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Circulations, migrations, history

Circulations, migrations, histoire

"Diasporas" Journal, "Cycles diasporiques" n° 2018 / 1 theme issue

Revue « Diasporas », numéro thématique « cycles diasporiques » n° 2018 / 1

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Published on Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Les diasporas ne sont pas des phénomènes immuables : elles naissent, vivent et s’éteignent, ou se diluent dans des ensembles plus vastes ; d’autres ne restent qu’à l’état d’ébauche. Constructions parfois éphémères à la faveur d’un événement politique ou d’une opportunité commerciale, elles peuvent se muer en édifices structurés, de réseaux et de métropoles qui s’affrontent et se succèdent.



Diasporas are not an unchanging phenomenon: they arise, they live and they decline, or they dilute into a wider ensemble. Some are just sketched before disappearing, some are constructions due to a particular political event or a commercial opportunity. For instance, the Judeo-Iberian diaspora emerged from the continuing flood of people leaving the Iberian peninsula after the expulsions of the 15th century, and it only died in the 19th century, diluting itself in the wider Sephardic world. Some stop-off cities in the migration, such as Goa or Mexico, were the melting-pots of a well-defined diaspora, that was circumscribed in time and space.

Situating the diasporical phenomenon can help us understand the dynamics and temporality of those contingent social constructions. Thus, it challenges the traditional representation of diasporas as being continuous and atemporal processes. The special issue of the journal Diasporas will be questioning this alleged linearity and the movements of the different diasporic segments by proposing different kinds of studies. They may offer a “bird’s-eye” view embracing a whole movement or a study from a particular implantation location, a long term analysis or a focus on a key moment in the history of a diaspora.

The collective work on this subject will occur in two steps: a meeting will take place in Toulouse (June 2016) before the publication of the special issue (Spring 2018). The coordinators of this special issue are eager to bring together participants from different disciplines and different historical periods. We suggest three points of reflection that correspond to three phases of a diaspora’s life cycle.

1. Diasporic cycles and diasporic temporality

Diasporas are formed in an irregular process, with fits and starts, sudden quickenings and long lasting stages. For instance, the Huguenot exile from France nurtured the diaspora from the 1560’s onward. But the persecutions of Louis XIV of France completely altered and wholly restructured the diaspora. The numerous newcomers had been marked by a very recent and personal experience of repression crowned and had grown up in the mother country. This, and their very number modified the conditions of life for more ancient refugees in many host cities and places. This well-known example invites analysis of the temporalities and the figures of the diasporic construction.

2. Segments

Diasporic temporality and evolution rhythms do have an influence on the connectivity of the many groups in which the global diaspora is divided. Those segments are heterogenous to such a point that they may be perceived as diasporas within a diaspora (J. Israel). The Julfans for instance were an autonomous ensemble within the Armenian Diaspora, which appeared thanks to the Eurasiatic trade in the 17th century. The diasporic segment thus may originate in differed migrations or particular relationships with the homeland. They also may be related to cultural or religious differences. How did those diasporic segments interplay with each other? How did the varied settling of the diaspora interact with each other? How did they determine being in and being out of the group?

3. Sketches and disappearances

Diasporas are mortal. Some were extinguished by returning to their homeland, many others disappeared because the socio-economic conditions of their existence came to an end or due to the dissolution of the transnational bond. The Huguenot diaspora disappeared in German-speaking lands when the Huguenots lost their cultural peculiarity. The disappearance of diasporas raises questions about the reason of their very existence, as is their “failure”. Why did some exile communities end up building a diaspora, while others assimilated to the host society or became “mere” minorities? The limit between migration and diaspora must thus be scrutinized.

By offering such an ideal-type, the coordinators do not want to limit themselves to a specific definition of diaspora. They would rather consider each specific pattern that a dynamic approach would most certainly erase. Each of them may then enlighten the meaning of ‘diaspora’, regarding the widespread use of the term in Social Sciences.

Submission guidelines

For consideration, please send a 250 word proposal with title, in English, French, Spanish or German, along with contact information to Natalia Muchnik (natalia.muchnik@ehess.fr) or Mathilde Monge (mathilde.monge@univ-tlse2.fr)

by February 1st, 2016.

The papers will be published in French or English (for native speakers only).

Publication of the papers will be prepared by a work session in Toulouse in June 2016.

Scientific coordinators

  • Mathilde Monge (Université de Toulouse 2-Jean Jaurès/FRAMESPA) mathilde.monge@univ-tlse2.fr
  • Natalia Muchnik (EHESS/CRH) natalia.muchnik@ehess.fr


  • Maison de la Recherche - 5 allées Antonio Machado
    Toulouse, France (31)


  • Monday, February 01, 2016


  • diaspora, circulation, migration, cycle diasporique, temporalité


  • Mathilde Monge
    courriel : mathilde [dot] monge [at] univ-tlse2 [dot] fr
  • Natalia Muchnik
    courriel : natalia [dot] muchnik [at] ehess [dot] fr

Information source

  • Isabelle Lacoue-Labarthe
    courriel : isabelle [dot] lacoue-labarthe [at] sciencespo-toulouse [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Circulations, migrations, history », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, September 22, 2015, https://doi.org/10.58079/tb3

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