Founders College presents Speaking Diasporas conference 

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Founders College presents the “Speaking Diasporas: Interrogating Inter-generational Diasporas” conference virtually on April 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  

The conference will explore humans being called to and oriented towards home. “Nostos,” finding home, appears to be among the deepest of human needs: a commonly shared emotion of returning to a place left behind or finding a new home in hopes for the future to nest and grow. Diaspora at once captures many of the ambiguities about replacing home and relocation, and about imagining, nostalgic memorializing, and/or reconnecting with what was left behind that forms the new self and collective identity of a community.        

In recognizing the differences between the old and the new diasporas, and between the many different categories of diasporas, an initial, one-day student-focused conference in April 2019 sought to start ongoing conversational dialogues within and across generations of those conceiving themselves as belonging to diasporas. It was also about the intergenerational transfer of values, beliefs, resources and practices, as well as the negotiation and contestation about and over them. 

This second iteration of the conference, taking place this month, seeks to continue these conversations. The two conference panels will seek to better understand the representations, discourses and practices about diaspora through the differently evolved conversations among those generations – those in the “new” places and spaces, as well as looking at those left behind. Panellists will address questions about general and particular connections and continuities, or disconnections and discontinuities, between generations and within communities and families here and in the places of origin. Panellists will also discuss the ancestral memories of the place passed on and evolved such as through the racial, national, ethnic, religious, gendered and other heritages, and their potential and/or legacy in carrying meaning for later-generation descendants. They will also highlight the giving and constructing of agencies of those passing on the memories and narratives and those who are the recipients of them and more.  

The panel will include Pablo Idahosa, head of Founders College as Chair/Provocateur. Idahosa has been teaching African studies and development studies for over 25 years. He has written on the politics of AIDS and disease in Africa and has published on African modernities, African political thought and development, development ethics, development displacements and inequalities in Africa, national development, and African diasporas.  

Event panellists will include a number of upper-year undergraduate and graduate student speakers whose work on diasporas approaches the topic intergenerationally. 

Founders College’s foundational motto, “Self, Culture and Society,” remains central to all of the critical interdisciplinary, disciplinary and international programs that characterize the College’s diverse identity. In support of its scholarly activities, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and through shared intellectual commitments, Founders continues to be home to those seeking to fuse scholarly fellowship with student engagement. 

To participate in the conference, register to receive access to the Zoom link. Additional information about the conference is available on the Founders College website.