Category Archives: book

A Must Read on the Afro-Caribbean Diasporic Experience

Pilgrim State

Pilgrim State

My last post was about some of my favorite fiction and non-fiction about the migration/diasporic experiences. While I mentioned that most of my previous reading has an “Iranian” slant, I’ve just come across a great book written about a diaspora I know little about, but after reading Pilgrim State, I hope to learn more about.

Pilgrim State is about, author, Jacqueline Walker’s dynamic childhood and the lessons she and her siblings learned from their equally dynamic and strong-willed mother, Dorothy. I recently had the chance to meet and have a chat with Jacqueline and she alerted me to the fact that many books written about the migration and diasporic experience rarely are about mothers who bring their families over to begin a new life elsewhere. This is why I feel her book is a noteworthy addition to diasporic literature and to the Afro-Caribbean experience in Britain.

I’ve invited Jacqueline as a guest blogger for Intersections and am excited by the wealth of knowledge and genuine understanding she’ll be able to bring regarding the Afro-Caribbean diaspora.



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New Book/DVD-ROM Project: Transcultural Documentary Practice

Projecting Migration – Transcultural Documentary Practice
Edited by Alan Grossman and Áine O’Brien

Migration is one of the major political issues of the current era and increasingly determines who we are and how we define ourselves. Projecting Migration: Transcultural Documentary Practice is a groundbreaking book/DVD-ROM project that explores migration in locations as varied as Lebanon, Ireland, South Africa and the US/Mexico border. Through its diverse collection of essays, films, photography and audio recordings, the project offers a dynamic, fresh approach. Each essay is cross-referenced with DVD chapters of original footage to provide unique practical examples of ethnographic filmmaking, as well as perspectives on the subject not usually portrayed in the media. Continue reading

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Asia, Pacific Rim, Middle East – Global essays on ethnicity

We seek essays from multiple disciplinary perspectives for an edited volume on race and ethnicity in global perspective. This work uses a chronological topical approach to the study of race and ethnicity in history and contemporary society. We particularly seek essays on the following topics:
Color and Caste in the Indus Valley
China’s Ethnic Minorities
Religion and Ethnicity in India and Pakistan
Inter-Ethnic Marriage in the Arab-Iraeli Conflict
Afro-Latino Identity
Hapa Identity in Pacific Rim History
Race and the Australian Aborigines
Race and Native American Identity

For further details contact:

Hettie V. Williams
Lecturer – Department of History and Anthropology
Monmouth University
Visit the website at

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CFP: ”Celebrity Colonialism”

“Celebrity Colonialism: Fame, Representation, and Power in Colonial and Post-Colonial Cultures”
Call for Submissions to an Edited Collection of Academic Papers

Colonialism and postcolonialism produce their fair share of celebrities, yet the meanings, forms, and functions of celebrities within colonial and post-colonial cultures have received little scholarly attention.

Invitations are extended to scholars who wish to contribute to a collection of papers that explores the various and ambivalent relationships between the cultures of celebrity and (post)colonialism. In particular papers are sought that examine

* Celebrities and the Colonial Moment: how have radio, art, film, literary, exploration, and other celebrities of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries been implicated in colonial and anti-colonial processes?

* Celebrities and the Contemporary Politics of Benevolence: from Hollywood celebrities adopting children from developing nations, to music superstars advocating global economic reforms, how do celebrities influence contemporary public understanding of the line between benevolence and exploitation? How is celebrity questioned, critiqued, and resisted in alternative media?

* Celebrities and Subalternity: from UK’s Celebrity Big Brother to Bollywood and Indigenous Australian cinema actors, how do celebrities complicate the politics of race and class, and how do indigenous celebrities function as cultural intermediaries for the negotiation of contemporary political and economic inequalities? Are there such things as ‘subaltern celebrities,’ and if so, how do they function within post-colonizing cultures to shape cultural memory and intervene in process such as the ‘Reconciliation’ movements of the 1990s?

In May 2006 journalist Brendan O’Neill coined the term ‘celebrity colonialism’ while reporting on the drama attending the Namibian birth of the child of Hollywood celebrities Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. The term was meant to describe the power celebrities possess to influence public and private institutions within colonial and post-colonial cultures. Colonial cultures have always produced celebrities, yet there has been little examination of them through the prism of their celebrity.

In April this year the University of Queensland Postcolonial Research Group hosted a two-day symposium to explore the various and ambivalent relationships between the cultures of celebrity and colonialism. The present project will showcase a number of the papers from that conference while seeking contributions from other scholars working in this field.

The collection will seek to answer the questions: How do celebrities function within colonial and post-colonial cultures? In what way have various famous figures made their name through their celebration of or antagonism towards colonial and neo-colonial imperialism? How does the popular appeal of celebrity inflect the way (post-) colonial matters can be brought before and received by the public?

Interested contributors should email a 250 word proposal to Dr Robert Clarke (, along with a biographical note, by no later than Friday 27 July 2007. Final submission of papers would be required by no later than Friday 27 June 2008.

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Placeless People: Aspects of Exile

Irish Historian Ultan Cowley, author of The Men who built Britain: A History of the Irish Navvy (Dublin, 2001), is researching a new book on Emigration as Exile.


We are finding deep wells of sadness in ordinary human lives’, Sr. Teresa Gallagher, Director, Irish Counselling and Psychotherapy, London.


There is some degree of sadness in every human life but the lives to which Teresa Gallagher was referring are those of elderly Irish emigrants in Britain.

Half a million Irish migrated to Britain in the Nineteen Fifties while the Republic’s population reached an all-time low of 2.8 million. Roughly 80% of those emigrants had left school before the age of fifteen. In the words of one female emigrant: ‘They taught us to hate England – and then they sent us over here!’

A number returned to Ireland but the majority did not. Living often only amongst their own, many tended to mix sparingly with the British, harbouring the belief that ‘some day’ they would return ‘home’ – even while their children progressed through the British education system and into the workplace.

The experience of novelist and navvy Domhnall MacAuligh, who emigrated to England in 1951, is typical. His successful Irish-language memoir, Dialann Deorai (Diary of an Exile) was published in 1964 and translated into English under the title, An Irish Navvy. Throughout his life he regularly wrote for Irish newspapers and magazines while continuing to work full-time in construction.

MacAuligh, though happily married, never reconciled himself to life in England. Asked by an Irish journalist in 1966 what troubled him most, he responded:

Bringing up a family in Northampton; the children speaking with Northampton accents…apart from that, I’ve never felt settled in this place. I still feel like an outsider – that I don’t belong. There was a free-ness about expatriation once; you told yourself it would be over sooner or later…But that’s no longer true; all that’s ahead of you is the time you have left on Earth – spend it here in loneliness and desolation. I came here in 1951 and I’ve never felt at home here in all that time’.

Clearly it was no accident that MacAuligh, a fluent Gaelic speaker, should have chosen the word Deorai for his title. Deorai, Gaelic for exile, translates literally as Placelessness or Banishment. Placelessness – not belonging, traumatises many rural Irish for whom community is everything, while the corrosive sense of banishment – of leaving because Ireland had no place for them, carries implications for those at home as well as for those abroad which have yet to be faced up to fully:

`Emigration has allowed those who remained at home to enjoy a standard of living which is not justified by the volume of their production. If it ended suddenly…life would become much more competitive, and much less remunerative’. Meenan, James, The Irish Economy since 1922 (Liverpool, 1970) 

I have encountered this perception amongst many emigrants in Britain but I regarded the emigrant experience in the United States as significantly different. In that country, since the early 20th century, Irish emigrants seemed well regarded and those at home appeared Continue reading

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The Politics of Populations: CFP/Edited Collection

Call for Papers: The Politics of Populations
David Karjanen and Courtney Helgoe, editors.

 This edited collection pushes scholarship beyond identity politics  and critiques of biopower to examine the practices, ideologies, and forces that forge the very  populations which are objects of new and transforming technologies of governance, cultural politics, and practice in an era of increasing integration and conflict.
While neo-liberal global capitalism depends upon the accelerated movement of people and goods across borders and spaces, heightened concerns about such flows–  those of national security, public health, and cultural identity– pose strong resistance to this fluidity. At the same time, states are changing, issues of security and risk are being transformed; new populations “made” and older populations “re-made.”  These processes cut across all fields of intellectual theory and popular  practice: politics, public health, demographics, statistics, immigration control, and so forth, all contribute to the changing way populations are conceived, made, and managed today.  At the center of these processes are institutions, practices, and cultural politics that determine who and what will cross borders, who is appropriate to the nation, who can be a citizen, who merits being counted in government statistics, who is a threat to public health, national security, and/or racial and sexual purity. Such practices deploy both new and old technologies of risk, profiling assessments, and policies based on legislation, fusing cultural and ideological constructs based on race, nation, gender, sexuality, religion, class, and other forms of social differentiation.   Though we might expect globalization to diminish the importance of national, ethnic, racial, and gendered identities, instead new techniques of identification are developing or being transformed- in particular, that new forms of “population” are emerging, and older historical “populations” are re-emerging. Continue reading

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Exile and Narrative/Poetic Imagination

Contributions are solicited for inclusion in a book on Exile and Narrative/Poetic Imagination. Papers may examine texts by any exiled writer from any country, dealing with the literary representation of exile. Possible topics may include, but are not limited to: women and exile; creativity and exile; personal/cultural memory; remembering, longing, and forgetting; language and identity; (re)contruction of identity.
Submissions and Inquiries: Dr. Agnieszka Gutthy –
Send a 15-20 page paper along with a copy of your CV
Essays should be documented in MLA style and should be in Word format, 12 point typeface, Times New Roman
Deadline for submission:  October 31, 2007 

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