From the list on diasporas, being away but connected to home.
Who am I?
I was born in South Africa. My mother was a daughter of Polish immigrants, while my father was a first-generation Jewish Lithuanian (a ‘Litvak’). I emigrated at 20 and have spent much of my life in Europe, with extended periods in Nigeria, the Caribbean, and back in South Africa. Being mobile and displaced is both part of my personal experience and my chosen professional career. Although I do work on other themes (like island societies, creolization, and globalization) I found myself increasingly writing on migration and diaspora.
Robin's book list on diasporas, being away but connected to home
Why did Robin love this book?
The issue of when one can call a dispersal a ‘diaspora’ has been a long-running debate between those interesting in diasporas. Displaced peoples can return, fragment, or assimilate. What factors are in play that impel any one ethnic group to cohere, link to similar communities aboard and continue to connect, emotionally and in other ways, to their place of origin? This is a tough question to answer and Van Hear has a brave try in answering it. He has undertaken field research in Africa and Sri Lanka and his command of the sources and comparisons is impressive. Of course, there are many refugee flows that post-date this book, but it nonetheless stands as a first crack at addressing the issue of diasporic formation.