What is a diaspora? For the Greeks, from whose language the word originated, diaspora meant the dispersal of population through colonization. For Jews, Africans, Armenians, and others, the word acquired a more sinister and brutal meaning. Diaspora meant a collective trauma, a banishment into exile, and a heart-aching longing to return home. During the early modern period, trade and labor diasporas girded the mercantilist and early capitalist worlds. Today the term has changed again, often implying a positive and ongoing relationship between migrants' homelands and their places of work and settlement.
In this perceptive and arresting analysis, Robin Cohen illuminates the changing meanings of diaspora and the contemporary diasporic condition. This volume serves to introduce a major new series, Global Diasporas, which will prove essentail for students of race, ethnicity, nationalism, and comparative politics.
About the Author:
Robin Cohen is professor of sociology at the University of Warwick.