Diaspora Explained (In Video Form!)

Hi all,

I might as well start this blog post with a confession. In the beginning of the quarter I had a difficult time discerning diaspora from regular migration and immigration, and didn’t fully understand why diasporas tend to encapsulate transnational flows and experiences more than other forms of migration.

In this video, Professor Khachig Tololyan, a Comparative Literature professor at Wesleyan University, talks about the experience of diaspora in the 21st century. He explains how money filters from destination countries like the United States back to the country of origin, like India or Armenia. He also touches on how subjects of diaspora identify with their countries after they leave. For example, many American Armenians left before the Soviet occupation changed their country and feel as though they are the true Armenians rather than the citizens still living there. They maintain vested interests in the state of Armenia and believe that their ideas of how the country should be run could change things for the better. They send money back, not just to family members, but also to invest in different aspects of the Armenian infrastructural system. Tololyan and the interviewer discuss how beneficial these transnational ties are for the home country, and whether or not diasporic subjects do “too much or too little” for the countries they leave.

This video offers one perspective on how financescapes, ideoscapes and feelings of national belonging operate within diaspora. It also helps to explain why diasporic literature constitutes such a big part of the transnational canon. I hope you enjoy.

– Xanthe Gallate


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