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Diaspora 9:1 2000 In This Issue Werbner begins her Introduction to this issue by effectively summing up some of the elements of a consensus about diasporas that has emerged in the past two decades, hinting at the conundrums diasporas present—for example, the fact that they can be transnational and national(ist), cosmopolitan and parochial. She views this special issue of Diaspora as an attempt to engage with "the constitutive relations between intellectual creativity, diasporic quotidian culture, subjective consciousness, and political action" and points to approaches that view "diasporic culture [as] materially inscribed and organizationally embodied." This leads to a consideration ofthe "dialectics between diaspora aesthetics and 'real' political mobilization," which, in turn, requires acknowledgment of the fact that the aesthetic and subjective "are shaped in tension with prior and [often] more widespread hegemonic diaspora discourses and modes of institutional organization." Werbner then offers brief and astute analyses of the individual essays gathered here, foregrounding those points that connect them to each other and to a new understanding of diasporic civil society. Leonard examines the South Asian communities (Sikh, Hindu, and Muslim) of the United States and Canada, focusing on the Muslims. She considers different state policies, as well as differing communal agendas in organization and political lobbying, and asks how shared aesthetic practices bridge some of these differences, along with differences of class. She ponders the experience of difference that persists among the first generation of Sikh, Hindu, and Muslim immigrants from South Asia and asks what kinds of diasporas will emerge as a result of various new affiliations and experiences of commonality that the second, now youthful generation of South Asians is undergoing. These are always complicated— as when South Asian Muslims find some common ground with Arab and other Muslims while remaining separate from the single largest such group in the United States, African American Muslims. She explores other options that are made possible by the sharing, in some cases, and hybridization, in others, of cultural practices brought over from South Asia, but concludes that the Americanizing of Islam and Islamicizing ofAmerica, the emergence of South Asian student groups on university campuses, and the encounter with Diaspora 9:1 2000 North American politics all work against the creation of national diasporas and are more likely to lead to "broader non-diasporic communities in the new homelands" of Canada and the United States. Jules-Rosette offers an analysis of three African diasporic artistic movements that also had political aspirations and consequences , which they worked to achieve through the elaboration of identity discourses: Négritude, "Parisianism" (which focused on exile and alienation), and "postcolonial universalism" (which emphasizes the emergence of a global yet African culture). Her richly detailed descriptions and analyses conclude with an assessment of the politics of cultural translation in francophone panAfricanism and the ways in which it seeks to address and engage a transnational diasporic audience. Throughout, she attends to the difficulties of economic entrepreneurship and political action that were inseparable from artistic and literary expression. Howell offers a detailed account ofthe production, performance, and reception of Arab art and popular culture in Detroit during a period of intense stigmatization of Arab-Americans. She explores paradoxes presented by the success of a local institution in introducing some Arab art (usually hybrid high and popular art) to mainstream performances and exhibitions. In a heterogeneous Arab-American community marked by class and educational differences , she shows, this appealed to the better-educated segment and to non-Arabs, while most Arab-Americans continued to prefer folk performances and community events. Whereas diaspora scholarship often lavishes attention upon the hybrid and crossover cultural products ofdiasporas, Arab-Americans in Detroit continued to express a felt need for their specifically communal folk culture. This culture, Howell shows, appeals to the heterogeneous ArabAmerican community (Muslim and Christian, drawn from many Middle Eastern Arabophone countries) both on aesthetic grounds and because it can bridge persistent differences that even political action to create a pro-Palestinian and pan-Arab movement has not been able to overcome. Goldschmidt simultaneously offers an account of certain features of life in the Lubavitcher Hasidic enclave of Crown Heights and a larger analysis of the problematic relations between the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1911-1568
Print ISSN
1044-2057
Pages
pp. 1-3
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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