Observations and ideas about race, ethnicity and mixing.

African Diasporas

The topic of Diaspora is an interesting one, specifically in the way Colin A. Palmer breaks it down. He argues that there are five major African diasporas and how the earliest one began 100,000 years ago and the most recent one is still happening. What this suggests, is that people are continually moving voluntarily and involuntarily over periods of time for many different reasons. Furthermore, his belief that “diasporas are not actual but imaginary and symbolic communities and political constructs (29)” is again something I had never really thought about. This makes the concept of diaspora abstract and moves it away from its physical and geographical definition, forcing people to think of it as something that is more philosophical and deeper in meaning. Bah’s reading was also one that took me by surprise in that I did not know that in other parts of Africa and not just in Egypt, there was a type of ‘slavery’/ servitude happening before the Trans- Atlantic slave trade came into being.


  1. brodeenk

    This author took a fascinating stance on diasporas suggesting that people are continually moving voluntarily and involuntarily over periods of time for many different reasons, however, it is a political and social construct. It also made me think about this more in depth. More over,I was also shocked by the history of the 5 diasporas. I didn’t know that they date back 100,000 years across all of Africa. This helped me get a better understanding of servitude before the Trans- Atlantic slave trade .

  2. Eve Giordano

    I agree with your response to Bah’s article. I too, like you and Kirsten was surprised at the trans-Atlantic slave trade not earning the title of the first diaspora. I too have wondered if the word diaspora can be translated into an internal state, rather than solely a geographical term. If it were purely internal, would changing locations really change anything about the culture itself, or about how closely connected one feels to his/her culture?

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