A careful critical and intellectual discussion of the definition, purpose, and/or work of the commonly used term “diaspora” is especially relevant in our contemporary times of upheaval, displacement, and return. How has “diaspora” been mobilized as a labeling category (“the diasporic subject”), a description of movement (“diasporic migrations”), and/or reflections on personal and cultural identity (“diasporic consciousness”)? How does theorization of “diaspora” intersect with: psychoanalytic theories of the self in relation to a collective; anthropological ideas on cultural identity; sociological or demographic studies on behavioral patterns or trends within a group; historical analysis on migration and the production of “home”, among many other disciplinary orientations? As Deborah Thomas (anthropologist) and Tina Campt (literature and media scholar) prompt us to consider, “[How do] diasporic hegemonies name the taken-for-grantedness of cultural logics - logics that are vigorously resisted, navigated, and contested in multiple and creative ways?”
By reading theoretical, ethnographic, historical, and regional texts across disciplines, this reading group engages scholarly debates on what “diaspora” means and discusses the work of “diaspora” in producing cultural categories, labels, and identities. This group will be of interest to graduate students in the social sciences and humanities disciplines who are studying “diasporic” populations, or more broadly, are intellectually engaged in questions of identity, cultural production, and/or migration.
Meeting Dates and Required Readings:
September 22 – 4:30 to 6 PM EST
Introduction to Diaspora Studies: Critical Theory and Current Debates
October 20 – 4:30 to 6 PM EST
Theorizing Transnational Migration
"African Immigrant Families in the United States" - Chapters 1 to 3
Guest Speaker: Dr. Serah Shani, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Westmont College
Discussion of Author’s Text: “African Immigrant Families in the United States: Transnational Lives and Schooling"
November 17 – 4:30 to 6 PM EST
Guest Speaker: Dr. Sandhya Shukla, Associate Professor of English at the University of Virginia
Discussion of Author’s Text: “India Abroad: Diasporic Cultures of Postwar America and England”
December 15 – 4:30 to 6 PM EST
For more information, please contact Ipsita Dey: firstname.lastname@example.org