Brent Hayes Edward's The Use of Diasporal and African Diasporal Essay example

Brent Hayes Edward's The Use of Diasporal and African Diasporal Essay example

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In Brent Hayes Edwards essay, “ The Use of Diaspora”, the term “African Diaspora” is critically explored for its intellectual history of the word. Edward’s reason for investigating the “intellectual history of the term” rather than a general history is because the term “is taken up at a particular conjecture in black scholarly discourse to do a particular kind of epistemological work” (Edwards 9). At the beginning of his essay Edwards mentions the problem with the term, in terms of how it is loosely it is being used which he brings confusion to many scholars. As an intellectual Edwards understands “the confusing multiplicity” the term has been associated with by the works of other intellectuals who either used the coined or used the term African diaspora. As an articulate scholar, Edwards hopes to “excavate a historicized and politicized sense of diaspora” through his own work in which he focuses “on a black cultural politics in the interwar, particularly in the transnational circuits of exchange between the Harlem Renaissance and pre-Negritude Fran cophone activity in the France and West Africa”(8). Throughout his essay Edwards logically attacks the problem giving an informative insight of the works that other scholars have contributed to the term Edwards traces back to the intellectual history of the African diaspora in an eloquent manner.
Edwards begins to articulate his argument by providing solid information on the “intellectual history” of the term from scholars who might have coined this term before the 1950s and 1960s. Edwards mentions prestigious intellectuals such as sociologist W.E.B Du Bois and activist Marcus Garvey as being “ engaged with themes of internationalism, but diaspora has only in the past forty years be...


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... this is because he wants his scholars to be in a state of mind of filling in the gaps of what seems to be unclear. In the Décalage, Edwards makes his closing remarks in which he states, “My contention, finally, is that articulations of diaspora demand to be approached this way, through their décalage”(24). Explicitly the term décalage meaning jetlag hints at the differences of “in time and in space”(23). Which implicitly connects to the understanding of allowing “African diaspora to ‘step’ and ‘move’ in various articulations”(24). Allowing flexibility in the term African diaspora, it allows scholars to explore what is “absent” and/or “different”. It is this understanding of making up what is absent in term such as African diaspora allows scholars understand the difference.



Works Cited

Brent Hayes Edwards, “The Uses of Diaspora”, Social Text 19.1 (2001): pp.45-65

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