Imagine Home: Making a Place in Binghamton

Aynur de Rouen


Since the early 1990s, Iraqi Kurds have been relocating to the greater Binghamton area in New York State.  This study focuses on the growing diasporic Kurdish community in and around Binghamton and their quest to imagine the homeland they left behind as a result of social, economic, and political hardships.  The production of this diasporic space has emerged as an attempt to reconstruct their culture and collective identity in the absence of physical and territorially specific aspects of their homeland.  Kurdish refugee narratives articulate how collective memory gives voice to the shared Kurdish past, how Kurdish refugees appropriated the space according to their traditional example and kinship structure, and how memories and narratives of the past shape the migrants’ identities, kinship, and everyday practices.  The production of diasporic space within the imaginations of these refugees is portrayed here to show their attempt to reconstruct Kurdish culture while lacking the physical characteristics of their homeland.  Their successfully reinvented images of homeland and reconstructed culture in diaspora are evidence of the resilience and fluidity of Kurdish culture.


Kurdish diaspora; United States of America; migration; memory; space; narrative

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