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Applied Arts in British Exile from 1933

Changing Visual and Material Culture

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Edited by Marian Malet, Rachel Dickson, Sarah MacDougall and Anna Nyburg

Yearbook Volume 19 continues an investigation which began with Arts in Exile in Britain 1933-45 (Volume 6, 2004). Twelve chapters, ten in English and two in German, address and analyse the significant contribution of émigrés across the applied arts, embracing mainstream practices such as photography, architecture, advertising, graphics, printing, textiles and illustration, alongside less well known fields of animation, typography and puppetry. New research adds to narratives surrounding familiar émigré names such as Oskar Kokoschka and Wolf Suschitzky, while revealing previously hidden contributions from lesser known practitioners. Overall, the volume provides a valuable addition to the understanding of the applied arts in Britain from the 1930s onwards, particularly highlighting difficulties faced by refugees attempting to continue fractured careers in a new homeland.

Contributors are: Rachel Dickson, Burcu Dogramaci, Deirdre Fernand, Fran Lloyd, David Low, John March, Sarah MacDougall, Anna Nyburg, Pauline Paucker, Ines Schlenker, Wilfried Weinke, and Julia Winckler.
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Edited by Harjinder Singh Majhail and Sinan Dogan

This book offers fascinating insights into the concept of diaspora by presenting a portrait gallery of writers highlighting diasporas on Welsh, Mauritian, Palestinian, Circassian Kurdish, British Sikh, Dutch Hindustani, Indian, Tamil and African experiences. Harjinder Singh Majhail and Sinan Dogan present the world of diasporas in interesting portrayals such as Gulnur’s research into Circassian history lying hidden in Yistanbulako elegy, Enaya’s visits into Milwaukee in Wisconsin where Palestinian Muslim women marry outside their religion because of the non-availability of suitable partners in their community and Harjinder Majhail’s sojourns into J. K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy portraying a teenager girl’s brave encounters in British Sikh diaspora. Contributors are Vitor Lopes Andrade, Kimberly Berg, Amenah Jahangeer Chojoo, Gülnur Demirci, Sinan Doğan, Jaswina Elahi, Ruben Gawricharn, Lola Guyot, Nadine Hassouneh, Harjinder Singh Majhail and Enaya Hammad Othman.
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Amenah Jahangeer-Chojoo

Mobility as an inherent element of globalisation creates new forms of belonging and identification in diaspora studies underpinned by an expansion of the notion of diaspora which forms part of the process of engagement with diversification and transnationalism. For Cohen (2015) despite the multiple meanings gathered by the concept of diaspora its strength lies in depth, resonance, familiarity as well as its theoretical utility, especially when applied to historical experiences. In a similar manner, the term creole has gathered many shades of meaning but in general it implies processes of cultural exchange and emergence of new languages and cultures. However, although creolisation and diaspora seem to be divergent forms of cultural politics they converge when in analysing phenomena of adaptation of migrants in a diverse environment. These concepts have been usefully applied to analyse the settling process of Mauritians of Islamic faith in the United Kingdom, specifically in the London metropolis. These migrants whose ancestors hailed from the Indian subcontinent have been nurtured in the creolised island society for several generations. In UK, they came across new societal structures and at the same time, a multiplicity of Islamic influences. How far do their socio-religious institutions reflect diasporic influences or a creolised type of adaptation to their new environment? This study indicates that Mauritian migrants to Britain have maintained strong diasporic links to Mauritian Islam especially among the followers of the Bareilvi School. However, some organizations seem to favour a creative, hybridised adaptation to the British peculiar environment.

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Ruben Gowricharn

This article addresses the question of what binds the Indian diaspora together. Like most diasporas it is heterogeneous, for several reasons: most notably that the migrants originate from different areas of India and represent different regional cultures, that their emigration occurred in different eras and that they moved to various places. In most of these societies, the Indians and their descendants succeeded in constituting distinctive ethnic groups. However, the disparities in migration selection, cultural descent, host societies and historical epochs have muddied the waters, meaning that these ethnic groups do not necessarily feel akin to one-another. Nevertheless, they do feel related. The question that presents itself is how this bonding between the diverse segments is forged. This article argues that the connection occurs through glocalization. The concept of glocalization refers to the absorption of global cultural elements by local culture. Commonly noted examples of glocalization include the worldwide ubiquity of MacDonalds and Coca-Cola. With regard to ethnic groups, it could be argued that glocalization has been involved in the definition of ‘home’, ‘locality’ and ‘community’. However, the role of the actors as regards how they form their homes and communities, as well as how localities are shaped and how they are connected with the diaspora, is rarely addressed in the scholarly literature. The present article elucidates this process using the example of the Dutch Hindustanis, a diaspora community within the Indian diaspora.

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Harjinder Singh Majhail

The chapter investigates the construction of Sikh identity in British Sikh Diaspora in J. K. Rowling’s first adult novel The Casual Vacancy, which stirred a ruckus within Sikh Community after its publication leading to the involvement of sgpc and its head showing concern with the negative portrayal of Sikh characters in the novel. Rowling defends the novel by her theory of ‘corrosive racism’ after her ‘vast amount of research’ in Sikhism. The chapter explores diasporic Sikh identity through the character of Sukhvinder who though dyslexic is stifled by her mother and harassed by her classmate Fats through slanderous remarks targeting her Sikh identity. Though Sukhvinder resorts to self-torture after undergoing racism, she emerges victorious like a brave Sikh by her self-determination and emerges a heroine by helping everybody in Britain. The chapter applies Teun A. van Dijk’s racist discourse and post-colonial theories specifically Homi Bhabha’s hybridity of cultures, Jacques Rancière’s distribution of the sensible hinting at the redistribution of identities to make invisible diaspora visible and inaudible audible and Gayatri Spivak’s theory of the subaltern to prove that the Sikh diaspora remains in Charhdi Kala (higher state of mind) even in tough situations. The chapter concludes that though British Sikh diaspora undergoes racialism leading to identity crisis, Sikhs finally find resolution through Sikh identity model Sukhvinder who, treading the footsteps of Sikh heroes like Bhai Kanhayia, becomes a heroin by risking her life to save Robbie and by helping all in the novel.

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Kimberly Berg

The use of the term diaspora to describe cultural, linguistic, or ethnic communities living outside their nations of origin, and the subsequent study of touristic encounters between diaspora and homeland communities, has recently received attention within both the anthropological as well as heritage and tourism studies literature. Individuals living in diaspora return to their homeland to retrace ancestries and identity. Members of the homeland also travel to the diaspora to gain perspective in identity. These trends deserve further study as they illuminate strategic ways in which diaspora identities are engaged for political, social, educational, linguistic, and economic goals. This paper investigates diaspora theory by exploring the layered nature of diaspora identity and heritage constructions, and the implications of these processes for diaspora community members, notably when the ‘homeland’ is actively engaged in diaspora affairs. Rooted in qualitative social network analysis of the transnational Welsh heritage network, this paper uncovers the ways that homeland ideologies, diffused through heritage networks, influence diaspora community participation, whilst restricting benefits of network participation for select members. In the particular case of the Welsh Patagonian community in the Chubut Province of Argentina, participation in Welsh heritage in Patagonia, especially given the increase in Welsh national influence over the construction and maintenance of Welsh Patagonian heritage in recent years, has resulted in a diaspora-in-a-diaspora. Accordingly, this paper seeks to tease apart the ways in which contemporary ties with the homeland influence diaspora identity construction and participation in a heritage economy.

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Lola Guyot

Diaspora politics are taken into consideration for the financial and political support they provide to actors in the homeland. But they also follow their own political agenda and engage in autonomous politics. The evolution of Tamil diasporic mobilization since the end of Sri Lankan civil war in 2009 is representative of this phenomenon. Following the defeat of the ltte and the end of its hold over Tamils abroad, the diaspora has developed into an autonomous – but divided – political force claiming a separatist struggle through political means. Several organizations were created to promote the Tamil cause to host-land politicians and international institutions, in order to incite them to exercise pressure on Sri Lankan government. The peculiarity of these mobilizations is that they are conducted in isolation from – or even at odds with – local Tamil politicians in Sri Lanka. The latter are by and large engaged in the process of reconciliation, while the diaspora continues to follow an autonomist line. The two Tamil political spheres have engaged in a fight for legitimacy, both claiming to be the true representatives of the Tamil people. Recent Tamil activism in the diaspora is in a process of localisation: while its goals are still transnational, its practices are increasingly grounded in host countries and shaped by local dynamics. My paper, based on fieldwork conducted in Tamil diaspora in 2015, provides a reflection about autonomy in diaspora politics and about the ambiguous status of diasporas in this case, between local stakeholders and external interveners.

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Jaswina Elahi

Diaspora communities are established ethnic minorities groups that can easily be conceived of as imagined communities. However, imagined communities manifest themselves temporarily in different forms, including community festivities, weddings, birth ceremonies and religious and cultural gatherings. These kinds of activities are characterised by a short duration and they occur in the host country. This paper addresses a different manifestation of the imagined community: an ethnic community in action illuminated by physical interaction during organised travel across the European continent. It addresses the holiday experience of a large group of Dutch Hindustanis, descendants of British Indian indentured labourers in Suriname, during a bus trip from the Netherlands to Spain. This paper thus describes a relatively unknown topic of settled diaspora communities. Based on participant observation during an annual bus trip and a weeklong stay in Lloret de Mar (Spain), this paper describes ethnic sociability and the bonding effects within the group, notably, the re-establishment of old and the emergence of new bonding effects. Consequently, the manifestation of the imagined diaspora community differs from the familiar manifestations of diaspora communities in their cities of residence, as mentioned above. The topics illuminating the cohesion of the community include the institutional set up, the travel and the stay in Spain. This paper is theoretically relevant in that it addresses a highly under-researched phenomenon of diaspora communities, specifically how their social cohesion is re-established and sustained during the bus travel and stay in Spain.

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Vítor Lopes Andrade

The number and diversity of refugees and asylum seekers in Brazil have been increasing exponentially since 2010 – the average of asylum seekers raised to 900 % in this period. The figure of lgbtiq refugees who asked for asylum in Brazil has grown. The first time the Brazilian government conferred refugee status for someone who migrated due to gender identity was in 2002 for a gay Colombian man. The majority of people who ask for asylum in Brazil are men that come from Africa, mainly Nigeria. This research analyses whether gay African refugees in Brazil can be considered a diasporic population. To meet this purpose, an ethnographic perspective was used taking city of São Paulo as the focus of research as it receives maximum asylum seekers. The results show that if we consider diasporas as communities who perceive themselves as a cultural construction of collective membership living outside their homeland, this cannot be applied to gay African refugees who live in Brazil, since the sexual cultural approach of African diasporas do not include non-heterosexuality. Most of them came by themselves to Brazil and do not want to keep in touch with their fellow citizens. This happens because other people who came from the original country but are not lgbtiq discriminate against them. The conclusion is that the gay African refugees do not form a diaspora in Brazil: most times they just do not want to be with their fellow countrymen and whenever they need to be, they hide their sexuality.

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Enaya Hammad Othman

This chapter uses Muslim communities in greater Milwaukee region in Wisconsin, United States as a case study to examine marriage negotiation among Palestinian women. I argue that Muslim women increasingly play a vital role in making changes to their gender roles and enhancing their marriage choices. Intermarriage outside their ethnic and national groups, increase in marriage age, and the rate of unmarried women become visible phenomena among second-generation Muslim. The decreasing number of suitable potential spouses drove Palestinian-American women to look outside their national and ethnic group for marriage partners. This made them prioritize their universal, religious identity as Muslims over Palestinian ethnic identity. The establishment and the function of mosques and Islamic institutions since 1980s as spaces for community activities helped enforce the Islamic identity. However, Palestinian women as part of a displaced group living in diaspora and longing for their own independent nation-state, generally, preferred to marry a partner from the same cultural background if a compatible potential spouse was available. The importance of this study is that it is the first to examine how Palestinian Muslim women negotiate their marriage by conceptualizing, utilizing, and exploiting their group cultural and religious values in order to expand the boundaries of their social and gender roles and increase their power in negotiating marriage contracts.