Diasporas

Diasporas

Diasporas

Diasporas

Synopsis

Coined in the third century B.C., the term diaspora has evolved into a buzzword used to describe the migrations of groups as diverse as ethnic populations, religious communities, and even engineers working abroad. This concise book provides a critical introduction to the concept of diaspora, bringing a fresh, synthetic perspective to virtually all aspects of this topic. Stéphane Dufoix incorporates a wealth of case studies--about the Jewish, Armenian, African, Chinese, Greek, and Indian experiences-- to illustrate key concepts, give a clear overview on current thinking, and reassess the value of the term for us today.

Excerpt

Diaspora—as both concept and social practice—is in vogue. One doesn’t have to look far for evidence of interest in this idea. We can begin in the academic world, starting with the interdisciplinary journal called Diaspora (in publication since 1991) and continuing on to the librarian’s favorite tool, the World Catalog, where a search for books with “diaspora” in the title, published since 2005, yields more than 450 hits. The kaleidoscope of groups mentioned—Indian, Armenian, African, Scottish, Dutch, Muslim, Catalan, Cuban, Greek, Mexican, Central American, and southern—exemplifies the phenomenon that Rogers Brubaker has labeled the “diaspora diaspora”—the wide, indeed unending, dispersion of this concept beyond the classic case of the Jews.

For academic purposes, therefore, to say “migration” is now to say “diaspora,” a trend that makes it necessary for any student to understand how the concept is used and why, even though its ubiquity may deprive it of analytic utility. But even more surprising than the shift from an occult to an everyday term is the concept’s . . .

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