Diaspora CL

Topics: Human migration, Homeland, Diaspora Pages: 27 (1254 words) Published: December 9, 2014
Theme: Diaspora
Dr Jamaluddin Bin Aziz

Greek = ‘to disperse’
Refers to any people of ethnic population
forced or induced to leave their traditional
ethnic homelands, being dispersed
throughout other parts of the world, and
the ensuing developments in their
dispersal and culture migration, sojourning
and colonisation.

Hebrew ‘exile’
Refers to the populations of Jews exiled from
Judea in 586 BC by the Babylonians, and
Jerusalem in 135 AC by the Roman Empire.
Used interchangeably to refer to the historical
movements of the dispersed ethnic population of
Israel, the cultural development of that
population, or the population itself.
Jewish diaspora – fragments Jewish sense of
identity, history, culture.

Diaspora: Cohen (1997)
Communities of people living together in one
country who acknowledge that “the old country”
– a notion that often reflected deeply in
language, religion, custom or folklore – always
has some claims on their loyalty and emotions
(p. ix)
Child born to migrant peoples and living in a
diaspora community will be influenced by the
“past immigration history” of the parents and

Global diasporas (Cohen)
Victim: Jewish, Africans, The Roma/ Gypsies
War: Africans, Palestinians, Afghans,
Labour: Indian, Chinese
Trade: Chinese, Lebanese (Muslim diaspora)
Imperial : British – Irish, white South, Africans
“Homeland”: Palestinians
Cultural: the Caribbean

Brent Edwards, the author of The Practice
of Diaspora, suggests that diaspora is less
a historical condition than a set of
practices: the claims, correspondences,
and collaborations.
In literature, “diasporic literature” refers to
a body of work that is written (usually)
from immigrant experiences.

Diaspora: Ashcroft et al (2000)
Postcolonial Context: Closely connected to the
political and cultural situations that resulted from
Western colonisation.
“the voluntary or forcible movement of peoples
from their homelands into new regions” (p. 68)
A multifarious movement, involving:
- The “temporary or permanent” movements all over the
world, leading to colonial settlements. Economic
exploitation of settlements – need large labour force.

Diaspora: Ashcroft et al
- This leads to diaspora, resulting from the enslavement of

Africans and their relocation to British colonies. After
slavery was outlawed, created indentured labourers.
- This produced large amounts of people from India,
China, etc. to the West Indies, Malaya, Fiji, Eastern and
Southern Africa.

- Descendents of these people have come to

produce highly unique cultures that both
maintain and build on the perceptions of their
original cultures.

Diaspora: After WWII
Former colonising nations experienced the
arrival of many peoples from once colonised
countries who established new homes at the old
colonial centres.
In Britain:
- Employment in the public services like health and

- To study
- To escape political and economic difficulties
- To follow family members who migrated before them

Diasporic concepts
Migrancy : Relationship between host and
migrant community
Retaining and/or re-designing ancestral culture
e.g. between 1st and 2nd generation migrants
Sense of displacement and alienation as a result
of living ‘in-between’ cultures (ancestral and
The search for roots and/or identity
The desire for belonging

Diasporic Literature - Issue
The most common issue is related
subjectivity. This is due to the idea that a
diasporic writer struggles with his or her
“multiple birthrights” – being in another
country, and the need to still feel that he or
she is still part of the motherland.

Common Theme
The common theme in diaspora literature is
the anguish of personal loss that
generates an aesthetics of "reworlding“,
which alludes to the idea that diasporic
writers not only can lament the loss of...
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