News archive

Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh awarded Philip Leverhulme Prize 2015

ODP project lead Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh has been awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for her work on experiences of, and responses to, forced
migration in/from the Middle East. Elena recently moved to a new position at University College London, where she is a Lecturer in Human Geography.

Zimbabwe's diaspora: Where next?

Photo: Kate StegemanOn the 14th of January, ODP and the RSC hosted a joint Roundtable in the Women's Lekgotla of Constitution Hill in Johannesburg on the theme 'Zimbabwe's Diaspora in 2015: Where next?'.

By complete chance, we arrived during a period of considerable turmoil for South Africa's Zimbabweans. Some quarter of a million Zimbabweans were on temporary permits which expired on the 31 December 2014. Although we knew this was happening, we did not anticipate that this would prompt a wider series of actions by state and non-state actors directed against Zimbabweans, including the expulsion of all the refugees from Johannesburg's Central Methodist Church, which has given a home to thousands of refugees over the last decade.

As such, the event we ran received considerable interest. We were lucky enough to be able to bring together a large group at Constitution Hill including academics, civil society activists, refugee rights advocates, lawyers, journalists, and representatives of both the South African and Zimbabwean governments. It was an excellent event: Alexander Betts presented research from the ‘The nation outside the state: transnational diasporas in the African state system’ project, we also had presentations from Levi Kabwato of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Godfrey Phiri of the Global Zimbabwe Forum, and Bishop Paul Verryn of Central Methodist Church, and representatives of the South African press were in attendance.

(Re)Conceptualizing MENA Stateless Diasporas

On 9 June 2014, the Oxford Department of International Development hosted the Middle Eastern Stateless Diasporas Symposium: (Re)Conceptualising Stateless Diasporas: Intersections between individual and collective experiences of statelessness amongst Palestinians, Kurds and Roma in the EU project. The Symposium brought together leading experts and researchers on stateless populations, diaspora studies and forced migration studies to examine core theoretical and empirical questions surrounding the broader study of 'Stateless Diasporas and Citizenship Regimes'. The report from the event is now available and can downloaded in full here

ODP Research Selected in support of International Decade for People of African Descent

Congratulations to Neil Carrier and Emma Lochery whose article Missing states? Somali trade networks and the Eastleigh transformation has been selected as a key article on 'Diasporas' by Taylor and Francis, as part of the publisher's support for the International Decade for People of African Descent. This article examines the Somali diaspora in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate. The Eastleigh story provides a lens through which to trace economic changes associated with Somalia's extended statelessness.

ODP Research Selected as 'Editor's Choice Articles'

Congratulations to ODP researcher, Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, whose paper ‘The Inter-generational Politics of ‘Travelling Memories’: Sahrawi Refugee Youth Remembering Home-land and Home-camp’ ( has been selected as ‘Editors’ Choice Articles’ by the Journal of Intercultural Studies . The paper was originally published in the 2013 ODP Special Issue on Refugee and Diaspora Memories (edited by Thomas Lacroix and Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh).

A further congratulations goes to Nalu Binaisa, whose paper ‘Diasporic Landscape: Theoretical Reflections on African Migrants’ Everyday Practices of ‘Home’ and ‘Belonging’’ has also been selected for inclusion in the special collection (

This is an excellent showcase of the impact of ODP research with 3 ODP-related articles, out of a total of 11 pieces, published as part of a special 'Journal of Intercultural Studies Editors' Choice Collection’, which is described as follows: "the editors have chosen examples of outstanding research recently published in the Journal of Intercultural Studies. Here we showcase the journal’s commitment to new and important scholarship on cultural formations, identity and power in society…"

Hélène Neveu Kringelbach to give the Evans Pritchard Lecture Series

ODP researcher Hélène Neveu Kringelbach has been chosen to give the Evans Pritchard Lectures, which will take place at All Souls College, University of Oxford, in Trinity Term 2015.  The title for Hélène’s lecture series will be Transnational intimacies and the reconfiguration of relatedness in Senegal and will draw on her research from her ODP project, Multinational families, creolized practices and new identities: Euro-Senegalese cases.  There are five lectures in the series which will be held on 19th, 20th, 26th and 27th May 2015 and 2nd June 2015.

The Kurdish Diaspora Response to Kobane: Uniting Kurds Under One Roof?

Bahar Baser explores this question in his article and looks at the Kurdish response to the presence of Islamic State (IS) in the small town of Kobane. This presence  has caused thousands of people to seek asylum in neighbouring countries and the town is still trying to resist IS. This article looks at the impact of the kudish diaspora activism in response to IS’s presence in Kobane, as Kurds all around the world are mobilising and trying to create awareness about what is going on in the region by asking for help and support from the international community.

Nando Sigona to give a series of talks on Roma Statelessness

Nando Sigona, working on the ODP project (Re)Conceptualising stateless diasporas in the EU, will be presenting his ODP research findings in a talk entitled “Towards a sociology of everyday statelessness: The case of stateless Roma in Italy”. He will be speaking in three universities across Italy: The University of Milan Statale on 15th December 2014; the University of Pisa on 27th December 2014; and Rome La Sapienza on 29th December 2014.

Gendered educational trajectories and transnational marriage

ODP researcher Hélène Neveu-Kringelbach, published recently in Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, examines the impact French colonialism has had on the educational aspirations and achievements of West African students in her article titled Gendered educational trajectories and transnational marriage. The Senegambian region has a long history of intermarriage with French citizens and this paper draws on this history to explore the interplay between migration, education and binational marriage over several generations of West African students, with a particular focus on Senegal. It suggests that with the tightening of immigration controls in France means marriage to a French spouse plays a key role in educational projects, and that this role is contingent on issues of gender and class. At times, however, tensions between marriage in France and social expectations back home end up compromising education altogether.

A retrospective for Robin Cohen

Robinfest 2014, an internal nickname given to a retrospective for Robin Cohen, that was held recently to celebrate and reflect on the contribution of his work on migration and diaspora studies over the past thirty years . Nick Van Hear, a long-standing colleague of Robin’s, gives an account of the event in his recent blog post.


ODP researchers featured in special issue of International Migration Review

50th IMRA special issue of the International Migration Review has recently come out to mark the 50th anniversary of the journal. Launched at a special conference in New York at the end of September, it features articles by ODP researchers Nick Van Hear on ‘Reconsidering migration and class’, and Alan Gamlen on ‘Diaspora institutions and diaspora governance’.  Also of note in the special issue are pieces by our colleagues Xiang Biao on ‘Migration infrastructure’ and Jorgen Carling on ‘Scripting remittances’.

 ODP researchers granted new funding

ODP researchers Neil Carrier and Emma Lochery have been granted funding from the Philippe Wiener - Maurice Anspach Foundation to undertake a new research project investigating how transnational trade functions during conflict, political instability, or when states are missing or unable to enforce contracts. The project will involve an exchange of researchers with Emma Lochery going to the Universite Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and Martin Rosenfield, from  Faculté des Sciences sociales et politiques at ULB coming to the African Studies Centre at the University of Oxford.

Comparing and theorizing state-diaspora relations: a new paper

Alan Gamlen and Alexandra Délano, synthesize and extend existing theoretical underpinnings on state diaspora relationships in this new paper ‘Comparing and theorizing state-diaspora relations’ published in July’s edition of Political Geography.  It highlights the fragmentation, case-study orientated and theoretical nature of most work and emphasizes the need to compare and theorize state-diaspora relations and suggests topics and methods through which this can be done.  First this paper describes the range of phenomena under examination and reviews the various strands of literature informing this area of research. From there the discussion moves to the contribution of this special section of Political Geography and points the way towards a future research agenda that includes a comparative dimension, employs quantitative and qualitative methods, and engages theoretical debates in relation to policy diffusion, governance and norm formation. The research is part of the ‘Diaspora engagement policies’ project led by Alan Gamlen.

New Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies

The Oxford Handbook of Refugee & Forced Migration Studies, an authoritative 52 state-of-the-art chapter volume written by leading academics, practitioners, and policymakers, will be published in June 2014. The Handbook includes contributions by five ODP members: Alexander Betts (International Relations and Forced Migration), Oliver Bakewell (Encampment and Self-settlement), Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh (Gender and Forced Migration), Nando Sigona (The Politics of Refugee Voices) and Nicholas Van Hear (Refugees, Diasporas, and Transnationalism).

The Handbook’s editorial team is composed of current and former academics at the Oxford Department of International Development, and includes two members of the Oxford Diaspora Programme: Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Professor Gil Loescher, Dr Katy Long and Dr Nando Sigona.

This authoritative Handbook critically evaluates the birth and development of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, and analyses the key contemporary and future challenges faced by academics and practitioners working with and for forcibly displaced populations around the world. It provides a comprehensive and cutting-edge overview of the key intellectual, political, social and institutional challenges arising from mass displacement in the world today. The chapters vividly illustrate the vibrant and engaging debates that characterize this rapidly expanding field of research and practice.

*Pre-order a copy before 31 May 2014 and receive 30% discount. To get the discount, order online from the Oxford University Press website, adding promotion code AAFLY6 to your shopping basket.

'Remembering' Ethiopia: A photo essay

In this photo essay, Alpha Abebe shares her quintessentially diasporic story. Alpha was born and raised in Toronto, Canada to Ethiopian parents. While her graduate studies are dedicated to the deconstruction of cultural identity and the understanding of its mechanics, Alpha's life has been organised and shaped by her connection to and relationships with Ethiopia, despite only having vacationed there.

The photos include a selection of images taken in Ethiopia while travelling there for her doctoral fieldwork in 2013. They are not part of any data collection, but rather, the moments and encounters in between. They were the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of Ethiopia to remember when she left.

ODP team contribute articles to COMPAS anthology

The University of Oxford's Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) have published a migration anthology to coincide with its ten year anniversary. Edited by Bridget Anderson and Michael Keith (ODP project: Religious faith, space and diasporic communities in East London), Anthology entries include work of COMPAS staff, past and present, as well as contributions from scholars who have collaborated with and/or been admired by the COMPAS team. This includes many ODP team members:

Creolization in rural Louisiana: A photo essay

Creolization refers to how prior and incoming cultures connect and overlap. In some cases new languages – creoles – develop. But creolization refers to much more – to blended expressions of art, literature, food, music and dance, and to new patterns of social behaviour.

In September 2013 Robin Cohen undertook fieldwork in Louisiana for the ‘Diaspora and creolization: diverging, converging’ project that is part of the Oxford Diasporas Programme. This photo essay introduces captures his journey through Louisiana, many of the people he met and places he visited as part of this fieldwork, and brings to light aspects of creolization in Louisiana.

Welcome to Eastleigh, Kenya's Most Unlikely Holiday Destination

With its sewage-flooded roads and dangerous reputation, Eastleigh may not be top of most tourist lists. But there are some around the world who just can't keep away. In this article Neil Carrier, project leader of the ODP 'Diaspora, trade and trust: Eastleigh, Nairobi’s Little Mogadishu' project, discusses why, despite its negative reputation, many of the Somali diaspora visit each year.

The article was published in Think Africa Press and is available on the website to read in full.

Explaining the rise of diaspora institutions: new working paper

Alan Gamlen, Michael Cummings, Paul M. Vaaler and Laura Rossouw present three perspectives on the emergence and importance of diaspora institutions in this new working paper 'Explaining the Rise of Diaspora Institutions'.

In the last two decades, the number of diaspora engagement institutions have increased more than ten times. In this paper, the authors try to explain this rise in institutions established by states to engage national that have emigrated to other countries. To date these institutions have largely been overlooked in mainstream political studies, despite being found in over half of all United Nations member states.

The authors identify and investigate three theoretical perspectives to explain the emergence of diaspora institutions and their importance. Using regression and related analyses modelling of diaspora institution emergence and importance in 144 states observed from 1990-2010, they analyse these three perspectives. The research is part of the ‘Diaspora engagement policies’ project led by author Alan Gamlen.

Mixed marriage: A new working paper

WP77A new working paper'Mixed marriage', citizenship and the policing of intimacy in contemporary France by Hélène Neveu Kringelbach examines how recent migration policy changes and their enforcement shapes the experience of citizenship in contemporary France. Hélène asks how individuals experience this growing intrusion of the state into their intimate relationship; and, how this bureaucratic process affects the experience of citizenship. Drawing on interviews with couples, their families, a civic association, and government officers as part of the Oxford Diasporas Programme to answer these questions, the paper seeks to contribute to the literature on changing notions of citizenship in modern states.

Rescripting Religion in the City

 A new book  'Rescripting Religion in the City: Migration and Religious Identity in the Modern Metropolis' edited by Jane Garnet and Alana Harris of the ODP project Religious faith, space and diasporic communities in East London: 1880-presentReligious faith, space and diasporic communities in East London: 1880-present, is now available from Ashgate Publishing.

Drawing on case studies of urban settings across the world, this book provides a more nuanced understanding of the religious identities of migrants within the ‘modern metropolis’, and makes a significant contribution to fields as diverse as twentieth-century immigration history, the sociology of religion and migration studies, as well as historical and urban geography and practical theology.

The book includes chapters by Oxford Diaspora team members: Nazneen Ahmed, Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Jane Garnett, Alana Harris, Michael Keith and Olivia Sheringham. To order online, or find out more, please visit the Ashgate Publishing website.

Robin Cohen visits Creole Heritage Centre

Robin Cohen's visit to the Creole Heritage Center at Northwestern State University, USA was documented in the Shrevenport Times newspaper. Robin visited the centre during field research in Louisiana in September 2013, undertaken as part of the ‘Diaspora and creolization: diverging, converging’ project.

Read the full article

Creolization - Cape Verde and Louisiana compared in latest working paper 

A new working paper 'Quotidian creolization and diasporic echoes: Resistance and co-optation in Cape Verde and Louisiana' by Olivia Sheringham and Robin Cohen examines the complex interplay between resistance and co-optation expressed through popular culture in Cape Verde and Louisiana. Authors Olivia Sheringham and Robin Cohen analyse popular culture in the forms of music and carnival celebrations in Louisiana and Cape Verde.

Call for Participation: Religions in Diaspora Postgraduate and Early Career Scholars Workshop with Professor Kim Knott

Format: A workshop to network and present your work-in-progress with Oxford Diaspora Programme visiting scholar Professor Kim Knott, Department of Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Lancaster University.   Participants will each have fifteen to twenty minutes to present their work in progress and receive feedback in an informal setting.

Professor Knott has made substantial contributions to the theorisation of diaspora, and religion. Her research interests include the theorisation of space and place; the interrogation of religious and political spaces; spatial metaphors in religious and political discourse; the relationship between religion and non-religion; the 'secular sacred'; media representations of religion; and religion and its intersections with migration, diasporas, diversity and ethnicity.

She is the author of The Location of Religion: A Spatial Analysis (2005) and co-edited with Sean McLouglin the volume Diaspora: Concepts, Intersections and Identities (2010).

Wednesday 3 July 2013
2:30-5 pm
Location: TBA

To register for the event kindly send a brief summary of your research interests and affiliations to Dr Esther Rootham ( by Friday 24 May 2013. Participation will be confirmed by 31 May 2013.

The transformation of Nairobi's Eastleigh estate

In this latest article by Neil Carrier, project lead on the ODP project 'Diaspora, trade and trust Eastleigh, Nairobi’s Little Mogadishu', the transformation of the once quiet residential suburb of Eastleigh in Nairobi into a major East African commercial hub with the collapse of the Somali state is examined.

In the article 'Missing states? Somali trade networks and the Eastleigh transformation' Neil and co-author Emma Lochery argue that this transformation builds on pre-existing cross border trade networks, as well as diaspora and Kenyan sources of capital, and regional and global processes that intensified in the early 1990s. The Eastleigh story provides a lens through which we trace economic changes associated with Somalia's extended statelessness, in particular how connective fabric has been generated and sustained in this stateless period.

However, the Eastleigh story is not just one of Somali statelessness, but also of interaction with other states. In particular, this article focuses on the ambiguous relationship of Eastleigh to the Kenyan state, suggesting that Somali business in Eastleigh, although born of a collapsed state and informality, is integrated in various ways into the formal state-regulated sector. Furthermore, Eastleigh businesspeople hope for more Kenyan state involvement in the estate to provide better security and infrastructure, while Somali businesspeople in general long for a viable Somali state that will allow them to invest their capital at home.

Complexities and challenges in Afghan migration

ODP research work on diaspora and conflict was aired at a recent workshop on Afghanistan held in Brussels.

Organised by the migration studies group at Maastricht University and held in the offices of the Dutch Permanent Representation to the European Union on 8 and 9 April, the workshop looked ahead to the likely consequences for migration of the withdrawal of Western forces from Afghanistan in 2014.  Nick Van Hear discussed papers on Afghanistan’s demography and economy and on migrant decision-making and transnational connections, while ODP-affiliated doctoral students Morwari Zafar and Carolin Fischer presented their work in a session on the Afghan diaspora. 

A new working paper pushing the creolisation paradigm

The term ‘creolisation’ is not easily nor consistently defined. Despite not being a uniquely modern term, creolisation is often associated with the political and economic expansion of the European world, and the cultural implications of colonialism. It is also often connected with hybridity, globalisation, and cosmopolitanism. This working paper examines what the term ‘creolisation’ might mean both historically and in the current day context of the Comorian island of Ngazidja. The author explores what defines a ‘creole’ society, at what point a society may cease to be considered creole, and whether the use of the term ‘creolisation’ without careful consideration of its meaning might lead to it becoming an ineffective description that is applicable to every society that has experienced an external influence.

Written by Iain Walker, Project Lead on the Oxford Diasporas Programme (ODP) project entitled ‘Converging cultures: the Hadrami diaspora in the Indian Ocean’ the paper was presented at the Conference ‘Islands and Identities: Creolization and diaspora in comparative perspective’ jointly organised by the International Migration Institute and ODP.

Iain Walker compares diasporic practices in the Indian Ocean

Comorians and Hadramis in the western Indian Ocean: diasporic practices in a comparative contextA new article by Iain Walker looks the similarities and the differences between Zanzibaris of Hadrami origin and Zanzibaris of Comorian origin in diasporic practices and relationships with the homeland in connection with the Oxford Diaspora Programme 'Converging cultures' project.

The article "Comorians and Hadramis in the western Indian Ocean: diasporic practices in a comparative context" is published in the special issue, "Mobility, diasporas and transnational imaginings in the Indian Ocean" of the journal Social Dynamics: A journal of African studies, Volume 38, Issue 3, 2012.

For both of the groups studied by Iain, relationships with the homeland have differentially shaped practices and identities. These relationships are often ambiguous, since the homeland often wishes to encourage the maintenance of links in order to maintain both remittances and prospects for future emigration, which requires an encouragement of a sense of identity with the homeland on the part of the emigrant community.

However, while emigrants may wish to maintain links with home as a safety mechanism, they may be reluctant to embrace what appear to them to be outdated social practices in the homeland; for those at home, too close an identification with the homeland on the part of the diaspora risks encouraging returns: the loss of remittances and attendant conflicts over resources, particularly land.

Documentary: Forward Home

After a successful round of screenings in Europe in late 2012 the ten-minute abridged version of the documentary 'Forward Home: The Power of the Carribean Diaspora' is now available online. The documentary reveals the economic power of Caribbean transnational communities, showcasing the experiences of diasporic peoples who straddle the dual worlds of Caribbean homelands and global cities as tourists, travellers and entrepreneurs. ODP and the International Migration Institute screened the full length film in November 2012. To find out more about the documentary, download the flyer here.

Africa's illiberal state-builders working paper 

The African state has long been at the centre of debates among scholars and policymakers, whether in trying to explain the broken postcolonial dreams of inclusive development, the surge in violent conflict in the 1990s, or Africa’s troubled engagement with the outside world.

This paper argues that between the liberal convergence paradigm, the failed state narrative and neopatrimonial seamanship, important experiences that fit none of these remain unexamined. Yet the existence of alternative agendas appearing out of the ashes of war in places like Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Angola is part of a major emerging mode of illiberal state-building.

This paper unpacks illiberal state-building projects in three parts. It begins with a discussion of how these regimes think politically. Subsequently, the analysis moves to the neo-developmentalist model of political economy that is embraced by Africa’s illiberal state-builders. Thirdly the paper examines the new relationship with the outside world sought by these regimes.

Download Africa's illiberal state-builders

New paper on how to think about African diaspora politics

Recent work on a range of diasporic populations, from Eritreans to Zimbabweans, has shown that diasporas have a politics of their own which extends beyond the particular place in which these populations live, and which is taken extremely seriously, not least by the governments of the homeland.

The purpose of this paper is to try and make sense of this politics. It identifies a gap in the current literature, proposes a conceptual framework as a way forward, provides some brief applied cases to illustrate its use, and indicates what research agenda we believe follows from this conceptualisation of transnational political mobilisation. The structure of the piece corresponds to those four purposes.

Download The transnational exile complex: How to think about African diaspora politics


Hilary Term 2013

Dr Hratch Tchilingirian, Oriental Institute

In addition to language, preservation of culture is a significant component in the discourse of identity formation and preservation in Diaspora; in the case of the Armenians, it is the discourse of 'hayapahpanum' (‘preservation of Armenianness’).  The seminar will continue the discussions of the last term that dealt with some of the methodological and conceptual questions of culture. This term will focus on various dimensions of cultural production and how they relate to the preservation of "Armenian identity".

Tuesday 22 January, 6:30 - 8:00pm, Oriental Institute, Lecture Room 1

Tuesday 5 February, 6:30 - 8:00pm, Oriental Institute, Lecture Room 1

Tuesday 19 February, 6:30 - 8:00pm, Oriental Institute, Lecture Room 1

Tuesday 5 March, 6:30 - 8:00pm, Oriental Institute, Lecture Room 1

Visit our events page to find out more.

Interview with Patrick Chamoiseau

Olivia Sheringham conducted an interview with Patrick Chamoiseau as part of her fieldwork in Martinique for the Diaspora and Creolization project.

Patrick Chamoiseau is an important Martinican writer and thinker, who is particularly well-known for his role in the creolité movement, a movement that sought to promote the creole – hybrid – identity of the French Antilles. In this interview, Chamoiseau comments on the evolution of the terms creole, creolization and, more pertinently relation by which he refers to the complex interconnectedness of the contemporary world. Click here to read the full interview.


Within and Beyond Citizenship: Lived Experiences of Contemporary Membership

International Symposium

Deadline for abstracts: 17 December 2012

The analysis of the relationship between legal status, rights and belonging is the central theme of two international symposia jointly organised by the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, the Refugee Studies Centre and the Oxford Institute of Social Policy at the University of Oxford.

For the symposium in Oxford (11-12 April 2013), proposals are invited for papers which investigate aspects related to proliferation and precarisation of legal statuses in contemporary Europe and beyond. We welcome proposals that explore the position of the non-citizen in contemporary immigration and emigration states; the nexus between (forced) migration, immigration enforcement, rights and belonging; the ways coexisting traditions and regimes of rights are negotiated in policy and practice; and the intersection of ‘race’ and other social cleavages and legal status. In particular, we encourage submissions that focus on one or more of the following areas:

  • Everyday experiences of ‘illegality’ among children and young people
  • Intergenerational impacts of status precariousness
  • Physical mobility and legal status
  • Forms and modalities of political mobilisation around precarious membership
  • Spatial practices and geographies of non-citizenship
  • The impact of precarious status on transnational practices and diasporic consciousness

Gender perspectives and methodological and ethical issues of research sensitivity are significant cross-cutting themes throughout these topics.

If you wish to present a paper at the symposium in Oxford, please submit an abstract (max 250 words) and a brief CV (1 page) through our online system ( by Monday 17 December 2012 at 5pm (UK time). Participants will be notified if their paper has been selected by Friday 21 January 2012 at the latest. Full written papers should be submitted to the organisers by 15 March 2013 and will be circulated to discussants and participants before the conference. Presentations are expected to be about 30 minutes.

It is anticipated to turn conference proceedings into one or two journal special issues or edited volumes. Papers should therefore be based on original research and should not have been published already or be under consideration for publication elsewhere. Please note that inclusion in any publications arising from the conference will be subject to peer review. For further information about the Oxford symposium, please visit or email

NB: Please note that by submitting an abstract you commit to producing an original paper of about 5-7,000 words in length by 15 March 2013.

The joint symposia are convened by Dr Roberto G. Gonzales (University of Chicago) and Dr Nando Sigona (University of Oxford). The Oxford symposium is organised by Dr Nando Sigona (RSC), Dr Elaine Chase (OISP) and Vanessa Hughes (COMPAS).

Special issue on the Roma and the new EU

Nando Sigona, who works on the Stateless Diasporas project for the Oxford Diasporas Programme, has co-edited a new special issue of the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

The special issue is on the Roma in the new EU and is now available on Taylor & Francis Online. The contributors examine the Roma’s movement across Europe, within and across the borders of the European Union: as ‘illegal’ migrants, and governmental efforts to restrict their mobility; as forced migrants escaping the collapse of the former Yugoslavia, stuck in IDP camps or forcibly returned; or as EU citizens within their country of residence and the EU space.

The collection includes an article based on Sigona's fieldwork in Kosovo: ‘Between Competing Imaginaries of Statehood: Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian (RAE) Leadership in Newly Independent Kosovo’. Drawing on in-depth interviews with RAE leaders, the article shows how they are caught between multiple and conflicting agendas and power structures namely the Kosovo government, the Serbian state and the international community as well as being under pressure from the Kosovo RAE diaspora that fears forced return to Kosovo.

Audio files available for 'The Arab Spring and Beyond'

The workshop 'The Arab Spring and Beyond: Human Mobility, Forced Migration and Institutional Responses' was hosted by the Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford Diasporas Programme and International Migration Institute on 20 March 2012.

Podcasts are now available to listen to.

Diaspora studies paper from Khachig Tölölyan

This paper formed the inaugural lecture at the launch of the Oxford Diasporas Programme in June 2011. It explores the contradictions and complexities of three ‘formative binaries’ – between dispersion and diaspora, the subjective and objective aspects of the diasporic experience, and the differences between home and homeland.

Download Diaspora studies: past, present and promise

New paper on Israel and the diaspora

Professor William Safran of the University of Colorado Boulder was visiting the Oxford Diasporas Programme in February 2012. He has written a paper on the relationship between Israel and the diaspora.

The relationship between Israel and the diaspora has been marked by mutual accommodation. The diaspora has come to accept the fact that Israel is not exempt from the problems and pathologies of states and societies; and Israel has acknowledged the continuation of the diaspora as a centre of Jewish life. Both sides are subject to illusions. Jews in the diaspora believe that Israel will be better supported by their hostland’s political right rather than its left; that Israel can be saved, despite itself, by a kind of ‘tough love’ bestowed upon it by the diaspora or its hostland governments; and that Jewish identity and survival, based on an autonomous and largely secular culture, can be assured regardless of whether Israel exists or not. Israel’s illusions are that it can be ‘like other nations’; that it can replicate in short order the civic nations that France and the United States became after many generations; and that it must ‘de-ethnicise’ and de-Judaise to become acceptable to its neighbours.

Download Israel and the diaspora: problems of cognitive dissonance

ODP Annual Newsletter 2012

ODP February newsletter coverThe Oxford Diasporas programme has published its first annual newsletter.

The newsletter contains information about new publications and outputs as well as an extract from an interview between ODP Principal Investigator Professor Robin Cohen and Professor Khachig Tölölyan from Wesleyan University.

You will also find articles about related research projects at the University of Oxford and the University of Leicester.

Download a pdf of the newsletter.

New migration studies journal

Migration Studies FlyerOxford Diasporas Programme staff have launched a new multi-disciplinary refereed journal to be published by Oxford University Press: Migration Studies.

The journal will publish work that significantly advances understanding of the determinants, processes and outcomes of human migration in all its manifestations.

The journal, which will publish for the first time in the Spring of 2013, is edited by Alan Gamlen of the Victoria University Wellington and affiliated to ODP. The Associate Editors are Alex Betts and Nando Sigona of the RSC, Thomas Lacroix of the University of Poitiers, Emanuela Paoletti of the Office of the UNHCR, and Carlos Vargas-Silva of the Centre on Migration Policy and Society (COMPAS).

See call for papers and style guide.

21 October 2011: Oxford Diaspora Programme staff to give keynotes at Lebanese American University Conference

IMS logoThe Institute for Migration Studies at the Lebanese American University is hosting a conference from 3-5 February 2012 on 'Relationships between Diasporas and Their "Homelands" and Their Impact on the State, National Identities, and Peace & Conflict'.

The conference is organized in partnership with the Centre for Intercultural Studies, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Keynote speakers include Alan Gamlen and Nicholas Van Hear. Iain Walker will also be participating.

Go to the conference website.

17 October 2011: Nick Van Hear on how diasporas transform the world political economy

Nick Van HearNicholas Van Hear, who is working on the project Diaspora engagement in war-torn societies, has written a post for the COMPAS blog on 'Shifting Powers: Two Decades of Migration and Global Turbulence'. He writes that migration is notoriously difficult to predict, but that there are a number of features which will likely be sustained in coming years as the global migration order reconfigures. One of these features is diasporas and transnational activity.

Read the full blog post

5 October 2011: Visiting Fellowship for Iain Walker

CMI BergenIain Walker, who is working on the project Converging cultures: the Hadrami diaspora in the Indian Ocean, will visit the Chr. Michelsen Institute in Bergen, Norway as a guest researcher from 7 November to 18 November.

He will give a seminar in the Bergen Resource Centre for International Development, which is a joint forum between the Chr. Michelsen Institute and the University of Bergen.

The Bergen Resource Centre is a major library, and holds several primary sources from East Africa that Dr Walker will look at. He will also make use of the collection of Professor R.S. O'Fahey on East Africa. He will collaborate with Dr A. K. Bang on developing further the research on Hadrami migration.

Dr Walker will attend events organised by the Chr. Michelsen Institute and the Bergen Resource Centre, among others a workshop on Islamic Welfare and the role of Muslim charities in a political and developmental context.

30 September 2011: New seminar series on stateless diasporas and forced migration

The Refugee Studies Centre, in association with the Oxford Diasporas Programme, has devoted its Michaelmas Term seminar series to exploring contemporary statelessness in international and national arenas.

Download the seminar programme here (pdf)

6 September 2011: New blog post on the Hadramis of the Indian Ocean

migrant houseIain Walker of the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) has written a post for the COMPAS blog about the subject of his ODP research project: Converging cultures: the Hadrami diaspora in the Indian Ocean.

What is remarkable about the Hadrami diaspora is not so much the geographical spread – Chinese, Lebanese, Indians can all claim networks with a similar global reach – but the temporal depth of these networks. Hadramis have probably been present in East Africa for 2000 years, and they have been in South and Southeast Asia for several hundred. As a result Hadramis have exerted profound influences on the communities that have welcomed them and, reciprocally, Hadramawt has been subjected to equally profound influences as emigrants return.

Read the full blog post.

30 June 2011: 'Diasporas, Migration & Identities' research programme reviewed

Nicholas Van Hear (see ODP People) recently spoke at a roundtable discussion held during the CRONEM Annual Conference 2011 at the University of Surrey. CRONEM is the Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism.

The roundtable reviewed the achievements of the ‘Diasporas, Migration & Identities’ research programme, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The programme ran from 2005 to 2010, and was led by Kim Knott and Sean McLoughlin. The final programme report and project findings are available on the Diasporas, Migration & Identities website.

Read more information about the roundtable here (pdf).

7 June 2011: ODP launch is a success

ODP LaunchOver 100 people attended the launch of the Oxford Diasporas Programme on the evening of 2 June in the Holywell Music Room.

Nando Sigona, one of the researchers working on the programme, explained how the variety of institutes involved in the venture will bring a richness of perspective to the research. Principal Investigator Professor Robin Cohen introduced the key speaker, Professor Khachig Tölölyan from Wesleyan University (on the left in the photo).

Professor Tölölyan is founding editor of the 20-year-old journal Diaspora. His own experience as the child of Armenian refugees from Turkey attracted him to the study of diasporas. He gave the programme’s inaugural lecture on ‘Diaspora Studies:  Past, Present and Promise’, exploring the contradictions and complexities of three ‘formative binaries’ – between dispersion and diaspora, the subjective and objective aspects of the diasporic experience, and the differences between home and homeland.

After a lively Q&A session, the assembled company enjoyed drinks in Wadham’s garden.

Listen to podcasts from the event on our multimedia page.

19 May 2011: First ODP video available to watch

ODP researcher Ben Gidley gives an interview on the project about the diasporas of East London.

Watch the video on our multimedia page.

12 May 2011: ODP's Robin Cohen to take part in 'Diasporas, Cultures of Mobilities, "Race"' Conference in Montpellier

Robin Cohen will be taking part in the first of a series of conferences on 'Diasporas, Cultures of Mobilities, "Race"'. The conferences will identify and assess the different evolutions of 'Diaspora Studies' and the notion of 'race'.

See the conference website.

9 May 2011: ODP researcher on panel at diasporas conference

On 6-7 May 2011 Alan Gamlen was part of the opening and concluding panel at the conference 'To protect and promote? Sending states and diasporas incomparative perspective', at The New School, New York. His presentation was entitled: 'States and Emigrants: Embracing, Tapping or Governing Diasporas?'

31 March 2011: Creating and destroying diaspora strategies

Alan Gamlen has published a paper as part of the Oxford Diasporas Programme, in the International Migration Institute's Working Papers series. The paper looks at how New Zealand, like many countries, has recently shifted from disparaging emigrants to celebrating expatriates as heroes, and aims to explain this change.

Download the full paper (pdf 1033KB)

29 March 2011: Vacancy for Research Assistant

The International Migration Institute is seeking to appoint a research assistant to support the Oxford Diasporas Programme, to work on the research project Diaspora and creolization: diverging, converging.

See the full information about this vacancy on the International Migration Institute website.

1 March 2011: Seminar on Refugees Diasporic Memories

On 18 February 2011, the International Migration Institute and the Refugee Studies Centre co-hosted a one-day seminar on Diasporic Memories and the Politics of Democratization, as part of the Oxford Diasporas Programme (ODP).

The seminar was attended by scholars working in Europe, South East Asia, Latin America, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa.

Little is known about how the memories of diaspora communities are formed, and what role they play.

The seminar set out to examine the following questions: How are individual people’s memories processed in exile to produce a collective diasporic memory? How are the memories of diaspora communities transferred to the origin country? How does this process of memory transfer impact public opinion, civil society and democratisation in both origin and host countries?

The seminar concluded that it was important to examine diasporic memories for the following reasons:

  • They act as records of those who may have been marginalized or excluded from history
  • They play a role in creating new national narratives during processes of state-building
  • They provide insight into recent conflicts and identity politics

A final report will be available on