Defining and Re-Defining Diaspora: From Theory to Reality
Diasporas – from the Greek verb speiro (to sow) and the preposition dia (over), signifying ‘dispersion of seeds’ – seem to be integral to the human condition, existing as far back as recorded history and surely before that. Originally used to refer to Greek settlers and colonizers in the Mediterranean, and later adopted by the Hebrews to speak of their own exiled people, the term ‘diaspora’ evolved over time to denote myriads of diverse displacements, forced as well as voluntary.
This book examines diasporas in the context of globalization as they exist today and with an eye to the future. Each article represents a distinct point of view and brings a particular understanding, theoretical or practical, to bear on the diaspora narrative. Each one emphasizes the specificity of diaspora to culture, place and moment, its multifaceted and interdisciplinary nature, and the significance of how identity is negotiated within the triadic space of self, home and ‘host’ nation. Taken together in this volume they function as a ‘conversation’ about the process of trying to define and re-define the elusive, unstable concept of diaspora with its diverse and evolving forms.