The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain: evidence, memories, inventions

The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain was an innovative five-year interdisciplinary research programme, funded by a £1.37 million Programme Award from The Leverhulme Trust, which ran from 2011-2015. The Programme was based at the School of Historical Studies at the University of Leicester, in close collaboration with the Department of Genetics, the School of Archaeology and Ancient History, The School of English and the School of Management at Leicester, and also with the Institute for Name Studies at the University of Nottingham.

About Our Research

Diasporas are not a modern phenomenon. Ever since the last Ice Age people have moved into the British Isles from the European continent. Our research focuses primarily on the cultural, linguistic, and genetic interactions between peoples known to history as ‘Celts’, ‘Britons’, ‘Anglo-Saxons’, and ‘Vikings’.

Diasporas involve the migration of people from a homeland and the maintenance over time of links with that place. The homeland is often idealised, and collective memories or myths about it are nurtured and transmitted across generations, long after the living links of the migrants have died out. Migrant groups maintain a strong ethnic consciousness through shared habits, material culture, memories, and language; they often synthesize a sense of collective identity and construct a common cultural discourse.

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