Ghosts and Shadows: Construction of Identity and Community in an African Diaspora
Published: September 2001© 2001
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 256 Pages
Dimensions: 5.99 x 8.95
256 Pages, 5.99 x 8.95 x 0.74 in
Focusing on African diaspora groups that have been virtually ignored in discussions of Canadian multiculturalism - Eritreans, Ethiopians, and Oromos - Ghosts and Shadows explores the re-creation of communities in exile and the invisible forces that haunt them through myths of 'homeland' and 'return.'
Drawing on over a decade of work with refugee and immigrant groups in Canada, Atsuko Matsuoka and John Sorenson provide an analysis of the historical context that has created diaspora movements from the Horn of Africa. They examine contested understandings of Eritrea's thirty-year nationalist struggle, Ethiopian reactions to independence, and ongoing efforts to forge a distinct Oromo identity. The authors also discuss the role of long-distance nationalists in the 1998-2000 Eritrean-Ethiopian war.
This study traces the spectral commitments to conflicting narratives of history and identity that affect settlement experiences of Eritrean, Ethiopian, and Oromo communities in Canada, and shows how the commitments of these exile groups still play important roles in nationalist struggles in their original homelands. Applying the concepts of 'ghosts and shadows' to question the supposed certainties of culture, history, memory, nation, gender, and 'race,' Matsuoka and Sorenson explore the conflicting creation of de-territorialized identities against the presumption of deep-rooted cultural continuities.
A significant contribution to historical and globalized dimensions of nationalism, this work poses important challenges to dominant interpretations of transnational movements by focusing on the involvement of refugees and immigrants in nationalist struggles for distant homelands. By capturing these 'ghostly' and 'shadowy' aspects of lived experience, the book provides essential reading in the fields of anthropology, sociology, social work, and political studies.