Diaspora, and with it 'diasporic religion', has exploded as an area of research in the field of Religion, opening important paths of inquiry and analysis. This article traces the itineraries and intersections of Diaspora and Religion over the last two decades, especially vis-à-vis groups that activate multiple diasporic horizons. It then evaluates the risks of the overdispersion of Diaspora. To counter this, the article recommends more narrowly circumscribing Diasporic Religion in relation to 'territory', while at the same time rendering the question of what territoriality means more complex and diverse.
Paul Christopher Johnson
'Second Generation' Subjectivity and the Road 'Home' in Portugal (2011) and La Commedia des ratés (2011)
This article examines two graphic novels published in 2011, Portugal by Cyril Pedrosa and La Commedia des ratés [Holy Smoke] by Olivier Berlion, within the thematic and technical context of the French 'return' road movie, an increasingly prevalent category. Recent debates in political, cultural and academic spheres have focused on competing conceptions of Frenchness – traditional republicanism and multiculturalism – as well as the place of the 'second- or third-generation' descendants of immigrants. This article argues that Portugal and La Commedia des ratés, as quasi-autobiographic 'return' to origins narratives, represent compelling insight into the subjectivity of second-generation diasporic populations in France. I will also examine how these works employ the 'ninth art' to create fresh twists on the 'return' story. Finally, I will explore the graphic and narrative depictions of travel in each work, adapting Teresa Bridgeman's theory of 'world building' and 'world-switching' in bande dessinée. I argue that Portugal offers a compelling approach, re-creating on the page the effect of the cinematic 'traveling montage'.
Japanese Americans and the lack of a Nikkei identity
Takeyuki Gaku Tsuda
English abstract: Some scholars have recently suggested that the concept of diaspora should be regarded as a type of identity or consciousness instead of as a transnational ethnic community. While it is undeniable that some dispersed ethnic populations identify as diasporic peoples, older “economic diasporas“ sometimes have lost their transnational social cohesion and do not have a diasporic consciousness. I illustrate this by examining the experiences of Japanese Americans, an important part of the “Japanese diaspora“ of Japanese descendants (Nikkei) scattered throughout the Americas. Because they have become assimilated in the United States over the generations, they no longer maintain any notable diasporic identification with the ethnic homeland or to other Japanese descent ethnic communities in the Americas. Even when they encounter Nikkei from other countries, national cultural differences make it difficult for them to develop a diasporic identity as Japanese descendants with a common cultural heritage or historical experiences.
Spanish abstract: Algunos académicos han sugerido recientemente que el concepto de diáspora debe ser considerado como un tipo de identidad o conciencia en lugar de una comunidad étnica transnacional. Si bien es innegable que algunos dispersos grupos étnicos se identifican como pueblos en diáspora, las diásporas económicos más antiguos a veces han perdido su cohesión social transnacional y no tienen conciencia de diáspora. Este artículo ilustra esta situación examinando las experiencias de los estadounidenses de origen japonés, una parte importante de la diáspora japonesa de los descendientes de japoneses (Nikkei) repartidos por todo el continente americano. Debido a que se han asimilado en los Estados Unidos a lo largo de las generaciones, este grupo ya no mantiene una notable identificación de la diáspora con el país de origen étnico o con las otras comunidades de descendientes de japoneses étnicos en las Américas. Incluso cuando se encuentran con gente Nikkei de otros países, las diferencias nacionales-culturales hacen que sea difícil para ellos desarrollar una identidad de diáspora como descendientes de japoneses con un patrimonio cultural común o de experiencias históricas.
French abstract: Certains chercheurs ont récemment suggéré l’idée que le concept de diaspora devrait être considéré comme un type d’identité ou une forme de conscience, et non plus comme une communauté ethnique transnationale. S’il s’avère indéniable que certains groupes ethniques dispersés soient parvenus à s’identifier en tant que peuple de la diaspora (peuples diasporiques), il n’en demeure pas moins que les « diasporas économiques » plus anciens ont perdus dans ce processus leur cohésion sociale transnationale traditionnelle ainsi qu’une part de leur conscience diasporique. J’illustre cela en examinant les expériences des Américains d’origine japonaise, particulièrement celle de la descendance des Nikkei qui représente l’une des franges de la diaspora japonaise la plus répandue à travers les Amériques. Bien qu’ils aient réussi leur assimilation aux États-Unis au fil des générations, ces derniers n’ont toutefois pas su conserver l’identité diasporique qui les reliait avec leur région d’origine ou à d’autres communautés ethniques d’origine japonaise présentes dans les Amériques. Même quand ils rencontrent les Nikkei en provenance d’autres pays, les différences culturelles nationales qui les séparent font qu’il leur est difficile de développer une identité diasporique qui permette de les distinguer comme des descendants japonais partageant un patrimoine culturel commun ou une expérience historique commune.
Swedish troops were the first major group of foreigners to be exiled to Siberia. This article overviews their early eighteenth century diaspora, particularly their livelihoods, religiosity and terms of imprisonment, their relations with Russian citizens and authorities, and their potential contributions to the development of Asian Russia. It builds primarily on Swedish secondary and primary sources such as the officers' diaries, and to some extent on the much scarcer Russian historiography.
History, Memories and Identities
Canada’s Moroccan Jewish community is the third largest diaspora in the world after Israel and France. This article introduces Sephardi Voices, a project to collect, preserve and archive audio-visually the life stories of Jews displaced from Arab/Islamic lands and in the process sketches an overview of the resettlement of one Sephardi migration community, the Moroccan to Montreal. Featuring scholars like Joseph Levy, Yolande Cohen and Jean-Claude Lasry, the integration experience of Moroccan Jews into the anglophone Ashkenazi community and the francophone Québécois society is presented, along with their efforts to build a French-Sephardi institutional structure to preserve their heritage. The article highlights the role of oral history and the aesthetics of remembrance as important vehicles to depict how memories are imparted and identities formed. Today, the Moroccan Jews of Montreal are transnationals and proud to add Canadian to their identity chain of Jewish, Sephardi, Moroccan and French.
Globalization, Brain Drain, and the Postcolonial Condition in Nigeria
This essay examines the trajectories of skilled labor migrants within a global South-North migration matrix using an interdisciplinary framework. Focusing on Nigeria's huge brain drain phenomenon, the essay draws from the limited available data on the field, interpreting those data through theoretical perspectives from postcolonial studies, Marxism, cultural studies, and human geography. The study spotlights the example of the United States of America as a receptacle of skilled migrants and raises questions of social justice along the North-South divide. The research demonstrates that contrary to the dominant image promoted by some elements in the Western media of migrants as irritants or criminals who disturb well-cultivated, advanced World economies and social spaces, 1 those nations benefit highly from Africa's (and other migrant countries') labor diasporas, especially the highly skilled professionals.
Jonathan Magonet and Lionel Blue
This interview was conducted in 1965 by Jonathan Magonet at the time when Lionel Blue was newly appointed European Director of the Youth Section and of the World Union for Progressive Judaism itself. It addresses his concern about rebuilding European Diaspora Jewish communities after the war, through helping them find meaning and purpose in their existence beyond survival as an end in itself. Progressive Judaism is well placed to take on such a task because of its openness to the outside world. Progressive Judaism is not a breakaway from Rabbinic Judaism but sifts it and transposes it into a new key. He outlines a variety of programmes he envisages to undertake this work.
Children's Literature in Jewish Palestine During the Holocaust Years
For years, it had been assumed that since the end of the Second World War and up until the Eichmann trial in 1961, Hebrew culture in Israel tended to repress the Holocaust or narrate it according to the Zionist ideology's viewpoint – to accentuate the events of the rebellion against the Nazis and to infer from them a lesson of national revival and restoration. The consensus concerning children's literature, in particular, maintained that it had been utterly committed in the early decades of statehood to extracting out of the Holocaust a 'fortifying tale' bearing a national lesson. This paper, however, argues the existence of a developed Holocaust discourse in children's literature written in Jewish Palestine during the war years, and suggests that children's literature even predated adult literature in setting the Holocaust theme at centre stage. This article aims to shed light on a rare narrative in the Israeli public discourse of the Holocaust: the literary story told to Jewish children in Palestine during the years of the Holocaust. At the time, this new narrative for children was extensive and diverse. For the first time in the history of Zionist children's literature, it challenged the Diaspora-negating code that had been dominant since its beginning. Nevertheless, only a few years later, with the founding of the State of Israel, this new narrative was rapidly 'forgotten' by the Israeli collective memory and proceeded to be neglected by literary and educational research as well. Although it spanned a short time period and failed to leave a literary impact on writings for children in Israel, this Holocaust narrative is tremendously important, having evoked the unique voice of the Jewish settlement in Palestine (the Yishuv) during the Second World War. It also serves as a case study of the crucial function of children's literature within the public discourse during traumatic times, illuminating the advantages of children's literature as a marginal and peripheral form of communication in the public domain.
Back to Being Jewish?
In this ethnographic essay, I reflect on the origins and present condition of the new (post-2010) Israeli diaspora in Berlin. Based on 10 months of participant observation, I map out the main sub-streams of this emigration; elicit the economic, professional, and political reasons for leaving Israel; and explore these émigrés’ initial encounter with German society. My observations suggest that many Israeli residents of Berlin (mostly secular) rediscover their Jewishness along diasporic lines and forge ties with the local religious and community organizations. Being a small minority in the German-speaking milieu, Israelis invest in building their own Hebrew-based community networks, including media outlets and cultural and educational institutions. Lastly, I explore these émigrés’ ties with Israel and conclude that many Israelis in Berlin are sojourners rather than immigrants and that Berlin is but one phase in their life journey.
Perspectives from a Network for Refugee Assistance
Shawn Teresa Flanigan and Mounah Abdel-Samad
This article presents early qualitative data from an ongoing project that includes interviews with members of a Syrian diaspora network engaged in giving and receiving philanthropy. With the onset of the Syrian refugee crisis, the network began to provide education for displaced Syrian children in Lebanon in addition to its other activities. The purpose of the research project is to understand motivations and mechanisms of humanitarian assistance toward a conflict region, and also if and how the practice of philanthropy is tied to peacebuilding on the ground and individuals’ sense of political efficacy. This article gives particular attention to the civil society aspects of diasporan assistance, and how those engaged in humanitarian aid conceive of their influence on politics, policy, and peacebuilding.