'Can we live with difference? Creolization, diaspora and the making of new identities'

'Can we live with difference? Creolization, diaspora and the making of new identities'

Professor Robin Cohen

Series Name Leicester Migration Network public lecture
Speaker Prof. Robin Cohen
Type Lectures & Talks
When 30 Oct 2013, 05:00PM - 06:00PM
Venue Ken Edwards Lecture Theatre 1
Open To Public
Ticket Price Free
For Bookings Contact Marc Scully. ms627@le.ac.uk (0116) 252 2857

Can we live with difference? Creolization, diaspora and the making of new identities ‘Creolization’ refers to how prior and incoming cultures connect and overlap. 'Diaspora' refers to the retention or revalorization of old identities in new settings.

Despite their ambiguity and complexity, creolization and diaspora (rather than assimilation, integration, multi-culturalism or cosmopolitanism) seems to offer ways of understanding and perhaps confronting one of the gravest challenges of the twentieth-first century – how to live with cultural and religious difference. What can we learn from the historical experiences of creolization and diaspora and can these experiences provide embryonic pointers to the emergence of a global society?

Robin Cohen is Emeritus Professor of Development Studies, University of Oxford. He was Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick for many years. He has held full-time teaching appointments at the Universities of Ibadan, Birmingham and the West Indies and short-term appointments at Stanford, Toronto and Berkeley. He has directed two significant research institutes, the nationally-designated Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations at Warwick (1985–9) and the International Migration Institute at Oxford (2009–11). Robin was born in South Africa and studied politics and history at the University of the Witwatersrand, leaving in 1964 as the repressive apartheid regime tightened its grip. He met his wife Selina Molteno in London, who was then working for the Anti-Apartheid Movement. They lived in Nigeria during that country’s civil war (1967–9), while Robin undertook doctoral studies on the labour movement. After 36 years in exile they returned to a post-apartheid South Africa for 3 years, where Robin was Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Cape Town (2001–3).

Robin has been an active editor and writer. For example, he is editor of the Routledge series on Global diasporas, the Elgar international library of studies on migration and the Cambridge survey of world migration. With Steve Vertovec and Ali Rogers he co-founded the journal Global Networks. His books include Labour and politics in Nigeria (1974, rev. 1982), Endgame in South Africa? (1986), The new helots: migrants in the international division of labour (1987, 1993, 2003), Contested domains: debates in international labour studies (1991), Frontiers of identity: the British and the others (1994), Global diasporas: an introduction (1997, rev. 2008), Global sociology (co-author, 2000, rev. 2007, 2013) and Migration and its enemies (2006).

He has edited or co-edited 21 further volumes, and published many papers. His major works have been translated into Danish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese and Spanish. His initial work on labour movements in Africa, was followed by developing interests in the sociology and politics of developing areas, social identity, international migration, transnationalism and globalisation. He is best known for being one of a small group of scholars who revived the ancient notion of diaspora in the 1990s and gave it fresh conceptual purchase. He is Principal Investigator on the Oxford Diasporas Programme funded by the Leverhulme Trust (2011–5).

This is a collaborative event between the Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain research programme (funded by the Leverhulme Trust) and the Leicester Migration Network.