The problem of defining such notions as ‘diaspora’ and ‘cultural identity’ should be analyzed with the references to the questions of nationalism, transnationalism, and globalization to present the discussion of the issue of the African diaspora completely.
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Thus, in their article “Unfinished Migrations: Reflections on the African Diaspora and the Making of the Modern World”, Patterson and Kelley provide the investigation of the African diaspora scholarship basing on the mentioned concepts, and they study the researches, presenting the discussion of the question as a multidimensional problem.
According to the authors, any diaspora should be examined as a process and as a condition (Patterson and Kelley). Focusing on providing the detailed analysis of the conceptions and opinions on the issue of the African diaspora, Patterson and Kelley make their conclusions depending mainly on the analysis of the situation in different regions of America, and they also present the observations of the relevant situations in Europe and Asia.
The composition of the article allows the readers’ following the researchers’ main ideas and logic of investigating the problem. Patterson and Kelley develop their discussion of the African diaspora as the controversial issue, and they start with the definition of the discussed point in order to frame the aspects of the problem.
The researchers state that the term ‘African diaspora’ can be examined from many perspectives, accentuating its qualities as a political, analytical, and social term. However, speaking about the African diaspora, researchers also concentrate on the general characterization of the notion based on the peculiarities of the African communities’ development beyond the national boundaries (Patterson and Kelley).
The main strengths of Patterson and Kelley’s article are in the fact that is paying attention to the peculiarities of different researchers’ positions concerning the problem of the African diaspora; the authors determine the most significant aspects around which it is possible to build the robust discussion of the question. For instance, to examine all the details of the issue, it is necessary to distinguish between the notions of ‘diaspora’ and ‘nation’ while determining its characteristic features.
Diasporas have no boundaries, and their members can feel that they are oppressed because of the impossibility to develop in the union with the other representatives of the nation. The researchers effectively combine this aspect with the next controversial point, which can be formulated as the correctness of discussing the members of the diaspora as belonging to the ‘African’ background (Patterson and Kelley).
Thus, the question is also in determining the distinctive features which allow speaking about the Africans and representatives of the African diaspora separately. According to the researchers’ observations, the question of the African diaspora should be discussed in detail also with references to such points as cultural identity, ethnicity, and religion as the significant features which connect these people with the whole nation and separate them.
The next issues according to which the discussion of the sources is built are the question of territories which are occupied by the African diaspora, their impact on the development of the diaspora and the issue of the historical processes as causes for migrations. Patterson and Kelley pay attention to the fact that many researchers are inclined to study the African diaspora in America because a lot of representatives of the African nation and culture had to find their homes in America.
Nevertheless, all the migrations of the Africans are caused by significant historical processes, and these processes are associated with forming the diasporic identities. Moreover, Patterson and Kelley state that “diasporic identities are socially and historically constituted, reconstituted, and reproduced;… any sense of a collective identity among black peoples in the New World, Europe, and Africa is contingent and constantly shifting” (Patterson and Kelley 19).
All the authors’ considerations presented in the article earlier aim to lead to the main idea that “diaspora is both a process and a condition” (Patterson and Kelley 20). The researchers’ argument depends on presenting diasporas as a result of migrations and movements.
That is why it can be discussed as a process which is characterized by cultural and political peculiarities. Furthermore, the African diaspora can be analyzed from the point of the global race and operations, which contributed to its formation. Thus, these aspects can accentuate the diaspora as a condition.
The question of the African diaspora is somewhat controversial and provokes the development of debates on the point of the racial inequality and racial consciousness. Patterson and Kelley draw the readers’ attention to the fact that there is no single vision of the problem’s aspects and of the ways for the issue’s reasonable solution.
Depending on the peculiarities of the territories where the African diaspora develop, it is possible to observe different approaches to accentuating the cultural identity and stimulating struggles for social equality which can result in various social and political movements. The most vivid example of the situation’s development in Brazil and the authors concentrate on presenting the full picture of the problem with references to the factor of citizenship rights.
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It is also essential to focus on the ideological aspect and the level of the racial consciousness in the concrete country. The authors also present the reasons for discussing the problem of the racial consciousness along with the question of forming identity as a result of definite historical processes (Patterson and Kelley).
It is significant to mention the fact that providing the conclusions of their research, Patterson and Kelley concentrate on the aspect of globalization as an important factor for discussing the question of the African diaspora one more time because the authors use this notion to introduce the main theme in the beginning of the article.
In this case, the concept of globalization is presented along with accentuating the problems of nationalism, internationalism, and transnationalism. The researchers state that the issue of pan-Africanism is somewhat exaggerated, and the era of globalization proposes new progressive approaches to discussing the problem of the diaspora and nation from this perspective (Patterson and Kelley).
Patterson and Kelley’s article “Unfinished Migrations: Reflections on the African Diaspora and the Making of the Modern World” can be considered as the detailed discussion of the most significant scholarship on the problem of the African diaspora. This article is useful because of the fact the authors paid attention to all the most essential researches which had been conducted earlier in relation to the problem.
Patterson and Kelley also determined the aspects which can be presented as significant for the proper analysis of the question. Moreover, the currency of the discussion depends on providing such concepts as globalization, nationalism, internationalism, and transnationalism as the critical notions for understanding the problem of the racial consciousness, identity, and racial inequality and the associated issues of political and social movements.
Patterson, Tiffany R. and Robin D. G. Kelley. “Unfinished Migrations: Reflections on the African Diaspora and the Making of the Modern World”. African Studies Review 43.1. (2000): 11-45. Print.