Vol. 55 No. 4 (2007)
Research Article

The Politics of Naming: A Personal Reflection 1

Published 2007-12-01



Naming is an important key to understanding power relations. My inquiry into what I have called political onomastics-the politics of naming-dates back to the early 1980s and includes research on the experiences and practices of Inuit and of immigrants in Canadian, U.S., and European diasporas. Having looked at naming across various regions, nations, and cultures, it seemed time to bring the journey closer to home. As the child of European-Jewish immigrants to North America, I grew up hearing naming stories. Here I consider the power of naming, starting at Ellis Island and including experiences of naming in a multicultural family, selfre-naming and remarriage, and reflect on the differences and similarities between Ashkenazim and Inuit, homeland and diaspora.


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