2020 to read list

The 2018 book-list

Lauren Elkin – Flâneuse: Women Walk the City

Olivia Laing – The Lonely City

Emily Jacir – Europa

Philip Pullman – The Book of Dust

Thuc Van Nhugen – The Refugees

Sean Sexton – The Irish: A Photohistory

Langford – Basic Photography: A Primer For Professionals

Simon Baker – Performing For the Camera

Russell Roberts – William Henry Fox Talbot: Dawn of the Photograph

Jeu De Paume – Dorethea Lange: Politics of Seeing

Various – Dali / Duchamp

Laura Blacklow – New Dimensions in Photo Processes

Niamh O’Sullivan – Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger

David Farrell  – Before, During, After, Almost

Justin Carville – Photography and Ireland

Seamus Murphy – The Republic

London Center for Book Arts – Making Books

Experimental Photography: A Handbook of Techniques

The 2019 to-be-read list  

Richard Mosse – The Castle

Iain Sinclair – London Orbital

Reni Eddo-Lodge – Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race

Shirley Read and Mike Simmons – Photographers and Research: the Role of Research in Contemporary Photographic Practice

Rebecca Solnit – The Book of Migrations

Rebecca Solnit – A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Frantz Fanon – The Wretched of the Earth

Svetlana Boym – The Future of Nostalgia

John Berger – About Looking

Patti Smith – M Train

Teju Cole – Known and Strange Things

WG Sebald – The Emigrants

Susan Sontag – On Photography

Iain Sinclair – Living With Buildings

Jacques Ranciere – The Emancipated Spectator

Clare Norton – Liberating Histories

Ian Parr – Memory

Chris Krauss – Social Practices

Gregory Sholette – Delirium and Resistance

Heather Morris – The Tattooist of Aushwitz

James Baldwin – The Fire Next Time

Joan Fontcuberta – Pandora’s Camera

Simon Baker – The Shape of Light

Hal Foster – Bad New Days

Mark Greif – Against Everything

Elif Bautmann – The Idiot

Roland Barthes – Mythologies

Julian Stallabrass – Documentary

So as you can see from the above, my 2018/19 reading was definitely not up to par! My goal for the year is to read everything I haven’t read plus the books below:

2020 to read list

Jessie Burton – The Miniaturist

Emily Rushovich – Idaho

Benedict Anderson – Imagined Communities

Jessica Andrews – Saltwater

Richard Ned Lebow – White Britain and Black Ireland

Philip Pullman – Daemon Voices

Stephanie Wrobel – The Recovery of Rose Gold

Frances Borzello – Seeing Ourselves: Women’s Self Portraits

Gwendolyn Dubois Shaw – Seeing the Unspeakable: The Art of Kara Walker

Dawoud Bey – On Photographing People and Communities

D A J McPherson and Mary Hickman (ed) – Women and Irish Diaspora Identities

My reading was definitely not up to par last year, especially as I had a much longer recovery from a surgery than I thought. This year my goal is to read everything on this list that I haven’t already. I’ll keep you posted!

On belonging

they gather

in waiting rooms and on train platforms

like migratory birds in autumn

loudly gesticulating

as

the great journey were about to begin
they embrace

when the long distance express

leaves the station without them

and weep their way

back

into cold reality

Homesickness by Ingo Cesaro, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry and Survival, Winter 1996, p. 40

Svetlana Boym defines nostalgia as a “sentiment of loss and displacement”, the nostalgia that Irish people in diaspora feel for Ireland is very much a sense of loss and longing for the homeland.

Thus, the emigrant feels the need to “preserve the cultural and moral norms of the homeland” (Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry and Survival, Winter 1996, p. 43).

Is belonging in diaspora needed? Is the fact that you “long” for the homeland mean you “belong” in a diaspora group? What is belonging? Citizenship? Comradeship?

This longing for something outside of the immediate vicinity of the immigrant in diaspora can sometimes cause life-threatening illnesses “by the tug-of-war of cultural loyalties and linguistic identities” (Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry and Survival, Winter 1996, p. 45). This manifests itself in sickness, a physical manifestation of psychological trauma.

The Irish diaspora in England have historically been very mentally unwell group. Some researchers, such as Oonagh Walsh, cite this as stemming from the famine of 1845-47. This traumatic event is definitely ingrained in the contemporary Irish consciousness, from “famine jokes” to the comment made by then-President Mary Robinson that Irish people had a ‘will to survive’ and a ‘sense of human vulnerability’. In the case of the immigrant, this ingrained trauma manifests itself in mental health issues, with Irish men and women much more likely to be admitted to hospital for mental health issues in England than any other group.

On being in diaspora

Nguyen, in The Refugees, states that “these invaders came to conquer our land and now would never go home” while speaking of Korea. The same can be said for the British occupation of Ireland. Thinking through diaspora brings up a lot of the same sentiment of “my mind trying to approximate what our lives felt like” before being in diaspora or away from the homeland.

Where is your home if you can’t go back to it?

Is it still home?

Can being in diaspora ever feel like being home?

Is this displacement a permanent feeling?

What is the notion of home referring to? Is it an abstract concept or a concrete feeling?

From now on I’ll be sharing my work in progress field-notes and writing as a way of working through some of the themes cropping up as my research progresses. I’ll be using this blog as a an online journal and visual reference to share writing and references as they come up.

MA Research and reading

So I have one semester of my research Masters in photography completed and my brain is definitely bigger than it was previously! I’m conducting research on Re-imaginig Irish Identities: Photography, Hybridity and Identity, which will involve ethnographic fieldwork, interviews and portraits of the Irish diaspora in London.

Going forward, on this blog, I’ll be documenting my process of research, field work, ethnographic notes and writing. Thus, inspired by Ellie’s blog post, here’s my 2018 / 2019 reading list. While I’m working on a review of literature for my thesis chapter, I’ll be reading widely around my topic, which is why these lists aren’t discipline-specific.

The 2018 book-list

Lauren Elkin – Flâneuse: Women Walk the City

Olivia Laing – The Lonely City

Emily Jacir – Europa

Philip Pullman – The Book of Dust

Thuc Van Nhugen – The Refugees

Sean Sexton – The Irish: A Photohistory

Langford – Basic Photography: A Primer For Professionals

Simon Baker – Performing For the Camera

Russell Roberts – William Henry Fox Talbot: Dawn of the Photograph

Jeu De Paume – Dorethea Lange: Politics of Seeing

Various – Dali / Duchamp

Laura Blacklow – New Dimensions in Photo Processes

Niamh O’Sullivan – Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger

David Farrell  – Before, During, After, Almost

Justin Carville – Photography and Ireland

Seamus Murphy – The Republic

London Center for Book Arts – Making Books

Experimental Photography: A Handbook of Techniques

The 2019 to-be-read list  

Richard Mosse – The Castle

Iain Sinclair – London Orbital

Reni Eddo-Lodge – Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race

Shirley Read and Mike Simmons – Photographers and Research: the Role of Research in Contemporary Photographic Practice

Rebecca Solnit – The Book of Migrations

Rebecca Solnit – A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Frantz Fanon – The Wretched of the Earth

Svetlana Boym – The Future of Nostalgia

John Berger – About Looking

Patti Smith – M Train

Teju Cole – Known and Strange Things

WG Sebald – The Emigrants

Susan Sontag – On Photography

Iain Sinclair – Living With Buildings

Jacques Ranciere – The Emancipated Spectator

Clare Norton – Liberating Histories

Ian Parr – Memory

Chris Krauss – Social Practices

Gregory Sholette – Delirium and Resistance

Heather Morris – The Tattooist of Aushwitz

James Baldwin – The Fire Next Time

Joan Fontcuberta – Pandora’s Camera

Simon Baker – The Shape of Light

Hal Foster – Bad New Days

Mark Greif – Against Everything

Elif Bautmann – The Idiot

Roland Barthes – Mythologies

Julian Stallabrass – Documentary

I know these two lists are vastly different in length, while writing my MA proposal, I was reading journal articles and texts, mostly, not actual books. My goal for 2019 is to read most, if not all, of the books on my to-be-read list. There’s a lot more on my initial reading list but these are a good starting point.

From next week, I’ll be sharing my initial field notes and thoughts and processes around researching, so stay tuned!