Form(s) and Ideology: Thinking Through the Diaspora in Gaiutra Bahadur’s Coolie Woman

The Water Lily

This article began, perhaps, when a fellow graduate student asked of our Intro to Literary Theory class “what is it about the form of the assemblage that makes it useful to think through minoritized or marginalized identities?” Or perhaps this article began at a small conference where I presented a paper on a ghost story about the Vietnamese diaspora and the respondent asked if I had thought through what a diasporic aesthetic would look like in a general, theoretical sense. It may have begun, too, when I attended a lecture where the honored guest gave a history of high theory during which he mentioned that all theory is based on the premise that something progressively specific ought to be applicable to multiple contexts. Each of these are like the radial leaves of water lilies in the shallow slews of the lake where my father brought me each summer as a child to learn how to fish, connected beneath murky waters to a single root system and complementary to one another as they gather sunlight and carbon dioxide for the organism; though, at the surface they appear to be singular and ordinary.

I do not see my father much now; and I never fish. The lake was man-made for a power plant that has, since we left for the final time, begun to warm the water and acidify its chemistry, something that will undoubtedly affect the flora and fauna that have made it home. As I am not a botanist by training, I am unsure these plants were actually water lilies at all. Yet, their deep-water root system, rope-like stems that gather at a single point at the bottom of the lake, flat leaves that collect sunlight and carbon dioxide, returns to me in thinking through form and conceptualizations of diaspora. As Kim D. Butler notes, “The word ‘diaspora’ is defined, at its simplest, as the dispersal of a people from its original homeland.”[1] Butler emphasizes later that “there must be some relationship to an actual or imagined homeland” for an imagined community to be considered a diaspora.[2] We might understand, for the water lily, the homeland as the root system, and the relationship or perceived connection to a conceptual or actual homeland as the rope-like stem that joins the root to the green, flat leaf or the colorful flowers at and above the water’s surface. This connection in form between the water lily and diaspora is not meant to undermine the latter’s political histories and present crises ­– rising nationalism, international warfare, and global capitalism has displaced and neglected more refugees and other diasporan peoples in the contemporary moment than perhaps ever before.[3] On the contrary, in using the concept of the water lily to physicalize the conceptualization of a lived reality, we might better protect and further a discourse of these imagined communities.[4] It is with this impetus that I will think through Gaiutra Bahadur’s text Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture in the coming pages.

Bahadur does not explicitly theorize the diaspora she seeks to trace, the Indo-Caribbean indenture under which her great-grandmother and the generation after lived. Nonetheless, her family’s ancestral journey consists of two dispersals, fitting Butler’s (and Cohen’s) definition of diaspora[5], once from India to Guyana and again from Guyana to the U.S.[6] Bahadur’s return to these two locations (Guyana and India) is an attempt, she says, to discover whatever repressed history there was on female women under indenture and empire, to make something of the association she felt with Indian Americans in New Jersey that, though like “solidarity,” was ultimately “somehow, off…barely [acknowledged] kinship.”[7] Like many theorists of diaspora, for questions of identity, Bahadur looks “in the personal rather than the political.”[8] Thus, while she is not, perhaps, interested in theorizing the diaspora of Indo-Caribbean women, she is nonetheless interested in how these dispersals can help her “locate [herself].”[9] In other words, she is attempting to piece together an identity of the water lily by looking to the stems and the roots. She even journeys to Scotland, where most of the plantation speculators of Berbice, Guyana originated and where the concept of indenture was born.[10] This is crucial, as it suggests a theory of diaspora that does not simply reference the physical dislocation of peoples, as Butler or Cohen might have it, but takes into account the imperial and political machinations of empire. Diaspora for Bahadur is not just the dispersal of peoples but of capital and ideologies, principally the capital and ideologies that manufacture dispersal(s) of people. While Butler makes reference to ideological developments in terms of a diaspora’s own identity theorization, she does not consider ideologies or capital as essential to defining typologies of diaspora.[11] As I will argue in this article, Bahadur’s text prompts us to think through different conceptualizations of diaspora.

Bahadur is not necessarily unique in her conceptualization of diaspora, albeit quite subtle and nearly implicit. There are scholars who, in thinking through conceptualizations of diaspora, have similarly theorized connections to identity that take into account imperial pasts. Hazel Carby’s “anti-memoir”[12] Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands thinks through her personal identity in much the same way Bahadur’s text does, isolating (an) instant(s) of dispersal amid imperial history using alternating formal and informal archives as evidence. The most famous text theorizing diaspora in the Atlantic context, at least of the last few decades, has been Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic, which sought to theorize diaspora in terms that made clear “the experiences of black people were part of the abstract modernity [some find] so puzzling” in order “to produce as evidence some of the things that black intellectuals had said—sometimes as defenders of the West, sometimes as its sharpest critics—about their sense of embeddedness in the modern world.”[13] As some have noted, Gilroy’s appropriation of diaspora as a concept signifies the use of the term as exclusively pertaining to descendants of Africans in the Atlantic world.[14] This would render its inclusion in this article irrelevant. However, what Gilroy calls “the main aesthetic consideration” is how black identity becomes represented in modern texts through “polyphonic qualities” to combat any “ontologically grounded essentialism” about race.[15] This is to say that conceptualizations of diaspora, for Gilroy, must take into account how they are presented. He later adds

The narratives of loss, exile, and journeying …like particular elements of musical performance serve a mnemonic function: directing the consciousness of the group back to significant, nodal points in its common history and its social memory. The telling and retelling of these stories plays a special role, organizing the consciousness of the ‘racial group’ socially and striking the important balance between inside and outside activity—the different practices, cognitive, habitual, and performative, that are required to invent, maintain, and renew identity.[16]

Thus, Gilroy notices a performative practice of diaspora whereby an enjoined content-and-form dialectic develops: not only is dispersal and homeland thematized, they are represented formally in the structure of the text. This formal physicalization of the diaspora as it presents itself in Bahadur’s text is the topic of this article.

Similar to Edwards, Aisha Khan argues against essentializing the conceptualization of diaspora in order to further its use in this discourse. Khan stresses that tying diaspora to culture, geography, or race has reproduced the very essentialism diaspora seeks to undermine or make fluid.[17] To this end, “identity,” she writes, “need not necessarily be the ultimate analytical destination or significance, nor do taxonomies of cultural features need to be diaspora studies’ methodological path.”[18] This to say that many theorists use diaspora to think through individual identities and the commonalities between them, something Khan states we ought to question. Using Khan’s proposal to turn to Bahadur’s text, then, we might think through not just how identity plays out in the formal articulations of diaspora but how “hybridization of radical ideas and revolutionary ideologies” might be a part of an “intellectual cross-fertilization” between multiple diasporan peoples or cultures.[19] One such instance of this might again be the inclusion of the chapter on Scotland called “Every Ancestor,” which we have examined briefly above. In point of fact, this addition is a formal inclusion, a physicalization of diaspora that does not indicate identity but rather begins with ‘intellectual cross-fertilization.’

In the coming pages, we will look to Bahadur’s use of structural choices, formalist measures, in order to theorize how diaspora functions not only for her “quest for identity”[20] and history but also for ideology, aesthetics, and gender. Physicalizing diaspora, perhaps what Gilroy would call ‘performative’ diaspora, produces a specific kind of knowledge: that of reflection. It foregrounds the constructedness of historical narrative by resisting more straightforward forms, preferring instead the form of the assemblage. Moreover, because Bahadur’s text showcases a more literary formulation of scholarship—one that narrates questions, doubts, and hypotheses and uses informal as well as formal archives—it is inherently political. In Coolie Woman, one will find no ‘grand narrative’ or feigned objectivity. Instead, it exists as an anti-memoir, both fictive and real.

Identity

Bahadur spends much time in Coolie Woman on how different things shape(d) her understanding of self. Indeed, one reading of her book might be about what the self can be or has been. For our purposes, though, we will focus on formal measures through which Bahadur theorizes identity. The physicalization of identity in Bahadur’s text is like that of the water lily, the diaspora: heterogeneous features that are simultaneously complementary and connected. These formal qualities include the “jagged”[21] structure of the text, which includes images in a centerfold; epigraphs for nearly every chapter; songs; knowledge from both informal, verbal interviews and memories as well as formal archives and research into regional mythologies; even full paragraphs of a catalogue of questions. The title itself has a piecemeal meaning, to which the Preface is dedicated:

‘Coolie’ may bare a jagged edge, like a broken bottle raised in threat. But it also ricochets still down dirty lanes in the Guyanese village where I was born, in far more complicated ways, in greetings that are sometimes menacing but also often affectionate and intimate, signifying a sense of shared beginnings.[22]

Thus, the very identity of the text itself is like an assemblage. This analysis is of the surface as well as the deeper meaning-making of which Bahadur’s text is a part. The dialectic between the form of the text and the content is routinely highlighted.

Bahadur uses metaphors again and again of cutting up and piecing together disparate fragments as well as of compartmentalization, all of which see their formal articulations in the text itself. The title of the first chapter, “The Magician’s Box,” is a reference to the cliché act of the beautiful magician’s assistant getting locked into a box and “cut … in half.”[23] She notes that when her family moved to the U.S., the religious ephemera for worship were put away in a linen closet, which she parallels to her sense of “claustrophobia” in the shared and “crowded” apartment.[24] Her sense of language and self is fragmentary:

Take away my language, and you also take away access to the stories that my forebears created, in the cadences that they created them. Educate me in a language lacking in the rhythms of home, and I am likely to speak as a segmented self…[Creolese] is what we spoke inside our immigrant home; this was our cracked, our stained-glass English, made from smashed bits of multicolored glass, a thing of beauty constructed of fragments.[25]

Each of these metaphors of the fragmentary anticipate the disparate form the text takes. This form resists cohesion, suggesting were this text to be considered a “quest for identity,”[26] it would also need to be represented in a way that takes into account these different yet complementary pieces. This is a Gilroysian impetus: foregrounding the “polyphonic qualities”[27] at structural level in order to undermine ontological essentialism.

The fragmentariness of identity does not end with Bahadur’s or her family’s sense of self. This is an understanding of identity that comes up again and again in Coolie Woman. In the chapter called “Her Middle Passage,” Bahadur tells the story of a stowaway single mother called Munia on The Lena who was “caught with not one assumed identity, but two,” “a ticket borrowed from one legitimately registered laborer and an emigration pass belonging to another.” In her statement to British Guiana’s immigration chief, she explicitly says no one forced her on-board, that she was exercising her own free will. Thus, for Munia, she finds agency in the fragmented identity she constructs. In the chapter called “Beautiful Woman Without a Nose,” Bahadur tells of Makundi, a troubled man who spent several stints in an asylum, ruled criminally insane by courts, and eventually sentenced to life in prison after committing several physical assaults and a murder. He is read as “a profoundly disoriented man, unable to come to terms with his new identity and environment” and “unable to grasp or realize his position.”[28] For Makundi, his assimilation was stunted by the fragmentariness of his diasporic identity, which caused him to lash out and reap havoc on society. Munia and Makundi live different consequences of their fragmentariness, but each of Bahadur’s accounts of identity come back to the notion of the assemblage, the diaspora.

Similar also to Gilroy’s call for the performative practice is Bahadur’s suggestion that “the British didn’t recruit ‘coolies’ for their sugar cane fields. Rather, they made ‘coolies.’”[29] She calls this “apparent undoing”[30] of the caste identities Indians leave behind for a place in Guyana “reverse alchemy”[31]:

The system took gardeners, palanquin-bearers, goldsmiths, cow-minders, leather makers, boatmen, soldiers, and priests with centuries-old identities based on religion, kin and occupation and turned them all into an indistinguishable, degraded mass of plantation laborers without caste or family.[32]

This imperial trauma of erasure ultimately follows through to violence committed by men against women and mental health issues in survivors of the journey to the West Indies. However, it also creates an opportunity for freedom for pregnant unwed women, women and children wishing to escape treachery, and others who have for generations been impoverished who see indenture as an opportunity for social mobility.

These varying consequences find their way into how the text presents itself. The notion that the British ‘made coolies’ points to the act of making, how power can construct, and thus how Bahadur’s analysis may de-construct or re-construct the narratives she encounters. The narratives in Coolie Woman oscillate between those of female agency like the Munia who adopts multiple personas to stay aboard The Lena and those of lament like this folk song, quoted in Bahadur’s chapter on the recruitment of indentured Indians:

When we reached Calcutta, our miseries increased.
We were stripped of all our beautiful clothes,
Rosary beads and sacred threads.
Bengali rags decorated us now.
The sadhu’s hair was shaved.
And sadhu, Dom, Chamar and Bhangi,
All were thrown together in a room.[33]

This act of being ‘thrown together’ might very well be the reason for Bahadur’s formal physicalization of diaspora. Just before this, Bahadur notes that “the clothes issued to any particular group of migrants were identical. They were a uniform.”[34] Bahadur’s text is anything but uniform. It favors the fragmented, the disjointed, and it might well be a form of liberatory action against uniformization, against lumping together all Indians of indenture, an act of imperial terror that, while it cannot be undone, can be undermined.

In the final pages of Bahadur’s book, she returns to the life her great-grandmother Sujaria created in British Guiana:

She instilled in her son and her son’s sons a sense of duty to family religious in its fervor and commitment. They labored as a unit, with children working too, because they had to—to feed each hungering body and also each starving sense of self, to eke out peasant existences away from the exploitation and indignity of the plantation, in villages where they might nourish themselves with institutions remembered from India and seek the consolations of religion, kin and identity.[35]

This ‘eking out existence away from exploitation and indignity’ is the very performance Bahadur’s text gives us, where the nuances of religion, kin, and identity are revisited in a form that articulates difference, fragmentariness, and connection.

Ideology

Coolie Woman begins and ends with Bahadur’s female relatives. Any repressed history the book reveals is of the indentured Indo-Caribbean female. Many of the ‘archives’ Bahadur consults are verbal accounts given to her by women she interviews, songs she hears women singing, even the tattoos and jewelry the women have. This is perhaps a looser understanding of the formalist argument for which this article is aiming; however, one might find the inclusion of these non-traditional archives as physicalizing the nuanced diaspora Bahadur seeks to analyze. In other words, the mere inclusion of particular archival knowledge is a formal choice. A scholar may consult hundreds of pieces of archival knowledge that do not make the publication they write. Thus, each choice of inclusion or deletion is a formal one. Moreover, because many of this non-traditional archival knowledge comes from women and as non-traditional archival knowledge it undermines the kind of power we ordinarily give to institutional archives, it might be said that the kind of historical scholarship in which Bahadur is taking part is a feminist historical scholarship.

These ‘non-traditional’ archival sources also include information on mythological and religious debates, notions of gender authority and conduct, and imagery. Thus, part of Bahadur’s project is ideological research. As we have come to before, the inclusion of the “Every Ancestor” chapter is exclusively based on the ideological connection Scotland has to British Guiana – namely, that “the plan to replace slaves with indentured Indians in the Caribbean”[36] was conceived by a Scotsman. The current section of this article will focus on the inclusion of this ideological archival knowledge, arguing their inclusion as a formal measure. We began by acknowledging that diaspora foremost insinuates dispersal; this dispersal is not only of people and their identity, but also of ideologies. Thus, the physicalization of the diaspora in Coolie Woman must comprise of these inclusions. Moreover, in a Khanian sense, shifting focus from identity’s connection to diaspora might further the discourse of diaspora studies.

We must begin with violence, as imperialism does. In a chapter titled “Beautiful Woman Without a Nose,” Bahadur reveals the troubling afterlives of colonial violence. For Bahadur, it seems gendered violence against women follows through on the imperial project, yet this violence is not displaced from Indian culture. She begins the chapter discussing the Hindu epic Ramayan. Men identity with the character Ram, “an incarnated god” that “wanders demon-infested forests, far from home, barely clothed…in his deprivation, in his fixed term of exile, they see their own.” Bahadur continues:

For these displaced Hindus, the Ramayan is lifeblood. That it courses with anxiety about adultery only makes it more relevant. The epic, like the diaspora that identifies with it, is preoccupied with women who break the codes of accepted sexual behavior. Their punishment takes breath away. Through the din and onslaught of insects, the immigrants huddled in the night recount what befell Ravan’s sister, Surpanakha, and why it did.[37]

Surpanakha is mutilated at the instruction of Ram, her nose and ears cut off by a sword, the first of which represents honor in Indian mythology and folklore.[38] Bahadur’s inclusion of this cultural knowledge is important because it becomes a lens through which she perceives men justifying the mutilation of the women in their community. In other words, Bahadur resists a progressivist urge to erase this fixedly violent ideological text from the record. The reader must encounter the Indian folklore and mythology that includes female body mutilation. Bahadur even comes back to this patriarchal structure at the end of the book: “leaving the plantation was a feat…the family was likewise rebuilt, on concrete pillars of custom, religion and strictly defined gender roles.”[39] Bahadur resists orientalizing her subjects, though. The text places the invocation of the Ramayan alongside the context of the infrastructural violence of imperialism and at the end of the book, when “the patriarchal institutions [are] restored,” it is read as a form of protecting the community’s honor amid the severe poverty in which the British leave their former subjects. Bahadur also uses the conditional word ‘perhaps’ several times to suggest there is not a sole reason why men act so violently against women but many:

Men accustomed to authority based on their gender, caste or family position were ousted. On plantations, they confronted a system that flaunted its total control over them…As the men lost status and identity, perhaps maintaining patriarchal traditions from India assumed fatal importance. Perhaps they grasped at their faith, with the fundamentalism that displacement can foster. Perhaps they maimed and killed to resist the control of planters as well as to reassert their control over their women.[40]

The violence against women was not only the consequence of culture but of the colonial context under which all of the indentured people lived. “The violence was double-headed,” Bahadur notes, “directed at colonial authorities as well as coolie women.”[41] That both of these are cited as impetus for violence against women is crucial in considering the ideological constructions of indentured society and thus of the construction of Coolie Woman.

Bahadur’s use of these stories of violence are formal measures for at least two reasons. First, that they are included is a choice of form in the sense that Bahadur may easily have written of mutilation in a different way, using different sources as archival knowledge, and perhaps arguing different reasons for men mutilating women. The second reason is more important. Bahadur presents not one but several sources of this violence: the colonial infrastructure of violence, the cultural texts like the Ramayan, and the fundamental associations of gender roles. The effect this creates for the reader is the foregrounding of construction. Like each of the leaves atop the water that is ultimately connected and complementary for the life of the water lily, each of these sources has just as much reason to be the stimulus of the violence as the other and those not presented in the text. Furthermore, the text comes to each of these sources with as much conditionality as the other, using the word ‘perhaps’ again and again, a word used just as often if not more as the catalogues of questions and the metaphors for fragmentary identity. Bahadur’s use of this conditional word ‘perhaps,’ which indicates a sense of speculation and suspicion, is on par with suggesting there is no way to know the real reason why this violence plays out; yet, we ought to consider them each. The reader, then, is returned to the way the book is itself a formal construction, pieced together using many sources, all narrative and none impartial. One might even read these instances of ‘perhaps’ and interrogative catalogues as the Gilroysian “nodal points” to which diasporan social memory returns. This notwithstanding, the emphasis on constructedness of the text is a physicalization of the lived reality of the diaspora, one that creates reflective forms of knowledge about historical scholarship and the archive itself.

When Bahadur goes to Scotland, she reports feeling “disoriented”[42] at how similar place names were between Guyana and the Scottish Highlands. In “Every Ancestor,” she notes several connections between Guyana and Scotland, directing us to think through an implicit parallel. While Bahadur says the purpose of the trip to Scotland was to “learn more about an overseer on Rose Hall Plantation,”[43] ultimately drawing the connection between a man called George Sutherland and an indentured woman called Sukhri in her hometown of Cumberland, the chapter begins with discussions of the colonial time period. Not only does Bahadur divulge narratives of miscegenation by rich Scots seeking a “playground”[44] in the British West Indies, she draws an implicit connection between the loss of the clan system at the command of the British Empire’s Clearance policy and the erasure of Indians’ castes on their journey to indenture. The “semi-forced migration of Indian indentured laborers”[45] Bahadur notes in “Beautiful Woman Without A Nose” sounds deeply similar to the Clearances, “the forced evictions from the Highlands of those who cultivated land to make way for more profitable sheep…[igniting] the wide-scale and typically permanent emigration of tenants and their families.”[46] Thus, Bahadur is thinking through not only the histories of diaspora but of migration and imperialism, which are so tied to the former. Though its explicit purpose is clearly to find more on George Sutherland and his “misdeeds”[47] with an indentured woman, the takeaway of this chapter’s inclusion in Coolie Woman for our purposes may be, in a Khanian sense, the “material and immaterial” connections these diasporas show us.

The liberatory acts this text foregrounds are not clear parallels of each other, however; and Bahadur resists this when she recognizes that while many of the Scots who traveled to the British West Indies from homelessness, others were speculators and landowners, and of those who were homeless in Scotland, they became overseers and managers in places like Guyana, not indentured. The Scots who emigrated to the British West Indies were still much better off than the indentured Indians and their descendants. However, that they sought power over the indentured after escaping the power of empire in the U.K draws another parallel between the indentured men and the Scots. Where power flaunts its violence and emasculation, those under its control will surely take out their frustration on those below them in status. We might consider these parallels both material and immaterial connections between the Scottish and the indentured in that they propagate ideologies of power and empire and operate through violence and capital.

If the explicit goal of the chapter was to count ‘every ancestor,’ as the title suggests, why begin drawing this connection? The inclusion of this parallel is similar to the use of the ‘perhaps’ as anaphora and the countless catalogues of questions: to problematize the way form presents historical archive. Bahadur’s book is not only the story of her indentured great-grandmother, it is the story of imperial power, violence, and the agency subjects find despite these. Therefore, of course the text includes this information on the Clearance policy in the Scottish Highlands. This is Bahadur’s physicalization of diaspora, again, in that its inclusion was inherently a choice of form. Furthermore, as it plays out the Khanian notion of material and immaterial connections, it furthers the way diaspora might be conceptualized.

Conclusion

I began this article with the conditional anaphora Bahadur uses again and again in her text and I would like to end it the same. Perhaps some will find Coolie Woman poorly executed, unfocused, or too ambitious. Perhaps Bahadur had no intention of formalizing diasporan identity or ideological and capital dispersals. Perhaps you remain unconvinced by my reading of Coolie Woman, preferring another. You may read Coolie Woman as a collection of different understandings of the word ‘coolie.’ Or maybe, like me, you read the text as this and more, an assemblage, a fragmentary piece of stained glass, unfinished and jagged. Perhaps this text is like the water lily, a physicalization I have tried to overlay onto our theoriziation of diaspora and form: perhaps it presents several leaves, flowers even, that are only connected by the material bindings until our analysis reveals the stems that tie them together and to a system of roots at the bottom of the lake.

Bahadur’s text warrants closer attention to how scholars consciously choose form to create different kinds of knowledge. This knowledge is reflective, as I have tried to show, in that it reveals that thought went into the construction of this text. This knowledge is political, as it foregrounds constructedness itself of historiography and narrative, undermining any hegemonic understanding of history as an ‘objective’ or singular truth. That Coolie Woman is profoundly literary, optioning storylines over datasets, suggests history is and must be narrative, that we think through concepts like imperialist violence, empire, and gender roles best by encountering stories. There is, therefore, an important place for the aesthetic in studying our world and its machinations.

Bibliography

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. (New York: Verso, 1983).

Bahadur, Gaiutra. Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014.

Butler, Kim D. “Defining Diaspora, Refining a Discourse.” Diaspora 10, no. 2 (Fall 2001): 189-219.

Carby, Hazel. “Where Are You From?” Paper presented at the University of Miami Center for the Humanities Henry King Stanford Distinguished Professors Lecture Series, Coral Gables, FL, September 2018.

—. Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands. New York: Verso, 2019.

Cohen, Robin. “Diasporas and the Nation-State: From Victims to Challengers.” International Affairs 72, no.3 (July 1996): 507-520.

Edwards, Brent Hayes. “The Uses of Diaspora.” Social Text 66, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 45-73.

Ericson, Mathias. “‘Sweden Has Been Naïve’: Nationalism, Protectionism and Securitisation in Response to the Refugee Crisis of 2015.” Social Inclusion 6, no. 4 (2018): 95-102.

Gilroy, Paul. The Black Atlantic. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993.

Khan, Aisha. “Material and Immaterial Bodies: Diaspora Studies and the Problem of Culture, Identity, and Race.” Small Axe 19, no. 3 (November 2015): 29-49.

Narcowicz, Kasia. “‘Refugees Not Welcome Here’: State, Church and Civil Society Responses to the Refugee Crisis in Poland.” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society 31, no. 4 (December 2018): 357-373.

Nimako, Kwame and Stephen Small. “Theorizing Black Europe and African Diaspora: Implications for Citizenship, Nativism, and Xenophobia.” In Black Europe and the African Diaspora, edited by Darlene Clark Hine, Trica Danielle Keaton, Stephen Small, 211-237. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2009.

Zunes, Stephen. “Europe’s Refugee Crisis, Terrorism, and Islamophobia.” Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice 29, no. 2 (2017): 1-6.


[1] Kim D. Butler, “Defining Diaspora, Refining a Discourse,” Diaspora 10, no. 2 (Fall 2001): 189.

[2] Ibid., 192

[3] See Ericson (2018), Narcowicz (2018), Nimako and Small (2009), Zunes (2017).

[4] Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (New York: Verso, 1983).

[5] Butler, 192 and Robin Cohen, “Diasporas and the Nation-State: From Victims to Challengers,” International Affairs 72, no.3 (July 1996): 514-515.

[6] Gaiutra Bahadur, Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014), 4 and 19.

[7] Ibid., 8.

[8] Ibid., 11.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid., 179.

[11] Butler, 198.

[12] Hazel Carby, “Where Are You From?” (presentation, University of Miami Center for the Humanities Henry King Stanford Distinguished Professors Lecture Series, Coral Gables, FL, September 20, 2018).

[13] Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993), ix.

[14] Brent Hayes Edwards, “The Uses of Diaspora,” Social Text 66, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 45.

[15] Gilroy, 32.

[16] Ibid., 198 (emphasis mine).

[17] Aisha Khan, “Material and Immaterial Bodies: Diaspora Studies and the Problem of Culture, Identity, and Race,” Small Axe 19, no. 3 (November 2015): 29 and 40.

[18] Ibid., 41.

[19] Ibid., 41-42.

[20] Bahadur, 176.

[21] Ibid., xxi.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid., 15.

[24] Ibid., 5.

[25] Ibid., 6-7 (emphasis mine).

[26] Ibid., 176.

[27] Gilroy, 32.

[28] Bahadur, 126.

[29] Bahadur, 43.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Bahadur, 44.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid., 208.

[36] Bahadur, 179.

[37] Ibid., 106.

[38] Ibid., 107.

[39] Ibid., 206.

[40] Bahadur, 129 (emphasis mine).

[41] Ibid.

[42] Bahadur, 180.

[43] Ibid., 185.

[44] Bahadur, 182.

[45] Bahadur, 129.

[46] Ibid., 183.

[47] Ibid., 185.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s