Friday 26th of February 2021


Do Second-Generationers Return “Home”? The Counter-Diasporic “Trans-Plantation” of the Children of Diaspora

Alessia Polatti, Università di Verona pdf_icon_30x30


Abstract: In The Black Atlantic, Paul Gilroy assumes that “modern black political culture has always been more interested in the relationship of identity to roots and rootedness than in seeing identity as a process of movement and mediation that is more appropriately approached via the homonym routes” (Gilroy 1993: 19). The article seeks to discuss this assumption by underlining the relevance not only of roots, but also of the contemporary flows of movement and migrant displacements towards ancestral homelands. This will be possible by suggesting the existence of a migrant path of return which pushes diasporic people to come back “home” or to, at least, an abstract idea of home which helps them to survive in the British hostland. This is particularly evident in the experience of second-generation migrants: the contribution will analyse the complex interrelations among identity formation, space and home, and homeland and return as they have been depicted in Fruit of the Lemon (2000) by Andrea Levy and Tariq Mehmood’s While There is Light (2003). In particular, the search for roots via temporal and transnational routes seems the most relevant point of contact in this kind of accounts: the exploration of one’s own origins is the central focus of both of the novels, where second generationers begin “to map out the contours of their own identity as black British people, not as rejected outsiders, but critical insiders” (Wambu 1998: 28). This result can be achieved only through a transnational dislocation: in this light, their returns to an ancestral homeland can be defined as a circuit, an unceasing movement to find the origin of the source, rather than a definitive resettlement.

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