Monday, November 27, 2006

Borders, Exiles, Diasporas

Borders, Exiles, Diasporas
by Elazar Barkan Editor, Marie-Denise Shelton Editor

How do the concepts border, exile, and diaspora shape individual and group identities across cultures? Taking this question as a point of departure, this wide-ranging volume explores the ways that people create and represent a home away from home. Throughout, the authors emphasize the multiple subjectivities, cultural displacements, and identity politics that have characterized the postcolonial and post-World War II eras. They simultaneously affirm and challenge previous understandings of these three terms, and they investigate their malleability the extent to which they apply to diverse communities. Once the idea of diaspora is dissociated from the historical experiences of a particular group of people, it becomes a universal designation, applicable to all displaced groups. This understanding of diaspora also allows for the creation of a nonnormative intellectual community, one experienced by many contemporary critics and with which they identify. In the postcolonial context, a global middle voice emerges that incorporates the critic and his or her identity as the participant-observer of the discourses on identity. As personal narratives transcend the autobiographical, they become indispensable guarantors of a free theoretical field, without a priori boundaries. The diaspora s voice is thus national and cultural, but it lacks the nation or the geographical definition that would constrain its subject.

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