Frames of Identity Revisited

a women getting her picture taken in a frame holding a pictureWhile at a workshop in Bethlehem, PA, I stayed at The Historic Bethlehem Hotel, built in early 19th century – a very nice and quaint hotel. On the second day of my stay there I came across a photo shoot in the lobby and as you can see in the picture that I was able to snap, the multiple frames immediately caught my attention and reminded me of a blog I wrote a while back on the use of frames at a museum in Greece – devices that effectively reinforced the nation’s enduring identity. Continue reading “Frames of Identity Revisited”

Traditional? Why not?!

The University of Alabama mug on a desk along with a laptop and bookAs I got back to working on my dissertation’s chapter on tradition a question kept coming up: “What’s a tradition?” It’s the question that hunts me day and night. How do we talk about this? Is it all around us? When do we say this is tradition or traditional and what do we accomplish by saying this? Is tradition even a thing (invented or not) or is it a process?
No doubt you’ll read some great insights on the issue in an upcoming volume from Culture on the Edge (in an essay by Craig Martin). But wait…Spoilers!! Until then, I’m left to try and solve or complicate this notion of tradition on my own. Continue reading “Traditional? Why not?!”

Who Are You? I’m Vaia and Touna

two blue books overlapping

Who Are You?” is an ongoing series that asks members of Culture on the Edge to reflect on one of their own many identities (whether national, gendered, racial, familial, etc.), theorizing at the same time the self-identification that they each chose to discuss.

Who we are comes with a name and mine is Vaia, or better said, Vaia Touna. It’s interesting that the name that we come to think that is so much part of who we are was chosen and given to us by others, most likely by our parents. Who we are and how we perceive ourselves is certainly socially constructed, that is, there is nothing inherent in the name we are given, for think about how much teaching and training was involved until we learned to respond to this specific name. Continue reading “Who Are You? I’m Vaia and Touna”

Pack Your Camera, We are Going on a Trip

Manhattan skyline at nightRussell McCutcheon’s post yesterday made me think of a recent trip I took to New York City with two friends, and Culture on the Edge’s members, Monica Miller and Leslie Dorrough Smith, before a workshop on Code Switching hosted by Monica Miller at Lehigh University. The reason that I was reminded of this trip is because the first night, as we were driving back to our hotel, we came across a view of Manhattan by night which was exactly as you see it in movies and postcards. Of course we decided to stop and enjoy the view, but simply watching Manhattan by night seemed not enough—maybe because, as I said, that’s a view you see in movies and it seemed somehow surreal that I was there, as if I was living someone else’s dream; so we immediately started taking pictures of that beautiful scene anticipating posting on FB for friends and family to see it too. Continue reading “Pack Your Camera, We are Going on a Trip”

Code Switching at Lehigh University

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 10.03.56 PMOn April 14-15, 2014, Lehigh University will be hosting a Code Switching Workshop inspired by, and comprised of, Culture on the Edge‘s Monica Miller, Merinda Simmons, Leslie Dorrough Smith, and Vaia Touna. They will be joined by two other Lehigh faculty members: James Peterson, Associate Professor of English and Director of Africana Studies, and Jackie Krasas, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology and Director of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

The topic of code switching here at the Edge began last summer (2013) and then developed into a couple of blog posts (here and here).

Stay tuned to learn more
about the upcoming workshop…