New African Diasporas

New African Diasporas

New African Diasporas

New African Diasporas

Synopsis

The extensive literature relating to the African diaspora has tended to concentrate on the descendants of those who left Africa as part of the slave trade to North America. This important new book gathers together work on more recent waves of African migration from some of the most exciting thinkers on the contemporary diaspora. Concentrating particularly on the last 20 years, the contributions look to the United States and beyond to diaspora settlement in the UK and Northern Europe. New African Diasporas looks at a range of different types of diaspora - legal and illegal, professional and low-skilled, asylum seekers and 'economic migrants' - and includes chapters on diasporic communities originating in Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ghana, Senegal and Somalia. It also examines often neglected differences based on gender, class and generation in the process. This book will be essential reading for anyone with an interest in the African diaspora and provides the most wide-ranging picture of the new African diaspora yet.

Excerpt

Donald Carter

Our view of the passage of time influences the value we attach to past events far more than is the case for the Dinka, whose points of reference are not years counted serially, but the events themselves. In the example of the man who called his child ‘Khartoum’ it is Khartoum which is regarded as an agent, the subject which acts, and not as with us the remembering mind which recalls a place. The man is the object acted upon.

Godfrey Leinhardt, Divinity and Experience: The Religion of the Dinka (1961:150)

If we were to configure the architecture of contemporary anthropology the resulting structure might reveal the explorations of experience, material culture and space and time to be essential features of its fragile identity. One of the pioneering figures of this world was no doubt Godfrey Lienhardt who mapped the meanings of Dinka cosmology in his classic Divinity and Experience (1961). In the heart of the work Lienhardt considers memory, experience and the significance of naming a child ‘Khartoum’, the son of a man once imprisoned in the city. Remembering Khartoum does not just entail the acknowledgment of the enduring traces of place on both a present and future life. It also constitutes an ‘act of exorcism’, ensuring against potential harm of any kind. For the many people of the Southern Sudan, Khartoum has not only symbolized a seat of the national political power but also a site of ethnic discrimination, and religious and cultural intolerance. Indeed, as the legacy of residence in a place may have lasting significance across the generations, this type of experience can be integral to diasporas.

Lienhardt introduced a generation of anthropologists to the complexity of experience and the embodiment of aspects of the profane as well as the unseen world in everyday life. As we consider the nature of new African

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