Wednesday, July 11, 2007
In the humanities, the term 'diaspora' recently emerged as a promising and powerful heuristic concept. It challenged traditional ways of thinking and invited reconsiderations of theoretical assumptions about the unfolding of cross-cultural and multi-ethnic societies, about power relations, frontiers and boundaries, about cultural transmission, communication and translation. The present collection of essays by renowned writers and scholars addresses these issues and helps to ground the ongoing debate about the African diaspora in a more solid theoretical framework. Part I is dedicated to a general discussion of the concept of African diaspora, its origins and historical development. Part II examines the complex cultural dimensions of African diasporas in relation to significant sites and figures, including the modes and modalities of creative expression from the perspective of both artists/writers and their audiences; finally, Part III focusses on the resources (collections and archives) and iconographies that are available today. As most authors argue, the African diaspora should not be seen merely as a historical phenomenon, but also as an idea or ideology and an object of representation. By exploring this new ground, the essays assembled here provide important new insights for scholars in American and African-American Studies, Cultural Studies, Ethnic Studies, and African Studies. The collection is rounded off by an annotated listing of black autobiographies.