Browsing Theses and Dissertations by Subject "Identity Construction"
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LAJKONIK OF TUCSON - A PIECE OF TRUE POLAND: CONSTRUCTING POLISH - AMERICAN IDENTITIES IN AN ETHNICALLY HETEROGENEOUS SOCIETYTucson, Arizona is a site of a lively Polish-American community. Initially associated with a political organization ("Solidarity Tucson"), which actively supported the Solidarity Movement throughout the 1980s, the Polish diaspora has gradually transformed into an ethnic community very much focused on maintaining its distinctive heritage. Recent formation of the Polish folkloric dance group Lajkonik was directly stimulated by the local multicultural establishment, which promotes ethnic diversity in the Old Pueblo. Having become an integral part of the Southwestern society, Lajkonik has developed a collection of identity practices, which despite diverse influences continues to reproduce Polish cultural traits. In my ethnographic account, I examine ways, by which members of the Lajkonik group construct their diasporic identities. First, I focus on the core activities of the group, which include the practice of Polish traditions, learning folk dances and songs in a wide cultural context, and negotiating the speaking of Polish. Additional analyses, based on video recordings, of Polish classes and dance rehearsals, which show the actual mechanics of the production processes, as well as the narratives of the teacher and parent of performers, further support the account of the ethnographer. Secondly, I look into the development of Polishness for public consumption, which involves negotiation of multiple images in accordance with specific cultural events, creation of engaging stage programs, and presenting the essence of Polishness to festival audiences in Tucson. Regardless of the particular purpose of identities' productions, either for integrating community or public display, these processes simultaneously involve the quest for authenticity, building ethnic pride, and negotiations of diverse traditions.
Liminal Bishops: Episcopal Portraits from the Cathedral of Pachoras, NubiaPrior to the removal of monumental murals from the cathedral of Pachoras (Faras), the largely unknown cultural entity of Christian Nubia figured in scholarship merely as a peripheral outpost of Byzantine and Egyptian influence. The impressive corpus of visual evidence from Pachoras, located south of the first Nile cataract and now inundated by Lake Nasser, led Kurt Weitzmann to reevaluate its significance in a seminal essay published in 1970. By tracing artistic sources of Christian Nubian art to Egypt, Palestine, and Syria, Weitzmann initiated recognition of the close ties between Nubia and Byzantium. Since that time, however, this subject has received little art historical attention, and it continues to pose interpretive challenges. I endeavor to recuperate the Nubian wall paintings from Pachoras for mainstream Byzantine studies. To that end, I explore the depictions of three of the Pachoras bishops, with particular attention to their original location, relationship with surrounding images, and epigraphic evidence. I conceive of these tenth- and eleventh-century portraits as visual constructions of Nubian episcopal authority mapped out on the cathedral's walls. I also explore the possible meanings of the indigenous elements represented in the images of the Pachoras bishops, while considering their relationships to the eastern Mediterranean textual and visual traditions. Evidence includes the paintings with accompanying inscriptions, fourteenth-century scrolls of Bishop Timotheos, Greek and Coptic epitaphs engraved on ninth- through twelfth-century funerary steles, and a list of bishops, first painted around the turn of the tenth century.