What is Beyond Loss?



"Alive in Another Life"

Hank Greenspan, University of Michigan


Agi Rubin, a Holocaust survivor who was a friend of Dr. Greenspan’s for over thirty years (and a co-author), once reflected: "The life I was made to live is gone. I am alive, in another life." This piece aims to describe what it means to be "alive in another life." Hank Greenspan argues that the phenomenon is in central, but not limited, to survivors of genocide or other overwhelming trauma. Indeed, living multiple lives, punctuated by loss, may be more rule than exception. If so, the fact critiques conventional notions of a unified "life story," of "integration," of "working through" and similar. Rather, "integration" is better understood as "integrating the lack of integration." And that, he arguse, happens between people, interpersonally and collectively, rather than as individual psychic process. It also grounds compassion.

On Loss and Inherited Memory

Nadia Jones-Galiani, Central European University


Nadia Jones-Galiani's paper addresses loss from the perspective of inherited memory, using part of my research on sensory memory and loss to develop a paper that explores in what ways loss or absence can be mutigenerational, and how women migrants - those of her research at least - draw upon an affective sensory language of metaphor and memory to convey loss. Beyond simply the physical loss of home, diasporic imaginaries are an intrinsic part of negotiated identities that intersect with the changing meaning of religion and ethnicity. Ultimately, this piece that explores inherited loss (without a fix determination of this term) through sensory and multigenerational memory patterns.

“Defining and Challenging Loss: Community Alliance as a Response to Wild Rice (manomin) Crop Destruction on the Winnipeg River”

Brittany Luby, Andrea Bradford and Samantha Mehltretter, Guelph University


In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, members of Ochiichagwe Babigo Ining Ojibway Nation (henceforth OON), thrived along the Winnipeg River due to the steady food supply of fish and wild rice (manomin). Hydroelectric development and mill expansion in the 1950s degraded the habitat conditions for fish and manomin crops near OON. By 1978, food scarcity led to the almost complete abandonment of OON. The community made initial attempts at promoting the regrowth of the manomin crops however these efforts prompted little regrowth. In 2017, band administrators at OON approached Dr. Brittany Luby and Dr. Andrea Bradford to discuss historical environmental impacts and the role of universities in knowledge production. This paper discusses the nature of loss in this regard and the interdisciplinary research program that followed.

Conjuring ghost towns: Dispossession and the difficulty of settler nostalgia

Nicole Yakashiro, University of British Columbia


In 1953, a decade after the displacement of Japanese Canadians from Paueru gai ("Powell town"), Nisei writer Eiko Hemni penned a requiem for this Vancouver neighbourhood - once the "nucleus" of the Japanese - Canadian community. She grieved, "Powell Street is dead." Her sentiments were not rare. After their uprooting, Japanese Canadians navigated their abrupt placeless - ness by mourning sites they were forced to abandon. They lamented Powell Street by naming it not Paueru gai, but a "ghost-town". But articulating this neighbourhood - a home to predominantly low - income, racialized, and Indigenous communities after 1942 - as dead and haunted is not benign. This paper explores the difficulty of nostalgia after dispossession. It argues that the commemoration of Japanese - Canadian "pioneers" whose unjust displacement left only a "ghost - town" is a project deeply complicit in the erasure of others and other histories. It contends that, to achieve transformative futures, we must move past settler nostalgia towards critical forms of mourning to ask: what is beyond "Japanese - Canadian" loss?

"Alive in Another Life" (Loss: A Symposium Presentation) - Hank Greenspan
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