Movable memories: affective and cognitive micro-niches by migrants and other residence-changers

Panel Details

Format: hybrid

Short Abstract

Migration means change of locations, each of which has its own affective atmosphere and emotional dimensions. The panel participants will strive to document material anchors in the form of the so called ‘evocative objects’ (the term, suggested by Sherry Turkle, 2007), which people, who have previously changed their place of residence, chose to take with them among their belongins, and which serve both as triggers (as cognitive or mnemonic artifacts) for the memories of the places people left behind, and as scaffolds for certain affective states, related to such places. The micro-niche approach in memory and emotion studies, currently developed by some philosophers, cognitive scientists and psychologists (cf.: Claudia Mettke-Hofmann 2014; Richard Heersmink 2020), provides a new ground for material culture studies in anthropology and to the new conception of human self, memory, cognition and emotional life as materially embedded and environmentally distributed.

Abstract

Migration means change of locations, each of which has its own affective atmosphere and emotional dimensions. The panel participants will strive to document material anchors in the form of the so called ‘evocative objects’ (the term, suggested by Sherry Turkle, 2007), which people, who have previously changed their place of residence, chose to take with them among their belongins, and which serve both as triggers (as cognitive or mnemonic artifacts) for the memories of the places people left behind, and as scaffolds for certain affective states, related to such places. The micro-niche approach in memory and emotion studies, currently developed by some philosophers, cognitive scientists and psychologists (cf.: Claudia Mettke-Hofmann 2014; Richard Heersmink 2020), provides a new ground for material culture studies in anthropology and to the new conception of human self, memory, cognition and emotional life as materially embedded and environmentally distributed. As various material objects trigger different feelings, thus serving as infrastructural elements of varying emotional atmospheres, the panelists will discuss the hypothesis of a possible existence of unique micro-niches for different affective atmospheres. The panel will focus on migrants’ material worlds and experience, however, we shall not exclude the experience of travelling locals, who bring souvenirs from places they visit in order to compare these experiences with those of migrants and emigrants. Other possible foci of discussion would be artifact ontologies and typologies, relevant to affective states or atmospheres; migrants narratives of their use of material objects as emotional triggers; the materialecology of nostalgia; distributed self and emotional geographies.

Keywords:

cognitive ecology; emotional atmosphere, evocative objects, affective micro-niche, emotion geography, migrants material culture

Application sponsorship:

Applicant

Person: Dr. Sergei V. Sokolovskiy
Organization and department: Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, RAS, Anthropo-ecology
Country, city and state: Russia, Moscow, Moscow

Co-convenors

Co-convenor #1: PhD. Sergei Yu. Shevchenko, Institute of Philosophy, RAS, Russia
Co-convenor #2: Dr. Andrea Lavazza, Centro Universitario Internazionale, Italy