This interdisciplinary course (with an emphasis in anthropology) will introduce students to the multiple routes/roots, lived experiences, and imagined worlds of South Asians who have traveled to various lands at different historical moments spanning Fiji, South Africa, Mauritius, Britain, Malaysia, United States, Trinidad, and even within South Asia itself such as the Tamil-speaking population of Sri Lanka. The course will begin with the labor migrations of the 1830s and continue up to the present period. The primary exercise will be to compare and contrast the varied expressions of the South Asian Diaspora globally in order to critically evaluate this transnational identity. Thus, we will ask what, if any, are the ties that bind a fifth-generation Indo-Trinidadian whose ancestor came to the New World as an indentured laborer or "coolie" in the mid-19th century to labor in the cane fields, to a Pakistani medical doctor who migrated to the United States in the late 1980s. If Diaspora violates a sense of identity based on territorial integrity, then could "culture" serve as the basis for a shared identity?
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