Diaspora’s Conceptual Disappearance: Subversion, Assimilation, and South Asian Diasporas with Ishan Ashutosh
For at least the past decade, debates over the concept of diaspora have proceeded by
prying apart its multi-stranded geographies. These developments have chastened the once
celebratory invocations of diaspora as a clarion call for new formulations of space and identity in
the social sciences and humanities. Diaspora’s once insurrectional cartography has been broken
down to the point where diaspora’s evocative spatialities have been lost. The concept now lies
bordered by the very boundaries of which it once confronted, and in its most imaginative
articulations, strove to transgress.
This talk aims to recapture diaspora’s conceptual promise by
turning to three geographies: inter-regional spaces, convergences in the city, and homeland-
diaspora space relations. As I discuss with reference to the diversity of South Asian diasporas,
these three geographies have the capacity to overturn the contemporary borders that tend to
dominate research on migration.