LEAVING HOME, FINDING HOME: Stories By South Asian Women Within The US

Introduction What is LEAVING HOME, FINDING HOME?

LEAVING HOME, FINDING HOME is a digital storytelling space by and for the immigrant women, females of all identities, from South Asia residing in the United States (South Asian countries: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka). As a South Asian academic, immigrant, and researcher for this platform, I invite women who identify as South Asian to share their powerful stories related to immigration, identity, freedom, and equality. In collaboration with my Research Assistant, Joshua Bergren, I will be helping the storytellers with recording and preserving their discrete and complex narratives on this platform. Moreover, the forum is an open-access website for social networking, connecting with the fellow immigrant identities, and sharing and celebrating both collective and individual experiences.

Through this website, we can claim a collective identity while still celebrating our differences. I am creating this platform to better understand and to collectively negotiate our evolving identities as immigrants. I envision this forum as a powerful new “performance space” to invigorate an exchange on issues immigration specific for women from South Asia to the US.

 Invitation to Participate in the Project

You, the storyteller can use various mediums, such as writing your own story or experience, submitting a video, a sound file, and/ or a photo to ensure that you retain agency and ownership of your own experiences. If you are submitting a video, Josh and I can assist you with recording and editing (with your permission) your stories. These stories will be recorded digitally with a phone camera or a computer that does not require extensive knowledge of using any digital devices. All you need is a device to record your stories or we will record it for you and your stories will be saved on LEAVING HOME, FINDING HOME, an interactive story repository, and a published collection of oral narratives for the present audience and the generations to come.

NOTE: the stories can be brief, between two-seven minutes in length. As we are practicing social distancing at the moment, we can meet with you online to record your stories via Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype.

How does Scalar work?

The platform for this project, Scalar, has similarities with other host platforms, such as WordPress, Wix.com, and Squarespace, and is specially designed for digital storytelling. If you’re familiar with blogging and/or editing online, Scalar gives you more advanced options to archive your work. In case you’re a new author, Scalar can feel a bit complicated at first.

Scalar works as a media interface that is structured like a book. By browsing through the project site, and following the table of contents in the upper left corner of the page, you can easily navigate the project and explore the interconnecting paths that will allow you to access other projects on the website. Each media file must be less than 2 MB in size. 
Please click on the link to the User’s Guide below to have a better perspective on how to access the website confidently.
http://scalar.usc.edu/works/guide2/index

Artistic Goals and Objectives
My objectives as the creator of this website are:

Create a virtual community in collaboration with other South Asian immigrants in the US, based on shared experience that will hopefully result in greater levels of civic engagement by participants engaging in an informed conversation about Immigration within the US. Redefining audience-participant relationships in alternative theatrical spaces to initiate an encouraging dialogue regarding the issues of immigration and migration in the South Asian immigrant community within the United States.

I’m exploring the horizon of theatrical performances— English, ironically, is the language that unites us at the same time the language of our oppressors, our colonizers. English as a language, perhaps, used as a tool primarily by men. When spoken and written language falls short, let us celebrate our own identity with images, songs, videos, etc. by negotiating and managing this as we seek to make meaningful connections.

Please click here to learn more about the people currently involved in this project

Jashodhara Sen                                          

Joshua Bergren

Thank You for Your Support and Advice

Prof. Beth Osnes 
Prof. Marcos Steuernagel 
Prof. Nickoal Eichmann-Kalwara
Prof. Melissa H. Cantrell
Aspen Walker, Boulder Public Library
Imagining America

 Image courtesy via Shutterstock
For more information, please contact: leavinghome.findinghome@gmail.com

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

 

 

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