Diaspora Criticism

Diaspora Criticism

Diaspora Criticism

Diaspora Criticism

Synopsis

The first introduction to the field of Diaspora criticism that serves both as a timely guide and a rigorous critique. Diaspora criticism takes the concept 'diaspora' as its object of inquiry and provides a framework for discussing displaced communities in a way that takes contemporary social, cultural and economic pressures into account. It also offers an alternative to Postcolonial Studies. This book is the first to provide an accessible overview of the critical trends in Diaspora criticism and to critically evaluate the major Diaspora critics and their models, with the aim of adding to the debate on methodology. This authoritative account will be of interest to those working in Diaspora Studies and its related fields of History, Literature, Art, Sociology, Population and Migration Studies, Politics, and Ethnic and Postcolonial Studies. Features
• The first full account of the critical trends in the most exciting area of contemporary research and analysis.
• Locates Diaspora criticism in a specific historical context, pinpoints its emergence as a critical discourse and provides an overview of the debates that have shaped the genre.
• Critically analyses the approaches of the main diaspora theorists including William Safran, Jonathan Boyarin, Paul Gilroy, James Clifford, Stuart Hall, Rey Chow, Avtar Brah and Vijay Mishra.

Excerpt

A genre is never ultimately about etymology. When Martin Baumann rebukes James Clifford for encouraging a metaphorical use of diaspora by not bothering about the provenance and coinage of the term (Baumann, 1997: 395), he is unable to see that genre designations bear little relation to the question of etymology Statements on the etymological origins of a term may indeed participate in the genre, but no genre is really ever regulated by the strictures of etymologists or by the definitions found in dictionaries. The singularity of a genre nomination is really independent of the question of root meanings. Emanating from a diverse range of sources and arenas, generic statements frequently confound the whole issue of origins, roots and beginnings. Root meanings do not give birth to a genre; rather, a genre is made up of the dynamic procession of statements (some entering, some exiting) participating at the relational scene of the nomination. The total statement implied by the designation exists outside this relational order. The etymology of the designation, novel ('new', 'unusual' or 'of a kind not seen previously'), for instance, tells us very little about the participatory statements that engender the genre of the novel over the longue durée. Derived from diaspeirein, which is Greek for 'scattering' or 'sowing' (speirein) and originally used to account for the botanical phenomenon of seed dispersal (hence dia completely + speirein sow), the root meaning of diaspora, similarly, sheds little light on the archive that has emerged around the critical discourse. Diaspora is related to the question of dispersion certainly, but the genre not only exceeds the etymological question but also includes counter-statements or statements that concern matters not strictly connected to the subject of dispersion. A daunting number of works form participatory statements at the scene of the genre of diaspora criticism.

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