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The Network tests the effectiveness of post-diaspora as a new concept and analytic tool

The African-Caribbean Women’s Mobility and Self-fashioning in Post-diaspora Contexts Network (Post-diaspora Network) consists of twelve scholars from the UK, North America and the Caribbean, who will come together to investigate how globalisation might work for African-Caribbean women migrants, even while acknowledging and addressing its exclusions and the production of inequalities.

The network is funded by an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) research grant. The AHRC supports research and dialogue on new dimensions of migration during the UN International Decade for People of African Descent.

The research programme consists of meetings, seminars and a final conference, to be held at London South Bank University (2017, 2018), the University of the West Indies, Mona (September 2017) and The University of Toronto (2018). There will be a call for papers for the seminars and final conference.

The seminars and meetings are structured as discussion platforms that test the effectiveness of post-diaspora as a new concept and analytic tool. It asks how this concept can be used to reimagine new means by which African-Caribbean women achieve agency through mobility in twenty-first century contexts of globalisation, transnationalism and deterritorialisation. Our Post-diaspora Network examines specific ways in which gender enables or necessitates mobility, and the unexpected intimacies that emerge from these mobilities. It investigates ways of articulating the political, imaginative, affective and economic affiliations that challenge the proscriptions of the nation-state, and that productively transgress the social and cultural boundaries used to define gender norms and identities.

  • Post-diaspora is neither a departure from nor a continuation of contemporary usages of diaspora: rather the ‘post’ signals a new problem space that allows us to imagine new futures, by focusing on mobility both as a defining feature of Caribbean identities and as a route to self-fashioning for African-Caribbean women. Rather than linear journeys that result in the reconstitution of a remembered past in a present of new physical and cultural geographies, post-diasporic journeys are rhizomatic: they radically configure the assumed significance of ‘home’ and ‘away’. In rhizomatic journeys, roots are provisional and unfixed. Routes are often circuitous, and return – physical, rhetorical and economic – is a key component of African-Caribbean women’s mobility (Trotz 2006; Trotz and Mullings 2013; Fog Olwig 2012; Putnam 2014; Lawson 2013 Reynolds 2008, 2010).

    The Post-diaspora Network examines specific ways in which gender enables or necessitates mobility, and the unexpected intimacies that emerge from these mobilities. It uses a concept of post-diaspora to articulate the political, imaginative, affective and economic affiliations that challenge the proscriptions of the nation-state, and that productively transgress the social and cultural boundaries used to define gender norms and identities. The Network's interdisciplinary dialogue facilitates an urgent transnational exchange of scholarship and new thinking. It uses gender as a category of analysis, to investigate how African-Caribbean women’s contemporary post-diasporic mobility is evidence of networked journeys and affiliations.

    This transdisciplinary Network uses knowledge and resources of five disciplinary areas: gender studies, literature, sociology, cultural geography and history. The Network also facilitates a transdisciplinary, trans-historical and transnational dialogue on the theme of post-diaspora. It connects scholars from Britain, the Caribbean and North America, who bring their own theoretical, methodological and disciplinary processes to address the Network's research questions. These include the following:

    • What does present research tell us about how Britain, the Caribbean and North America can be understood in post-diaspora contexts?
    • What are the gender dimensions of post-diaspora for African-Caribbean women, with its emphasis on multi-directional mobility and instability?
    • How do these non-linear forms of mobility and the production of multiple affiliations produce the conditions for African-Caribbean women’s agency and self-fashioning?
    • How does an expanded concept of return, including circulatory patterns of migration, the return of goods, money, culture and ideas assist in the articulation of post-diaspora identities?
    • What forms of expression are available to reconfigure identities as post-diasporic?
 
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