Veronica Ferreri: Tasharrud as a State of Permanent Loss

This research project examines the collective predicament of war, exile and revolution experienced by a Syrian community originally from Rif Homs and displaced in Lebanon. Specifically, this work is about tasharrud (a state of permanent loss), a term used by the community to define its own collective predicament. The political origin of tasharrud lies in the camp dwellers’ expulsion from their homes and their journey of death to Lebanon across unofficial borders. The research questions the significance of inhabiting this state of permanent loss and the multiplicity of ruptures that the journey of death produced within the community, which is exemplified in three distinctive losses: the loss of home, of social status and of legal documents.
By situating the historicity of the community’s genealogy of displacement, tasharrud as an emic discourse is revealing of a complex dynamic at work between the community and a past that is not yet past. As language evokes these losses, capturing this unfolding past into the present means to interpret disparate affective modes of communication. The research captures the anatomy of tasharrud through secrecy, unspeakability, aesthetic practice and performance, as well as through the senses. In doing so, inhabiting tasharrud can only be grasped by reading the more intimate and mundane dimension characterizing this predicament, which emerges in the collective space of the community through tales of deliberate silences and silencing, active forgetting and sporadic discourses about the past (and present) combined with the material, digital and natural world.

Veronica Ferreri is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin. She completed her PhD in Politics at SOAS, University of London with a dissertation, entitled A State of Permanent Loss: War and Displacement in Syria and Lebanon. At the intersection of Social Anthropology and Migration Studies, her work examines the predicament of war, exile, and revolution experienced by a Syrian community through the prism of loss. Her current research project, “Paper Trails and Dislocated Bureaucracy”, aims to revisit the concept of state archive in the midst of war by treating Syrian official documents as testimonies of a disappearing past.


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