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
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.
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.
Fears of State Surveillance in Eritrea and in the Diaspora
Since 2005, the Eritrean state has implemented measures against the increasing desertion of conscripts by retaliating against deserters' families. This article explores the fears spread by this measure in Eritrea and analyzes how people have interpreted its erratic enforcement, including in those countries to which deserters have fled in massive numbers to seek political asylum. The retaliation has served to 'export' fears about the Eritrean state's surveillance abroad and has reshaped political imagination concerning the power of the Eritrean authoritarian state in the diaspora. I argue that imaginings about the state play a crucial role by curbing the political dissidence of new exiles and by giving rise to new fault lines in the diaspora communities in ways that are beneficial to the current Eritrean leadership.
Hadramī Migrants in the Indonesian Diaspora
Johann Heiss and Martin Slama
The article reflects on the role of genealogy in the process of Hadramī migration to Indonesia and explores the relation between genealogy and the construction of hierarchy and identity among diaspora Hadramīs. In addition to persons and ideas travelling along genealogical networks from the Hadramawt to Indonesia, the authors examine long-distance flows originating from Middle Eastern centres of Islamic learning, which were used to question a genealogically based social hierarchy. After discussing the flows and movements of the colonial period, our focus advances to the present, as we investigate the consequences of both new and renewed long-distance connections between Indonesia and the Hadramawt.
Kurdish Activists and Diaspora Politics
This article takes the expressions of moral outrage in an illegal demonstration in Norway as a point of entry to explore how the political unfolds in Kurdish diasporic spaces. The premise for this analysis is that moral outrage among pro-Kurdish activists is an enduring, intergenerational process, the expression of which displays a multitemporality and multidirectionality. In order to explore the many layers of moral outrage this article proposes an analysis along the literature of political ritual and performance, which focuses on signification, symbolism, identity constructions, and the importance of audiences. I argue that Kurdish activists consciously perform their moral outrage to position themselves in relation to their host country, other Kurdish activists in Norway, and the larger transnational Kurdish community in Europe. As such, moral outrage turns out to be central in the enactment of Kurdish diaspora politics.
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.
This article examines the impact of art, performance, and technology on the global transformation of heritage tourism in recent years. Thanks to a series of case studies focusing on sites of memory deemed important to diasporic Africans, this article shows how art, performance, and technology are central to identity formation through an examination of mnemonic aesthetics and practices. Recent changes in heritage tourism have given rise to the establishment of categories such as “tangible“ and “intangible“ heritage as well as the construction of museums, the implementation of walking tours or the promotion of reenactments and ritual performances alongside environmental, volunteer, and virtual tourism. But how do tourists' interpretations of historic sites of memory change when various economic, political, social, and cultural factors converge globally? People seek experiences and outlets that could enable them to cling to those things that are familiar to them, while enabling them to identify with like communities in the midst of ground-shaking social, technological, economic, and political changes. Heritage tourism is one of those social practices that produces a sense of centeredness through a complex negotiation and presentation of memory, art, and performance.
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.
'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'.