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.
"Considering that "Global Diasporas" covers a huge range of
subjects, it is truly masterful. It has been put into a coherent
theoretical scheme, it is backed by a lot of impressive
scholarship, and it is clearly, even elegantly written." -- Daniel
Chirot, University of Washington
Robin Cohen is professor of sociology at the University of
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