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Duke University Wk 4 Displacement and Solastalgia Discussion

Duke University Wk 4 Displacement and Solastalgia Discussion

Question Description

The theme of displacement; whether it be big development projects, bigconservation schemes, or climate chaos, indigenous peoples and many others inthe path of so-called ‘progress’ around the world have been and continue to bedisplaced, separated from their lands and livelihoods. Thisshort (16-minute) film by Kalyanee Mam (Links to an externalsite.), an award-winning film director, intimately highlightsthis process unfolding in Southeast Asia, as Singapore dredges sand frombeneath Cambodia’s mangrove forests to expand its land mass. Watch thefilm and consider: What’s the relationship between place, self, and culture?When people are displaced from their homes, when landscapes are altered orerased, what else is lost? Why is it not so simple as people just picking up andstarting over somewhere else?

This seems particularly poignant in this heartbreaking moment of firesacross California and neighboring states, as homes and communities andecosystems are being lost or forever altered. This Los Angeles Times article (Links to an externalsite.), published this week, shares the relevant notion of’solastalgia,’ or ‘the erosion of the sense of belonging (identity) to aparticular place and a feeling of distress (psychological desolation) about itstransformation.” In this sense, consider your own relationship to place -what places have shaped your life and identity? What places are meaningful toyou? What would it mean (or has it meant) to lose them? Would you say you haveexperienced, or perhaps are experiencing, solastalgia?

Share your thoughtful reflections here based on the short film, article, andquestions to consider. Please remember that your initial responseshould be at least 1-2 robust paragraphs,


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