Theorizing Diaspora Perspectives On Classical Cultural Studies Essay

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While the Modern and Late-modern periods are undoubtedly the most critical for an understanding of diaspora in a modern, globalized context, for the purpose of this paper, more emphasis is placed on the latter period, which illustrates the progressive effect of globalization on the phenomenon of diasporization.

Jews as the quintessential or archetypal diasporic group.

" Indeed, a vast corpus of work recognizes the Jewish people as examples of quintessential diasporic groups"

"However, a broader conceptualization of the term diaspora allows for the inclusion of immigrant communities that

would be otherwise sidelined in the conventional literature on diaspora."

The novel limits the analysis/ focuses to the diasporization of Indians in the contemporary United States.

Numerous analyses Clifford, 1994: 304; of diaspora make reference

to Safran's (1991) extensive work on the common features of a diaspora.

They have become the basic tenets used to assess whether an ethnic group is in

fact diasporic in nature. These basic characteristics include:

1. Dispersal from an original "centre" to two or more foreign regions;

2. Retention of a collective memory, vision, or myth about their original

homeland including its location, history, and achievements;

3. The belief that they are not - and perhaps never can be - fully accepted

in their host societies and so remain partly separate;

4. The idealization of the putative ancestral home and the thought of

returning when conditions are more favourable;

5. The belief that all members should be committed to the maintenance

or restoration of the original homeland and to its safety and prosperity;


6. A strong ethnic group consciousness sustained over a long time

and based on a sense of distinctiveness, a common history, and the

belief in a common fate.

Certain key factors present themselves as

In this sense,

However; it is worth mentioning that very few modern-day diaspora ascribe to all of the aforementioned characteristics for example Spivak advances a new concept: the New Diaspora.

This novel clearly establishes a departure or departs from using the "Jewish experience as the blueprint for interpreting diaspora as a concept."

Classical diaspora:

The term "diaspora" has its origins in Greek history and civilization. Cohen (1997: 2) defines the word diaspora in relation to the Greeks in the following manner: "for the Greeks, the expression was used to describe the colonization of Asia Minor and the Mediterranean in the Archaic period (800-600 BC)". The word diaspora is a derivation of the Greek verb diasperein, which means to sow or scatter about and the Greek preposition dia, meaning through or over. According to Mandelbaum Mandelbaum, M. (Ed.) 2000 The New European Diasporas: National Minorities and Conflict in Eastern Europe, Council on Foreign Relations Press, Washington, DC. (2000: 2), diasporas are "ancient features of human history", a concept which has virtually become synonymous with Jewish experience;

that of the dispersion of the Jews after the Babylonian exile.Cohen, R 1997 Global Diasporas, UCL Press Ltd., London. (1997: 2)

In fact, Chaliand and Rageau (even went further by asserting that) (1995: 4) are precise when they state that "dispersion seems to be the hallmark of the Jewish people". Chaliand, G., and J-P Rageau1995 The Penguin Atlas of Diasporas, Viking Penguin, New York. Throughout this ancient period, diasporas existed in the form of the Moors in Spain, as well as the Gypsies at the beginning of the fourteenth century in various parts of Europe-Crete, Corfu, Serbia, Wallachia, Transylvania, Zagreb or Croatia and Bohemia (Chaliand and Rageau, 1995: 97). During this pre-modern period, Cohen (1995: 1) cites "other ancient civilizations uninfluenced by the Judaeo-Hellenist world - notably the Mesopotamian, Inca, Indus, and Zhou empires" which likewise "generated their own migratory myths and their own population flows…". Greeks were also an ancient diaspora, dispersed primarily for trading reasons. According to Chaliand and Rageau (1995: XVIII), "under Rome and during the Hellenistic period the Greeks experienced both an intellectual

and a trading dispersion".

"The Jewish case as the illustration par excellence of whom or what is a diaspora,A sizeable body of literature exclusively makes reference to the Jewish case, thereby establishing it as the archetypal diaspora. In fact, Chaliand and Rageau (1995: 4) are precise when they state that "dispersion seems to be the hallmark of the Jewish people". Chaliand, G., and J-P Rageau 1995 The Penguin Atlas of Diasporas, Viking Penguin, New York.

While exile, trauma, and collective identity are features of the Jewish Diaspora, they are not necessarily features of all other diasporic groups, particularly in reference to contemporary diaspora."

"In contrast to the Classical Period, the Contemporary Period covers a much wider range of diasporic communities and their reasons for dispersal are far more numerous than the Classical Period, particularly in relation to globalization."

The next section explores the theme or relocation and dislocation.

There was a departure from studies previous such as by Clifford rely which heavily on the Jewish experience as a starting point for examining the phenomenon." Recent studies cited below are more suitable for a discussion of the so-called "new" or contemporary diaspora. The second category essentially comprises a small corpus that explores diaspora

issues in a novel manner. This body of literature explores the commingling of

contemporary diaspora with issues of transnationalism and globalization. Included

in this grouping are Castles and Miller (1998), Laguerre (1998),

Papastergiadis (1998), Van Hear (1998), Mahler (2000), Mandelbaum (2000),

Mittelman (2000), Cornwell and Stoddard (2001), and others."


It is, therefore, a grave misconceptionto believe that international migration is an:

… invention of the late twentieth century…Migrations have been part of human

history from the earliest times. However, international migration has grown in

volume and significance since 1945, and most particularly since the mid-

1980s (Castles and Miller, 1998: 4).

Diaspora is largely a phenomenon created either when ethnic groups "migrate of their own free will, leaving to study, work or join their family abroad" (Kasasa, 2001: 29), and as such, need not arise only as a result of a crisis or traumatic event." Kasasa, A. 2001 "Dossier: migration", The Courier, 187: 28-29.

Independence Day, observed annually on 15 August, is a national holiday in India commemorating the nation's independence from British rule on 15 August 1947 the first British outpost in India was established in 1619.

"Diasporization and globalization can thus be considered as coeval processes, with globalization having the most impact on the contemporary phase."

"Diasporization and globalization can thus be considered as coeval processes, The most obvious example of the diasporic process becoming globalized is through "the profound technological revolution that has occurred in telecommunications, and particularly information technology" which has "created the conditions for increased cross-border communication and exchange, and, therefore, laid the basis for an expansion of economic transactions among states on a global scale" (Hall and Benn, 2000: 24). Hall, K., and D. Benn (Eds) 2000 Globalisation a Calculus of Inequality: Perspectives from the South, Ian Randle Publishers, Jamaica."

"The manner in which globalization has been most beneficial to diasporas lies in the fact that technological advances in communications and transport foster the maintenance of even closer ties between home and host countries. Numerous recent analyses give an account of the role of transport, technology, and communications in facilitating the diasporic process."

 a. Wide range or scope: breadth of knowledge

"Stalker's (1994: 32) Stalker, P. 1994 The Work of Strangers: A Survey of International Labour Migration, International Labour Office, Geneva extensive study of migration remarks that "the proliferation of global communications has also reduced the 'emotional distance' for potential migrants by enabling them to keep in touch with this home country while away". It is in this sense that globalization has shrunk distances, as the telephone, fax, Internet, and availability of more flights between homeland and host countries, as well as the prospect of less costly travel are important tools of the diasporic trade. These advances in technology make "family- and kin-based economic transactions" easier and safer (Cohen, 1997: 160) Cohen, R. 1997 Global Diasporas, UCL Press Ltd., London. The fact that "globalization has been occurring through computer networks, telephony, electronic mass media, and the like", permits persons in the diaspora "to have nearly immediate contact with each other, irrespective of their location on earth and regardless of the state borders that might lie between them" (Baylis and Smith, 1997)." Baylis, J., and S. Smith (Eds) 1997 The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations, Oxford University Press, Oxford: 15.

"Apart from the media, improvements in transportation and telecommunications have facilitated the diasporic process by permitting migrants to maintain closer and cheaper contact with their homeland in a manner that was not possible in the past."

"The historical mapping of migration and subsequent diasporization from the early classical period to the twenty-first century hinges on issues of "political conflict, global communications and transport systems" which have "stimulated immense and complex flows of displaced persons, labour migrants and skilled professionals" (Cohen, 1995)." Cohen, R.

1995 The Cambridge Survey of World Migration New York, Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, United States.

hinges on = depend on= build on

"In the context of globalization, there are examples of "opportunity-seeking" diasporas, whose displacement arises due to situations that are neither traumatic nor associated with disaster. Pursuit of work and the seizing of opportunities the study and travel abroad, facilitated by the globalizing process, are sufficient reasons to stimulate the diasporic process in the contemporary context. It is imperative, therefore, that the distinction be made that these modern-day diasporas are formed not only through intense political conflict, but as a result of opportunity.One of the best illustrations of this is the case is" Bish chatterjee

"the impetus for the creation of diasporic communities was essentially a result of the pursuit of more viable economic activities or opportunities to further studies"

"Many Eurasian states have come to use the label "diaspora" in speaking of several distinct groups: immigrants who came to western Europe or North America in the last century, political exiles who fled abroad during the communist period, and communities that were separated from the homeland in 1991 by changes in interstate boundaries (King and Melvin, 1999: 118)." King, C., and N.J. Melvin 1999 "Diaspora politics: ethnic linkages, foreign policy, and security in Eurasia", International Security, 1999/2000, 24(3).

Indians "Latin Americans have been exerting pressures of an economic, social, political, and cultural nature on the United States and on their homeland territories over asustained period."

Conclusion :

"Classical diasporas become associated with antiquity, ancient Greece, and Jewish

exilic experience. Contemporary diasporas, on the other hand, it can be argued, are more dynamicand unpredictable, as the processes of dislocation and regeneration are often played out in the context of globalization. The focus of diasporas and their vital role in the emerging global political economy can no longer cease to be recognized. Diasporas, as a contemporary phenomenon, have more salience beyond the global security issue, although more often than not, social scientists continue to examine the concept in terms of potential for ethnic conflict and their global implications (Castles and Miller, 1998: 2; Choucri, 2002)." Castles, S., and M.J. Miller 1998 The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World, second edition, Palgrave Publishers Ltd., Basingstoke.

"This paper highlights the fact that "over the last five centuries mass migrations have played a major role in colonialism, industrialisation, the emergence of nation states and the development of the capitalist world market" (Castles and Miller, 1998: 283). In the case of the modern-day diaspora, however, the phenomenon is further fanned by political conflict, economic instability, opportunity, and globalization."

This final section of the paper briefly sketches

ENGAGING EMIGRANTS: A study of the Australian diaspora in

the United States of America Kelly L. Parker

"Diaspora is of great importance to both host and home countries. There are many benefits to be derived from the level of connectedness between the homeland and the diaspora. As such, the implications for policy making in the sending country, particularly in the case of small, developing states is a burning issue. Government planners and policy makers need to be far more proactive vis-à-vis their diasporic communities in a variety of ways. One example is in the channeling of the economic resources of the overseas diaspora to encourage investment and entrepreneurial activity in the homeland. In the case of diasporic tourism, as the migrant communities maintain contact with the homeland, a significant proportion of tourists to the sending societies are often from the overseas diaspora. Yet many governments still do not have a specific tourism development plan targeting their overseas diasporic communities."

"A contemporary global situation that fuels international mobility, particularly ofindividuals with highly-skilled characteristics, and technological advancements that allow transnational connections to be maintained across distance, contribute to this interest. A dearth of information about emigration and diasporas, especially from countries of immigration, makes it difficult to apply conventional migration theories to explain the mobility and experiences of these populations, and thereby understand how to effectively engage with these communities…"

"The major aims of the thesis are to better understand how the drivers of movement and the experiences of the Australian diaspora in the US relate to the wider global situation, national level policies and circumstances and contemporary migration theory…whereby global, national and individual level factors all contribute to explaining migration,…"

" Motivations for migration, progression of the migrant experience, patterns of international mobility and the maintenance of transnational linkages with Australia are the broad themes explored in the survey."

"Globalisation, resulting in internationalisation of economies and labour forces, as well as

facilitated communication and transport, is seen as a major factor underlying changing

forms of international mobility. There is a global demand for individuals with skilled

characteristics, and technological innovations have made different forms of migration and

1 Terminology surrounding migration is often subjective to the country, particular issue or population being discussed; therefore any ambiguous terms not defined within the body of the thesis will be clearly defined in the Glossary in Appendix 1.

the maintenance of transnational linkages more feasible."

"An increasingly popular transnational view of migration has also been taken by many scholars (see for example Portes, 1997, Portes, 2003, Vertovec, 2003, Levitt et al., 2003, Glick Schiller et al., 1995), and this perspective has led to better understanding of the complex process of migration and the experiences migrants have as a result of moving across international borders. These perspectives are quite different than the way migration has traditionally been studied, in terms of permanency and assimilation with the country of destination (Migration Policy Institute, 2003, Castles, 2008, Hugo, 2004).

"This chapter will emphasize the importance of studying migration and its outcomes as the result of a complex global system. A number of factors contributing to a change in circumstances affecting migration and the migrant experience will be discussed in order to

explain shortcomings of historical theories of migration and to establish the conceptual framework for this research. The chapter will look at the underlying factor responsible for much of the change surrounding migration recently, a period of intensified globalisation. Globalisation affects both the wider context within which people are moving and the experiences migrants have. Different types of mobility, and diversity in the origin and destination countries of migrants resulting from global demand and macro transnational linkages between countries, are increasingly important. The chapter will also explore migration from a transnational point of view as a key change in perspective. The increased ability to connect across distance and changing forms of mobility lead to a rise in the importance and dynamism of diaspora communities."

"The globalisation concept is also multifaceted"

"(Ravenstein, 1885 p.167). He analysed census data in the United Kingdom (UK) and explained that there are factors including economic conditions, distance of a potential move, and demographic characteristics that encourage or discourage migration of individuals; thus a combination of factors are seen as important in fuelling migration."

"Transnational linkages between countries have grown and strengthened in the context of

economic globalisation."

"A more recent development is that some countries, like Australia, have also begun to take notice of skilled persons leaving the country in response to global demand. More feasible than halting this out-movement is taking advantage of the transnational migration

experience many emigrants have whereby they retain connections with the country of origin." "It is well known that international migrants have long kept networks with their home country, but factors associated with globalisation allow for facilitation of a transnational migrant experience. Migrants can be physically involved in more than one country with rapid and low cost travel, and there are the facilities available to keep in touch across distance. According to the Random House Unabridged Dictionary (2006), 'transnational' is defined as: 'going beyond national boundaries or interests'."

The ease with which transnational journeys can be made and connections from afar can be maintained also allows migrants to develop multiple identities. These identities are not just

with the country of origin and the country one is living in, but are also created by shared

experiences with others who have similar lifestyles involving frequent international travel

(Kennedy, 2004, Wimmer and Glick Schiller, 2003, Olwig, 2003).

Globalisation is a major factor underlying a changing migration situation. Although the

definition of globalisation has been debated, a growing number of international trade

agreements, international flights and international migrants indicate the world is becoming

more connected. Technological advancements, including improved internet access and

other modes of communicating across distance, as well as the increased speed and lowered

cost of international travel, have played an extensive role encouraging global connections

and migrant transnationalism. Additionally internationalisation of labour markets

promotes highly-skilled mobility and macro-level transnational connections. Like many

other countries, Australia and the US have responded to the global competition for skilled

workers by making changes to immigration policy.

International mobility is becoming increasingly diverse, and temporary or circular

migration is common. The recognition of the transnational experience many migrants have

has led countries of origin to consider how these networks might be used to national

advantage. The next chapter will define diaspora and explore the growing interest in these


Dislocation and Relocation: Construction(s) of the Domestic in a Foreign Territory

Title Space in Anita Desai� Clear Light of Day

Date of Defense 2009-07-28 all

Page Count 97

Keyword diaspora





Anita Desai

Clear Light of Day

Abstract This thesis examines the spatial representations of India as respectively a nation-state, a colony, and a member of the third-world countries in modern history in Anita Desai� Clear Light of Day. According to Henri Lefebvre, space is simultaneously a part in the production and a product. An abstract space has a goal in homogeneity; however, the realization of spatial plan is usually interfered by different ideologies. The flow of the entangling ideologies embedded in the novel is embodied in the family house, the modern city, and the imagination of India as a tourist attraction. Chapter One applies Cathy Caruth� traumatic theory to demonstrate the family house as a symbol of the dominating Hindu nationalist discourse. The separation of the Das family is taken as an allegorical representation of the Partition. Recollecting the traumatic past, the Das encounters repetitively the crisis of identity caused by the separation and the diversity of discourses. The Hindu nationalist discourse has occupied the family house as the position of articulation. The authoritative discourse promotes the establishment of India as a nation-state through excluding the elements of difference. In addition, the colonial design of establishing New Delhi as a modernist capital reflects the British government� plan to assimilate Indian colony. Chapter Two applies Michel Foucault� theories of power and space to analyze first British governmentality in making the new capital a homogeneous space and, secondly, the potential resistance generated from the variety of local cultures. Eventually, New Delhi exhibits itself a synthesis of the modern and the tradition, of the western and the local. Chapter Three explores Indian intellectuals�� dilemma of cultural identity in diaspora. As Rey Chow indicates, the third-world intellectuals articulate for the marginalized; however, the minor of the minor has still been left in the dark. While the diplomat Bakul decides to tell the foreigners only the glory of India exclusive of the socio-political calamities, the local reality is estimated as dispensable for the first-world imagination. Furthermore, the Eurocentric grand narrative embedded in the third-world studies locates the diasporic� recognition of India oscillating between homeland and tourist attraction.

ï‚· Homi Bhabha

ï‚· Cultural Hybridity

ï‚· Third Space

ï‚· In-betweenness

ï‚· the Oedipus Complex

ï‚· Naming

ï‚· Freud

ï‚· Identity

ï‚· Cathy Caruth

ï‚· Jhumpa Lahiri

ï‚· Nostalgia

ï‚· Traumatic Awakening


This thesis aims at exploring the consequences of migration in Jhumpa Lahirir� novel The Namesake. Set in India and America, the story represents such immigrant experiences as the clash of cultures, the conflicts of assimilation, and the tangled ties between generations. In addition to introduction and conclusion, the thesis consists of three chapters, devoted respectively to issues of nostalgia, identity, and cultural hybridity. Chapter One explores the way nostalgia affects the Ganguli family in their daily life, including such aspects as food, clothing, their circle of friends, festivals and celebrations. To analyze Indian immigrants�� longing for home and their attempts to retain homeland culture, I employ Svetlana Boym� theory on nostalgia, wherein two kinds of nostalgia are distinguished: the restorative and the reflective. Chapter Two focuses on immigrants�� identity formation. The process of identity formation is associated with naming and generational problems. I adopt the Freudian theory of the Oedipus complex to explain the father-son conflicts: how the protagonist defies his father as well as the name given by him. Then, drawing upon Cathy Caruth� concept of traumatic awakening, I trace how the protagonist reconciles with his father and reaches maturity. Chapter Three examines how immigrants come to invent a hybrid cultural identity. I employ Homi Bhabha� concepts of in-bewteenness and the Third Space to point out the interplay of the Bengali heritage and the dominant American culture, which results in the phenomenon of a new, dynamic, and mixed culture. With globalization, borders and boundaries are constantly changing so that migration comes to be typical of human condition. In this sense, the immigrant experience stated in The Namesake foregrounds problems which might be encountered by all diasporas.

Christopher Dey's Enigma: Unearthing and Transgressing the Past

Chapter Two: Gender Re-Construction: "Agency" and "Empowerment":

Asian Women's Representation in the West

Tara's Cross-Cultural Metamorphosis

Financial Independence

Sexual Liberation

2.2. Between Conformity and Transgression: Padma's Interregnum of Identity.

Marriage and Motherhood: Similarities and Differences Among the Bhattacherjee Sisters

Chapter Three: Traditions "Old and New": Re-visioning Roots in the Process of Multiple Self-Formation

Bishwapriya Chatterjee's Double Consciousness

Indian Women's Status: Parvati as a Case Study

Indians' Views of Immigrants

Redefining "Indianness":

4.1 Tara's Quest for Heritage Back Home: Tara Lata's Myth

Rabi's Journey in India and its Implications