Rebuilding Shattered Worlds: Creating Community by Voicing the Past, June 23, 2017, 6:00 pm

As part of our June Fourth Friday event, Dr. Andrea L. Smith of Lafayette College will give a talk on her book Rebuilding Shattered Worlds: Creating Community by Voicing the Past (co-authored with Anna Eisenstein) at the Sigal Museum. The work explores the ways a demolished neighborhood in Easton still resonates in the imaginations of displaced residents.

Drawing on six years of ethnographic research, Professor Smith explores the process of collective memory-making that arose as elderly former residents gathered, reminisced, and attempted to make sense of a world they lost when urban renewal initiatives razed “Syrian Town” – a densely packed neighborhood of Lebanese American, Italian American, and African American residents.

Copies of Professor Smith’s book are available in the Museum Store.


Andrea L. Smith is a cultural anthropologist whose research explores the role of place and place loss in peoples’ understandings of the past.  Her publications have explored nostalgia for the colony among French settlers of colonial Algeria, processes of collective silencing in local history museums and settler narratives in the American southwest, and the role ethnicity, race, and class play in stories former residents tell about an Easton, PA neighborhood demolished in 1960s urban renewal.