IIAS Publications Series Edited Volumes

Global Indian Diasporas: Exploring Trajectories of Migration and Theory

Gijsbert Oonk

Global Indian Diasporas: Exploring Trajectories of Migration and Theory present new historical and anthropological research on South Asian migrants world-wide. The authors share a strongly ambivalent feeling towards the mainstream issues highlighted in the ‘South Asians in diaspora' discourse, such as the emphasis on the migrants' relation to their homeland and the reproduction of Indian culture abroad. Therefore, this book can be read as a first attempt to focus on the limits of the diaspora concept, rather than on its possibilities and range. From a comparative perspective - with examples from South Asian migrants in Surinam, Mauritius, East Africa, the UK, Canada and the Netherlands - this collection shows that in each of these regions there are South Asian migrants who do not fit into the Indian diaspora concept. Thus we attempt to stretch the concept beyond its current use by highlighting empirical cases, which raise the question about the limits of the effectiveness of the diaspora as an academic historical/sociological concept.

Gijsbert Oonk is Associate Professor in Non-Western History at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

‘No concept is any good unless it can be questioned. No scholar is any good if he or she follows fashion slavishly. By testing the term "diaspora" almost to destruction the authors in this richly-researched collection have both revealed the limits of the concept and taken it in new, creative directions.'

-Robin Cohen, Professorial Fellow, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford