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Objects of WarThe Material Culture of Conflict and Displacement$
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Leora Auslander and Tara Zahra

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781501720079

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501720079.001.0001

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Paku Karen Skirt-Cloths (Not) at Home

Paku Karen Skirt-Cloths (Not) at Home

Forcibly Migrated Burmese Textiles in Refugee Camps and Museums

(p.277) 10 Paku Karen Skirt-Cloths (Not) at Home
Objects of War

Sandra H. Dudley

Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at forcibly relocated objects as serial migrants and asks what it might mean for them not only to be displaced but also to be “at home.” It focuses on three skirt-cloths originating among the Paku Karen people from eastern Burma (Myanmar). In relation to displacement, the example of Naw Rebecca's cloth suggests that physical migration need not have occurred for displacement to be a valid category. The skirt is both not displaced and always displaced, staying put but still a refugee because of the liminal nature of where it resides and the status of the woman who made and wears it. The other two cloths, in contrast, were undisplaced at the time of their production but became so almost immediately afterwards. Since then, they have undergone displacement processes that are physically defined by geographical space, but extended too into the temporal, sociocultural, teleological, and beyond.

Keywords:   forcibly relocated objects, Paku Karen people, Paku Karen skirt-cloths, Burma, displacement, migration, refugee camps

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