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Diaspora essay

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Diaspora essay example

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Diaspora essay

  1. 1. Surname Here 1 Name Course Title Name of Professor Date of Submission Critiquing Brent Hayes Edwards’s The Uses of Diaspora The opportunity that Brent Hayes Edwards seized in his article The Uses of Diaspora is the fact that even though the issue of Diaspora is still adorned with different names it remains bound by a study of the histories and collective experiences of Black people. Although the theoretical perspectives of understanding Black people are nearly as diverse as the varied monikers the discipline is known of, it is the connection between theory and classification that lies as the core interest of Edwards’s article. Basically, the article claims that the different terms employed to define the discipline are more than merely terms; in truth, the different terms are determined by geographical beliefs that have immediate repercussions for issues of epistemology in establishing the extent and form of the discipline. Edwards has referred to W.E.B. Du Bois and Karl Marx to create a perspective for forming his treatise. Edwards summarizes the ways in which the concept of duality of Du Bois and idea of capitalism of Karl Marx can provide a useful model of African-American Studies that harmonizes African-centred cultural issues with the certain political and economic necessities confronting Blacks in different parts of the world. Moreover, similar to Du Bois, Edwards tries to engross the discipline in a critical historical foundation, whether it is political
  2. 2. Surname Here 2 science, cultural, sociological, or literary focused, while taking into account the large-scale impacts of racial-capitalism. Edwards seized the opportunity to show the debated feature of the national focus in African-American Studies. He tried to substantiate that there remains a lot of diversity and disparity among scholars of African-American Studies who use the United States as their main focus. It is apparent in Edwards’s article that the various names gave the tradition of African American Studies a far-reaching global image and perspective, a viewpoint that enveloped the whole global experience of the Black people. Within the global perspective Edwards remained successful in using a comparative framework. The African region and the global African Diaspora are integrated into a holistic perspective that lies upon a gamut of potential relations, but are basically related. Edwards’s definition provides credibility to political and cultural relations between the Diaspora and Africa. For instance, understood on its own terms, the Haitian Revolution shows the different ways the Black people acted in response to their places in the world. The article of Edwards, in relation to this, claims that the failure of migrants to assimilate completely into the nation and culture of Haiti permanently marked how several Black people view themselves with respect to Haitians. The ideas of emigrants of being an ‘African’ were thwarted together with the movement, since in Haiti they not merely faced religious, environmental, and economic problems, but a strange racial atmosphere as well (Walker 2001). A number of African Americans started to express, specifically, a multifaceted diasporan awareness which embraces both cultural diversities and racial commonalities between Black peoples in the United States. By the advent of the period of antebellum, African Americans certainly regarded themselves as part of an
  3. 3. Surname Here 3 African Diaspora (Fenderson 2009). Basically, the argument of Edwards opens an opportunity for the understanding of the connection between the Diaspora and Africa that is rooted in historical experiences, collective intellectual past, political relations, and cultural ties, without the one dominating the others. Furthermore, Edwards’s argument, which relies on ‘basic interrelationships’ and the notion of the ‘African world’, implies a continuously developing interconnections between the Diaspora and Africa that transcend a stagnant customary Africa, or a focus on Africa that is entirely founded on the Black experience. Even though Edwards agrees to the significance of the Black experience in forming scholastic meaning to the experience and history of the Black people, he also emphasizes a multifaceted connection which pulls Africa to the discourse outside its role as the root of the African Diaspora and unites the Diaspora and Africa in similar historical eras. At its core therefore, Edwards’s argument is both an extension of the regional and national focus on the African American Studies program and a denunciation of the studies that tried to create Black Studies in behalf of British and U.S. imperialism. However, there are limitations in the opportunity seized by Edwards in the article. The most apparent is his limited perspective of the Diaspora. In Edwards’s discussion he misses places in the Diaspora that have lately started to gain continuous emphasis in the African American Studies program, such as Germany, Australia, Great Britain, and Black people in the Indian Ocean (Fenderson 2009), among a number of other regions. The diasporic emphasis of Edwards is focused on the Black people in the Americas. Even though Edwards did not view that part of the Black Diaspora that is outside Americas, the notion of his Diaspora is open to encompassing the whole Diaspora because it relies strongly on the concept of the African world.
  4. 4. Surname Here 4 Certainly, Edwards would recognize studies that try to widen our understanding of the Diaspora and introduce and explain the histories and experiences of African people all over the world. It is fundamental that scholars who are engaged in the African Studies program are definite on what each of the various names implies, the focus they require, when they surfaced within the tradition of African Studies and how they work. The different focuses, as they are shown in the evocative names, illustrate the critical discourse that lies at the core of the tradition of African Studies and the manner that intellectual fields are reconstructed, reanalyzed, and reformed. Furthermore, putting emphasis on the geographical assumptions provides another way to the traditional model of studying the issue through the lens of theoretical and political perspectives, such as feminists, Afrocentric, pluralists, Marxists, etc, that have a tendency to distort the discipline and its history towards certain theoretical standpoints and function to fragment the Black Studies program. Looking at the discipline through the windows of geographical analyses exposes the African Studies program to diverse points of view and multiple assertions. References Fenderson, J. “The Black Studies Tradition and the Mappings of Our Common Intellectual Project,” The Western Journal of Black Studies 33.1 (2009): 46+
  5. 5. Surname Here 5 Walker, S. Africa Roots/American Culture: Africa in the Creation of the Americas. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2001.
  6. 6. Surname Here 5 Walker, S. Africa Roots/American Culture: Africa in the Creation of the Americas. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2001.

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