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Definition of DIASPORA

1. Diaspora
The term 'diaspora' (Greek διασπορα, a scattering or sowing of seeds) is used (without capitalization) to refer to any people or ethnic population forced or induced to leave their traditional ethnic homelands, being dispersed throughout other parts of the world, and the ensuing developments in their dispersal and culture. Originally, the term Diaspora (capitalized) was used to refer specifically to the populations of Jews exiled from Judea in 586 BC by the Babylonians, and AD 135 by the Romans. This term is used interchangeably to refer to the historical movements of the dispersed ethnic population, the cultural development of that population, or the population itself. The probable origin of the word is the Septuagint version of Deuteronomy 28:25, "thou shalt be a diaspora (Greek for dispersion) in all kingdoms of the earth". The term has been used in its modern sense since the late twentieth century.
The academic field of diaspora studies was established in the late twentieth century in regard to the expanded meaning of diaspora.

  • The African diaspora comprises the movements and culture of Africans taken into slavery and their descendants throughout the world.
  • The Irish diaspora includes the millions of Irish refugees from Ireland due to the Irish Potato Famine and political oppression. (The term first came widely into use in Ireland in the 1990s when the then President of Ireland, Mary Robinson began using it to describe all those of Irish descent.)
  • The French Canadian diaspora includes hundreds of thousands of people who left Quebec for greener pastures in the United States, Ontario and the Prairies between 1840 and the 1930s.
  • The Southeast Asian diaspora includes the refugees from the numerous wars that took place in Southeast Asia, such as World War II, Korean War and the Vietnam War.
  • The Jewish diaspora in modern use, consists of Jews living outside of the Jewish state of Israel. There is a Ministry of Diaspora Affairs in the Israeli government.
  • In modern Greek the word diaspora refers to the large populations of Greek descent living in the United States, Australia and other countries. There is a Department of Diaspora Affairs in the Greek government.

Modern diasporas

The twentieth century has seen massive ethnic refugee crises due to war and the rise of nationalism and racism. The first half of the twentieth century saw the creation of hundreds of millions of ethnic refugees across Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. Many of these refugees who did not die from starvation or war came to the Americas. Such populations included:

  • Jews, Gypsies, and other ethnic minorities from areas under Axis control during World War II; see also Holocaust
  • Various ethnic minorities from areas under Russian and Soviet control following the Russian Revolution, continuing through the mass forced resettlements under Stalin
  • The Heimatvertriebene, ethnic German refugees from the former German Empire during and following World War II
  • Millions of Polish people forced by the Soviet Union to leave their homelands eastwards of the Curzon Line. They were offered no compensation for land and all property left behind
  • Armenian minorities living in the region controlled by the Ottoman Empire fled during genocides from 1880s to the 1910s
  • Overseas Chinese
  • Palestinians
  • Chechens
  • Afghanis

The above list is not comprehensive or definitive. Only a few have been given much historical attention.
During the Cold War era huge populations of refugees continued to form from areas of war, especially from Third World nations, all over Africa, South and Central America, the Middle East, and east Asia.

Referenced By

1 Peter | Abstract Zionism | Anti-Semetism | Anti-Semite | Anti-Semites | Anti-Semitic | Anti-Semitism | Anti-Semitism/archive | Anti-Semitism in Russia and the Soviet Union | Anti-Semitist | Antisemitism | Children of Israel | Church | Churches | Culture of Israel | First Epistle of Peter | Hatespeech of Ultra-Orthodox Jews towards other Jews | History of Jews in Russia and Soviet Union | History of Palestine | History of anti-Zionism | History of the Jews in Russia and Soviet Union | History of the Jews in the Soviet Union | Israeli Culture | Jewish ecumenism | Jews in the Soviet Union | Karaim | Karaism | Karaite | Karaites | List of books by title: D | Operation Shylock | Relationship between segments of Judaism | Saadia | Saadia Gaon | Sephardic music | Soviet Jews | Temple in Jerusalem | Temple of Jerusalem | Ultra-Orthodox Judaism/hatespeech towards other Jews | Zionism | Zionist | Zionist movement | Zionists

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Diaspora".

2. di·as·po·ra
Pronunciation: \dī-ˈas-p(ə-)rə, dē-\
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek, dispersion, from diaspeirein to scatter, from dia- + speirein to sow
Date: 1881
1 capitalized a : the settling of scattered colonies of Jews outside Palestine after the Babylonian exile b : the area outside Palestine settled by Jews c : the Jews living outside Palestine or modern Israel
2 a : the movement, migration, or scattering of a people away from an established or ancestral homeland <the black diaspora to northern cities> b : people settled far from their ancestral homelands <African diaspora> c : the place where these people live

— di·a·spor·ic \ˌdī-ə-ˈspȯr-ik\ adjective

Learn more about "diaspora" and related topics at

Diaspora literacy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Diaspora literacy is a phrase coined by literary scholar Veve Clark in her work "Developing Diaspora Literacy and Marasa Consciousness" (Spillers:1991,40-60). It is the ability to understand and/or interpret the multi-layered meanings of stories, words, and other folk sayings within any given community of the African Diaspora. These meanings supersede those of "...Western or westernized signification" (42), meaning that they go beyond literal or typical literary interpretation into an area of folk understanding that could only be recognized by the eye skilled in such an understanding. Readers rely solely upon a knowledge and lived experience of social, historical, and cultural climates of the various cultures of the African Diaspora as a foundation for interpretation.

Theoretical Foundations of Diaspora Literacy

Diaspora literacy is based upon several different theoretical concepts. The first concept is that of African Diaspora, which is "...the phenomenon and history..." of the displacement of African-descended peoples in the New World colonies of the Atlantic. The second concept is a trio of socio-political movements (The New Negro/Harlem Renaissance; Indigenismo; and Negritude) of the 1920s and 1930s (1991,40). In these movements, the displaced and colonized peoples of the Afro-Atlantic world came to embrace an awareness and appreciation of the political, cultural, and creative self as something unique in itself and thus not required to conform to European aesthetics. The third and final concept is that of Signifyin(g). Signifying is a literary concept developed by scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. in his work "The Signifying Monkey" (Gates, 1988). Essentially the author takes a well-known story or idea and revises it, embellishing it with the language and imbuing it with cultural meanings and signs related to his or her particular Afro-descended culture or within that specific cultures generational cultures. If one were to trace and compare the line of repetitions and reversals, one would then see the creation of a Diasporic literary canon, imbued with a Diasporic language that only a literacy of the intricacies of the cultures could interpret.

History of the Term Diaspora Literacy

At the late 1980s the African Literature Association Conference by Clark. She presented it in a paper delivered on Maryse Conde's Heremakhonon (1991, 58-9). It was later revised in "Developing Diaspora Literacy: Allusion in Maryse Conde's Hérémakhonon" (Davies: 1989, 315-331) in 1989, and in "Developing Diaspora Literacy and Marasa Consciousness" in 1991. Since then, several literature and education scholars have adopted the concept. The most recent adaptation appeared in Joyce E. King’s 2006 "'If Justice is Our Object': Diasporic Literacy, Heritage Knowledge, and the Praxis of Critical Studyin' for Human Freedom"(Ball: 2006, 337-360).


Spillers, Hortense, ed (1991). Comparative American Identities. New York : Routledge ISBN 0415903491.

Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. (1988) The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-503463-5.

Davies, Carole Boyce, ed (1989). Out of the Kumbla: Womanist Perspectives on Caribbean Literature. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press ISBN 086543042X.

Ball, A., ed (2006). With More Deliberate Speed: Achieving Equity and Excellence in Education. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing ISBN 9781405156110.

External links

"'If Justice is Our Objective'"
"With More Deliberate Speed"
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Submitted by Paul Rogers, Oct.27, 2009

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