and strangers to him, immensely multiplying the distance that exists between
any parent and child, any past (which is "a foreign country") and the beckoning
With Najarian's second novel and Edgarian's book, Akillian's poems stand
firmly in the Armenian-American present, which is a moment of settling accounts with the past, of putting down a burden. Whether those who do so will
turn, in the twenty-first century, to a redefinition and diasporization of Armenian
Americanness in some interaction with the homeland Republic of Armenia is
unclear. It is a plausible hypothesis. But it is also possible that the power and
glamour of white ethnicity have already peaked and that white ethnics will
henceforth affect and display only whatever items of their culture are deemed
fashionable for middle-class consumers of lifestyles. Perhaps the title "Consuming Ethnicity" should be copyrighted for the next edition of a reference text
like this volume: by then, it may be clear whether ethnicity will flourish as it
consumes the signs and texts of its past or whether it will prove itself to be a
self-consuming entity as ethnics make their peace with the past and fail to produce a diasporan future.
"Primary" because the diasporan population came to the site directly from the
homeland; "secondary" diasporas are formed when such a population migrates again,
as the Jewish diaspora of Spain was forced to migrate in 1492 to the Ottoman Empire,
or as the Indians of Uganda were forced by Idi Amin to depart for the U.K. and the United States. "Intrastate" because, having left a homeland ruled by an alien empire,
the diasporans settled elsewhere in the territories of that empire. For details and implications, see Tololyan, "Exile Governments."
"Ethnodiasporan" is an awkward but necessary term, because the Armenian-
American community contains both ethnics and diasporans. Italian Americans offer an
excellent model of ethnicity: they take pride in their names, food, music, culture, and
symbolic affiliations with the homeland; they rally against defamation; they maintain
strong kinship groups and compatriotic associations. But unlike the Armenian diaspora,
for example, they are not organized transnationally, to maintain, as a collectivity, active
political, cultural, or economic interaction with the homeland or with other Italian communities in, say, Canada or Australia. Nor do they seek to lobby the U.S. government
with a specifically Italian/American agenda.
Despite its promising title,
Lorne Shirinian The Republic of Armenia and the
Rethinking of the North-American Diaspora in Literature does not adequately address
The importance of print culture to the emergence of homeland nationalisms is well
Anderson Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and
Spread of Nationalism ( London: Verso, 1983). But their role in the creation of diasporan
national movements such as the Armenian and the Jewish (Zionist) is not equally well
The scholarly Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies has been published
intermittently since 1984, and The Journal of Armenian Studies since 1975.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: New Immigrant Literatures in the United States:A Sourcebook to Our Multicultural Literary Heritage.
Contributors: Alpana Sharma Knippling - Editor.
Publisher: Greenwood Press.
Place of publication: Westport, CT.
Publication year: 1996.
Page number: 39.
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