Diaspora is purely a rational manifestation of dispersion. This manifestation does not take into account the period for which the Diaspora has been in existence, or how it was shaped. There is a need for articulation of the linkages that tie the Diaspora, because they are not conventional (Patterson & Kelly, 2000). Therefore, Diaspora is both a process and a condition. It is a process in the making, and a condition that is situated within the global race, and sexual category hierarchies. Since Diaspora is made, it can be unmade. The study of the elements of the Diaspora raises questions pertaining to Africa’s perception in relation to its Diaspora (Patterson & Kelly, 2000).
There are notions of Diaspora everywhere because people are always urged to think global, and avoid being limited to thinking within their national borders. Instead, they should think of Diaspora. Many scholars, including Gilroy and Thompson have contributed to the revival of African Diaspora studies (Patterson & Kelly, 2000). The two published their works, titled, The Black Atlantic. Newer texts that have explored the African Diaspora include “Africa and Africans in the Making of Atlantic World,” “Africans in the Americas,” “A History of the Black Diaspora” and “Crossing Boundaries: Comparative History of Black People in Diaspora,” among others (Patterson & Kelly, 2000, pp 13-37).
There has also been an increase the number of universities that search for specialists in the African diaspora. Conferences pertaining to African diaspora have emerged, at an extremely high frequency. According to the Journal, Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies, which focuses on migration and globalization, the emphasis on the African Diaspora is of a common concern (Patterson & Kelly, 2000). 13
Attempts to make sense of the African diaspora started in the eighteenth century, and African diaspora conceptualization has significantly affected the way scholars write the history of the modern world (Patterson & Kelly, 2000). It has to be noted that the making of a “Black Atlantic” culture and identity was both a product of “the West” and of internal developments in Africa. The African culture was shaped by racial capitalism, imperialism, and colonialism. These are the same processes that created the current African Diaspora, and transformed the Western culture, at the same time.
The “Black Atlantic” is not just counter cultural, but it is an essential part of the creation of the modern world, as it is known (Patterson & Kelly, 2000). New World black cultures appear to be counter to European narratives of history because Europe expelled blackness to create its make-believe traditions, empires and fictions of supremacy and racial purity. The historical construction of the African Diaspora should be emphasized, as well as its diasporic identity and social, cultural and political materializations. Other issues that should be emphasized are the black migrant/colonial intellectuals’ contributions to the rethinking of the modern west (Patterson & Kelly, 2000). Reinvention of Africa and the Diaspora via migrations, cultural work, globalization, and communication transformations is also imperative.
Studying the African diaspora should incorporate both Africa’s encounters with Indian Ocean societies, Asia and the Islamic world and the encounters of Europe with the new world (Patterson & Kelly, 2000). The U.S history that recorded dramatic events in the seventeenth century to the twentieth century should also be taken into consideration, when seeking to make a complete and reliable study of the African diaspora.
Diaspora simply means dispersal. The word has clear biblical roots, and Psalms 68:31 was cited by early activists, clergymen and historians (Patterson & Kelly, 2000). The African diaspora has been talked about to emphasize the unifying experiences of African people who were dispersed by the slave trade. It also refers to the role that African people played in the alteration and creation of new cultures, ideas and institutions, outside Africa. Furthermore, included are the problems of building pan-African movements in the world (Patterson & Kelly, 2000).
Both the works of scholars who studied dispersal and African cultural survivals in the new world, as well as, the construction and reproduction of diasporic identities have been acknowledged. Constituent elements of African Diaspora include the dispersal from a homeland by violent forces, the creation of a memory, the marginalization in the new location and the commitment to maintain or restore the homeland (Patterson & Kelly, 2000). The desire to return and a continuing relationship and identity with the homeland contribute to solidarity of a group.
Transnational connections that link diasporas should not be articulated through an actual or figurative homeland. The Diaspora is not an autonomous territory, as much as it seems limited to Africans. It does not have a single, official language, but there seems to be a single culture with remarkable historical roots, or some efforts to create such a culture (Patterson & Kelly, 2000). Normally, Diaspora members consider themselves oppressed, home landless. They also imagine that Africa is their future home.
Some authors have established that some aspects of African Culture survived the middle passage and continued to exist, thereafter, in the new world. Brazil is among the countries that made room for the study of African survivals because majority of its citizens are black (Patterson & Kelly, 2000). Some new scholarship of the African Diaspora demonstrated that much of the West and Central African culture survived in the Americas. New, dynamic cultures emerged due to cultural contact or encounter between Africans and other people.
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