Migrants’ Belongings: preliminary considerations of Greek and Italian migrants’ travel trunks in the post-Second World War period of settlement to South Australia
Agutter, Karen Maree
Bouvet, Eric James
Glenn, Diana Cavuoto
Leader-Elliott, Lynette Frances
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The Migrants’ Belongings project, while considering both the scholarly work of the past and more contemporary trends, aims to take migration studies one step further by investigating the significance of belongings brought in the travel trunks of Greek and Italian migrants when they settled in Australia after the Second World War. The project seeks to understand, in the context of displacement, movement and loss, what objects were of particular relevance in reshaping the lives and the identities of these migrants, with particular reference to those objects carried by trunk, rather than by suitcase. This article, the first in a series relating to the Migrants’ Belongings project, aims to situate the project within the wider literature of post-Second World War Italian and Greek migration to Australia. It will consider the use and representation of migrants’ belongings, drawing on methodologies and findings from museology, material culture and identity studies. The project will reflect on the reasons why the “objects of migration”, and more specifically the contents of “migrant trunks”, have so far been largely neglected by scholars of history and migration studies. Finally, this article will highlight the project’s proposed methodology.