Friday, 27 July 2012

Scanning the Family albums


Over the next few months I intend to post some old photos that my father Janis CIRKSIS kept in various albums. I'll post a couple of photos here with some quick descriptions so you have some idea of what is to come.

As I post photos, it is my intention to research them as much as possible. If you can add any information about anything I post please feel free to comment below.

Miķēlis ČIRKŠIS, my Grandfather. I believe this photo was taking slightly after or possibly during WWI. Miķēlis was a Latvian freedom fighter. I am hoping to trace some record of where and on which side he fought during the war - before he fought for Latvian independence. 



Friday, 20 July 2012

A short life story of a Latvian who migrated to Australia.


Presented on the historical  and cultural background of the country and people of his birth.
[The following is a short life story written by my father in September 2000. My father, born in Latvia, was a Displaced Person (DP) after WWII. From an Australian point of view, Janis' story shows us how important immigration has been -and in my view, continues to be - for this country. I have used Optical Character Recognition software to transfer the story from hard copy to soft copy. As it turns out this is a far from perfect process and there were many error that I had to correct so please forgive any errors that remain.]

My name is Jânis Osvalds Čirkšis (pronounced in English “Yahnis Osvalds Tsirksis"), born on 31" July 1924, in Níca at the South-Eastern corner of Latvia, a small country, the size of Tasmania, adjoining the South-Western shores of the Baltic sea. l was born the second son of my Latvian parents, preceded by a 2 years older brother and subsequently followed by a 2 years younger sister.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Latvian Ethnic Identity


The Following is an essay that I wrote on Latvian ethnic identity while at university. It's a little heavy for the casual reader - it is an academic essay - but I think it is still quite accessible to the average person. If you have any questions or comments, please post below and I will do my best to respond.

The concept of ethnic identity as an ideologically constructed myth is the primary concern of constructivism. Whereas primordialism and instrumentalism take ethnic identity to be real -either based on an innate feeling of loyalty or as a rational response situational constraints, respectively- constructivists describe nationalism and ethnic identity "as phenomena that are socially constructed ... products of human thought and action" (Yeros, 1999, p. 1; Brown, 2000, p. 20). Accordingly, constructivists deny that nations are real, substantive entities, suggesting instead that "the perception by those involved that they are real should be understood as a form of ideological consciousness which filters reality, rather than reflects it" (Brown, 2000, p. 20). Therefore, constructivists perceive ethnic identity as a process in the mind of the subject, constantly under negotiation through social interactions, as opposed to an objective reality.
In this essay, I will discuss two major formulations of the constructivist approach that are useful for analysing Latvian ethnic identity: Quasi-Marxism and post-modernism. I will begin with a discussion on the quasi-Marxist variant of constructivism and the role of the intellectual elite in the initial construction of the Latvian ethnic identity. I will then describe the role of discursive practices constructed around native folklore, folksongs, peasant traditions and Latvia's inter-war 'golden age' in the ongoing construction of the Latvian identity during and after Soviet occupation.

About the comming Blog

Coming to this space very shortly : The history of the Cirksis family. Of course it is only my branch of the Cirksis family but I will endeavour to find connections with family members all over the world.

While physical records deteriorate and are lost, it has been said that once information is uploaded to the net, it stays there. This website forms part of my research into my personal family tree and is intended to preserve the 'narrative' of the Cirksis family for future generations.

I will begin with some history on Latvia. I have several essays written by myself and by Janis Cirksis. The first ones I will post are on the history of Latvia and Janis' life story. I will also post essays and letters, written by family members, as a basis for understanding how they thought of the world at various times of their lives.

And now the disclaimer:

It is important to note that the ideas expressed in this blog are my own and are not associated in any way with any organisation that I might be or become affiliated with. Some of the ideas expressed here are not my own. I do not necessarily endorse or otherwise agree with everything that I post.