity they venture deeper and deeper into the forest andfurther andfurther from their home. Finally, after getting tired they decide to return home. Finding themselves coming back, again and again, to the same place with a big stone, they realize that they have lost their way home. It is getting darker and darker. Kusti, feeling obliged to protect his younger sister, makes a decision to sleep in the forest. It's very dark. The children are surrounded by unfamiliar and unknown sounds and shadows. Needless to say it all feels very scary. And then, of course, along comes the witch who takes them into her "home " in the forest.  Does the story begin to soundfamiliar? Isn't it similar to Hansel and Gretel? You have heard this story before, haven't you ?!  159  A literary critic, Jack Zipes, who has dedicated his life to the research o f fairy tales, assures that Hansel and Gretel has always been a worldwide favourite. Zipes argues that the story has become fixed in the Western literary canon as one o f the great fairy tale classics o f all time. He writes:  It is as t h o u g h w e c a n assume that Hansel and Gretel has a l w a y s b e e n w i t h us, d e e p l y e m b e d d e d i n o u r W e s t e r n c u l t u r a l t r a d i t i o n a n d collective  u n c o n s c i o u s (1997, p . 39).  Zipes also argues that having been taught not to question but absorb and appreciate fairy tales, we have lost sight o f the fact that this tradition is rooted i n a particular time, place and history. He reminds us that to inquire into the historical transformation o f the fairy tale means investigating the "struggle o v e r v o i c e , s t o r y t e l l i n g , a n d the s o c i a l i z a t i o n o f c h i l d r e n " (1997, p. 3). Getting more deeply immersed i n his book, Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales, Children, and the Culture Industry (1997), I leam that the fairy tale as an oral form was never categorized as a "children's" genre. N o r was it regarded as a genre for children when appropriated by educated upper-class Italian and French writers i n the 16th and 17th centuries. Zipes makes it clear to me that  e m e r g i n g l i t e r a r y fairy tales b e c a m e c o m p l e x s y m b o l i c s o c i a l acts i n t e n d e d to reflect u p o n m o r e s , n o r m s , a n d habits o r g a n i z e d for the p u r p o s e o f r e i n f o r c i n g a h i e r a r c h i c a l l y a r r a n g e d c i v i l i z i n g process i n a p a r t i c u l a r society (p. 3).  Indeed, I think, reflecting upon R e d Ridinghood who didn't listen to her mother and got eaten by the w o l f and upon beautiful, trusting and hardworking Snow White who represents a model o f "ideal" woman.  160  I certainly didn't know that at first fairy tales were considered dangerous by the educators, clergymen, publishers, and parents - not "proper" reading material for children i n Europe and North America - because they lacked Christian teaching and their "symbols were polymorphously meaningful and stimulating" (p. 4). During the 19th century, fairy tale writers learned to incorporate Christian patriarchal messages into their literary narratives to satisfy aristocratic adults. B y the 20th century the fairy tale had become an educational literary genre for families with preadolescent children (pp. 4-5).  Nukitsamees: The boy with horns Psychologists have repeatedly pointed to the importance o f childhood memories, impressions and experiences in the formation o f our adult selves. "Individuals acquire consciousness o f a national identity at the same time as they acquire a national language, an education and other cultural resources" (Radcliffe & Westwood, 1996, p. 14). Thus, it seems to be hard to overestimate the importance o f children's books i n the process o f national identity formation. The Estonian children's story Nukitsamees, written by O. L u t s 23  24  i n 1920, is one  o f those books which has been successfully drawing Estonian children o f different historical times i n different socio-political circumstances into the national sphere. Nukitsamees is claimed by Estonian critics to be one o f the most popular works in Estonian children's literature. Since 1920 the story has had eight editions.  25  Its  "Nukitsamees" is the title and the main character of Oskar Luts' book. The word translates into English as "the boy with horns."  2 3  Luts (07. 01. 1887 - 23. 03. 1953) is one of the most widely read Estonian writers, having written numerous novels, stories and plays. While not all of them have shared the same success among readers, some of his texts, such as Spring (a colourful description of Estonian school-life at the beginning of the 20 century), Cabbage, and Nukitsamees. for example, have come to play a fundamental role in the discourse of Estonian national identity. It is hard tofindan Estonian who was not acquainted with these texts during childhood or adolescence. The Estonian literary critical discourse has been uncertain and suspicious in evaluating/classifying Luts' literary achievements. He is generally considered to have been "a good storyteller" but "not so great a writer." In 1987, the Estonian journal Looming dedicated its January issue (Luts' 100 anniversary) to a revision of Luts' literary legacy. The author of one of the essays, renowned Estonian literary critic, Harald Peep, related Luts' writing to the discourse of popular and mass cultures. I agree with his approach. It seems to me that the discourse of "popular," rather than aesthetic/literary, is a far more productive context in which to talk about the importance of Luts' legacy in Estonian culture. 2 4  th  th  161  dramatizations have been frequently in the repertoire o f the Estonian professional and amateur theatres (the last one running i n 1997 i n Tartu Children's Theatre). In 1960 the animation and i n 1982 the feature film versions o f Nukitsamees were created. A composition on the motifs o f Nukitsamees framed/finalized the Children's Song Festival's program i n the summer o f 1997. O n January 3 0 , 1999, a musical based on th  Nukitsamees premiered on the stage o f Opera and Ballet Theatre "Estonia." Nukitsamees has not only established a firm place among the classics but has become a symbol o f Estonian children's literature. Every two years since 1992, statues representing the main character, Nukitsamees, are awarded to an author and illustrator o f the most successful children's book. W h y has Nukitsamees been so popular? Does it contain meaningful and indispensable messages which unify Estonians regardless o f different historical, political and social circumstances into the same "imaginary community?"  2 6  Regardless o f the  answers, one thing seems to be certain - due to its symbolic status and persistence throughout recent Estonian cultural history, Nukitsamees could be described as revealing some symptomatic features o f "Estonian national consciousness". M y reading o f Nukitsamees w i l l not focus on the literary qualities o f Oskar Luts' book. Instead my intention is to address the cultural symbols, imagery and ideologies involved i n the pedagogy o f building the national consciousness. Nukitsamees' story is, without doubt, adventurous and entertaining. It resonates with the German fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. The main characters o f Estonian Nukitsamees - Kusti and Iti - are, similar to Hansel and Gretel, a brother and sister who become lost i n the forest. L i k e Hansel and Gretel, they also fall into the hands o f the old and ugly "witch," i n Nukitsamees referred to as the old "crone," who imprisons them i n her hut deep i n the forest. Cannibalistic connotations are also present, although they are  Different Estonian language editions of O. Luts' Nukitsamees. both as fairy tale or play were published in 1920, 1923, 1945, 1955, 1957, 1973, 1986, 1987, 1997. 2 5  True, different social and ideological systems "read" Nukitsamees differently, sometimes even making changes in the text. For example, all "Soviet" editions ofNukitsamees cut out the critical remarks about socialism and changed the religiously motivated ending of the story. The 1997 edition restored the 1920s version ofNukitsamees. Different literary, theatrical, filmic and musical versions /interpretations of Nukitsamees. without doubt, offer the possibility for intriguing inquiry into the connections/differences between changing social realities and ideologies of "Estonianess." 2 6  162  not as explicitly conveyed as i n Hansel and Gretel. Regardless o f the fact that the intention o f the o l d crone is not to eat Kusti and Iti, but to make them slaves for her, the danger o f being eaten is implicit in their environment - it comes from w i l d wolves in the forest and from the old crone's sons. Similar to Hansel and Gretel, Nukitsamees bears a happy ending: i n both stories the children are able to trick the witch and save their lives. Kusti and Iti escape with the help o f a bird whose "language" Kusti is able to understand and who guides them back to their home. These are not the only similarities o f the plot that make the brothers G r i m m ' s and Luts' stories comparable. There is something more important - both Hansel and Gretel as well as Nukitsamees play a part i n the discourse o f nation and nationalism, though at different times and i n different ways. Hansel and Gretel participated i n the formation o f th  German national consciousness i n the 19 century, as the brothers G r i m m were, i n the words o f Thomas M a n n , "romantically inspired lovers o f German antiquity who listened to their fairy tales from the lips o f the people and collected them conscientiously" (Mann, as quoted i n Kronenberg, 1953, p. 251). Nukitsamees, on the other hand, belongs to the discourse o f nation at the beginning o f the 2 0 century. Luts was one o f the most th  beloved and best-selling authors on the popular level i n the newborn, independent Estonian Republic. There are also differences in focus and issues between these two stories. The brothers G r i m m ' s Hansel and Gretel centers its attention on the depiction o f "family" related problems: impoverished parents, maternal malice, and paternal abandonment o f children. Luts' Nukitsamees concentrates on the delineation o f the realm o f "home" with the description o f the old crone's home, her household and family, as well as Kusti and Iti's home holding the attention o f the reader during the major part o f the story. Unlike Hansel and Gretel the depiction o f the old crone's house i n Nukitsamees is not fantastical but quite realistic.  163  not home "Come, " orders the old crone, "we are at home. Get into the house!" "How come?" Kusti feels frightened,  "it could be your home, dear lady, but  certainly it is not ours. " "It could be your home as well," responds the old crone hoarsely, arguing, naughty boy.  Look, you have to listen to me or I'll  "and stop  make you obey with my  cane." Kusti understands now that something has gone wrong, but there is nothing he can do about it. The wicked old crone is threatening him with her cane; he has to step into the house since he does not have any other choice whatsoever. The crone pushes Kusti and Iti into a half-dark room with a low ceiling. A repulsive odour penetrates towards the children all the way to the doorstep. On the table close to a window among the dirty dishes and leftovers of food, stands a kerosene lamp which emits smoke rather than light. There is a long soiled bench covered with muddy rags by the table. An old man with gray hair, muttering something into his beard, is bowing down from the oven on the other side of the room. This is a sight that catches Kusti's eye at the first moment. After his initial bewilderment Kusti also notices a baby's crib looking like a pig's trough beside the oven. "Look, Old Man,"  exclaims the crone putting her cane away, "I found us a  babysitter and a boy to feed the pigs in the forest. bones anymore. "  2  I don't have to be hard on my old  7  In Nukitsamees, Kusti and Iti, picking and searching for the sweetest berries, wander away into the deep forest. Leaving behind the safe and familiar territory of their home they end up i n a new home - the sinister house o f the wicked crone. The crone's house i n the forest does not look like a dream-house made o f candies and cookies, but the house o f a peasant family. A l l the details described i n Nukitsamees - the l o w ceiling,  2 7  Luts, O. (1973). Nukitsamees. ( 6  th  edition). Tallin: Eesti Raamat, p. 13. A l l quotations  are from this edition.  164  poor lighting, roughly constructed household items, a large stove used as a sleeping place for older people and a wooden baby crib attached to the swinging pole - correspond to the typical image o f a peasant homestead i n Estonia before the 20th century. The portrayal o f the daily activities in the crone's home supports this image. For example, Kusti is obliged by the crone to perform such typical chores o f the peasant household as gathering firewood, taking care o f domestic animals (pigs, goats), weeding the garden, watering, the plants, and Iti is forced to look after a "baby." The home o f the old crone holds still another resemblance - it has a close affinity with Iti and Kusti's own home, which also follows the model o f a peasant's homestead. However, there is an insurmountable dissimilarity between the descriptions o f the two. The children's home is clean and cozy. The family that lives there - the children's mother, father and grandfather - are loving and caring. The intention ofNukitsamees is to draw a markedly idyllic picture o f the children's home. For example, after getting lost in the woods, and i n order to overcome the darkness and hostility o f an unknown place, Kusti recalls in his mind the following picture o f his lost home:  It is a quiet sunny morning and the flowers are blooming. Despite the early hours people of the homestead have gone to make hay. Kusti's mother is preparing the breakfast and Kusti's grandfather is busy in the garden organizing the swarm of  bees.  28  Life in the children's home is harmonious, productive and prosperous. Since the whole scene is dominated by the description o f the grandfather's work with bees undoubtedly a symbol o f work par excellence - the idea o f work is particularly accentuated. The crone's home where she imprisons the children, on the contrary, is portrayed as dark, ugly, unclean and disorderly. Life i n this home is ferocious, vicious and detrimental. The people who live there - the old crone, three brothers and the old man are greedy, lazy, menacing and dangerous. They do not work, but catch what they can (hunting for birds and animals and robbing from strangers) and fight with each other i n  2 8  Ibid., p. 8. 165  order to survive. Furthermore, the o l d crone's family is not only characterized negatively but their human nature as such is put into question: "Who are they? Who are they? " asks Iti, tugging Kusti at his sleeve. "Be quiet, Iti, " responds her brother, "I can't understand yet who they really are. But for sure, they are not from our home. " After some hesitation Kusti tries to take another look at those strangers from the night. These are two bull-like corpulent men. They both wear animal-skin coats and rough boat-like shoes; both men are dark-skinned, their faces covered by pimples and warts. Their long red hair is as messy as if it had never seen a comb. And worst of all: in the midst of their messy hair are horns, similar to the old man's. "Eat!" yell the men together as they sit at the table and start chewing the bones and leftovers. The men's strong jaws make a crackling noise, then they feast upon the smaller bones. The old crone brings a bucket full of liquid food to the table which the hungry bulls start to eat, taking turns, slurping.  While one of them eats, the other opens his  jacket and belches in order to be able to stuff more food into his stomach. Very soon the bucket becomes empty, but the voracious appetite of the men does not wane. "More!"yell  both men again in  unison..  29  Characterizing the appearance, manners and behaviour o f these "strangers from the night," without trying at this moment to inquire into the question o f their "real identity," such a word as "disgusting" probably dominates the evaluation. Picturing the dwelling i n the woods as messy and disorderly, its people violent, quarrelsome and threatening, Nukitsamees clearly intends to evoke repugnance and rejection towards the old crone's house and its inhabitants. The savage nature is underlined in the description o f this home. This is a hostile and unsafe territory, where Kusti and Iti are kept as captives and exploited by beastly beings and where they live i n fear for their lives. This is the depiction o f something which is not home, hence the author o f Nukitsamees encloses such a "home" (p. 15) i n quotation marks. 29  Ibid, p. 18. 166  Creating the negative image o f the old crone's home and contrasting it with the image o f the children's home, Nukitsamees aims to establish for young Estonian readers the idea o f the ideal home. The more the narration stresses the negative features o f the old crone's home, the more it idealizes the depiction o f the children's home. T w o radically different images o f home emerge producing the following dichotomy:  The old crone's "home"  The children's home  in the woods  outside the woods  dark  light  dirty (unclean)  clean  chaos (disorder)  order  savage (uncivilized)  civilized  hostile (unfriendly)  friendly  threatening (unfamiliar)  familiar  dangerous (unprotective)  protective  u NOT  HOME  HOME  167  the "uncanny" [The] uncanny is that class of the frightening which leads back to what is known of old and long familiar. How this is possible, in what circumstances the familiar can become uncanny and frightening (Freud, 1955, p. 220) Rosemary Marangoly George suggests in her book, The Politics o f Home: Postcolonial Relocations and Twentieth-Century Fiction, that the basic organizing principle around which the notion o f the "home" is built is a pattern o f select inclusions and exclusions. She insists that homes and nations are defined in the instances o f confrontation with what is considered "not-home," with the foreign, with distance (George, 1996, pp. 2-4). Nukitsamees defines "home" by confronting it with "not home" - with the home o f strange foreign beings in the forest. But what exactly is behind this "foreignness" and why does it have to be excluded from "home"? According to the critical commentary o f Eesti Kirjarahva Leksikon (The Lexicon o f Estonian Literary People), i n Nukitsamees "a truthfully described reality and the motifs o f fairy tale are engagingly combined for the young reader" (Nirk, 1995, p. 312). However, the combination o f two logics in Nukitsamees - fantastic and realistic - does not result i n an indisputable union, but provokes confusion and questions. It is hard, for example, to define Nukitsamees' genre - it is not precisely a "fairy tale" (the only "fantastic" element i n its plot is Kusti's capability o f understanding o f the bird's "language") nor is it a "realistic story." A t the same time, it is precisely the blurring o f these narrative realms that makes the problematics ofNukitsamees intriguing. Although the author ofNukitsamees intends to situate the story i n a fairy tale framework, there is nothing fantastical about the description o f the old crone's home i n the woods. Moreover, the old crone herself does not bear any supernatural powers; she is just i l l natured, malicious and frightful. The only "magical" part o f the old crone is her cane, which can work quite "realistically" on the children's backs. She is not even labeled a "witch," but is referred to as an " o l d crone." A t the same time, the scenes 168  relating to the old crone and taking place i n the forest, despite o f all their "realism," undoubtedly do produce spooky feelings i n the reader. W h y and how does this happen? In a Freudian interpretation, an uncanny effect is often and easily produced when the distinction between imagination and reality is effaced. A similar mechanism is at work i n Nukitsamees. Although the unfavourable depiction o f the old crone and her home, i n the style o f blatant realism, is able to evoke in the reader o f Nukitsamees repugnance and disgust, it is not able to create the feelings o f dread and uncanny. Such effect is only achieved by situating something "familiar" - the image o f the Estonian peasant's household - in an "unfamiliar," fantastic setting. The confusion between the logic o f the real and the logic o f fantasy generates a feeling o f the uncanny. The same could be said o f the depiction o f the old crone's family, her sons and the old man. Although the list o f negative characteristics which describe them in Nukitsamees is almost endless - rough and dirty, voracious and without manners, quarrelsome and violent - none o f these faculties, including the inclination towards cannibalism, are "unreal" i n the world o f human reality. The only quality that might point to the fairy tale's imagination is the fact that all male members o f the old crone's family have homs! O n the one hand, because o f the homs, the o l d crone's sons could be imagined as some kind o f fantastical creatures. O n the other hand, however, the description o f their habits (hunting and plundering) and appearance ("bull-like," "dark skin," "long messy hair," "the animal skins' coats," "rough boat-like shoes,") come suspiciously close to the stereotypical image o f savages, uncivilized people conceived by the European " c i v i l i z e d " mind. The blurring o f borders between fantasy and reality at this point does not only create the feeling o f uncanny, but recalls embarrassing memories o f colonialism. The inquiry into the "confusing nature" o f the beings from the "home i n the woods" is obviously similar to the question asked by the European conquerors regarding the "discovered" creatures o f the colonies - think of, for example, the intense disputes between the representatives o f the Spanish Conquest in the 16th century - Who are they?  169  Humans? Barbarians?  Savages? Or beasts?  In his book, Inventing Western  30  Civilization, Thomas C . Patterson explains:  T h e i d e a o f c i v i l i z a t i o n w a s f o r g e d i n the context o f E u r o p e a n overseas c o l o n i a l e x p a n s i o n i n t o A f r i c a , A s i a , the A m e r i c a s , a n d I r e l a n d . It w a s u s e d b y elites of the states that l a u n c h e d these v e n t u r e s to d i s t i n g u i s h themselves f r o m the peoples they e n c o u n t e r e d . A s t h e y m o v e d overseas, the E u r o p e a n s u s e d c u s t o m a r y categories o f the t i m e , s u c h as wild men, heathens, infidels, pagans, savages, and barbarians, to d e s c r i b e the p e o p l e s  they m e t . . . . (1997, p . 30)  These issues have not lost actuality. In 1992 the Chicano artists Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gomez-Pena staged the performance T w o Undiscovered Amerindians V i s i t Spain, living for three days i n a golden cage placed in Columbus Plaza in M a d r i d (Gomez-Pena, 1993, pp. 136-137). According to Guillermo Gomez-Pena, many people in M a d r i d could not distinguish "fact" from "fiction" and believed that these artists in a cage were the real "undiscovered Amerindians."  31  For example, Juan Gines de Sepulveda, the king's chaplain and official historian in Spain, claimed that the Indians were barbarians - pre-social men who were more like a colony of bees than a civil society; a Dominicianfriar,Bartolome de Las Casas, and Francisco de Vitoria viewed the native peoples as barbarians because they were not Christian and lacked a written language. In their view, the Indians were men with all therightsand duties of rational human being. A Jesuit missionary, Jose de Acosta, explored the differences between barbarians and savages in the Americas. According to him there were illiterate barbarians, like the Incas and Aztecs, whose converting required a strong Christian ruler. However, conversion of savages - like the peoples of the Amazon basin, he thought, could only be accomplished by military force (Patterson, 1997, pp. 59-61). 3 0  Interview with G. Gomez-Pena in the Department of Fine Arts, The University of British Columbia, September, 1996.  3 1  170  "unheimlich ": [The] unheimlich  is what was once  heimisch,  familiar; the prefix 'un' [un-] is the token of repression. (Freud, 1955, p. 245) Estonians are all too familiar with the history o f colonization, though not as colonizers but as colonized. Independence and freedom have been short lived. Estonia has existed as a politically sovereign republic - Eesti Vabariik (Estonian "free state") less than thirty years: from 1918 to 1940 and from 1991 to the present.  However, the  fundamental part o f Estonian historical consciousness has been formed by the memories o f forceful Christianization and subjugation (the Estonians have lived more than seven hundred years under different foreign powers - Germans, Danish, Swedish, Polish, and Russian). Since the Arkamisaeg - Estonian National Awakening (Estonian Enlightenment) - i n the middle o f the 19 century, the Estonians have been trying to th  become modern, that is, similar to the dominant Western nations, and to forget about their "non-modern" indigenous past (Eller, 1990, p. 73). Looming in the realm o f the unconscious these memories o f "indigenous past" and o f "being a serf' - the Other - i n one's own home continue to haunt and torment the forcibly civilized Estonian mind. I would like to suggest that Nukitsamees is one o f those texts i n Estonian cultural history where these hidden and constrained memories become visible. The journey o f Kust and Iti into the unknown and dangerous forest suggests a psychoanalytical reading since the forest (Biedermann, 1989, p. 141) is one o f the most traditional and well-known symbols for the unconscious. In addition, the fairy tale is one o f the central sites o f psychoanalytical inquiries. Kusti and Iti find the woods a very unheimlich place, inhabited by dangerous and threatening creatures. However, although savage and unfriendly, the home in the woods becomes more and more heimlich as time passes and Iti and Kusti get used to it. Iti even becomes accustomed to her life and role as babysitter so much that she opposes Kusti's plans to escape. The fact that Kusti and Iti are able to adapt to the life i n their new home means that they re-cognize this place as 171  home regardless o f the fear, repulsive feelings and rejection that this "home" evokes i n them. Freud notes in his essay on "The Uncanny" that the meaning o f heimlich develops in the direction o f ambivalence, until it finally coincides with its opposite, unheimlich (1955, p. 226). The home i n the forest has become unheimlich., since the "Estonian Enlightenment"- the Estonian National Awakening in the middle o f the 19 century - the th  Estonians have been trying to become civilized, i.e. similar to the other Western nations, and forget about their "non-European" past. The formation o f the modern Estonian nation subscribes to the nation building process described by J. Hutchinson i n his book Modern Nationalism:  W h e n n a t i o n a l i s m arose later i n the "East" (defined as C e n t r a l a n d E a s t e r n E u r o p e a n d A s i a ) , i t w a s i n i m i t a t i v e response to the rationalist c u l t u r e o f the ' W e s t ' . These territories w e r e a g r a r i a n peasant societies, w i t h o n l y a t i n y m i d d l e class, d o m i n a t e d b y reactionary aristocracy, w h e r e , frequently, there w a s a l a c k o f c o n g r u e n c e b e t w e e n ethnic a n d p o l i t i c a l b o u n d a r i e s . U n a b l e , therefore, to i d e n t i f y w i t h a concrete t e r r i t o r i a l p o l i t y , a n d a w a r e o f their b a c k w a r d n e s s c o m p a r e d to the " W e s t , " nationalists t u r n e d to the m y t h s a n d legends to conjure a n i d e a l n a t i o n that possessed a n ancient historic m i s s i o n a n d u n i q u e c u l t u r a l attributes. (1994, p . 49)  The story o f how Estonia became a modem nation resembles perhaps another fairy tale - Sleeping Beauty: Estonia (the princess!) awakening from a long sleep as the N A T I O N by a loving kiss o f a handful o f German Estophiles/Germanized Estonians (the prince!). Consider for example, an opening passage o f the book Estonian History, written in 1992 by a collective o f renowned Estonian historians, which is currently used as a textbook i n the Estonian schools:  172  I n the m i d d l e of the 19th c e n t u r y , staggering events t o o k place i n E s t o n i a . W i t h i n t w e n t y years, a n u n e d u c a t e d , socially u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d peasantry w h o d i d n o t h a v e a n y perspectives for the future became a s o c i a l l y differentiated n a t i o n w i t h its o w n intelHgentsia, c u l t u r e a n d o r g a n i z a t i o n s . ( m y translation, O i s p u u , A a r e l a i d , & Arjakas, 1992, p . 5) There is not only a significant dose o f admiration for the achievements o f the Estonian cultural nationalists o f the national awakening; there is also the intent to begin Estonian history with this nation-building event at the cost o f suppressing the nonEuropean past. However, a very different picture o f the Estonians and their homes at the end o f 19 century was seen through the European eye. th  According to the German traveler J. G . K o h l in the 1860s, "many a savage i n his W i g w a m enjoyed more comfort then did the Estonian peasants i n their ill-constructed huts, i n which humans slept, worked, ate, gave birth and were i l l i n company o f bleating lambs, grunting pigs and barking dogs" (as quoted in Kirby, 1995, p. 64). Or consider the description o f the "Estonian home" by the historian F. Featherman i n his Social History o f the Races o f Mankind, i n 1891:  T h e E s t h o n i a n s l i v e . . . together i n one-storied l o g cabins c o n s t r u c t e d o f fir t r u n k s , h o r i z o n t a l l y s u p e r i m p o s e d a n d fitted at the c o r n e r s i n t o e a c h other b y deep notch-joints, the interstices b e i n g f i l l e d u p w i t h moss. T h e logs are u n h e w n a n d are left i n their n a t u r a l state w i t h o u t the least artistic e m b e l l i s h m e n t . T h e r o o f is s l a n t i n g a n d is t h a t c h e d w i t h s t r a w . T h e r e is n o c h i m n e y i n the i n t e r i o r for the escape of s m o k e , a n d the w i n d o w s are s i m p l y s m a l l holes c u t i n the logs . . . . T h e b r i c k - s t o v e is the p r i n c i p a l furniture of the d w e l l i n g , i n w h i c h the fire is k i n d l e d , l e a v i n g the d o o r o p e n as l o n g as the w o o d is s m o k i n g , that the s m o k e m a y escape t h r o u g h the w i n d o w - h o l e s , w h i c h at other times are c l o s e d w i t h a p l a n k . T h e stove serves n o t o n l y as h e a r t h w h e r e the b r e a d is b a k e d a n d the c o o k i n g is done, b u t it is also u s e d b y the master a n d mistress o f the h o u s e as  173  sleeping-place. T h e tables, benches a n d stools are of the r u d e s t w o r k m a n s h i p . . . . W i t h m a n y notable exceptions the i n t e r i o r is generally filthy a n d d i s o r d e r l y , a n d indicates n o t o n l y savage carelessness, b u t the utmost poverty and want. (pp. 474-475) Needless to say that the above cited descriptions o f Estonian homes come suspiciously close to the depiction o f the "home i n the woods" in Nukitsamees. Toomas Gross has pointed out in his paper, "Reservoir o f Memory: Estonian National Awakening Revisited" (1998) that in many aspects the Estonian "national awakening," initiated by Baltic Germans, i n its interest i n the "exotic other" strikingly fits with the motives o f Victorian anthropology o f that period. He argues that the Estonian case is a lucid example o f how the legacy that people consider as i f "made by their ancestors," and with which they seek continuity, can actually be an invention, at least to a certain degree, by foreigners.  Baltic Germans who initiated the Estonian national project  (a la German Romanticism and J. G . Herder), were among the first to pay attention and to study the "country people's" folk songs and customs. In addition, the principal nationbuilders (F. R. Faehlmann, F. R. Kreutzwald, J. V . Jannsen), although bonded through close family ties with the "country people," nevertheless affiliated themselves with German language and culture. Taking into account this perspective, exposed by T. Gross in his paper, the Estonian nation-building process looks quite paradoxical. The Estonian nation and its national narratives - national epic, song-festivals, literature - were created following closely German cultural moulds and matrixes. A t the same time the Estonian nation came into being through a resistant nationalism as an anti-colonial movement against the ruling Baltic German elite. However, the Estonian model o f nation, conceived during the period o f national awakening, can be considered a German (West European/Western) and therefore, colonial construct because as B . Ashcroft, G . Griffiths and H . Tiffin explain:  A n t i - c o l o n i a l m o v e m e n t s e m p l o y e d their i d e a of a p r e - c o l o n i a l past to r a l l y their o p p o s i t i o n t h r o u g h a sense o f difference, b u t they e m p l o y e d 174  this past n o t to reconstruct the p r e - c o l o n i a l s o c i a l state b u t to generate s u p p o r t for the c o n s t r u c t i o n of p o s t - c o l o n i a l nation-states b a s e d u p o n the E u r o p e a n nationalist m o d e l . (1998, p.154) The above mentioned paradox suggests the need to look at the discourse of Estonian nation and nationalism from a different perspective, from a perspective of colonialism. In Nukitsamees two images o f "home," although contrasted and opposed, are closely related - both the home i n the woods and the children's home are based on the model o f the Estonian peasant household, representing its modernized and backward versions. Consequently, the negative image o f home i n Nukitsamees could be also understood as the suppressed image o f "home." H o w far the Estonians were from being included into the category o f " c i v i l i z e d " by the European historians at the end o f 19th century is shown i n the following passage:  A s they w e r e a n d are p e r h a p s v i r t u a l l y yet the slaves of a r r o g a n t G e r m a n masters, a n d are besides g o v e r n e d b y beneficent R u s s i a n l a w s , n o t h i n g better c o u l d be expected of t h e m . T h e y m u s t be i n d e e d m i s e r a b l e creatures w h o are constantly c r u s h e d b e t w e e n the u p p e r a n d nether m i l l s t o n e , a n d are n o t e v e n a l l o w e d to e x p i r e a n d d i s a p p e a r . T h e y w e r e n o t k n o w n to D a n t e , o r else he w o u l d h a v e i n t r o d u c e d t h e m i n t o h i s Inferno. (Featherman, 1891, p. 4 7 5 )  175  the Nation as home  3 2  Written i n 1920, on the threshold o f recently achieved Estonian political independence, Nukitsamees undoubtedly subscribes to and co-produces the discourse o f "nationalism" and "nation." Following the tradition o f Estonian cultural nationalism based on the ideas o f Herder and Romanticism, Nukitsamees too exposes an interest i n nature, the primitive and uncivilized way o f life, and the idea o f the noble savage. In the context o f a nationalistic discourse where "modernization" (read: "Westernization") had become the 33  only possible matrix o f identity, emerged the urgent need to reconcile the suppressed memories o f the past with the ideals o f the present. It became necessary, i n order to construct an ideal model o f the national home, to assimilate and domesticate the "distant" and "unheimlich." Escaping from the house i n the woods, Kusti and Iti bring with them the youngest son o f the old crone - Nukitsamees. Just as the concept - home - i n the forest is not the home, but "home" i n quotation marks, Nukitsamees is not the child but " c h i l d " i n quotation marks (p. 15). Nukitsamees has hairy dark-brown skin and skinny legs with long, sharp fingernails; he also has pointed pricked up ears and as his name already recalls - horns. A n d o f course, like his brothers, Nukitsamees has a voracious appetite, rough manners and violent behaviour. The fact that adjectives related to "diabolic" dominate i n the physical portrayal ofNukitsamees, does not eliminate the colonial connotations o f such description since the "savages" were not only equated with "beast" but also with " d e v i l " (consider the essence o f Christianizing doctrines adherent to the European "civilizing missions"). In the children's home, Nukitsamees undergoes the "civilizing process." In order to get rid o f the "dirt," i.e., to whiten his dark-coloured skin, Nukitsamees is taken to a According to R. M. George constructs of home and nation overlap. Following her suggestion, "home" in the context of this chapter is enlarged to denote "the affairs of the nation" (1996, p. 63). 3 2  Jorge Larrain points out that modernization theories consider the process of modernization and industrialization inevitable and that traditional societies are supposed to follow the same pattern of change undergone earlier by the developed nations (1996, p. 393). Krishan Kumar, commenting on modernity, relates modernity with the West. He writes: "Modern society carried . . . the hallmarks of Western society since the eighteen century. It was industrial and scientific. Its political form was the nation state, legitimized by some species of popular sovereignty. To modernize was to Westernize" (1996, p. 392). 3 3  176  sauna. H i s horns are cut off and his sharp and long nails are trimmed. Although the above-mentioned methods are repeated with particular care and effort for a whole year, they do not seem to produce results. Nukitsamees continues to look and behave as a savage - his homs grow high, he does not become "cleaner" (read: whiter), he steals and picks fights, wets his pants and uses "uncensored" words. The most effective tool o f this "civilizing process" is, without doubt, a bundle o f birch twigs. W i t h the help o f this particular tool, positive changes i n the behaviour o f Nukitsamees begin taking place. He loses his "bad manners" and becomes " w e l l behaved." Furthermore, he also transforms physically - turns whiter and loses his homs. The story has a happy ending. Nukitsamees, the domesticated noble savage, gets included into the "national home":  Nukitsamees gets a new name - Ants, legally confirmed by the authorities from the city. He goes to school. Becoming a good student, his skin changes the color turning as white as the skin of Kusti and Iti and all the other schoolchildren. head now looks as smooth as if he never had had  His horns disappear and his  horns.  34  " C i v i l i z i n g process," described above, could be understood in the conceptual framework o f sociologist Norbert E l i a s ' work which analyses development o f manners, transformations in behavioral codes and ways to control emotions from the Renaissance onwards i n European court societies. The "civilizing process" o f Nukitsamees encompasses the changes which, according to Elias, "uncivilized" medieval man went through i n the process o f becoming a " c i v i l i z e d " representative o f Europe, such as refinement o f manners, internalization o f a set o f rules o f "appropriate behavior" (required i n Kusti and Iti's home), control o f anger and violence as means o f expression, development o f self-control, and constriction o f impulses and emotions. A t the same time, I also would like to draw attention to the colonial connotations that the "civilizing process" i n Nukitsamees involves. Nukitsamees' publications had different endings. The ending, quoted above, belongs to the "Soviet" edition, published in 1973. It focuses on the importance o f  3 4  Ibid., p. 63. 177  formal institutionalized  education i n a "civilizing process." In Luts' original version,  published i n 1920 (re-published i n 1997), Nukitsamees' transformation is religiously motivated, occurring during the act of baptizing.  Needless to say, this moment resonates  very closely with the memories o f the "pagan" past and forcible Christianization i n the Estonian historical consciousness. In addition, since the most relevant moment o f Nukitsamees' transformation from "uncivilized" into " c i v i l i z e d " is related with such factors as "the disappearance o f homs" and "becoming white," allusions to colonial and racist connotations become inescapable. Nukitsamees propagates the "national home" constructed according to the Western model o f nation. The "native" - heimlich - has become "foreign" and "strange" - unheimlich - to this place. In order to assure the monolithic homogeneity o f this "home," the Other had to be excluded or submitted to a "civilizing process." This "procedure" creates an uncanny feeling since it evokes - paraphrasing the interpretation o f Freud by H . Bhabha - a liminal, uncertain state of Estonian unconscious when the savage emerges in the midst of margins of modern nation as a result of repressed memories of subjugation (Bhabha, 1994, p. 143). Responding to the impact o f modernization, the cultural nationalists i n Estonia have been searching for ways to transform the status o f their ancestors as 'primitive barbarians' to that o f the progenitors o f modem progress. Engaged i n the task o f civilizing "Nukitsamees," the cultural nationalists i n Estonia did not even realize how quickly and unnoticeably they changed the position o f the "colonized" to that o f the "colonizer." Suppressing the undesirable memories o f colonization and a "savage" past, Nukitsamees establishes the ideal o f a national home. This ideal resonates with the connotations which, according to R. M . George, the word "home" traditionally evokes, "[t]he private sphere of patriarchal hierarchy, gendered self-identity, shelter, comfort, nurture and protection" (my holding, 1996, p. 1). I am worried that the majority o f Estonians are trying to suppress undesirable memories o f their indigenous/non-Western culture and colonial past. Although the influence o f Western Europe on Estonian culture has been decisive, there is no way to forget that the major part o f Estonian historical consciousness is formed by the memories 178  o f subjugation. In a present-day Estonia there is the prevailing desire to be considered a "Western nation." Working persistently towards the accomplishment o f the "dream" - to be accepted i n the European Union, the Estonian "cultural nationalists" argue for a "Western-ness" o f Estonian culture. Recently a group o f renowned Estonian sociologists i n collaboration with their Swedish colleagues published a scholarly investigation Return to the Western World: Cultural and Political Perspectives on the Estonian PostCommunist Transition. This publication contains a table titled "Indicators o f Westernization." A m o n g others the following indicators o f westernization are named:  • • • • •  i n economy - Western countries prevail i n trade and investment i n cultural relations - Western countries prevail i n cultural exchange i n media - Western agencies prevail as sources of information entertainment and advertising i n politics - Western type of political parties and parliamentarian institutions i n education and science - participation i n Western educational and research programs  and the following new changes are celebrated: • • • •  changes i n values - increasing individualism and hedonism changes i n language - English as lingua franca changes i n life-style - decreasing cultural activities, more time spent m a k i n g money, automobilization, gambling, trips abroad, etc. changes i n patterns of behaviour - more attention to personal success, 'face,' selfexpression ( L a u r i s t i n , 1997, p . 30) It is somehow tragic to watch Estonian idealization o f Western models of culture  when the concept o f "Europe," including its connotations o f "progress" and "civilization," has become a site o f contestation and distrust for many colonized people. Without searching for alternative models o f home, Estonia can become "homeless" and be swept aside by the global highway o f westernization. ;  179  WANDERING  BORDER  I presented "The Uncanny Home " at the 16 Conference on Baltic Studies at the m  University of Indiana, Bloomington, in June 1998.  Our panel hadjust two paper  presentations since the discussant from Estonia, a theatre historian from my native town, Tartu, had not arrived.  Thus, we had plenty of time for discussion.  The first paper dealt with literary-historical  research on for me a relatively  unknown Estonian writer. This paper on literary studies by a professor of Estonian background from the University of Toronto seemed to be full of the facts and details that one obtains as a result of conscientious  archive-digging.  I don't remember much of its content because I was nervously waiting for my presentation andfeeling uncomfortably different in the context of the panel. I had reasons to worry. My paper was going to question the myth (of nation) that the Estonian expatriate scholarly community in North American holds dear. My paper was going to point to racist subtexts in the Estonian mindset. As far as I knew, the issue of racism had never been raised in regards to Estonian literature.  I was going to voice my critique at  the moment when the new "nationalistic "pathos was forcibly emerging after Estonia had regained its independence in 199L J was preoccupied while waiting for my presentation.  It felt asifl  was  committing a sacrilege, although it was not my intention to hurt anybody's feeling. However, I also felt incredibly motivated to express my concerns. After living in Colombia and looking at Estonia from a Latin American perspective, my view ofEstonia, its politics and history, had changed. I had become painstakingly aware of connections between westernization and colonization. When Ifinished presenting my paper, there was a long silence. Finally began asking questions. All questions were directed to my co-panellist. questions to me.  There were no  Soon the Estonian American professor emeritus in Linguistics took the  centre-stage engaging in the historico-literary or ignored.  people  details of the first paper. J was forgotten  When the moderator asked if someone had questions regarding  "The  Uncanny Home, " the professor, shrugging her shoulders, said something about the impossibility of considering my paper seriously, academically.  180  And then, unexpectedly, the most heated debate exploded between the nationalistically  minded literature/linguistics  professors and "different-ly" minded  scholars. Still, no questions were asked of me; the audience debated among themselves, some rejecting, criticizing and others feeling related to the ideas of the paper. Furthermore,  the participants began sharing their personal stories of repression from  lesbian, feminist, Jewish, and other minority perspectives; from the perspectives of those who one way or another identified themselves with Nukitsamees, the boy with horns...  Once again I found that...  the East-West and South-North Borders are wandering splitting me so that one ear, one eye, one nostril, one hand, one foot, one lung and one testicle or one ovary is on the one,  another on the other side. so that  nationalist, patriotic, civilized, male, straight are on the one, non-nationalist, unpatriotic, uncivilized, feminist, queer on the other side  181  How can I re-cognize home if my home is split? How can re-cognize home if I am moving away from my home culture, home country. if I am feeling more "at home" in the "other" cultures?  182  UN/ENDING: IN CONVERSATION WITH AN EDUCATOR, C O L L E A G U E AND FRIEND, H A R T E J GILL  183  contextual FOOTnote:  I met Hartej first during a summer course on hermeneutics in the Centre for the Study of Curriculum and Instruction given by a visiting professor.  For three weeks we  were intensively close-reading Gadamer's Truth and Method. During the breaks, I found myself talking to a young woman, who I learned, was a part-time Ph.D. student and a French immersion teacher and a school vice-principal.  I underline here her professional  belongingness because her appearance subverts how a vice-principal  and perhaps even a  French immersion teacher would "stereotypically " look.  I also learned that she was thinking about writing her dissertation autobiographically.  I don't remember how I learned about her Punjabi background, but  I do remember that our conversations revolved around "multiculturalism. "  Later Hartej  and I began looking for opportunities to continue our conversations which have happened through different events such as conferences. chapter-conversation  After committing to write a  which would be included in both Hartej's and my dissertational  texts, we postponed our common writing endeavour. I guess we did not know where to begin. One day in the middle of December, 2002, in a library, I came upon the following texts/lines:  R a c i a l m i x t u r e i n one f o r m o r a n o t h e r has a l w a y s b e e n a p a r t o f the w o r l d ' s h i s t o r y , as has i n t e r t r i b a l m i x i n g . I n d i a n tribes t r a d i t i o n a l l y h a d m e c h a n i s m s for d e a l i n g w i t h the difference b e t w e e n p e o p l e w i t h respect before the w h i t e m a n ' s o p p r e s s i o n . N o w , those m e c h a n i s m s f l o u n d e r i n a sea o f u n c r i t i c a l m u l t i c u l t u r a l i s m .  A f r i c a n s a n d I n d i a n s are f u n d a m e n t a l l y t r i b a l p e o p l e , i n d i g e n o u s to the earth. T h e i r b l e n d i n g o n l y strengthens w h a t t h e y a l r e a d y are, i f t h e y r e m a i n t r u e to t h e i r essence. B l a c k s a n d I n d i a n s w h o u n c r i t i c a l l y p e r s i s t  184  i n l o o k i n g at e a c h o t h e r t h r o u g h the w h i t e m a n ' s eyes o n l y u n d e r m i n e themselves.  ( P h i l l i p s , 2002, p p . 383-384)  The passages came from an article written by Valerie J. Phillips Each Other through the White Man's Eye:  entitled "Seeing  Reflections and Commentary on the Eating  Out of the Same Pot, Black Indian Conference at Dartmouth College. " It formed the epilogue of the book Confounding the Color Line: The Indian-Black Experience in North America, 2002.  The text ended with the line:  "Pushing past the white man, I can see it through my own eyes." ( m y h o l d i n g , p . 383) Lingering in the midst of the lines communicating the uneasy relationships between Black and Indigenous communities and peoples within the society dominated by "white man's " rulings, I began to wonder, how do Hartej and I look at each other? Through whose eyes do we look at and see each other?  I decided to share this question  with Hartej.  185  be placed i n the same category as the colonizers. They carry trangenerational colonial wounds that need acknowledging  long colonial histories and who culturally and linguistically are not exactly "European."  and healing. I did not even try to explain to him that 1  Having said all this, I do have to agree with  could not be seen — I don't want to be seen!  Jose that even these people ("the  — as "white " and "European, " that "white  marginalized/colonized whites") do not know the reality o f being a person o f colour i n Canada. T o wake up everyday knowing that you can never "pass" and that  and "European, " including "Caucasian " and "Indo-European " are cultural constructs that try to force me to become part of the hegemonic geographical,  everyone sees you as a stranger, an alien,  historical, and cultural maps I am not part  an immigrant, an outsider, the O T H E R . . .  of. Why should I have to carry the burdening labels that I don't feel connected  (I'm sure your daughter could relate to  to?  this). Racist remarks continuously demanding we go home even when this  I did not even try to remind Jose about all  country is our home. Lack o f  these things because I had done it already  representation in the media unless it  so many times and on so many occasions.  involves the marginalized cultures acting inappropriately, violently, causing problems or creating unrest, becoming dangerous.  Although Jose knows that the FinnoUgrian people have endured long periods of colonialism, he considers this being a  I always find it interesting that when one is  part of past history. He is convinced that  in the midst o f such conversations things  since I and my friends LOOK  arrive your way i n a timely manner. I want  not experiencing discrimination and racism  to share with you a short message that I  presently on a daily basis. Period.  received by e-mail from someone who has  white we are  End of  conversation.  never spoken to me, but saw me once. I believe i f you, Jose and I had only been 189  even in its "lesser" forms. W e continue to  PERFECT  be victims o f cognitive colonialism. W i t h  probably flourish since they have an  the recent focus on whiteness i n Critical  enormous "clientele " not only among those  Multiculturalism Studies, it is hard to  whose English is VISIBLY IMPURE,  believe that there is any interest o f the  there are plenty of those in Canada, like  dominant white society to dismantle the  myself, whose English is  unjust status quo. This type o f centering o f  UNCLEAN.  ENGLISH.  The company will  but  AUDIBLY  ..  whiteness further decentres those i n the margins.  Additionally, the many cries o f whites as victims o f Affirmative Action further erode trust. Being white continues to be constructed as rational, orderly, pure, and non-white as irrational, disorderly, contaminated and prone to uncivilized behaviour.  Constantly suspect, how do we not suspect? A n d finally trust is impossible because since being white has become synonymous with guilt, there is an on-going trend to attempt to trade i n one's white identity for the identity o f the marginalized "other" attempting to steal even our identities to overcome T H E I R guilt! Can we be blamed for our mistrust? "The "easy solution," then, implies a strategy o f "becoming minor" or "marginal," a superficial manoeuvre that suggests that nothing is at stake i n one's 192  ' W n s c u l t u r a l i s m is a l w a y s p e r f o r m e d i n a p o w e r structure, i n the t e n s i o n b e t w e e n h e g e m o n y a n d s u b a l t e r n i t y " (2001, p. 204).  / have learnedfrom Mignolo how to address the underlying colonialism in the modern world.  Instead of using the notion "colonialism " that situates colonialism (easily) in  history, Mignolo uses the notion of "coloniality" (borrowedfrom  the Peruvian  liberation  theologist Anibal Quijano 's "coloniality of power") that assumes that "coloniality is constitutive of modernity and as a consequence, we are still living under the same regime" (Mignolo, 2000, p. 71). Isn 't this the reason why we have become so concerned with the issues of whiteness and non-whiteness in our conversation?  Having  "established" the border and (mis)placed Epstein's and Mignolo's  discussions  of transculturalisms on the opposite sides, I am drawn to join "Mignolo's side " (Mignolo is not only a "Latinoamericanist, " he comes from Latin America, Argentina)  since...  after living in Colombia I have looked at the world more and more from a "subaltern " perspective which " i m p l i e s n o t i n f e r i o r i t y b u t awareness o f a s u b a l t e r n p o s i t i o n i n a c u r r e n t g e o p o l i t i c a l d i s t r i b u t i o n o f e p i s t e m i c p o w e r " ( M i g n o l o , 2000, p . 15), after living in Colombia I have begun to listen more and more to the voices silenced by discourses centering on modernity, postmodernity, and Western civilization,  after living in Colombia I have begun to feel more and more "at home " with/in "border gnosis" offering a space to think "otherwise"from  the borders between dominant and  subaltern epistemologies (Mignolo, 2001, p. 186). By the way, Hartej, Iforgot to tell you that "transculturalism" is a concept coined by Cuban anthropologist Fernando Ortiz, in the early 1940s, who located this notion in the context of the history of tobacco. Does it mean that the notion of "transculturalism " is a Latin American term?  200  Recently my family had a large holiday gathering at my parents' home. There was a very particular moment back to which your writing has taken me. There were about twenty people - family and friends - gathered around i n the living room when all o f a sudden during a silent moment I realized the potential for everything to go so wrong and I somehow felt most responsible i f it did, since I felt as i f I was the only host (because o f my location at the borders o f cultures and classes...) who should have known better. A t this gathering there were many people o f diverse backgrounds present. M y immediate family, my younger sister's British in-laws and their family. M y sister's sister-in-law and her husband o f Chinese-Canadian (the following are all my simplistic categories. I'm not sure how these individuals would identify themselves) origin and some family friends o f various religions, castes and classes. W e had everyone from my parents who work i n factories to university professors with quite a range in-between (in terms o f the traditional social hierarchy of jobs/professions). There was also a close friend o f mine who most o f the family hadn't met. This woman was b o m with a degenerative disease and is now i n a wheelchair permanently. I remember looking around and feeling a certain "transcultural discomfort."  First, I hoped that no-one would ask why my friend was i n a wheelchair. A n d then I hoped that the topic o f Christmas would not come up because there were so many conflicting views on that from various religious and cultural perspectives. A n d then I hoped that my younger cousins would not make any politically incorrect jokes that I would be put i n a place to respond to i n front o f everyone. A n d then there were four generational sensitivities to consider and various language barriers between my parents and my sister's British in-laws to deal with. A n d then o f course I hoped that no one would ask about my dissertation because then colonialism would surely be discussed and I would find myself right in the middle o f everything trying to negotiate and find some transcultural space o f comfort for everyone. A s you can imagine, it was a very exhausting evening.  I wondered after that evening about all the transcultural theories and transculturalism. I wondered i f the people writing them really knew what it meant to live "transculturally." 202  If they had ever felt "transcultural tension" in the ways that you and I describe? For i f they had, I'm not so sure that their theoretical maps would be so concise, clean and clear.  203  silence between us. My hope is in the healing power of conversation. Are you willing,  can you continue conversation with me?  UNSENT EMAILS: Unsent: Sunday, January 12,2003 11:02 A M Hartej, although you haven't responded to my e-mail I can't stop writing to you... Bringing  "these " words, which I cannot repeat any more because now they hurt me so  much, into our text I have transgressed the territorial bORDERs of the academic landscape. No, I didn't come across these words in any academic article. I learned them from my daughter when she explained to me the "multicultural"  language that students  use at school among themselves. The dangerous language of the youth culture created in the interstices of resistance to the "politically correct" multiculturalism of the adult world.  Our daughters, sons, and students live on the minefields of colonialism, genocide, slavery.  They might not be fully aware of these legacies that their friends carry with  them, so unknowingly they create the "names" for each other that hurt. But they seem fully aware of the unsafety of "safe " labels, places, spaces that their parents and teachers hypocritically provide them with. Because can any label or space be "safe " in our world of continuing and ongoing wars, terrorism and killings?!  I remember reading in the United Nations Development Program Report, 1998, that Military Spending is the world's first (!) priority: $780 billion  dollars are spent for  military needs and only $6 billion for basic education ("Global Gap Is Widening between the Rich and Poor," The Vancouver Sun, September 11, 1998, p. A21). Looking now at the publishing date of this "data " my body shakes and my heartbeat accelerates!  And I  feel much worse when wondering about what numbers might be included in the United Nations Development Program Report for the years 2001 and 2002.  Hartej, how can we introduce our daughters, sons and students to the ideals of respect,  206  love and peaceful coexistence when the world we live in is so far from dealing with/ attempting to heal colonial wounds, oppressions, inequalities, and social injustices?  Unsent: Sunday, January 12,2003 1:54 P M You haven't answered yet. . . Will we continue our conversation?  Can time heal the  wounds? How long does it take? How long does it take to heal the colonial wounds that, are bleeding ever more deeply?  Today when I was walking in my Burnaby Mountain neighbourhood something very strange and significant happened to me. I was crossing the street and the words emerged from within:  WE NEED TO HELP EACH OTHER TO BECOME BETTER  PEOPLE.  The words stunned me.  Hartej, because you responded to my hurtful words you helped me to become more sensitive, more care-ful. And I hope that this becoming will continue in the living conversation with each other in the wor(l)d.  Unsent: Sunday, January 12,2003 3:14 P M / keep checking my email in the hopes of hearing from you.  There is nothing from you.  I  have to accept that there is a possibility that you have decided to end our conversation because I have been so insensitive towards you. And yet, I can't stop writing...  How difficult it is to talk across racial, cultural borders, across the abyss of colonial wounds.  207  / look at the book lying on my table. It is called this bridge we call home: radical visions for transformations edited by Gloria E. Anzaldua and AnaLouise Keating (2002). book speaks so loudly to what we are experiencing.  This  The book is a continuation of  conversations that began twenty years ago in the book This Bridge Called My Back (Moraga & Anzaldua, 1983) among "women of color. " This Bridge Called My Back has been recognized as a turning point in the feminist movement:  T h i s B r i d g e r e p r e s e n t e d a n u r g e n t c a l l for n e w k i n d s o f f e m i n i s t c o m m u n i t i e s a n d practices, a c a l l that s i m u l t a n e o u s l y i n v i t e d w o m e n o f c o l o r to d e v e l o p a t r a n s f o r m a t i v e , c o a l i t i o n a l c o n s c i o u s n e s s l e a d i n g to n e w alliances a n d c h a l l e n g e d "white" m i d d l e - c l a s s feminists to r e c o g n i z e a n d rectify t h e i r r a c i s m , t h e i r c l a s s i s m , a n d o th er biases. {Anzaldua & Keating, 2002, p . 6) Currently many women of colour are "possessive " of This Bridge Called My Back, viewing it as a safe place, as home (Anzaldua, 2002, p. 3).  This is the reason why both  the editors of this bridge we call home, Gloria E. Anzaldua and AnaLouise  Keating,  concentrate their introductory articles around the question how and why they have included white and male voices their new volume. Needless to say that they both struggle with very uncomfortable and complex dilemmas.  Unsent: Sunday, J a n u a r y 12,2003 3:14 P M  "No new messages." I am getting more and more anxious. I am anxious not so much about you not responding to me at all. I am worried about how you are feeling.  I want to  phone you and ask, but then I think that I need to give you some time and space, I should not pressure or force you back into our conversation.  And I keep writing because I want  to share with you Gloria Anzaldua's insights (p. 3):  "Staying 'home' and not venturing out from our own group comes from woundedness, and stagnates our growth."  208  he eats a lot o f garlic at home and doesn't always brush his teeth," (like those "untouchables" - the words ring from my childhood). Shocked! Horrified! I walk away in rage, or When an Educator posted the following comment (amongst others) i n the Lower Mainland School District's Conference i n response to my comment regarding my mother and other immigrant women not being given a plat(form) from which to be heard:  "But in Canada we all have the right to vote, obtain an education, speak i n public, etc. There is nothing i n Canadian law which prohibits this. W e may not want or feel the need to express our opinions, but we have the right. If a Canadian Citizen who comes from another culture feels that she cannot express herself, this is the fault o f the country or the culture o f origin. It is not Canada that is stopping her, but her own cultural fears or norms. There is nothing i n Canadian L a w which prohibits this." or The little six year old boy I taught in my first year as a teacher, who stuck his tongue out at me behind my back. M y students noticed and informed me. When I confronted h i m , he very matter-of-factly responded with, " M y parents told me that I don't have to like coloured people. You're coloured so I don't have to like you!" A s a first year teacher, I feared losing my job and therefore I didn't dare tell anyone about this incident. I kept my silence throughout the year wondering what would happen the following year when this boy would be i n my class. I must have worried daily for the entire summer holidays before the new school year started. Only to find out in September that the family had moved away, or M y recent school district colleague who resentfully informed another teacher that the only reason that I received the position o f Vice-principal instead o f him was because I was a "coloured woman" (completely dishonouring the fact that I had already completed the requirements o f a M . A . while he was applying to begin his degree).  K a d i , although I wrote about many o f these incidents o f marginalization, exclusion, fear, 211  ignorance, P O W e r in detail i n my Master's Thesis, I write about them here with different emotion. There was so much healing as Dr. Carl Leggo encouraged me i n that work to dwell in those spaces and to write about them. A n d now it seems that that healing continues in an even more relational way because o f our writing here. I feel so blessed to have had an advisor who started me i n my healing journey and to now be writing with someone who w i l l "listen whol(e)ly" and attempt to "innerstand" my pain.  I am reminded o f something that a colleague o f ours said yesterday in our discussion group at the Graduate Student retreat, and her words resonate with the wise words that came to you on your walk as well as some o f the powerful words o f Gloria E. Anzaldua and AnaLouise Keating. Our colleague asked: H o w do we learn to live relationally i n an unrelational world?  Naming the unnameable rooted in the depths of these emerald waves vining and re-vining endlessly before me, I hear also the ocean of "other" ancestors and of "other" lands, and I am overcome by a sense of re-connection. It is the muted whisperings of another home, another ocean, HenthMahasagarlndianOcean.... Defiant, unyielding fluidity. Resisting space, history, time. Transgressing names, regulations, codes, b/orders that separate THEIR waters from Theirs. Trespassing to transgress trespassing.  I want to swim in these waters. I want to feel guiltless connections with all of humanity  212  In order to begin to dismantle racism in our society and our lives we need to look back at our own stories and learn how we have been/are involved in racism, colonialism  and  difference.  214  un/ending... January 16, 2003, late afternoon. The University of British Columbia, Hartej and Kadi during a meeting in the graduate student lounge of the Centre for the Study of Curriculum and Instruction.  Hartej, I don't even know where to begin, there are so many uneasy thoughts/feelings in my heart and mind regarding the multicultural/transcultural realities we experienced together yesterday...  I RECALL  the gathering of teachers, students, educators, activists, researchers, artists,  pedagogues at Magee Secondary School for the screening/discussion of the anti-racist and anti-homophobic videos prepared by the group of high-school students under the aegis of AMES (Access to Media Education Society). I RECALL  the powerful impact of both films on me, the impact of the sincerity of  students' voices, the multiplicity of the perspectives, the interweaving of real stories and artistic creativity into the complex and disturbing film text/ure. I RECALL  the images of multicultural ism from the film... a scene of bullying of a young  fragile looking fellow by two bull-like heavy lads who humiliate him on the basis of his homosexuality and Jewishness, tying him to the pole of the Canadian flag. I RECALL  the Finnish expression tihe ttihjus - approximating (in English)  "tense  emptiness " — articulating more adequately than any English wording the deep silence in the hall loaded with the utter discomfort after we had watched the first film Racism for Reel: Media for Change.  K a d i , although I am very grateful to D r . Graeme Chalmers for creating a rare academic space for uncomfortable multicultural/transcultural discussions, my body was shaking from so many o f the troublesome comments:  The white woman behind us: "But it's not just people o f colour who are looked at suspiciously by security guards, it's  215  about how you dress. I've had security guards look at me too sometimes."  The white male to our right: "Racism doesn't happen just between whites and students o f colour. Students o f colour all call each other names as well."  The white male to our left: "In our school there are more students o f colour so the white students are actually a minority."  The white woman i n front o f us: "But when you try to help, they ask you to leave . . . ."  I'm sure people in the audience countered some o f these ignorant and destructive comments, but all I remember is the silence inside me and a  l  l  a  r  o u / RECALL  n  d  m  e  thinking that I have to accept their mistrust. I have the obligation to  "innerstand" (asyou, Hartej, put it, transforming the verb "understand" in such a meaningful way) the deep pain of the bleeding colonial wound. I have the obligation to try again and again . . . and again . . . endlessly. . . to relate in hope of building connections. I RECALL  myself becoming aware of our (in/direct) ties with the colonial  legacies. I RECALL  myselffeeling the personal responsibility for the racism in our  society and our lives.  K a d i , I must admit that my body shook intensely as I heard a white woman in the audience informing us o f how upset she was because she was asked to leave a First  216  Nations gathering. K n o w i n g her and her work, I would have thought that she would have understood. I heard my inner voice saying: Y o u have not innerstood the colonial wound! Y o u needed to work harder to gain the trust o f the community, you needed to go back and let them know how you felt and why you felt that you did not fit into the category o f W H I T E as they know it in all its violence and exploitation. Y o u didn't work hard enough, you gave up, you left the conversation. When the bridge broke, you went back into your safe zone, you didn't let yourself take the risk and plunge into the water under the bridge - into the place o f relationality. I wish I had the courage to plunge into those waters myself that evening, but I stayed silent. I noticed that you spoke to her after the presentation, K a d i , but I stayed silent. I suppose I also took the safe route which I believe i n these incidences is not a route at all.  I RECALL  my inability to find words to talk about the issues of the film because  the students in the film used the words that had hurt you, Hartej, so much. I RECALL  wondering in the midst of the after-film discussion how easily and quickly all  multicultural discussions, including those that intend to give space to "other" voices, get dominated by the voices speaking from or about "white "perspectives.  S I L E N C E inside me a n d a 11 aroundme.  I RECALL  myself feeling overwhelmed by conflicting and confusing thoughts on our way  home after a long day of living "multicultural"  reality...  I tried to innerstand all those comments differently, K a d i , but my mind could not convince my body. H o w did a conversation that was supposed to be about racism turn into a conversation about W H I T E defensiveness? What voices remained silent or silenced and why? 217  W h y am I always expecting this kind o f defensiveness not to take place, especially i n locations where educators and community people are choosing to leam about social justice issues? W h y am I always surprised each time these discussions play out in this manner? W h y am I always expecting generative discussions toward change? H o w do we help ourselves and help each other be better people as your earlier thought suggested? Hartej, I feel the need to look back at our dialogues, to dwell in the reflective space and ask ourselves: so what? Why do these conversations between us matter? How do they matter? Do they make a difference?  To whom?  We both felt intrigued by this trendy notion of "transculturalism " circulating in academia instead of multiculturalism.  We had a hope that "transculturalism"  would provide us with a comfortable  "theoretical" home.  Instead we ended up dwelling in the discomfort zones in between  "THEM"  'US'  "WHITENESS"  "NON-WHITENESS"  "MULTICULTURALISM"  "TRANSCULTURALISM"  "REALITIES"  "THEORY"  "IDENTITY"  "BRIDGES"  "HOME" "SAFE  SPACE"  and.  218  "WATER B E L O W BRIDGES" he wants to keep me like a prisoner Familial transgenerational, The "proper Punjabi daughter" disgracing H i s name, H i s family. transcultural tensions continue Young teen-age relative i n tears. in-between Give up your rules! You're losing her! the oppressive realities "NO NEVER." of the outside world T H E Y w i l l try to teach my child T H E I R values and T H E I R morals and make me look and the divisive fragmentation like a bad father. of the inner. Looking for an Indo-Canadian counsellor before giving up. Unendable conversations. His cultural values... I feel absolutely helpless. Unendable im/personations. Once the bridge breaks, I w i l l walk away . . .  Today, Jose and I ended up in a long discussion about whose position is the most disadvantageous in North America? histories of slavery and genocide  Who suffers/has suffered more?  "academic " conversations "personal/family " conversations intermingle How to overcome the victimising  categorisations? How to decolonize colonial thinking?  endless conversations between myself, my husband, my daughter, my colleagues and my friends  219  anytime and anywhere . . . I am attached to other cultures through personal  responsibility.  listen, learn, acknowledge, care, multiple histories, traditions, colonial  legacies  suffering need not be a necessity o f our society change can not happen at the level o f our texts alone; it has to happen i n and through the interminglings o f our lives as well. intersecting identities . . . homes . . . re-searching belongings transculturally  cross-culturally  awareness o f the complex "transculturality" o f our lives - o f all our lives reaching out across difference H o w can we ignore our commitment to community just because our institutions can? our honest safe/unsafe conversations our complex "relocations" H o w did you "after hundreds o f years o f being colonized come to be looked at as a colonizer in this country!?" I have felt your pain and your great sense o f responsibility, your commitment to building bridges and to taking risks to immerse yourself i n the waters below those bridges. Y o u may not be W H I T E i n all its dominance, but you have taken on all the responsibilities o f what that position entails. living r e l a t i o n a l l y . . . I have learned about W H I T E N E S S through your n o n - W H I T E N E S S . many selves continuously constructed, deconstructed, reconstructed i n spaces o f complex "transcultural" intersectionality un/im-personated i n this performance . . . I am also a woman o f privilege i n terms o f my "cultural capital" o f education and language . . . I can no longer come out pure. I'm not sure anyone can.  220  Not even my dear grandmother. Although she has come to live with the reality o f her grand-daughter's British husband, she desperately hopes that none o f her other grandchildren (especially the educated ones) w i l l marry a B l a c k person or a person with a disability. L i k e so many i n our society (whether one is willing to admit it or not), she has been colonized to believe that blackness and disability w i l l lower one's status on the hierarchal scale o f our society and truncate one's educational merit. A s her granddaughter, knowing that she only has the best intentions for me - for my upliftment from marginalization, how do I negotiate with integrity my beliefs in social justice and equity and her cognitive colonization? Who am I to be i n all this troubling complex honest ambiguity? searching for my selves un/settling.. . unsettle-able . . . tremulous  January 18, 2003. Vancouver Peace March.  people coming TOGETHER  against WAR  "It's not about 'right' or left 'politics anymore; it's about US AS  HUMAN  BEINGS!" moments of communality across the multiple ethnic, racial, class, age, gender, religious and political  affiliations  Is WAR the price we need to pay in order to come together in solidarity, to build bridges across difference? struggling i n difference building bridges through difference placed in-between home and identity I am beginning to understand why the word home may have been so much more meaningful for you.  Y o u have lived i n so many different geographical locations... I have  lived only i n one location since my arrival from India.  Divisions of a psychic, cultural, racial, ethnic space 221  between the self/non-self or other I continue to travel ceaselessly between THEIR/Their LANGUAGES POWER RULES CULTURES INSTITUTIONS  HOMES  constantly searching for  my body,  my mind, my soul,  my selves,  somewhere i n the beyond where I am not, and yet I am kithe uther gahan.  "identity"...  I haven't grasped its text/ures.  so "foreign " to the Estonian language...  ident. . . eet. . . dents . . . sus, / don't know  "home"  smell  colour  sound  home, safety, stability unsettling, unsettle/able foreign space o f unbelonging/belongingness India without citizenship  never felt like home/non-home Canadian N A T I O N - B U I L D I N G  racial and ethnic  outsider inside Canada  our cyberhome, a place o f dis/comfort 222  an intersectional space, cross-cultural, co-created, co-existing, living "transculturally" in another place or in another time we could have been enemies...  1  / am situated between THEM and US, uncomfortably, as always  a position of ambiguity and duality and a position of response-ability to build bridges.  But the more I "innerstand" the worldfrom the "Third world, " "indigenous, " "nonwhite, " "subaltern "perspective the more disconnected I become from my home country. The more I try to bridge different cultures, identities, positions, homes the more aware I become of distances and separations. I don't understand.  Why does the process of building bridges involve the heightened awareness of separatedness? How can I build the bridge across the Atlantic Ocean between Estonia, Colombia, Canada?  The continuous process o f co-creating implies that bridging is an endless responseability which often requires immersing in the unsafe waters below bridges. Opening spaces and dislocating, relocating, co-locating positions and silent subtext o f our daily lives through conversation - unfinished conversation...  Hartej, what is the wordfor home in Punjabi, in your language? Remember you mentioned once a word which sounded much like an Estonian wordfor home  K O D U . . . KODA. Yes, please check with your dad... can you look it up in the dictionary?  I would be so grateful.  K a d i , I do remember that you once asked me how to say home i n Punjabi and somehow our conversation went i n another direction. There are actually three words i n Punjabi: 223  mekan, kur, and koti/kota.  Mekan refers mainly to the actual structure o f a residential building. Kur is the word most closely connected to the word home i n English, although it is very much the dwelling o f a large extended family. Koti/Kota are the words that sound so similar to the word you once referred to as home i n Estonian. Koti/kota mean both an elegant, spacious home and a house o f i l l fame or a brothel - a pure/impure home/house.  Hartej, I am . . . ah, I am stunned, astonished! £ b t i / k o t a is so similar to the FinnoUgrian word! Look, in Estonian home is kodu/koda, in Voitic koto, in Finnish koti, in Livonian kuo'd, in Karelian and Vepsic k o d T . . . . Who would have expected that the Estonian words for home kodu, koda are linguistically closer to Punjabi koti/kota than to Sami goahti - the language from the same Finno-Ugric  linguistic family group.  Well, yes, there are differences in meaning, but then the meanings of the words change drastically over the years. For example, the word "conversation " meant originally "having dealings with others " and "manners of conducting oneself in the world, " but from the 16th century on "conversation " was used as a synonym for  "sexual  intercourse. "  35  K o d u is one of the most heartfelt words in the Estonian language. K o d a is its older form. My ancestors' wordfor home can also be translated as "hearth. " K o d a is an old word, the name of the modest habitat of the "ancient Finno-Ugric  " dwellers:  KODA is a world in the world, a peculiar model of the mysterious universe, another one. 3 5  a dwelling place in  Through the smoke hole the main pillar of the dwelling place faced the  Harper, <http://www.etymonline.corn/c8etyrn.htm> 224  North Star, with black starry skies around it. The small dwelling-place was in a big one whose smoke-hole opened in an unreachable height, whose walls were full of holes burnt by sparks and which was adorned with Sun and the Moon.  This enormous miraculous  thing rotated noiselessly round its axis which was also the axis of the dwelling place of the ancient dweller.  (Asu-Ounas & Kiinnap, 1978) K a d i , I would also like to share another word i n Punjabi that has not had the time or space to find itself into our limited academic/non-academic conversations. The word pechan means identity or recognition. According to the Barnhart Dictionary o f Etymology (Barnhart, 1988) recognition is "borrowed from M i d d l e French and directly from Latin recognitionem (nominative recognitio) act o f recognizing, from recognit-,  past participle stem o f recognoscere to acknowledge, know again . . . " (p. 896).  Hartej, we too have the word "recognition " in Estonian that we use when we talk about identity and belonging: ara tundma/ tunnistama/tunnetama  But not only that, recognition  in Estonian includes such meanings as "feeling, " "sensing, " "knowing" as well as "witnessing, " "attesting, " "cognizing. "  KODA  KOTA  Acknowledging witnessing attesting, cognizing feeling sensing, knowing each other again and again...  Y o u and / , we both come from different cultural narratives. The Canadian "multicultural"  contextual framework is "foreign" to our respective cultural narratives.  A n d as such, it de-contextualizes other cultural narratives (or as M i g n o l o would say "local histories"), including ours, coming together i n Canada The Canadian multicultural framework as "global design " (to use again Mignolo's  notion) forces our  cultural histories to FIT INTO and to have conversations WITHIN its own framework.  A s a global design, Canadian multiculturalism is a dominant and imposed context/framework where our struggle becomes a struggle about borders/boundaries;  225  inclusions/exclusions. From this perspective I understand why you emphasize the need  for D I S R U P T I O N S . It is so asphyxiating to dwell W I T H I N imposed boundaries, thus, the needfor the cracks in the boundaries/walls in order to breathel  We had hoped that the notion of transculturalism would help us to go beyond the  framework o f multiculturalism.  However, we learned from our conversation that we can  take a new theoretical term/notion and we can keep trying other terms/notions as well.  But as long as we keep dwelling W I T H I N the same "multicultural" global design, respecting its boundaries, nothing changes because the power relationships we are  involved with/in this design are still the same, domineering and hierarchical. framework one is left with two options: to "FITIN" impossible to "FITIN"  and "GO BEYOND"  In this  or to " S T A Y / G E T O U T , " but it is  at the same time, unless we take the  "universalistic" position . . .  We continue our struggles.  We continue NOT TO FIT IN.  We continue creating  alternative contextual spaces, spaces that undermine dominant global designs and  transform existing hierarchical academic and cultural relationships. W e continue imagining new spaces - INTERSPACES  - emerging through the process o f  C O - C R E A T I O N where the contextual framework is not a fixed frame but where context comes into being through the reconnection to its Latin roots as "a joining/weaving together."  36  Perhaps we did not succeed in our conversation to feel "at home " nor to identify with/in the context of this fashionable new academic term "transculturalism."  Rather we co-  created/wove a new cultural space/context. And our Aome/identities become and continue becoming into being through articulation of our differences in conversation  Harper. <http://www. etymonline.com/c8etym. htm>  226  WANDERING THE  EAST  BORDER -  WEST  border is always  wandering,  sometimes eastward,  sometimes  and we know exactly where it is just  west,  now:  in Gaugamela, not in the  Urals  because the Plain of Gaugamela is in northern Iraq  where i n 331 B C the forces of Alexander the Great w o n the battle against Darius III of Persia bringing Alexander control of South A s i a  3 7  where i n 2003 the forces of president George Bush, Jr. w o n the battle against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein bringing . . .  in the land (what was once called an ancient civilization, and in dividing our  Babylon,  a cradle of  humanity)  ourselves, deeply minds  Gaugamela, Battle of. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, http://www.britannica.com/ebc/arricle?eu=390622 3 7  228  YOU  ARE WITH  US  YOU ARE AGAINST splitting  US  violently  our bodies so that one ear, one eye, one nostril, one hand, one foot, one lung and one testicle or one ovary is on the one,  another on the other side.  And the heart, is T-E-A-R  ed apart:  if we are looking southward, from the  North  if we are looking eastward, from the West we see blood and death entering a TV-image sitting  of a very old-looking  into our homes  woman in black clothes  in the corner in the midst of the dust and rubbles of her disappeared her eyes looking in front of her there is a bright-yellow  package of "humanitarian  brought to her by the Unopened,  nowhere,  "liberators"I  untouched.  aid"  home  La  Maestra:  I am dead. I was born here, in this town. En la casita de barro rojo con techo de paja que estd al border del camino, frente a la escuela. El camino es un rio lentode barro rojo en el inviemo y un remolino de polvo rojo en el verano. Cuando llegan los meses de sol, el polvo rojocubre todo el pueblo. La alpargatas suben llenas de polvo rojo, y los pies y piernas y las patas de los caballos y las crines y los sombreros, todo se impregna de polvo rojo. Nad de este barro y de ese polvo rojo, y ahora he vuelto a ellos.38  DOES OUR MOUTH KNOW HOW TO SPEAK FROM THE HEART AND TO DWELL IN PEACE?  Buenaventura, 1992, p. 113. 230  HEART(H)MINDING AWARENESS OF BE(LONG)ING  231  slid  a metunnist  us/heart  witnessing  232  Breathe  Breathe  in  out  Exhale  Inhale In  Out Listen Listen to the moment between your Breathing  breaths  in  Breathing  Inhale  out  Exhale  Again and again  In  Out Listen What do you hear?  What do you hear between your  breaths?  Do you hear the silence? Listen Listen  again  Do you hear your  heartbeats?  Do you hear the voice speaking in between your  heartbeats?  What does it say? Can you  understand?  233  sudametunnistus You don't know this word? My dark-blue  Saagpakk  's Eesti-Inglise  SonaraamatlEnglish-Estonian  translates  dictionary  it:  "conscience" The Houghton conscience 1.  Mifflin  Canadian  Dictionary  of English  Language  say:  n. T h e faculty of r e c o g n i z i n g the d i s t i n c t i o n b e t w e e n r i g h t a n d w r o n g i n r e g a r d to one's o w n c o n d u c t .  2.  C o n f o r m i t y to one's o w n sense of r i g h t c o n d u c t .  3.  Obsolete.  a. C o n s c i o u s n e s s . b . Inner t h o u g h t and points to the Latin origin of the word com-  conscire,  (intensive) + scire (to know)  asking me to see its Indo-European  root word:  skei-  / learn that skei- means " t o c u t , s p l i t , " and the Latin branch of this root means knowing  scire  by " s e p a r a t i n g o n e t h i n g f r o m a n o t h e r , " " d i s c e r r v i n g , " and  that beside conscience, such words like nice, omniscient and science stem from this root. Among  the other derivations  of  skei-  are:  Germanic  skitan, " t o s e p a r a t e , d e f e c a t e "  Old Norse skita, " t o d e f e c a t e " Greek skhizein, " t o s p l i t " : s c h e d u l e , s c h i s m , s c h i z o -  234  "con-science" n. knowing  by mind, knowing by splitting. separating  . . separating  one thing from  another,  right from wrong, beauty from ugliness, life from  word from the world, sound from silence, Ifrom  death,  We, self from other, white  from colour, mind from heart, people from earth . . .  T a k e a deep breath  Breathe in  Breathe out  Listen Listen  again  siidametunnistus If I translate this word I cannot ignore the fact that this Estonian  word  contains  two words:  siidame of heart witnessing We ask in Estonian  + runnisrus  of heart, heart witnessing,  witnessing  knowing/learning  with/in  heart  "mis sul on sudamel?" - "what's in your heart? " In  English  it means "what's on your mind? "  In English  one talks about "unburdening  one's mind," in Estonian our heart" -  In English  one says "peace of mind, " in Estonian  we  "unburden  "puistame stidant"  one says "peace of heart"  -  "siidamerahu."  235  T a k e a deep breath Listen L i s t e n to y o u r heartbeats Listen to the silenced voices between your Heart witnessing. I heart witness an uncountable "discovery"  of America,  development,  . . witnessing  with your  heart  number of voices silenced by colonial  by the civilizing  by progress,  heartbeats  process,  by globalization,  by  by modernization,  history, by by  democracy.  I heart witness the voices of my ancestors silenced by more than 700 years of colonization, German  by Christianization,  intelligentsia,  by Teutonic Knights, by Baltic Barons,  by Russian rulers, by the Communist  by  regime, by  westernization.  Listen L i s t e n w i t h your heart What do you  hear?  I hear and honour the voice of Ochwiay Biano, speaking. Mexico,  the chief of the Pueblo  people,  Talking to Ochwiay Biano when he visited in 1925 the Taos Publo, Carl Jung acknowledged  affected his character and psyche.  for the first time how deeply colonialism  New  had  The chief of the Pueblo people told him that  whites were "mad," uneasy and restless, always wanting something.  According  to  the Pueblo chief they were mad because they say "thinking with their heads, " which is a sign of illness in his tribe. "Why of course," said Jung, "what do you think with?" Ochwiay Biano indicated his  3 9  heart.  39  Shulman Lorenz & Watkins. http://www.mythinglinks.org/LorenzWatkins.htrnl 236  / hear and honour the voices of Helene Shulman Depth Psychologists, Springs:  speaking  Paths to Healing  in their article  Lorenz and Mary Watkins,  "Silenced  in the Wake of Colonialism  Knowings,  two  Forgotten  ":  W e h a v e e a c h b e e n e d u c a t e d i n a s y s t e m that g r e w o u t of, a n d reflects, 500 years o f c o l o n i a l i s m , a n d are s t r u g g l i n g for awareness i n a n e w e r a o f g l o b a l i z a t i o n that leaves i n c r e a s i n g n u m b e r s of p e o p l e h u n g r y a n d disenfranchised. O u r c u l t u r a l legacy is p r o f o u n d l y i m p r i n t e d b y the often s i l e n c e d after-effects of the g e n o c i d a l w a r against N a t i v e A m e r i c a n s , the d i s l o c a t i o n a n d forced s l a v e r y of A f r i c a n s i n A m e r i c a , a n d the o p p r e s s i v e l a b o r c o n d i t i o n s of the p o o r . But how do we carry these kinds of  knowing inside ourselves and in our relations to others and the world? SUDDENLY  40  I hear  a chorus of voices talking at the same time. I hear Enrique from Colombia, La Maestra/The  Buenaventura  a playwright  who  conceived  teacher together with the members of the Teatro E x p e r i m e n t a l de  Cali Jacqueline, I hear Alejandra from Mexico,  Gladys, Guillermo,  Nelly, Aida, Pedro, and  Elias.  Medellin, a stage director who produced  La Maestra  in Vancouver  in 1998 with  Rita, Kesten, Luisa, I hear the shouting  of the  Warren, Steve, Charles, Pryde, Kadi, and  Mamie.  Sergeant  SERGEANT: Your name's Peregrino Pasambu, right? Then you're the big leader here. . . . and I hear the calm and soft voice of La  4 0  Maestra:  Shulman Lorenz & Watkins. http://www.mythinglinks.org/LorenzWatkins2A.html 237  THE TEACHER: Father had been named  mayor twice. But he understood so little about politics that he didn't realize that the government had changed.  SERGEANT: You got this land because of politics, isn't that right? THE TEACHER: That wasn't true. My father was one of the founders of the town. And because he was one of the founders he had this house next to the road, with some land. He gave the town its name. He called it "Hope." SERGEANT: Aren't you going to talk? Aren't you going to say anything? THE TEACHER:  My father didn't talk much.  SERGANT: [Pointing at the map of Colombia] This land isn't divided right. We're gonna divide it all over again. It's gonna have real owners with deeds and everything. THE TEACHER: When my father  came here, it was all a jungle.  SERGEANT: Aren't you gonna talk? The jobs haven't been given out too well, neither. Your daughter's the schoolteacher, isn't she? THE TEACHER: It wasn't  really a job. They seldom paid me salary. But I liked to be the schoolteacher. My mother was the first schoolteacher the school ever had. She taught me, and when she died I became the teacher.  SERGEANT: Who knows what that bitch teaches. THE TEACHER: / taught reading and writing,  and I taught catechism and love for our country and our flag. When I refused to eat and drink, I thought about children. It was true that there weren't many of them, but who was going to teach them? And then I thought, why should they learn to love their country and their flag? Country and flag don't mean anything anymore. Maybe it wasn't right, but that's what I thought.  SERGEANT: Why don't you talk? You see this list? All the big shots and fat cats of the last government are on it. We got orders to get rid of them all so we can set up the elections. THE TEACHER: So  that's the way it was. They put him against the mud wall behind the house. The sergeant gave the order, and the soldiers shot.  SERGEANT: I'm not to blame. I'm just following orders.  238  T H E T E A C H E R : The sergeant gave the order. Then the sergeant and the soldiers came into my room and, one after another, they raped me. They raped me. Then I wouldn't eat or drink again, and so I died, little by little. Little by little. Breathe  in  breathe  out  Listen Listen to your Listen to the silenced Listen to the silenced meaning  heartbeats  voices in between your  heartbeats  of the word "conscience" - inner thought - that  the dictionary  declares  is  obsolete:  conscience from L. conscientia "knowledge within oneself, a moral sense," prp. of conscire "be mutually aware."  41  Listen to and honor the teachings whose land we and our university,  of the Musqueam  the University  of British  people  Columbia,  I listened to Greg Cajete, a Tewa educator, from Santa Clara Mexico,  when he shared his knowings British "Learning  Columbia,  in the Longhouse, two years  dwell on.  Pueblo,  New  at the University  of  ago:  happens from within, from inside  out..."  Breathe Breathe Inhale Learning  is like breathing;  deeply Exhale  it follows  the rhythm of taking in and putting  apprehension 4 1  Harper, http://www.etymonline.corn/c8etyrn.htrn  4 2  Kolb, Baker, & Jensen, 2001, p. 57.  out  42  comprehension  239  extension  intension Listen to the silence within your In  Out  Breathing  heart  In  Out  is life's most persistent  ritual  Repetition Inhale  Exhale  Repeating  Repeating  Repeating  Seems endless Until the last The end.  Death.  breath  And then again birth.  The  beginning.  Breath connects birth and death Breath:  Birth-and-Death  Breathe  again and  Listen to the interconnecting  silences  listen of the breathing  universe  inter In-between Returning  to my red English  inter also  dictionary  means "toplace  I learn that  in a grave;  Latin: i n , "in" + t e r r a , "earth,  bury"  ground"  43  The Houghton Mifflin Canadian Dictionary of the English Language. 1982, p. 683. 240  Breathe In  in  breathe  between  within  Feel the interconnectedness  Perceive your rootedness  out  silence with  earth  in earth  Listen Earth . . . ear Listen how the silence gives birth to the word  Listen how the word becomes into being in the heart of earth Do you  hear?  What word/knowing is it that your heart witnessing brings into being from within the silence of earth ?  241  242  koda:  The song comes into being in my heartfrom within the silence of earth:  meil on kojas kullasseppa we have a goldsmith in the house tares taalrite taguja a silversmith in the farm saunas sangavitsutaja a carpenter in the sauna  kojast tduseb kulda suitsu a golden smoke rises from the chimney tareharjast haljast suitsu a silvery smoke rises from our farm saunast sangavitsa suitsu an alder smoke rises from the sauna  meil on kuu korstenalla we have the moon on the roof meil on agu akenassa we have the dawn on the window paeva lavepaku pddlla the sun on the door  243  be(long)ing in the journey:  Dear Maestra, / hoped that the Red Road would lead me home, that it would help me to re-cognize my ancestors' dwelling - k o d a . . . / am not sure where I have arrived, or where I should  have  I have not found out where I belong and neither do I know how to  arrived, re-cognize home.  The only thing I know is that I am and have been on the homeward and that this journey  continues.  journey  Being away from home has made me aware of  home. . . The writing lines marking while dwelling wandering  in the dissertation  - leading me, perhaps,  I have arrived  the trajectories  of my homeward  have been discontinuous,  journeying  uncertain  and  noAvhere, and, yet,  somewhere...  I am now here. . . breathing  in  breathing  out. . . be(long)ing in the  Journeying  is learning.  journey.  .. I learned on this  that the road towards home does not necessarily  lead towards  "home  that home is not only my home culture, my family, that the road toward — k o d a - is interweaving,  passing  through  my  country" community  other cultures.  until one learns to be at home in between cultures, that the road might not lead to home but towards learning  journey  ..  on the road  to re-cognize  road as home.  Learning  is journeying.  .. away from  home  244  into unfamiliar  and unknown zones - not to make unfamiliar  known but to learn to dwell in un/familiar Homewards  and  familiar  or  unknown  un/known.  marks an unending journey  because in movement we re-  cognize the impossibility  Dear Maestra, you asked me not to forget the Red  of completing  the  journey.  Road...  I have notforgotten. How could I have?  Journeying national,  towards home I tried to overcome cultural, racial,  borders — political,  ethnic - that split our selves and divide our worlds.  hoped that the Red Road, as a road towards decolonization, healing  of colonial  [because bloodshed  wounds.  the Red Road  and violence,  I  would lead me toward  .. carries not only the memories  it also bestows the vitalizing  red blood has in pre-Colombian  indigenous  of  life-power,  colonialism, the meaning  that  cultures]  Instead, the Red Road led me towards heightened am a part of is currently  geographical,  torn apart more violently  awareness  that this world I  than ever.  I breathe in  out  I heart  witness  I hear I hear a loud howling out from my mouth.  of uncontained Yesterday,  desperation  March  NOT coming  19 , 2003 the U.S. armed forces  bombard And then I hear sergeants  and hopelessness  th  began to  Iraq.  shouting  again, again, and again:  245  This land isn't dividedright.We're gonna divide it all over again. It's gonna have real owners with deeds and everything. SERGEANT: [Pointing at the map of Colombia]  SERGEANT: [Pointing at the map of Iraq] This  land isn't divided right. We're gonna divide it all over again. It's gonna have real owners with deeds and everything. SERGEANT: [Pointing at the map of the World] This  land isn't divided right. We're gonna divide it all over again. It's gonna have real owners with deeds and everything.  On Saturday, friend,  March  living in  29  th  I receive an email message from a Turkish  Canadian  Vancouver: Subject: April 12 - The World Unites Against War Date: SAT, 29 M A R 2003 04:56:55 -0500 A p r i l 12 I n t e r n a t i o n a l D a y o f A c t i o n - O n l y the P e o p l e C a n S t o p the W a r O n S a t u r d a y , A p r i l 12, j o i n the tens o f t h o u s a n d s o f p e o p l e o f conscience w h o w i l l M a r c h o n W a s h i n g t o n , D C a n d s u r r o u n d the White House.  / take notice of the message, paying particularly  attention to the line:  "the tens o f t h o u s a n d s o f p e o p l e o f c o n s c i e n c e . "  On April  1,1 read on the internet an article by Michael  the Vatican, "from  The Los Angeles  Moore,  "I'd like to Thank  Times about how he made the decision to  speak up against the war in Iraq when he received the Oscar for the film "Bowling for Columbine.  " Moore  wrote:  A n d , as I w a l k e d u p to the stage, I w a s still t l u r u a n g a b o u t the lessons that m o r n i n g at M a s s . A b o u t h o w silence, w h e n y o u observe w r o n g s b e i n g c o m m i t t e d , is the same as c o m m i t t i n g those w r o n g s yourself. A n d so I f o l l o w e d m y conscience a n d m y heart. I pay attention to the words, "I f o l l o w e d m y c o n s c i e n c e a n d m y heart." 246  On April 2, a Peruvian friend who lives in San Francisco written by the independent journalist  Norman  sends me an  article  Solomon:  Casualties of War - First Truth, Then Conscience  44  The national media echo chamber is not receptive to conscience . . . the h u m a n conscience is close to a whisper. Easily unheard. . . . the urgent need for us to get i n touch w i t h our consciences has never been more acute. . . . truth is the first casualty of war. But another early casualty is conscience . . . the capacity for conscience is what makes us human. D a r w i n wrote, "the moral sense of conscience is by far the most important." Conscience is smaller than a single pixel, and much less visible. Y o u can't see it on a T V screen. O r hear it. O r smell it. O r taste it. Y o u can only feel it.  $  Half a century ago, Albert Einstein urged: "Never do anything against your conscience even if the state demands it." Conscience is not on the military's radar screen, and it's not on our T V screen. But media messages do not define the limits and possibilities of conscience. We do.  "conscience" The meaning Language  that The Houghton  declared  Mifflin  Canadian  Dictionary  of  English  "obsolete " has come back to our lives! At what  price?!  Solomon, http://www.fair.org/media-beat/ 247  / am writing and reflecting. 2003, 5:13 AM. moment?  In Baghdad  We keep watching  and missiles attacking  A bird begins to sing outside.  It is, April  4,  it is. . . ? How many people die there at this very a spectacle  of bomb explosions,  war planes  flying  on our eerie green light TV screens.  The killings  are happening  we KNOW  right before our eyes,  it and ALLOW  How have we come to commit  it to  happen.  percepticide?  45  W h e n w h o l e p o p u l a t i o n s are forced to n o t - k n o w w h a t is g o i n g o n a r o u n d t h e m , w h e n the m e d i a choose to n o t - n a m e injustice, w a t c h i n g - w i t h o u t seeing becomes "the m o s t d e h u m a n i z i n g of acts."  How have we come to know the world irresponsibly  46  as unattached  observers?  conscire com- (intensive) scire -  + scire (to know)  knowing by "separating one thing from another," "discerning" science  Is it because we have learned to perceive "objectivity"  and "truth, " andforgotten  the world from the perspective the perspective  of our  of  conscience?  Diana Taylor, a Latin American theatre researcher coined the term "percepticide" for the effects of violence on individuals, the erasure of one's own perceptions and knowledge when writing about the "dirty war" in Argentina. When people perceive atrocities and injustices, they renounce their own perception to avoid danger to themselves. This renunciation, according to Taylor, "turns the violence on oneself. Percepticide blinds, maims, kills through the senses" (Taylor, 1997, p. 124).  4 5  4 6  Schulman Lorenz, & Watkins. http://www.mythinglinks.org/LorenzWatkins.html 248  Why has our "humanistic  " education  How do we teach/learn  allowed us to de-humanize  "multiculturally"/"transculturally"  where borders have not disappeared  divided  the WEST-EAST  in the world  but become  How do we create bridges, build communities  the world?  stronger?  and come together in the world  by  and the  NORTH-SOUTH  BORDER  into  "you are with US" or "you are against  Breathe  US? "  in  Breathe  out  Listen  Witness your  heart  How can we re-cognize our s  u  d  a  m  e  t  u  n  n  conscience? i  s  t  u  s  What kind of curriculum comes into being when you heart witness your conscience?  249  / heart witness La Maestra's  voice speaking from the space of death between my heartbeats:  It will rain soon, and the red dust will turn to mud. The road will h a slow moving river of red mud, and the sandals will come up the road again, and the mud covered feet, and the horses and mules  with their bellies full of mud, and even the faces and the hats go up the road, splattered with mud.  I continue walking the Red Road towards home. 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