Ellyn Toscano

Published On


Page Range

pp. 13-22

Print Length

9 pages

1. Between Self and Memory

  • Ellyn Toscano (author)
Ellyn Toscano writes about silences and secrets within her family. She explores the story of her grandmother’s migration from South Carolina to New York in the early twentieth century, and her essay ‘Between Self and Memory’ looks at the consequences of deracination, concealment, and the self-fashioning of transitive identities. She questions the reasoning behind why people move away from the familiar into the unknown and in some cases choose to conceal their identity to fit in with society. Reading about Belle da Costa Greene, a librarian at Princeton University in 1905 who worked for J. P. Morgan, Toscano starts to unravel the truth about her own grandmother and ancestry, and what migration means to her.and the idea of memory as a form of narrative. She recalls the violent events of Sri Lanka’s ‘Black July’ in 1983 and how its legacies and impact have directly shaped her scholarship. She explores the power of photography as both a tool to reconstruct her early memories and as a way to reconnect her with her family’s past. She delves into the differences of her experience living in Australia compared to Sri Lanka and looks at this in the context of image-making, memory, beginnings, and endings.


Ellyn Toscano