Diaspora

“Diaspora” is now a word in the popular domain, but its popularization presents challenges to the field of diaspora studies, namely how to regain some control over its meaning and parameters before it is totally reduced to a simple and simplistic essentialism denoting any kind of human mobility and scattering, or any kind of sentimental yearning by upper-class exiles. World history has been replete with diasporas, starting with the ancient Greeks who gave us the word “diaspora” (to sow or scatter) with their practice of intentionally planting colonies in other lands for cultural propagation and to advance trade. New ones continuously arise from different corners of the world, or emerge reshaped from the bowels of existing diasporas. From the ancient to the modern world, diaspora has been most frequently associated with the traumatic forced expulsion of Jews from their ancestral homeland of Israel and subsequent worldwide dissemination over the course …

This essay may be found on page 49 of the printed volume.

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