Immigrants and Diasporas in European Languages and Literatures

Issue 7 (Autumn 2018), pp. 1-2

DOI: 10.6667/interface.7.2018.75


Editorial: Immigrants and Diasporas in European Languages and Literatures

Wen-Hui Chang

Chung Yuan Catholic University


Literatures of immigrants and diasporas involve the idea of a homeland, a place from where the displacement occurs and narratives of harsh journeys undertaken on account of economic compulsions. ­Essentially, a ­Diaspora is a minority community living in exile. ­interface, Issue 7: Immigrants and Diasporas in European Languages and Literatures addresses this concept with three papers that range across space and time from Russia to France, and from antiquity to present times.

In the first paper after reviewing the idea of exile as was formed in Russian in the 19-20th centuries, the authors turn their attention on the discussion of naming the current generation, the fourth wave, of Russian emigration, which has changed perceptions of the concept of emigration and emigrants. The paper focuses on the period when, under the new conditions caused by the political and economic situation, many Russians went abroad for permanent or temporary residence. It was a difficult period in the transforming Russian society, and led many Russians to choose leaving their homeland, thinking about the possibility to have multiple citizenship, while working, studying and doing business abroad. Shifting back in time to ancient Athenian society, the second article offers a comprehensive review on the position of the Metics at the time of the restoration of democracy and the citizenship debates that occurred, as he engages and rejects some scholarly interpretations of speeches by Lysias composed during these events. Riding a space shuttle returning to the present, the last article in this issue discusses the works of the Chinese-French writer Shan Sa, highlighting the writer’s hybrid identity. In this article, the author proposes to analyze the transnational currents of two of Shan Sa’s literary works through tropes of doubling. The concluding paragraph of the article lays out these claims very clearly.

A common thread runs through all three of these papers: the intrinsic significance of the processes involved in the negotiation of identity by persons belonging to a diaspora. This is clearly a transitive relationship; and yet if the problems of diasporas and immigrants continue, this topic will certainly live on, marked by spatial rupture and upheaval. After all, transnational boundaries and floating requirements have already blurred the cultural concepts, produced ambivalence in the colonial masters, and as such altered the authority of power.

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