Research Question

The goal of my paper will be to examine how my object “Carta de Chamada” is related to the Portuguese Diaspora. By describing this object, examining its history and its social and cultural context, I propose to demonstrate how this sponsorship document has played an important role in the Portuguese Diasporic movement. In particular, I will be examining its role in the high migration patterns of Portuguese citizens moving to North America from the 1960s onwards.

WHY IS THIS OBJECT IMPORTANT TO THE STUDY OF DIASPORA?

This paper will examine the meaning of the Carta by examining the social interactions it causes.  It is also my goal to establish its purpose.  By examining its purpose I will then be determining whether this object is used as a form of resistance or acceptance of identity. In order to establish such, I will examine the role it plays in preserving or destroying one’s identity, more particularly one’s Diasporic identity.

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Object Social and Cultural Context

This object, “Carta de Chamada”, does not impact cultural processes.

It is used by those wishing to immigrate to a new country whether for personal, financial or political reasons.  It is an official government document which initiates the migration process.  It is also used as a screening tool by the new country’s government.  It determines, based on the criteria set out by the state who does and does not qualify to enter the country.  Clearly, entry under this process is not based on need but rather on whether or not one meets the criteria.

It is used when a migration process is requested.  This document is the beginning of many other subsequent processes of the migration process.  It is used by those desiring to immigrate to seek permission from the homeland’s government to immigrate.  It is used by family members to unite with absent family members.  It can also be used by employers seeking workers with skills that are not easily found in the present country.

Its use does vary.  From the perspective of a Canadian born for example, it has no value whatsoever for most of them will not even know what it is.   However, for most immigrants, for instance, Portuguese immigrants, it is very significant.  In most instances, it was a ticket to a new and better life for themselves and their families.  Certainly, pre-1975, it afforded Portuguese people the opportunity of escaping a fascist’s government and live in a free and democratic society.

For those who are for example Canadian born, it has little to no meaning due to lack of familiarity.  However, for immigrants the meaning is very different.  Most will be very familiar with it and will think of it as being very significant in their lives, for it was for most, the legal and official document that commenced the process of their new life in their new adopted country.  For some, without the “Carta de Chamada”, they would not have been able to leave their countries.   For descendants of immigrants, it will still be meaningful but much less as their existence in the country was not dependent on it.  The significance they assign to it is really derived from the significance their relatives give the “Carta”.

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Part 2 of essay: Object Historical Context

Object Historical Context

This object, “Carta de Chamada” was rightfully jointly owned by the applicant, my grandfather, the late Jose Brilhante de Medeiros Canito and by his wife and children who were being sponsored to join him in his new homeland, Canada. This is an object that has wide ownership. It does not only apply to my grandfather but rather to all who sought and are presently seeking entry into Canada under the sponsorship program. In 1967 this object applied to the Portuguese and other Diasporic communities living in Canada. Presently, this object is used by worldwide Diasporic communities such as those living in the Middle East, Caribbean, South America, Asia and Africa. This particular object has indeed changed ownership. Originally, it was owned by my grandfather who subsequently passed it down to my mother who has now passed it down to me. It serves as a reminder to me and my family of our Diasporic journey. This object has been used to unite families and to give them a better life than what they had in their native land. In the case of my family, my grandfather first expatriated from his country to provide a better life for his family. He especially wanted a better future for his children. This object has travelled a full circle. It originated here in Toronto and travelled all the way to Sao Miguel, one of the Portuguese Azorean islands, and found its way back to its roots, Toronto. This object is very important to me as it reminds me of a brave man’s Diasporic journey to give me the opportunities that I have in this country. When I see the object I see it as a very valuable object for it was the beginning of a new life in a new country for my family. It also makes me appreciate the courage my grandfather had to pull his young family from their roots and bring them to a strange country, all because he cared enough about them to give them a better life with greater opportunities. It is my understanding that it is presently still used in the same manner, i.e. to unite families and loved ones in the newly chosen country.

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Object description-Part 1 of final essay

Object Description: “Carta de Chamada”-Sponsorship document in Portuguese

“Carta de Chamada”, is a sponsorship document in Portuguese. From this document it is evident that a Portuguese male immigrant living in Canada is seeking permission from the Portuguese government to allow his family to emigrate from their native country to Canada, where he lives.  The document also guarantees that he will support his family financially.

This document is made out of white paper. It was created by going to the Portuguese consulate in Toronto and after verifying the applicant’s credentials, the Chancellor, the representative of the Portuguese Government in Toronto, approved the application.  The document was typed on official Portuguese letterhead paper.  It contains the Portuguese National Emblem at the top.  It is dated as to when it was signed and the Chancellor’s signature is authenticated by the official Consulate’s stamp.  It also contains a stamp indicating that it has been registered and entered in the official government records and an official number was assigned to it.  Its cost is indicated on the two stamps – one on the bottom left had corner and the second on the top right hand corner.  It cost approximately 240$00 escudos (old Portuguese currency) or approximately $10.00 Canadian dollars.  This object was made official on the 21st day of November, 1967 in the Portuguese Consulate in Toronto which is currently located at 438 University Avenue.

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Objects do indeed create people

Introduction

This week’s readings examined the relationship between objects and Diasporic communities. After examining the stories found within the readings, I began to realize how important objects are as they engage in uniting people across the globe. To me, the two readings, “Living in a Material World: Object Biography and Transnational Lives”, and “Material Objects As Facilitating Environments: Palestinian Diaspora” illustrate how objects unite people to a specific Diasporic group.  These two readings illustrate the narrative of Diasporic object’s and their transnational voyage. Furthermore, both readings depict how important a role objects play in creating a collective identity amongst Diasporic communities and individuals.

“Living in a Material World: Object Biography and Transnational Lives”-Karen Schamberger

The author of this reading sought out to prove how an object fashioned the life story (biography) of two Diasporic individuals. The two objects mentioned within the reading were; a traditional Latvian dress and a Vietnamese musical instrument, “Dan Tre”. The stories of both objects suggest to me that objects play a fundamental role in the shaping of all transnational lives. I am of the opinion that the author successfully argued his point. Through creating the objects both individuals, Mrs.Guna Kinne and Mr. Minh Tam Nguyen established, expressed and were able to preserve their culture and identity.  It is evident that both the dress and the musical instrument represent the experiences of these two Diasporic individuals, especially the resistance and adversity they and many others faced while immigrating. This reading conveyed the significance of objects by illustraighting the clear relation between important moments and their respective objects.

“Material objects as facilitating environments: The Palestinian Diaspora”-Zeynep Turan

The author of this reading sought out to prove how objects within the Palestinian Diasporic community signify a collective Palestinian identity. Hence the argument can be made that due to their long history of displacement, Palestinians are able to establish a sense of homeland through certain objects. After examining this reading I now know that objects represent who you are, your origins and your history. It is evident from such work that objects both serve as a reminder of the past (history) and as a tool for continuing a culture (future).

Within such work, the author interviewed four American Palestinians; Mariam Haddad, Samy Malik, Bashar Khanafi and Warda Raleh. When examining these four interviews it is evident that there is a range of different relationships with objects. For Mariam it was photos of grandparents and a cross pendant that bridged the gap between her and her Palestinian roots. For Samy, it was his Palestinian scarf that represented a country of refugee. For Bashar, it was the tattoo of the Palestinian flag on his back that reminded him of the everyday Palestinian struggle. For Warda, it was her mother’s dress, her numerous passports and the metal bed frame that reminded her of home. The author successfully argued his point as it is evident that people who are displaced surround themselves with objects that stimulate remembering home.

Conclusion

Within both works it is evident that objects do indeed play an important role in shaping the lives of Diasporic individuals. Both readings portray how objects shape and reflect ones experience and are also used to establish a sense of belonging and a connection to the home land. I conclude with 2 questions, (1) If displaced people do not control what happens to them do they have the power to choose what they remember? (2) What if an object that brings together a community harms, oppresses or destroys another community.  Is it still a good object?

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Objects do indeed create people

Introduction

This week’s readings examined the relationship between objects and Diasporic communities. After examining the stories found within the readings, I began to realize how important objects are as they engage in uniting people across the globe. To me, the two readings, “Living in a Material World: Object Biography and Transnational Lives”, and “Material Objects As Facilitating Environments: Palestinian Diaspora” illustrate how objects unite people to a specific Diasporic group.  These two readings illustrate the narrative of Diasporic object’s and their transnational voyage. Furthermore, both readings depict how important a role objects play in creating a collective identity amongst Diasporic communities and individuals.

“Living in a Material World: Object Biography and Transnational Lives”-Karen Schamberger

The author of this reading sought out to prove how an object fashioned the life story (biography) of two Diasporic individuals. The two objects mentioned within the reading were; a traditional Latvian dress and a Vietnamese musical instrument, “Dan Tre”. The stories of both objects suggest to me that objects play a fundamental role in the shaping of all transnational lives. I am of the opinion that the author successfully argued his point. Through creating the objects both individuals, Mrs.Guna Kinne and Mr. Minh Tam Nguyen established, expressed and were able to preserve their culture and identity.  It is evident that both the dress and the musical instrument represent the experiences of these two Diasporic individuals, especially the resistance and adversity they and many others faced while immigrating. This reading conveyed the significance of objects by illustraighting the clear relation between important moments and their respective objects.

“Material objects as facilitating environments: The Palestinian Diaspora”-Zeynep Turan

The author of this reading sought out to prove how objects within the Palestinian Diasporic community signify a collective Palestinian identity. Hence the argument can be made that due to their long history of displacement, Palestinians are able to establish a sense of homeland through certain objects. After examining this reading I now know that objects represent who you are, your origins and your history. It is evident from such work that objects both serve as a reminder of the past (history) and as a tool for continuing a culture (future).

Within such work, the author interviewed four American Palestinians; Mariam Haddad, Samy Malik, Bashar Khanafi and Warda Raleh. When examining these four interviews it is evident that there is a range of different relationships with objects. For Mariam it was photos of grandparents and a cross pendant that bridged the gap between her and her Palestinian roots. For Samy, it was his Palestinian scarf that represented a country of refugee. For Bashar, it was the tattoo of the Palestinian flag on his back that reminded him of the everyday Palestinian struggle. For Warda, it was her mother’s dress, her numerous passports and the metal bed frame that reminded her of home. The author successfully argued his point as it is evident that people who are displaced surround themselves with objects that stimulate remembering home.

Conclusion

Within both works it is evident that objects do indeed play an important role in shaping the lives of Diasporic individuals. Both readings portray how objects shape and reflect ones experience and are also used to establish a sense of belonging and a connection to the home land. I conclude with 2 questions, (1) If displaced people do not control what happens to them do they have the power to choose what they remember? (2) What if an object that brings together a community harms, oppresses or destroys another community. Is it still a good object?

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