Alain Médam’s Notion of Diaspora between the Articulation in French and English Translations

To scatter, to sow, October 23, 2010 | © Ade Oshineye.
To scatter, to sow, October 23, 2010 | © Ade Oshineye.

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin.


In his 1993 French-language essay, Alain Médam has addressed the generalization of the notion of diaspora beyond its historical association with the dispersion of Jews as exiles around the world toward its reinterpretation as a general condition descriptive of multiple groups with shared memory of points of origin, geographical traversations and arrival experiences.1

In this regard, the phenomenon of diasporas as plural, fluid and deterritorialized entities cannot be restricted to the mass movements of populations sharing common identity in the modern period, e.g., the European immigration to the United States, since history is rich with counterexamples, such as international slave trade routes and illegal refugee movements. This demands the examination of diasporicity between the two poles of clear-cut cultural identities and their ever-changing displacements across cultural, geographic and social contexts.

As a later interrogation of the concept of diasporas, Lisa Anteby-Yemini and William Berthomiere both recontextualize the original notion of diaspora with respect to its cultural origin in the Hebrew and Greek languages and traditions, while seeking to inscribe it into a theoretical dispositive of globalization, struggles for inclusion and transnational or cosmopolitan studies, in their 2005 essay in French.2 Its English-language translation both enables broadening the corresponding discussion around the term diaspora beyond the confines of the French language and allows tracing the intellectual sources of this notion, such as in the works of Alain Médam, James Clifford, and Paul Gilroy.3.

Especially in the domain of postcolonial studies, such as in Cristina-Georgiana Voicu’s monograph on cultural identities in Jean Rhys’ fiction, the phenomenon of diaspora becomes a conceptual point of reference for inquiries into bodies of literary works from global margins.4 In her theoretical introduction, Voicu maps the notion of diaspora upon the processes of cultural hybridization, post-colonial identity formation and their theoretical and literary articulation.5

In this respect, French thought, such as that of Médam, plays a significant role in the exploration of the theoretical antinomies of the notion of diaspora in different languages.


Featured Image Credits:  To scatter, to sow, October 23, 2010 | © Ade Oshineye.

Cite this article as: Pablo Markin, "Alain Médam’s Notion of Diaspora between the Articulation in French and English Translations," in Open Culture, 03/06/2017, https://oc.hypotheses.org/243.

References

  1. Médam Alain. Diaspora/Diasporas. Archétype et typologie. In: Revue européenne des migrations internationales, vol. 9, n°1,1993. pp. 59-66. DOI : 10.3406/remi.1993.1049. []
  2. Lisa Anteby-Yemini et William Berthomière, « Les diasporas : retour sur un concept », Bulletin du Centre de recherche français à Jérusalem [En ligne], 16 | 2005, mis en ligne le 17 septembre 2007, Consulté le 03 juin 2017. URL : http://bcrfj.revues.org/57. []
  3. Lisa Anteby-Yemini et William Berthomière, « Diaspora: A Look Back on a Concept », Bulletin du Centre de recherche français à Jérusalem [En ligne], 16 | 2005, mis en ligne le 09 octobre 2007, Consulté le 03 juin 2017. URL : http://bcrfj.revues.org/257. []
  4. Cristina-Georgiana Voicu, Exploring Cultural Identities in Jean Rhys’ Fiction. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, 2014. []
  5. Cristina-Georgiana Voicu, Identity in the Postcolonial Paradigm: Key Concepts in Voicu, Cristina-Georgiana. Exploring Cultural Identities in Jean Rhys’ Fiction. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, 2014. []

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