The dispersion of communities of people physically displaced from their perceived ‘homeland’ to other parts of the globe has been a defining feature of the human experience. Commonly referred to as diasporas, these groups have travelled to other lands for reasons including to escape persecution, to seek a better life and to exploit economic opportunities. As a critical framework, diaspora directs our attention to the impact of relocation/dislocation on the lives and identities of affected individuals, the homelands they leave and the new places where they make their homes. Diaspora has often been defined in terms of what it is not – not from “here,” not “at home,” not “rooted.” This approach is consistent with the way modern—that is, privileged—subjectivity is primed to understand identity in terms of how it differs from an ‘other’. For this reason, the language of difference is inextricably linked to the concept of identity. Whether they are designated as exiles, expatriates, alien residents, transnationals, dual/multiple-citizens, refugees, or other migrants, diasporans frequently are regarded—by others as well as by themselves—as ‘other’. While diaspora offers convenient terminology for talking about groups living away from an ancestral homeland, it has acquired particular meanings and connotations about the nature of dispersion, the orientation of displaced persons to the homeland and the impact of boundaries on identity. However, influential voices in the field have called for diaspora to be through of as a critical practice that engages in an ongoing discussion with diasporic experience without falling into the temptations to categorize or define too rigidly.
As we approach the end of the first 20 years of the 21st century, we are well positioned to consider how members of displaced groups relate to identity markers such as race, ethnicity, nationality, language, religion, and other socio-cultural categories, having regard to the impact of globalisation, connectivity and mobility. If the language of difference, binary categories of here/there and other features of customary understandings of diaspora are no longer appropriate, then new approaches for conceptualising, theorising, representing and interacting with diasporas are needed. Accordingly, the third international interdisciplinary conference on diaspora provides a platform for participants from all relevant fields, professions and practices to engage in dialogues that shed light on the evolving meaning of diasporas and the tangible application of that knowledge in the community with a view to forming a selective publication to engender further research and collaboration. The conference organisers welcome proposals for presentations in a variety of formats (presentations, workshops, panels, group activities, performances, etc.) that address any aspect of diaspora. These topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Home: ideas of what constitutes home and belonging or being at home; “homing”; relationships between diaspora communities and so-called homelands; replication or (re-)creation of home/land; idealisation of returning home; experiences of returning home Identity and representation of diaspora including through memory and witnessing; literature; music; performance; film and other visual media
- Power and voice: liminality and in-betweenness, marginalisation, (in)visibility, and relations of and to power
- Policy and law: NGOs, charities and government agencies that provide assistance to diasporans; political agency and activism of diasporans; impact of diaspora on foreign policy; approaches to recognising and protecting rights of diasporans
- Connectivity and technology: impact of television, radio, telephony, the internet, social media, and other modes of connection; eDiasporas; impact of privilege on who is connected and who is not; role of technology in assisting diaspora to reshape “home” from a distance and vice versa
- Impact of intersectionalities: entanglements/tensions relating to language, race and ethnicity, nationality, culture and other diasporic diversities on relations within and between diaspora communities—and how those relationships are discussed
- Sex, gender, and sexuality: how differences in sex, gender, and orientation produce differing perspectives on what constitutes diasporic identity; how these differences produce competing diasporicnarratives; how diasporic experiences facilitate the production of alternate social performances and identity narratives; how LGBTQ+ members of diaspora communities negotiate hetero-normativity in their respective communities; queering diaspora/diasporicising the queer; experiences of women, trans individuals, those who identity as queer (queer diasporas), those involved in the sex industry, the cultural roles that sex plays, etc.
- Economics: Employment and financial security for diaspora communities; economic impacts of movement by diasporas (including international trade relations)
- Education and pedagogy: how diaspora and education mutually inform each other; experiences of diasporans in the classroom; how diaspora is taught
- Generational issues; intergenerational challenges faced by aging diasporas; differences in diasporicexperiences among (grand)parents and children; how age and generational differences impact the ways in which the diaspora self-identifies and represents itself to others
- Post-colonialism and decolonisation: how discourses around diaspora shifts vis-a-vis evolving politics of post-colonialism and decolonisation, particularly in relation to the ways in which “here” and “there” have traditionally been constructed within colonial language
- Health and wellness: health care and wellness issues that affect diasporans specifically, including ‘Mad Culture’; impact of governments, medical professionals, other institutions and filters on health services for members of diaspora communities; contributions by members of diasporic communities to health and wellness practices (e.g. Eastern medicine treatments, etc.)
- Legacies: impact of diaspora on evolution of languages, genetic traits, geographical boundaries, etc.
Contributions to the Diasporas conference is not limited to academics or to policy gurus or to theoreticians. While contributions from such individuals is welcomed and valued very much, so are contributions from professionals, practitioners, non-government organisations, the voluntary sector, or anyone else who has an interest or concern or view to express on these matters.
We encourage proposals that will engage the minds, if not the hearts, of attendees at these conferences. The conference is not one where presenters will simply read their written work; as most of us can read we don’t need to travel great distances to listen to someone reading. Rather, we encourage proposals that will give rise to discussion and questions and that will give rise to the birth of new and exciting ideas that might help people understand the topic better. And maybe, in some small or big way, such discussion and engagement might lead to some change in our world for the better.
What to Send
The aim of this inclusive interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, storytelling, performances, poster presentations, panels, q&a’s, round-tables etc. Please feel free to put forward proposals that you think will get the message across, in whatever form.
300 word proposals for participation should be submitted by Friday 31st May 2019. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chair.
All submissions will be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.
You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 14th June 2019.
If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 13th September 2019.
Abstracts and proposals may be in Word, PDF, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order: a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: Migrations Submission.
Where to Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chair and the Project Administrator:
Dr Jonathan Rollins: firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Administrator: email@example.com
What’s so Special About Progressive Connexions Events?
A fresh, friendly, dynamic format – at Progressive Connexions we are dedicated to breaking away from the stuffy, old-fashion conference formats, where endless presentations are read aloud off PowerPoints. We work to bring you an interactive format, where exchange of experience and information is alternated with captivating workshops, engaging debates and round tables, time set aside for getting to know each other and for discussing common future projects and initiatives, all in a warm, relaxed, egalitarian atmosphere.
A chance to network with international professionals – the beauty of our interdisciplinary events is that they bring together professionals from all over the world and from various fields of activity, all joined together by a shared passion. Not only will the exchange of experience, knowledge and stories be extremely valuable in itself, but we seek to create lasting, ever-growing communities around our projects, which will become a valuable resource for those belonging to them.
A chance to be part of constructing change – There is only one thing we love as much as promoting knowledge: promoting real, lasting social change by encouraging our participants to take collective action, under whichever form is most suited to their needs and expertise (policy proposals, measuring instruments, research projects, educational materials, etc.) We will support all such actions in the aftermath of the event as well, providing a platform for further discussions, advice from the experts on our Project Advisory Team and various other tools and intellectual resources, as needed.
An opportunity to discuss things that matter to you – Our events are not only about discussing how things work in the respective field, but also about how people work in that field – what are the struggles, problems and solutions professionals have found in their line of work, what are the areas where better communication among specialists is needed and how the interdisciplinary approach can help bridge those gaps and help provide answers to questions from specific areas of activity.
An unforgettable experience – When participating in a Progressive Connexions event, there is a good chance you will make some long-time friends. Our group sizes are intimate, our venues are comfortable and relaxing and our event locations are suited to the history and culture of the event.
Ethos Progressive Connexions believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract or proposal for presentation.
Please note: Progressive Connexions is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence, nor can we offer discounts off published rates and fees.
Sponsored by: Progressive Connexions